My best friend Ju gave me two African Dwarf Frogs for my birthday.
I have to admit, i suffered a temporary crisis of conscience after whiling away my first hour with them in silent awe, because i hadn’t yet figured out for myself whether keeping pets is ethical. This same moral dilemma is what moved me to let my parakeets go sometime in middle school or junior high, in the full knowledge that they would die in the “wild,” and probably within the hour. I wanted them to be free, and i felt i had no right to own them.
So do i have a right to own these frogs? I don’t know. Should they be confined to my tank? I don’t know about that either, but according to breeders, they’d be much better off in my tank than in a local river. These frogs were raised to be kept as pets, so i’d essentially be committing murder if i released them.
I understand all that, but i’m still not comfortable owning them. I don’t even know if they’re happy with me or comfortable in their tank. And i’m not okay with pet breeding, period. I don’t think humans have a right to breed animals for their own pleasure.
So i had these frogs in my hands, and i didn’t know what to do with them. I liked them. They’re adorably quirky. For a while, i cursed Ju for having given them to me in the first place. But she had given me a thoughtful (and unique!) present, and i didn’t have the heart to return them. And, i liked them.