What does that mean to you? What do you think it means to most? Just one more question for you to ponder before I actually get to the point. Do you think those that are heavily involved in animals (dogs for example) such as rescues, shelters, reputable dog breeders, dog trainers, veterinarians, vet techs, members of dog sports teams (agility/fly ball etc) would think of Animal Rights the same as you? Why or why not?
I know you can’t answer those questions for the sake of this article, but this is what I know of Animal Rights activists.
They aren’t what you think they are.
There. I said it. Animal Rights have nothing to do with saving any animals. They’ve nothing to do to ensuring your pets will always be safe. To give you a recent example, recently there was a “win” for animal rights groups as McDonald’s announces they are switching to cage free hens for their eggs. (http://www.cbc.ca/news/business/mcdonald-s-switching-to-cage-free-chickens-for-its-egg-mcmuffins-1.3220487)
Yaaayyyy!! Cage free! Whoohooo!! Sounds great doesn’t it? Picturing all those lovely hens with lots of room outside, doing what chickens do every day.
Cage free. What that means is no more room than if they lived in a cage. What that means is they are crowded into warehouses. What that means is if one of them should be sick, it could be pecked to death by the other hens (normal chicken behaviour by the way) and left to die a slow, painful death. Due to sheer numbers, that dying (or dead) chicken could easily be missed for some time before the farmer notices. That now means that those chickens are walking around and living near a dead carcass. They means more chances for disease. This is not something that happens rarely, but something that happens often. You cannot have thousands of fowl living together without the occasional fight breaking out. You know the term “pecking order”? Where do you think it came from? That’s right, the world of chickens.
So now what? Now we’ve got an animal rights group that has fought to have McDonald’s use cage free hens as they are the more humane choice, but clearly that’s not true. So why did they fight for this when it really wasn’t a win? Did they not know the difference between cage free and caged? If not, why not? Why would they fight for a change that wasn’t really a change? Because, like BSL, it sounds good and it sounds like they are making real change.
Why take this link for example: http://www.humanesociety.org/issues/confinement_farm/facts/cage-free_vs_battery-cage.html
It is right from the Humane Society of the United States own webpage. Their definition sounds wonderful doesn’t it? Sounds like a great stride towards showing some humanity to these agricultural animals.
This picture shows what cage free means. It doesn’t mean they are guaranteed access to outdoors. It simply means they are not kept in battery cages.
Do you find this a humane way to live? For any animal to live? I sure don’t. And by HSUS’s own admission, these places are audited to ensure they are up to specifications. I don’t know about you, but the fact that something that looks like this is up to spec and is thought of as humane really scares the heck out of me. Especially when HSUS is seen as the front runner for animal welfare. Quite honestly, there is a clear and distinct difference between animal rights and animal welfare…as this picture shows. This may be animal “rights” but it sure isn’t with their welfare in mind.
For a real glossary of terms regarding caged, free range and pasture raised, I’ve picked up another link that has nothing to do with animal rights or welfare. She too was openly shocked as to the truth behind these terms.
With this in mind, maybe it’s time to rethink blindly supporting groups such as HSUS, as clearly either have something else in mind or they have no idea what animal welfare really is. In either case, they are not someone I’d like to see dictate any sort of husbandry legislation regarding my pets, or anyone elses.