Stop Saying 'It'!

Profile photo of Rachelle-O

Posted July 14, 2011 by Rachelle Owen

I am sick of “it!”

WTF am I talking about? Let me explain:

When you’re talking about an animal—whether they’re your animal bestie or someone else’s, or an animal confined on a factory farm or in a laboratory—they’re not something, they’re someone.

Saying “it” perpetuates the idea that animals are not living, breathing, feeling beings—and are instead inanimate objects. Please, use terms like “he” and “she” whenever possible and avoid using “it.”

My Hannah is not an “it”!

This may seem like a small thing—but language really does matter. The way we talk about issues, people, and animals is important and reflects how we feel and think about them. It’s the same reason why calling someone “gay” or “retarded” is NEVER OK.

I promise—once you start realizing how often you say “it” and start to liberate your language, hearing someone refer to an animal as an “it” will become cringe-worthy. Animals are all unique individuals worthy of our consideration and respect, right? Make it sound that way!

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  • 1190 days ago

    VA:F [1.9.22_1171]

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    Thanks! I have been trying not to say ‘it’ ever since… IDK a long time! But sometimes I mess up :-) oh well it is really a pet peeve, especially when i say ‘it’

  • 1194 days ago

    VA:F [1.9.22_1171]

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    i have a question that i really do not know if its right or wrong, and i dont mean to get any critisism on it cause i really dont know! :) okay, well i have an adorable little boy dog name Kujo, the love of my life, and i like to dress him, mostly in the winter, i wouldnt put him into something in the summer (too hot!) and he really likes wearing the clothes i think because he gets excited and wags his tail and helps me put him in it, but the thing is hes been wearing some shirts since he was with me, and i dont know if its cruel or not, whether he likes it or not? any comments?

  • 1252 days ago

    VA:F [1.9.22_1171]

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    I cannot stand it, when people call animals it. Like fo’ reeeeal!

  • 1265 days ago

    VA:F [1.9.22_1171]

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    True That ♥

  • 1290 days ago

    VA:F [1.9.22_1171]

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    I never call my cat “It”. That would really be lame! I refer to her by her name (LaLa), or she’s my ‘Baby’, or the ‘Little Lady’. Or even by her nick name ‘Boo Boo’, but never “It”! She would be highly insulted. After all, cats are ‘Angels With Whiskers’.

  • 1291 days ago

    VA:F [1.9.22_1171]

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    I know! I’m just going to start calling the people who call other living thigs “it” “it”.

  • 1296 days ago

    VA:F [1.9.22_1171]

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    I already cringe and correct people (mostly my brother, who loves animals, but not as much as I do) whenever they refer to an animal with “it”.

  • 1297 days ago

    VA:F [1.9.22_1171]

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    I call my kitty midnight a person!

  • 1325 days ago

    VA:F [1.9.22_1171]

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    YES so true!

  • Rai

    1331 days ago

    VA:F [1.9.22_1171]

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    Hannah is adorable!!! And I love how her look says,”yeah guys im a she”

  • 1334 days ago

    VA:F [1.9.22_1171]

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    In my native language there’s no word for “it”, only “he”, “she”, and neutral gender. :) and I haven’t known that in English animals are often called “it”! I always thought that all the English speakers are saying “he/she”!

    You have such a beautiful cat! Her eyes are impressioning! ^_^

  • 1339 days ago

    VA:F [1.9.22_1171]

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    I completely agree. Animals have a sex, and the only time not to call them he, she, him, her, is when the sex is unidentified. If they are both, such as slugs, they are called hermaphrodites. Get it right people!

  • 1340 days ago

    VA:F [1.9.22_1171]

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    Its what everyone has made us believe and they keep on doing it so they dont feel so shitty about what they do to other animals, its so funny religious people keep saying god put animals on earth for us when they also contradicte themselves in the ammendments DONT KILL, yeah yeah yeah, its better for them to ASSUME god meant to say dont kill humans , but every other living thing is ok to kill (trees, animals, the earth as well) LOL its so funny because its true.

  • 1359 days ago

    VA:F [1.9.22_1171]

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    hah I never think or call other species of animals its

    Just the other day I had just got done talking to George (one of our cats) because he was walking down the hall to go lay on a chair not paying attention to me at all. Then I just like stared at him because the thought came into my head I was like “wow he is a complete different species from me” it sounds stupid but the thought blew me away because I think of him and our other companion animals as parts of the family so I treat him as if he is human. :)

    Peace, Love,
    Far

  • 1368 days ago

    VA:F [1.9.22_1171]

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    I agree to this !!!! Omg, like I agree to is so much that im literally speechless !

  • 1374 days ago

    VA:F [1.9.22_1171]

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    I don’t know if this is being sexist, but I remember years ago that dogs were always referred to as ‘hes’ & cats were referred to as ‘shes’. Why is it that people associate the size of the animal with a certain sex? They are living, breathing, sentient beings with feelings & dignity! They shouldn’t be typecast like that. I have a cat & i love her to pieces. I say HER because she IS one!

  • 1374 days ago

    VA:F [1.9.22_1171]

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    Hannah has the silliest look on her face. XD

  • 1374 days ago

    VA:F [1.9.22_1171]

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    I’ve always hated when people refer to animals as “it”! I wouldn’t want to be refered to as an object– I’m NOT an object! And neither are animals!

  • 1374 days ago

    VA:F [1.9.22_1171]

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    LOS ANIMALES SON SERES QUE SIENTEN Y AMAN Y SON SERES INDIVIDUALES E INDEPENDIENTES Y COMO TALES , HAY QUE RESPETARLOS Y CUIDARLOS .

  • 1374 days ago

    VA:F [1.9.22_1171]

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    YOur cat is beautiful!!!

  • Bob

    1375 days ago

    VA:F [1.9.22_1171]

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    A couple of years ago I asked my local Humane Society to stop referring to animals as “it.” I pointed out that they aren’t objects. The response was a puzzled look and the comment “They aren’t humans.” I pretty much gave up on those people afterwards – but not the animals. A single word can really show how you think, and how you want others to think.

  • 1375 days ago

    VA:F [1.9.22_1171]

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    My first language is french and I learned english at school. In elementary school teachers were teaching the basics as he for a boy, she for a girl and it for a thing or animal. I’ve always been an animal lover and even as a 7 year old girl I couldn’t get what was the use of saying it for an animal. In french there’s no translation for that word so this word never came to my mind when talking of an animal. My teachers always told it was a mistake but to me it was the complite opposite. Never did and will never call an animal it!

  • rob

    1377 days ago

    VA:F [1.9.22_1171]

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    I named my dog “IT” just so I wont be bothered if someone does this

  • 1377 days ago

    VA:F [1.9.22_1171]

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    I totally agree and for a long time I have also protested against the word “it”. Also I refuse to use the word “buy” when I talk about my dog. I say I have adopted him. If we adopt a human child, we pay money for the deal, but we do not say we bought them. So why should we say we have bought a dog, cat, horse, rabbit or whatever?

  • 1377 days ago

    VA:F [1.9.22_1171]

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    My Kitty Is a She! Not An It >:( Nobody in my family calls animals “Its”, Thankfully!

  • 1378 days ago

    VA:F [1.9.22_1171]

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    I hate it when people call animals it!

  • 1378 days ago

    VA:F [1.9.22_1171]

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    i agree with not calling animals it. it’s kinda disrespectful and belittle-ing. and it’s very annoying.

  • 1379 days ago

    VA:F [1.9.22_1171]

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    thank you or bringing this up! I hate that too!

  • 1380 days ago

    VA:F [1.9.22_1171]

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    I agree! If we use ‘it’ talking about animals, they have a right to use ‘it’ talking about us (I guess, they really have a such right) We must, MUST respect their individuality!

  • 1380 days ago

    VA:F [1.9.22_1171]

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    If you don’t know the animal’s gender say “they”

    Thank you for this, I get into lots of debates over this issue.

  • 1380 days ago

    VA:F [1.9.22_1171]

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    So true! And Hannah is very cutez:)

  • jen

    1380 days ago

    VA:F [1.9.22_1171]

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    I know it is sexist but when I see an animal I call it he. I would rather insult the person and call them a he than and “it”

  • 1380 days ago

    VA:F [1.9.22_1171]

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    Thank you so much for posting this!!! My puppies and rats and toads are not its!!! Thank for saying the whole “gay” and “retarded” thing!!! NOt only is this post animal rights, its also human rights!!!

  • 1381 days ago

    VA:F [1.9.22_1171]

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    I agree! I actually confuse people by calling my dogs, she and him. “Are the girls hungry?” “have the boys gone out?”

  • 1381 days ago

    VA:F [1.9.22_1171]

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    i hate when people say it about my cats, like “Whats its name?” and i’ll say THEIR name is Luke

    • 1375 days ago

      VA:F [1.9.22_1171]

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      Unless all of your cats are named Luke, there shouldn’t be use of a plural pronoun, also, in the case that they are, it is still “their names are” not “their name is”.

  • 1381 days ago

    VA:F [1.9.22_1171]

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    I hate when plp consider them as “it”
    not kool at all!!!

  • 1381 days ago

    VA:F [1.9.22_1171]

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    not only would this help people realize that animals arent “things” they are actual living, breathing creatures with feelings.
    thank you rachel, for pointing this out.

  • 1381 days ago

    VA:F [1.9.22_1171]

    0

    i love me kitty.. i never call him IT xxx

  • 1381 days ago

    VA:F [1.9.22_1171]

    0

    you have such an adorable cat :) yeah i agree with the language being used like that.. In rs we learn “language games” theory and you see how people talk and that.. I mainly say they if i dont know the sex but its like how people get wound up when babies are called “it” same applies but people dont :L

  • 1381 days ago

    VA:F [1.9.22_1171]

    0

    I used to be friends with this grl, but then she called my dog, Simon, an it. We don’t hang out anymore.

  • 1381 days ago

    VA:F [1.9.22_1171]

    0

    It is pretty annoying, let alone disrespectful!

  • 1381 days ago

    VA:F [1.9.22_1171]

    0

    Yes I try to call animals him or her!

  • 1381 days ago

    VA:F [1.9.22_1171]

    0

    I agree, I always call animals he/she or their name :)

  • 1381 days ago

    VA:F [1.9.22_1171]

    0

    I have now realized what the power of one word can do. I will never say that again and will always refer to an animal as he or she! Thanks for help! :)

  • 1381 days ago

    VA:F [1.9.22_1171]

    0

    “It’s the same reason why calling someone “gay” or “retarded” is NEVER OK.”
    Well what if they are gay?

    • 1376 days ago

      VA:F [1.9.22_1171]

      0

      NO. Like saying “Thats so gay!”. As Chris Crocker said, if you think that a grapefruit has a sexuality, you belong in a mentle istitutions. :)

  • 1381 days ago

    VA:F [1.9.22_1171]

    0

    That really does annoy me too!
    Example:
    “It feels just as much pain as we do.”
    INSTEAD USE
    “THEY feel just as much pain as we do.”
    Using the word “they” is much better, since “they” is the most common word when speaking about a group of people.

  • 1381 days ago

    VA:F [1.9.22_1171]

    0

    Ya, I hate when people call animals “it.”

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