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American Blue Lacy Dog Blog

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Animal Welfare VS. Animal Rights

The animal right proponents generally conclude that humans do not have dominion over the animals and they should not be domesticated, slaughtered or viewed as livestock. The animal rights person opposes any medical or scientific experimentation that uses animals; whereas the animal welfare proponent views a certain amount of experimentation necessary but insists that researchers use humane procedures and minimize pain as much as possible.

One area where the rift between animal welfare and animal rights manifests is the growing movement in some countries, including the United States and many European nations, to imbue dogs and other companion animals with a special legal status that is more than property status. This, in effect, would make them legal entities in their own right.

Although such a status could help curb the mistreatment of animals, there may be other, less positive implications for breeders and owners. For example, if it is found that sledding, carting or hunting with dogs violates the animals’ rights (i.e., amounts to animal exploitation), selling an animal to someone who intends to pursue these activities is suddenly on very shaky legal ground.

Owners and breeders have very much at stake in the animal welfare/animal rights debate. Their chosen activities (e.g., breeding dogs, showing dogs and, in some cases, even owning dogs) are simply not aligned with some animal rights agendas. For example, some animal rights organizations remain firmly against the breeding of any domestic animal and can be found in the background behind legislative or administrative attempts to ban or tax breeding or breeding stock.

We feel that if you have earmarked spare cash for the occasional donation to animal welfare/animal rights organizations, it is important to carefully consider exactly which causes you want to support and which organizations are aligned with those causes.

If you want to fight breed-specific legislation, consider the Humane Society of the United States and other organizations that have a strong history in this area. Certainly, as an owner or a breeder, you should avoid providing support to animal rights organizations that wish to free animals from “domestic service,” including livestock and pets of all kinds. * Susan Thorpe-Vargas Ph.D., John Cargill MA, MBA, MS

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