Are you one of the millions of people worldwide who count a dog, cat, ferret, or any manner of other non-human, eating-and-pooping creatures among your family members? If so, take note: You may want to reconsider the term "pet" when referring to them. An editorial in the Journal of Animal Ethics says that term, along with words like "critters" and "beasts," is derogatory language that can give your four-legged loved ones an inferiority complex.

They should be referred to with the more sensitive designation of "companion animals." And you aren't their "owner." (Even though technically you are.)

"Again the word ‘owners', whilst technically correct in law, harks back to a previous age when animals were regarded as just that: property, machines or things to use without moral constraint."

Instead, let me humbly offer the far more politically correct, "poop-bag-toting, litter-changing, treat-dispensing chump," which is what your companion animals refer to you when you're out of the room, anyway.

Time to get to re-branding, Companionanimalco! [Telegraph, photo via Shutterstock]