There is a big difference between Animal Rights and Animal Welfare and it needs to be clarified.
The American Veterinary Medical Association has taken a formal position defining the difference between the two labels, Animal Rights vs Animal Welfare. In their detailed Policy on Animal Welfare and Animal Rights, they state that they cannot endorse the views of Animal Rights Groups. Here’s a quote from their policy:
“Animal rights is a philosophical view and personal value characterized by statements by various animal rights groups. Animal welfare and animal rights are not synonymous terms. The AVMA wholeheartedly endorses and adopts promotion of animal welfare as official policy; however, the AVMA cannot endorse the philosophical views and personal values of animal rights advocates when they are incompatible with the responsible use of animals for human purposes, such as food, fiber, and research conducted for the benefit of both humans and animals.”
Let’s take a closer look at the fundamental differences between Animal Welfare and the Animal Rights philosophy:
Animal Welfare – Animal Welfare includes all animals, whether used for food, companionship, or sport. It is based on a principle of ownership of animals. It reflects a common sense approach that animals should be treated well and that animal cruelty is wrong. Animal welfare standards and guidelines for animal use and management are based on sound veterinary and animal husbandry experience, research and practices. The AVMA views Animal Welfare as a, “…human responsibility that encompasses all aspects of animal well-being, including proper housing, management, nutrition, disease prevention and treatment, responsible care, humane handling, and, when necessary, humane euthanasia”. It also means animals that provide for human needs experience no unnecessary suffering.
Animal Rights – Animal Rights advocates and their groups believe in the ideology that there is no distinction between animals and humans. They view animal ownership as exploitation and slavery. The true goal of Animal Rights Groups is to work for legislation and humane care only until all animals are no longer owned or utilized by human beings.
The NCRAOA (North Carolina Responsible Animal Owners Alliance), has described what Animal Rights Groups are all about and their activities:
“Animal Rights Groups exploit our love of animals to work for various types of restrictive legislation (limit laws, breed specific legislation, mandatory spay/neuter) as well as laws that are steps toward changing the legal status of animals as property”, and “The animal rights movement is about control not animal welfare. Supporting legislation based on emotion and philosophical interpretation provides a platform in our legal system for incremental increases toward animal status changes.”
Lately we have been accused of being against the proper care and husbandry of animals. This has happened because over the years we have been working hard to shed light on extremist Animal Rights Groups. We have exposed their activities and their agenda. They are afraid the public will finally realize they are staging a dramatic impact on the rights and way of life of all Americans.
Since they are feeling threatened and are afraid of exposure, they have fought back against us. They have called us the “bad guy”, and much worse. While doing this they have conveniently blurred the definition of Animal Rights, which both confuses and misleads the public. They accuse us of being “anti-animal” and “against animals”. We have even been accused of “hating horses” and benefitting from killing them. These accusations are not even close to the truth. They are outright fabrications. Folks who are affiliated and work with Protect The Harvest have pets, and a number also have horses and livestock. We care about animals; we care about their health and well-being. We practice and support Animal Welfare.
While these outright falsehoods that have been launched against us create more work and some challenges for us, it also shows that we are making progress. In short, we support Animal Welfare, but we are against Animal Rights. Taking a stand against Animal Rights in no way means that we do not care about animals or their welfare. We do care or we would not be investing time, money and a whole lot of effort in educating the public about protecting our rights, animal ownership, agriculture, and our heritage.