Animal Health, Well-Being and Rights

A Guide to Animal Rights and Organizations

kittens and animal rights

When it comes to our furry friends, animal welfare should be the highest priority. These extended members of the family play an important role in our lives. Regrettably, not everyone treats animals with the kindness or respect they deserve, which is why animal rights exist.

The main law governing this is the Animal Welfare Act of 1966 (amended as recent as 2007), which regulates the treatment of animals in “research, exhibition, transport, and by dealers.” This isn’t just resigned to pets either; farm animals and wildlife are protected by the law.

But, while much progress has been made in animal rights, there is still much work to be done to protect our beloved animals.

Animal Rights Issues

The American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA) shelter more than 7.6 million animals every year and sadly nearly half of them (3 million) don’t make it out. Of these, the majority of sheltered animals are cats.

One of the main issues the ASPCA deal with is homeless animals. This can sometimes be a result of owners not being able to maintain or afford upkeep, or pets that remain unchipped and therefore untraceable.

Some of the most common issues that animal right’s campaigners continue to petition for include; unnecessary medical testing, animal research, animal cruelty by owners, unacceptable breeding practices and the fight against neglected pets.

Animal Rights

Some pet owners are unaware that under the constitution, animals have rights.

This stringent law outlines a minimum standard of care and treatment for certain animals, whether they are bred of transported commercially, whether they are exhibited or used in research, the full guidelines are outlined on its website.

In addition, many states have anti-cruelty laws, which can vary in degree of protection. The Animal Legal Defense Fund (ALDF) reports that the top five leading states for animal rights include:

• Illinois
• Oregon
• California
• Maine
• Rhode Island
• Kentucky

Enforceable by law, those found guilty of animal cruelly can receive penalties, fines or even face jail time.

Animal Rights Organizations

There’s a growing concern for animal well-being, reflected in the number of organizations in the USA. Some of the high-profile bodies that campaign for the welfare of animals, include:

PETA: PETA specifically campaigns against experimentation on eating, wearing or using animals for entertainment or abuse in any other form.

The American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA) is one of the most established organizations, founded in 1866. Their mission is to provide effective means for the prevention of cruelty to animals in the USA.

The American Kennel Club protects the sport of purebred dogs and breeding for type and function. Their overall ethos is about promoting responsible dog ownership.

There’s also a wide number of organizations that campaign for regulations specific to certain issues. For instance. The American Humane Association hopes to improve the way animals are used in a variety of industries, including Hollywood and improving the welfare and treatment of animals use in rodeo among many issues. Whilst the Animal Welfare Institute has petitioned for the prevention of hunting bear cubs and promotion of companion animals in its extensive work.

Can more be done?

With 62 percent of American households owning a pet, animal welfare has never been more important. Whether it’s a pet dog, livestock in farms of animals used for research, each deserves to be treated with dignity and respect.

We can all play our part by ensuring a safe and welcoming environment for animals and reporting those that don’t. But most of all, we can continue to promote best-practice and awareness of animal rights.