Dogs and cats and animals in general are in. From the look of my grocery store, I'd guess pictures of animals sell more greeting cards than any other subject. We humans are both warmed and fascinated by their cuddly innocence.
The industry of animal photos has bothered me for a long time. Do these puppies look content to you? Remember that famous picture of a cat holding on by its claws for dear life? You can be sure that photo shoot was no fun for the cat. The truth is that most of the dogs and cats on cards and posters and advertisements do not live with families and are often not well cared for. They are commodity. The TV ads where an elephant or a tiger is walking in an office or an eagle is perched on a fancy car: those animals and birds are part of an inventory where they are rented out for photo shoots. Their lives are not easy.
I know someone who loves animal cards and with every good intention sends me the cutest cards with darling messages of good will and inspiration. I haven't had the heart to tell her that I cringe every time I see one of those cards because too often I can see the anguish or the vacancy in the animal's eyes.
It would do my heart and my sensibility good if we would all be (more) aware that those cards and ads are not cuddly or innocent. Please do not support the practice of using animals in this way.
Don't overlook the eyes. That will tell you.