Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Animal Rights or Animal Welfare?

If you are passionate about animals you have likely heard about animal rights and animal welfare, and have probably even donated money to one cause or another. Animal Rights or Animal Welfare? is a great and very informing article by B Nelson comparing the two and showing the major differences between them.

Did you know that humans are animals? Most people do not seem to think we are. Some people do not think animals deserve to be treated with any respect at all, with any sympathies to their suffering. Others take the opposite stance and go to an extreme... They are the Animal Rights people. There was a time when I would not have to make the distinction between the terms "Animal Rights" and "Animal Welfare".

Animal Welfare people want to see animals not suffer needlessly. They want people to be able to own animals but not treat them with undue cruelty. Animal Rights people are more extreme, suggesting that animals should have the same legal as people, going so far as to want all other animals listed as "legal persons". Animal Rights activists will tell you eating meat is wrong (even though humans are omnivores) and owning pets is wrong. Even seeing eye dogs are wrong. Feeding meat to another animal is wrong.

Some Animal Rights groups suggest that domestic livestock, and many common house pets are invalid lifeforms because their evolution was impacted by Humans. In actuality, domestic livestock and house pets such as sheep and dogs evolved into what they are today because they formed a symbiotic relationship with humans long ago. That evolutionary process is just as legitimate as any other as the evolution of all species is impacted by other species it interacts with. Suggesting that sheep, cows, dogs, and cats are invalid lifeforms because of their interaction with Humans is unfair to them.

I support Animal Welfare activists 100 %. I do believe we can treat our food animals,and all animals, far better than we do. I do not support many Animal Rights activists, some have fallen into this by having soft hearts, and simply do not know where to stop.

Good Animal Welfare Ideas

  1. Spaying and Neutering Pets. Thus reducing the number of unwanted pets that will be euthanized, currently, millions in the USA alone every year.
  2. Free range chickens. Produce healthier eggs, and happier birds. I am talking about TRUE Free Range Chicken. Be aware that there needs to be stricter laws regarding labeling as "Free Range".
  3. Better enclosures for zoo animals, with species specific natural settings, and more space per animal.
  4. Enacting laws against cruel cosmetic of pets, or use for cruel entertainment (eg. Dog fighting).
  5. Education on needs of specific animals. So that people may care for these animals properly or preserve these animals from extinction if that need exists.
  6. Animal rescues and shelters. Helping those in need, and even humanely euthanizing animals when there are more animals than there are homes for.
  7. Understanding that Humanity lives in "The Natural World" and because of this needs to protect and preserve it.

Bad Animal Rights Ideas

  1. Making house cats into vegetarians. Cats are true carnivores, this will cause health issues. Punishing some animals, for simply being animals and doing what is natural to them.
  2. Calling for releasing all animals into the wild. There is no way millions of cattle would survive on what little land is left natural for them. There is no way the chickens would survive the cold winters without shelter. Cats would soon out number their food source.
  3. Trying to force changes in laws through acts of minor terrorism. This not only hurts the cause of "Animal Rights" in the public perception, it also does no good for the animals. Some times these acts include actively setting animals loose, to which many animals die, or are killed.
  4. More time and funds are spent, promoting, or proselytizing for, intolerant ideologies, rather than actually helping animals.
  5. Deceptive or ill informed media manipulation and/or fund raising. This is another area that hurts the cause of "Animal Rights"and another action that hurts innocent "Animal Welfare" workers and organizations as well as animals.
  6. Irrational "No Kill" Shelters. Ones that keep animals alive at any cost, even old animals that are suffering, so they can serve as symbols for these shelters. I am sure that if some of these animals could have written a "Living Will" they would have taken the option of "End my suffering" just as many Humans do.

  7. Promotion of the belief that Humanity is or can be separate from "The Natural World". This is an extremist "Animal Rights" point of view for sure. Some even going so far as to suggest that the entire Human population of the planet could, or should, be made to live in an area the size of Texas, a type of concentration camp for Humans, so that the rest of the planet could remain "Wild".
  8. Pushing people to become Vegans or Vegetarians. True most of us should eat less meat, but millions of cattle, pigs, etc. would be slaughtered NOW if we were all to suddenly stop eating meat. More land would be cleared to grow meat alternatives, thus displacing wildlife.


Do you really want to live in a world where your beloved Cat has to stand trial for violating the rights of a mouse? Do you really want to live in a world where dogs and cats no longer exist because someone decided they were invalid creatures? Do you want to live in a world where you cannot drink milk, because dairy cattle were wiped out? If you answered "No" to these questions then you are on your way to understanding why "Animal Rights" extremism is so dangerous.

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