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From The Pit Bull Blog, this is a really interesting look at, well, animal rights vs animal welfare, and about how you really should not take those labels at face value.



I was browsing the message boards tonight, as I always do, and came across a topic regarding a new HSUS (Humane Society of the US) stamp with a patch-eyed Pit Bull featuring the text “I’m a lover, not a fighter.”

While the general consensus was appreciation for the design, there was also resistance to buying a stamp that would support HSUS. One member even commented on how real animal lovers aren’t supporting animal rights groups, such as HSUS and PETA.

So why the discrepancy? Why would anybody who claims to love animals be against a group who claims to want to help animals?

There is a massive difference between animal rights and animal welfare, and therein lies the rub.

Animal welfare: The desire to protect animals from unnecessary pain, suffering, abuse and mistreatment.

Animal rights: The desire elevate the status of animals to one equal to or greater than humans. Also the desire to see animals freed from any useage whatsoever. This includes service animals, private pets, animal-based medical research and products, as well as eating meat or using any animal by-products. The ultimate goal of the animal rights movement is total animal liberation.

Most animal lovers support animal welfare, which is all well and good in my opinion. The desire to protect animals from unnecessary bad things is a noble goal. Nobody should want to see animals hurt, beaten, tortured, neglected. And admittedly, the ideal of animal welfare probably steps into some grey areas, such as cosmetic surgeries (ear cropping, tail docking). That is going to happen; no two people will ever agree 100% on everything. But by and large, the animal welfare sect has its head screwed on right.

Animal rights, by my scary stuff scale, is a much more frightening proposition.

With rights come responsibilities. You have a right to free speech, but you have a responsibility not to shout “fire!” in a crowded theater. You have the right to bear arms, but you have the responsibility not to shoot innocent bystanders. Animals have no grasp of our society’s laws, and therefore don’t understand what their responsibilities would be now that they have these newfound rights.

Additionally, animals are like children in that they cannot dictate what would be the best decisions for them. Undoubtedly, if my dog were given the right to choose what she wanted to eat for dinner, she would demand whatever I was eating, and that’s hardly the choice that’s going to keep her the healtiest. We have a responsibility to take care of the animals we’ve domesticated, since they cannot care for themselves. They cannot simply slide into this idyllic scenario that the animal rights crowd envisions for them.

I think one of the reasons many people support animal rights is simply our tendency to take things at face value. We don’t want to get into the nitty gritty of things. Many of us would prefer to stay plugged into the matrix, and have our reality be the sugar-coated version, rather than seeing the ugly truth of things. Its far neater and less painful that way.

I compare the animal rights movement to peanut butter.

To the average American, there is nothing more wholesome than a good ol’ peanut butter and jelly sandwich, with a nice cold glass of milk. Make mine on wheat bread, lightly toasted, please.

But how many of us really read the ingredients and know what they signify? I mean, this is what we’re feeding ourselves and our kids, so it should be healthy and nutritious, right? Vitamins and minerals, protien and all that, right?

How about partially hydrogenated vegetable oil? That stuff kills you. But how many parents feed it to their kids as lunch or an after-school snack, without even bothering to look at the side effects?

Animal rights are the same in that people will support and buy into the feel-good portion, without bothering to read the ingredients. They hear “helping animals,” “saving animals,” “protecting animals,” but they do not hear “ending pet ownership,” “torching research labs,” “supporting domestic terrorism,” “sending people in pig suits to educate children against eating meat,” or any of the other bad portions.

Animal rights is scary. HSUS, for example, makes millions, but does not operate a single animal shelter. They could be saving countless lives, but instead they concern themselves with pushing for the destruction of Michael Vick’s dogs, while on the other hand begging for money to care for them. (HSUS didn’t have custody of any of Vick’s dogs. I wonder where those donations went?)

For my fellow APBT owners, I offer this tidbit as well: These organizations which claim to be about protecting animals do not extend their dubious sanctuary to our breed.

HSUS takes a PC approach to their philosophy. They don’t support breed bans. No no no, of course not. They only support local ordinances to spay/neuter the breed into extinction. That’s the kinder way to eliminate something, and its HSUS’s way of giving “extra protections” to Pit Bulls. They indicate that if you have a Pit Bull and want to keep all of its parts, you have the dog for the wrong reason, and are contributing to the abuse of the breed.

PETA is more open about their philosophy: Just eliminate the breed and be done with it.

It seems as if owning a Pit Bull means you must be more politically aware. Because we are considered the weakest link in the chain, and therefore make an easy target for the animal rights movement. Divide and conquer. Lord knows I wasn’t politically aware prior to getting into this breed.

However, animal rights isn’t just against our breed. It is against dog ownership in general. And not just dog ownership; it is against many things traditional to our culture, and many things we have come to enjoy and embrace. It isn’t just about no more hunting or fishing, no more meat or fur.

Own a dog? Cat? Goldfish? Horses? No more of that. Its exploitation.

No more agility trials, conformation shows, weight pulls, tracking trials, search and rescue. After all, no self-respecting dog is going do those things voluntarily, and corrupting his right to free choice is abuse.

Do you have an incurable disease? You’d better hope the answer isn’t dependent upon a laboratory mouse, because they have a right to not suffer or die for our betterment.

Horse carriage rides? Please. Petting zoos for children? As if. A dog to guide your blind kin? Get real.

These are the hydrogenated oils of the animal rights movement. They hook you with the peanut butter — SAVE ANIMALS! — but you can’t enjoy the PB without ingesting the stuff that will kill you.

If you support animal rights organizations, you are supporting everything they do, not just the stuff that you are in favor of. You can’t join up because you appreciate the good work they did, say, saving ex-racing greyhounds in a cruelty case — just an example; I have no clue if this actually happened — without also vicariously supporting, oh, animal rights whackos teaching people how to build incendiary devices.

I am not an alarmist by nature, but these people make me nervous.

Believe that once they are done eliminating all the fur ranchers, all the pet shops, all the Pit Bulls and their drug-dealing owners, they will run over something you treasure. The more support these people get, the more powerful they become, and the further they can advance their cause. They nibble at the weakest links in the dog fancy — perhaps ear cropping, or breeding, or using dogs to hunt — but never forget their ultimate goal: Total animal liberation.

Total.

So I guess the question in my mind is, why would anybody want to support an animal rights group?

If everybody who donates to the HSUS or PETA would instead donate to their local animal shelter, think how the conditions could improve for the animals that those places save! The local humane organizations are the ones who are doing the dirty work, and they don’t have the multi-million dollar budget that these groups have. Better yet, if groups like the EBA or ADOA had half the support of the HSUS, we would have a powerful tool at our disposal to help fight BSL, rather than embrace it.

I am sincerely asking anybody who reads this blog: Please read the fine print! Check that ingredient label. If you are signing a petition — even if it seems overall good — find out who started it. If you get a set of address labels with a plea for donations in the mail, ask yourself how they can afford such propaganda if they are hard at work helping animals.

On an unrelated but equally important note, if you are writing in support of a piece of legislation, read the whole bill. Find out which groups are supporting it, and why. Read read read! For example, there is a new federal anti-dog fighting bill — even though dog-fighting is illegal countrywide — which is garnering support on the pretense that we need felony laws to get at the evil dog fighters. However, it also contains language that would illegalize using the USPS to ship “paraphernalia,” which could be anything from a breaking stick, to a treadmill belt, to a collar, to a historical book, to a tug toy.

Educate yourself. Read the fine print. Know what you are supporting before you ally your good name with something you don’t fully understand.



It's long, but it's worth it, especially if you're fond of, y'know, having pets and service dogs and medical research and things.
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