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Unfortunately, the company has made a fatal flaw in its underlying assumption: While people in the U.S. want fewer barriers to pet care, they are fundamentally averse to the concept of the kind of managed healthcare that Hannah’s proposes. Once complex veterinary decisions must be made, keeping the keeper’s opinions out of the process may be harder to do than the company anticipates.
According to an article in Oregon’s Willamette Week, the company claims that it will allow you to buy out or end a terminally ill pet’s contract should you choose to seek healthcare elsewhere. But here’s the fine print: They are not legally enjoined to do so. By abdicating your responsibility to a company like Hannah’s, you risk getting undesirable care for your pet.
Ultimately, a business model in which animals are owned by a for-profit entity underscores their legal role as mere property — and nothing could be less consistent with our seemingly inexorable cultural drive toward the concept of pets as family members. Plus, this model essentially sensitizes people to the idea that animals are disposable objects that can be kept with a minimum amount of effort.
I’m aghast at the idea that anyone would stoop to such a culturally offensive ploy for profitability. I guess it could be easily ignored — if only our fundamental conception of the human-animal bond wasn’t at stake.
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