Conscience Laureate

Thursday, January 19, 2012


CBS News conducted a random telephone poll, the results were published in the February issue of Vanity Fair, of 951 adults nationwide and one of the questions was, “Would most people you know kill their favorite pet for $1 million?  What about you?  The results of the poll, above, prove my point that people lie when asked difficult questions in phone surveys when they are talking to a human being who might be judgmental.  I guarantee you if people could answer that question anonymously, the poll results would be very different.

If I owned (owning is the operative word here because pets are considered personal property) a pet and got that offer, I know what I would do. Now that you are getting ready to write a comment of righteous indignation, let’s change the wording of the question a few times.

“Would you or most people you know kill their favorite pet for $1 million if the money were needed to buy a car that was essential for your job?  You see where I am going here?

“Would you or most people you know kill their favorite pet for $1 million if the money were needed to pay for the college education of their children?  Change your mind yet?
“Would you or most people you know kill their favorite pet for $1 million if the money were needed to pay for the medical care of a family member that would save the person’s life?  Now will you answer “Yes?”

We all have a tipping point where we would kill our beloved pet.  It is a horrible topic to think about, but respected CBS News posed the question, not me.  Now you know why I am frustrated by polls and surveys.  They never ask the reason why a person would answer a certain way.  And under the correct condition 100 percent of us would kill our favorite pet.  Unless it was Lassie!


  1. I guess that leads to the next question. Who do you love more? The humans in your life or the pets in your life? If my poor Italian mother only knew the real answer here. I'm a little different, it's because of my pets that I have a business, a home, that care you talk about and because of my pets I can pay for a nurse to care for my mothers care.

    So would I kill my pets for a million? NO, it's because of them we're able to make a million.

    There are a few humans however I would like to see sunk in cement, but I'd do that for a nice crisp $20.

  2. Watch your back............PETA will put you on their hit list..........LOL

  3. Kathy,

    As a non-pet owner, it's easy for you to say that everyone has a tipping point where they would kill their beloved pet. Why people place a higher value on human life than an animal's life can be debated until the end of time, but unless you've had the experience of bonding with a pet, it's unfair to make such a broad statement.

    Would you say that every parent has a tipping point where they'd kill their child for a million? Why not? Because if you've bonded emotionally with a pet, and experienced the unconditional love they are capable of expressing, THEY ARE YOUR CHILDREN.

    I had a cat for 10 years who was nothing less than my son. If the house were on fire, I would have rushed in to get him without a second's hesitation -- not the photos, not the art, not the money stashed under the mattress, just him.

    Would I have let him go for a million? I'd have spit on that offer. Sadly, he's moved on to the next world, and I can't think of an amount that I WOULDN'T pay to have him back in my life.

    It's easy to qualify an already stupid question with conditions like "to pay off my debts," "to put my kid through school," etc., but it's pointless. Anyone could "use" a million dollars. CBS' poll is senseless, even insulting, and doesn't illuminate anything of value. If they had had the balls to pair that question with one substituting a human being for a pet, then we might have had some results worth reading.

  4. For a poll or survey question to tell you anything about people's behavior or beliefs it actually has to be a valid question. THAT would be an educated critique of this poll.

    No one is going to offer you $1 million to kill your pet, unless they are a psychopath. In which case, both you and your pet will probably be dead, and it won't matter.

    Glad your friends, family and colleagues know where you stand on this though....

  5. Love Joseph's comment....