Animal Rights V. Animal Welfare

Posted in: Featured, Horse Care, Ranch Life

I figure most of you reading this are involved in livestock, their production, or wish to be at some point in time.

There’s a distinction missing in today’s society about the difference between animal rights and animal welfare, and I thought this a good time to give us all a refresher course on the subject.  I’m often asked, via my Facebook page, or through instagram or even twitter, how I can love my animals so much and take such great care of them, yet know they’re going to become supper some day.



My answer is this: While they’re in my care, it’s my responsibility to take care of them to the best of my ability. 

Animal Welfare, as defined by the American Veterinary Medical Association, is a human responsibility that encompasses all aspects of animal well-being, including proper housing, management, disease prevention and treatment, responsible care, humane handling, and, when necessary, humane euthanasia.

    • Animal welfare proponents seek to improve the treatment and well-being of animals.
    • Animal welfare proponents believe that humans can interact with animals in entertainment, industry, sport and recreation, and industry, but that the interaction should include provisions for the proper care and management for all animals involved.
    • Animal welfare proponents support self-regulation of animal sports, including rodeo, polo, three-day eventing, FFA competitions, horse racing, field trials and endurance riding.
    • Animal welfare groups utilize scientific evidence to base animal care and handling guidelines.

Animal Rights is a philosophical view that animals have rights similar or the same as humans. True animal rights proponents believe that humans do not have the right to use animals at all. Animal rights proponents wish to ban all use of animals by humans.

Animal rights proponents support laws and regulations that would prohibit rodeos, horse racing, circuses, hunting, life-saving medical research using animals, raising of livestock for food, petting zoos, marine parks, breeding of purebred pets and any use of animals for industry, entertainment, sport or recreation.

Animal rights proponents believe that violence, misinformation and publicity stunts are valid uses of funding donated to their tax-exempt organizations for the purpose of helping animals.

Arson, vandalism and assault are common tactics used by underground animal rights groups to further the animal rights cause. Groups such as the Animal Liberation Front, which have been classified as terrorist by the FBI, routinely use criminal activities to further their cause.

As a rancher, and lover of all things animal, I am pro-animal welfare. Anyone that makes their living farming/ranching has no choice but to be that way. Anyone that truly loves their animals is pro-animal welfare.

That said, it’s unreasonable to expect that animal abuse will suddenly end so long as you have humans beating/raping/abusing other humans. Additional legislation won’t help- it’s the same with guns- if someone wants a gun, they’ll do their best to get one regardless of how many gun laws there are on the books.

Healthy, happy animals are the best way for farmers and ranchers to make their livings. Further, it is my own personal view that morally we are obligated to take the best care we can of God’s creatures. With that said, I believe that includes hunting, fishing, spaying, neutering etc. Nothing is worse than seeing Mother Nature at her cruelest, where overpopulation, causes starvation and disease.

Happy Trails!

Posted in: Featured, Horse Care, Ranch Life

About Jenn Zeller

Jenn Zeller is the creative mind and boss lady behind The South Dakota Cowgirl. She is an aspiring horsewoman, photographer, brilliant social media strategist and lover of all things western. After a brief career in the investment world to support her horse habit (and satisfy her...

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