The Case against Pet Ownership (Intermediate Lesson)

ESL/EFL Level: Intermediate (B1/B2)
Lesson Topics: pet ownership, ethics
Skill Focus
: Reading, Vocabulary, Speaking
Approximate Class Time: 1.75 hours
Lesson Plan Download: pet-ownership-ethics-intermediate-062023.docx
Lesson Overview:

  • After warm-up questions, students read a summary of a Vox article entitled The Case against Pet Ownership. The passage discusses the ethical implications of owning a pet, the uptake in pet ownership during the pandemic, and the notion that fewer people should have pets. After the passage, students complete a recall activity and answer comprehension questions for each. Finally, students match key vocabulary to definitions and then create three discussion questions.
  • For speaking activities, the lesson roleplays between a child and parent on whether to purchase a pet, a discussion with an adoption counselor at an animal shelter, and a scenario between neighbors. As a debate activity, students consider whether pets should be welcome in the workplace. Finally, students consider three pet-related scenarios for discussion.
  • Finally, the lesson ends with discussion questions and a quick collocation review.

A Maltese puppy on grass

INTERMEDIATE (B1/B2) EFL Lesson Plan on Pet Ownership

Warm-up Questions

  1. Have you ever had a pet? If so, what kind? Do you think it had a happy life?
  2. What are the challenges of owning a pet?
  3. The title of the article below is “The Case against Pet Ownership.” With a partner, brainstorm some ideas that you think might be in the article.

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-- Lesson plan on pet ownership written by Matthew Barton of (copyright). ChatGPT helped in generating a rough draft for the article and providing answer keys. Site members may photocopy and edit the file for their classes. Permission is not given to rebrand the lesson, redistribute it on another platform, or sell it as part of commercial course curriculum. For questions, contact the author.

Possible answers to comprehension questions:

  1. The main argument presented in the article is questioning the beneficial nature of the human-animal bond and making a case against pet ownership.
  2. Despite our own assumptions, Pierce believes that modern pets have boring and frustrating lives.
  3. The pet industry causes problems such as health issues in certain breeds due to breeding for attractive features, and it raises concerns about the ethics of selling animals as commodities.
  4. He realizes that despite treats, walks, and playtime, his own dog, Evvie, spends much of her day bored and lacks autonomy, indicating that he does not meet her needs.
  5. According to the article, cat owners argue about whether cats should stay indoors or have the freedom to go outside and fulfill their exercise and hunting needs.
  6. This behavior might include chewing, digging, barking, howling, and related destruction.
  7. Some suggestions include reducing the pet population, shifting pet ownership from a casual hobby to a serious responsibility, promoting spaying/neutering, and adopting from shelters.

Vocabulary Answers: 1-f, 2-k, 3-i, 4-g, 5-c, 6-a, 7-h, 8-e, 9-d, 10-b, 11-j

Collocation Answers: 1-e, 2-a, 3-f, 4-e, 5-c, 6-b


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