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Animal Rights vs. Animal Welfare

If you’re reading this blog, there’s a pretty darned good chance that you’re interested in animals as pets, particularly dogs, especially Shelties. Right? And everybody who believes that animals, whether pets or not, should be treated humanely want to be sure that they “support the right causes” – including writing letters to their city officials, their legislatures, and their newspapers, as well as donating to appropriate charities, etc. Sounds pretty straight-forward, doesn’t it?

Well, I wish it were that simple.

We all learned a bitter lesson fairly recently when dogs and cats started dying because of contamination in dog food ingredients purchased in China. What did we learn? Well, first, that not everything is what it seems. Secondly, that we have to really pay attention to reality instead of advertising – in this case, that meant reading labels more carefully, researching on the Web, and talking to other people concerned about the same thing. And, finally, we learned that it didn’t matter whether the brand of dog food in question was one of those dollar-a-ton discount store brands or one of the ultra high-premium foods – many foods in every category were affected; fame and brand name were not sufficient for safety.

Of course, I don’t believe for an instant that reputable companies making quality dog/cat food would have permitted the food to be contaminated if they had any reason to suspect the results on our pets. But even the experts were fooled by the rather insidious mechanisms used to contaminate the ingredients they were using. And there lies the point of this entry.

Let’s talk about what “animal rights” really means. I believe that my dogs have the right not to be tortured, to have good food and clean water, and to be given love and affection. To use terminology a bit more precisely, that’s animal welfare. But that’s not what the animal rights people believe. Instead, we hear organizations like PETA saying things like “a rat is a dog is a boy”, meaning that rats have exactly the same rights as dogs and as humans, and that dogs have the same rights as humans. Now, these organizations are a bit coy about what that means, at least when they talk to the media and the general public.

Do they mean that rats should have the right to vote in presidential elections? Or the right to jobs without discrimination based on species? Or the right to attend public schools? What do they really mean? Well, you have to delve pretty deeply into their literature and web sites, and you’ll find that they mean that animals – all animals – have the right not not be used in any sense of the word by humans. That means “no meat” and “no leather”, it means “no milk or eggs or wool”, and it especially means “no pets”. In fact, those organizations define “pet” as “slave”! Oh, obviously, it means “no dog shows”, “no herding, obedience, or agility trials”, and anything that might be fun for you and your dog.

These organizations have chosen names that bely their goals. PETA means “People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals”, and who wouldn’t want for their pets to be treated ethically? HSUS is the “Humane Society of the United States”, and we all know that the humane society is there to protect our pets and farm animals from torture and abuse, and to operate shelters that attempt to find new homes for them when needed, right?

Wrong!

In fact, neither of those two organizations do anything for the welfare of animals! PETA grabs headlines every now and then by actually stirring up public sentiment against something that should be stopped, like some pretty awful animal abuse situations. But, then we find out that PETA agents have gone around door to door telling people that they’ll take unwanted pets and find new homes for them…after which they kill the pets and dump them into Dumpsters like common trash! (I know I should say “allegedly”, but there are very credible witnesses.)

And HSUS does not operate a single animal shelter. Anywhere. Not one. (Neither does PETA.) But they collect literally tens of millions of dollars every year from saps who donate thinking that their money is going to shelter, help, feed, treat dogs, cats, horses, etc. Where does that money go? Nobody seems to know – some goes to lobbying, a whole lot goes to marketing themselves and getting still more donations, and (this is my favorite) getting themselves and PETA into schools to teach our children that having pets is evil.

(Amusingly, I just noticed on PETA’s web site a solicitation for money to buy doghouses for dogs “who are forced to live outdoors”. That’s hilarious, because PETA’s entire existence is based on dogs not being kept in houses at all, but running free in the forests! But the real kicker is that they want $265 for each doghouse. Wonder where that money’s really going?)

A good friend of mine, Cheryl Anderson of Cherden Shelties (remember Pow, Cherden Sock It To ‘Em?) sent email out to various Sheltie lists saying “If you send money to the Humane Society Of The United States, which is a funding arm of PETA, ALF and ELF, you are contributing to Animal Rights domestic terrorism and the destruction of your own Constitutional Rights.” For those of you who don’t spend all your waking hours memorizing acronyms, ALF is the Animal Liberation Front and ELF is the Earth Liberation Front. And the FBI (OK, that’s the Federal Bureau of Investigation :) ) says that ALF and ELF are the nation’s “most serious domestic terrorism threat.”

This whole situation scares the crud out of me all the time. So why am I ranting about it today?

Well, there’s a new movie coming out this coming week that I’m hoping none of you will go see. The name of the film is Blond and Blonder and it stars Pamela Anderson. The reason I won’t see it is simple: all proceeds from this film will be donated to PETA. “We wanted to do something different and something positive,” said Eric Parkinson, CEO of Empire Home Entertainment, the distribution division of Empire Film Group. “The agreement to donate theatrical revenues to PETA was important to Pamela Anderson and could inspire greater attendance for the film. Their group performs important educational and legislative work for animal rights, and we’re honored to support them.”

Now, I don’t know Ms. Anderson. Some people have suggested that she ain’t too bright (marrying and re-marrying Tommy Lee might encourage such speculation), but she’s awfully rich and that suggests that she ain’t dumb. But it’s clear to me that she’s been taken in by PETA, hook, line, and sinker. Does Pam have pets? You betcha! Does she support the elimination of her rights to own pets? Probably not. Why does she support PETA? Who knows? (Not I!)

But we don’t have to support PETA, and we don’t have to support theaters, movie studios, or movie personalities who support PETA. I hope you’ll join me and thousands of your fellow animal lovers by avoiding that movie, by avoiding all films and television shows in which Ms. Anderson appears, and even by writing to the movie studios’ heads and telling them in no uncertain terms that you don’t go see films made by people who support fraudulent causes and domestic terrorism.

On this day..

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8 comments to Animal Rights vs. Animal Welfare

  • Wow! I couldn’t agree more with this. These organizations do nothing.

  • Dog Obedience Training…

    Where do you normally research for your blog content?…

  • All over the place! If you’ve been reading the blog generally, you’ll know that it contains mostly opinion and facts about the rescues we have and have had. There’s not a whole lot of material that requires research, but what there is comes from about a thousand sources!

  • Payday Loans

    I think that the best way to help animals that are abused is to donate to your local humane socitey or animal services they are the ones that take the abused animal calls. I also wish that they would make the animal crulty laws more strick and make the punishments harsher.

  • Wedding Planning

    Abusing animals are to be punished severely. The laws and orders to be made to rescue animals.

  • completely agree!!!!!

    can i just say i love all your blogs and the dogs are so lucky to have found you

    jen xx

  • Well, I think you really love animals and I enjoyed reading your post, but I do not agree with you regarding PETA and HSUS. PETA really do drive around and set up kennels with bedding etc, for dogs that are chained outside with no shelter. Of course, they will try to get a bad owner to give up the dog, especially if that dog is starving or suffering.
    You may be referring to when PETA have determined that the dog is suffering too much to save, so it is kinder for the dog to be put to sleep. In my opinion that is better than a life time of suffering and neglect. It is a sad fact that there are not enough homes for all rescued dogs, as people keep breeding and buying.
    HSUS took a great deal of action to stop the Canadian seal hunt this year and did a great job. I think if you took some time checking out what these groups do, you may be impressed.
    They also lobby the government for changes to improve animal welfare and animal rights. These groups believe that animals have the right not to be used by humans, however they do not want pets to be released. They want a better life for all animals.
    There is a lot to be done for animals, including lobbying against cruel and unnecessary experiments on animals and factory farms. They also pay to conduct undercover investigations to bring the truth to the public.
    Maybe this answers a couple of questions, but I am interested in your point of view and will subscribe to your blog for more info. Shelties rule!

  • Zana Whitehair

    we should always promote the rights of animals and animal welfare at the same time.”

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