|There's a Big Difference!
by Phil Guidry
In today’s popular culture, many famous people publicly support animal rights. Rarely does a day go by when celebrities are not heard on TV, radio, or on the Internet asking you to support animal rights organizations. And why wouldn’t those of us who love dogs want to help abused or unwanted animals through these organizations? Sounds good, right?
WRONG! Contrary to popular understanding, “animal rights” is a phrase that represents a radical viewpoint of the world, even though animal rights groups often have names that sound good. Basically, people who support animal rights believe that there is no difference between humans and animals, and that people should not use animals for any purpose. Animal rights activists believe that the breeding of purebred dogs and all dog sports should be outlawed. They also seek to stop hunting and horse racing, close zoos and marine parks, prohibit the raising of livestock for food, bring to an end to medical research that has saved many human and animal lives, and even do away with animals as pets! Some animal rights groups have resorted to criminal activities like assault and vandalism to make their points. In fact, some animal rights groups have been classified as terrorist organizations by the FBI!
Thankfully, many groups that are dedicated to helping and protecting animals do not agree with the animal rights philosophy. Instead, they support and promote animal welfare ideas. Different from animal rights, “animal welfare” is people’s responsibility to ensure the well-being of animals. Those responsibilities include housing, medical care, and humane handling. People who support animal welfare ideas want animals to be treated well, and believe that it is OK for humans to interact with animals in many settings. Animal welfare advocates believe that animal sports, like dog shows and field trials, should be controlled by the people who participate with their animals in them. And, thankfully, animal welfare groups only utilize peaceful and legal means to make their points.
So next time you hear a commercial that asks you and your family to donate money to an organization that claims to support animals, please do your homework. Learn what that organization stands for, and what they will do with your money. This will ensure that the money your family donates won’t be used against you and your love of animals.
As a junior handler, Phil M. Guidry represented the U.S. at Crufts in 1994. Later in 2002, Phil took part in AKC’s Summer Intern Program, before starting law school. Now a lawyer, Phil handles state-level legislation for AKC’s Government Relations Department. He shares his home with two Black Cocker Spaniels, “Pop” and bred-by champion “Girl.”