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Animal Rights vs. Animal Welfare

Post written by VegBlogger. Follow me on Twitter.

Which do you support? Do you know the difference? Have you ever thought about it?

While these terms are often used interchangeably, they are actually two different things. It is important to know which one you support. If you support animal rights, for example, you may not want donate your money to groups that primarily fight for animal welfare changes.

So what is the difference?

According to the Animal Welfare Council, animal welfare includes:

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.

When it comes to animal rights, they state:

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.

After reading those defitions, which side do you fall on?

As for me, I am a supporter of animal rights. I believe that is the only one that will provide long-term benefits to animals.

For those that support animal welfare and merely fight for them to be treated "nicer," they are ensuring that animals will continue to be used (e.g., eaten, for entertainment, research, etc.) forever. Animal welfare makes people feel better and more comfortable about using animals. Animal rights is about stopping the usage of animals period. 

Gary Francione has put together a nice slideshow demonstrating the difference in animal rights and animal welfare. You can it here.

Read a related article, Rethinking PETA.



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The Horses' Advocate

I think it is a very important question. I fall somewhere between the two - I am part of the former group - and am part of a scientific group working for this, as well as memberships of various animal welfare organisations where I hope to make a difference, but have definite tendancies toward some parts of the latter.

While I feel it is a worthy goal for animals not to be used for the purposes stated, I think it is just unrealistic to expect it to happen. Therefore, there is great importance in the work of those working to protect animals' welfare. It is not black and white - I am afraid a compromise will be the best that can be achieved.

I blog on matters concerning the welfare of horses and our interactions with them. Today I wrote a post on the future of use of horses in competition http://www.ethicalhorsemanship.com/2009/12/14/equestrian-future/.

Thanks for writing this post, I look forward to dropping by from time to time!


Thank you for the feedback! I appreciate you taking the time to read the post and comment. I will also check out your blog.

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