“The brute animals have all the same sensations of pain as human beings, and consequently endure as much pain when their body is hurt; but in their case the cruelty of torment is greater, because they have no mind to bear them up against their sufferings, and no hope to look forward to when enduring the last extreme pain.”
– Thomas Chalmers
This year, the week of June 17 – June 23 has been designated as Animal Rights Awareness Week. This event originated in 1999 by the animal rights group, In Defense of Animals. The goal is to help raise awareness of animal rights by educating the public about the basic needs of animals around the world, and to advocate for the humane and compassionate treatment of all animals. Animal rights awareness extends from our own individual pets to all companion animals, farm animals, wildlife, and animals used for testing, experiments and medical research.
While most people treat their own pets with kindness, many are not aware of the conditions in puppy mills, and some pet shops, shelters, labs, zoos and circuses. Just because a farm animal is raised for our eventual consumption doesn’t mean that the animal should not be treated with respect and care. Over-harvesting, pollution and habitat loss due to human demand for land and resources, such as rainforests, minerals and oil, have led to the extinction and endangerment of many wild animals.
Animals enrich our lives in countless ways. Spend some time thinking about your relationship to animals, whether it be your own pet, the farm animals that provide your dinner, or the homeless pets abandoned in a shelter when they became “inconvenient.” Were your cosmetics tested on animals? Does your garden contain non-native, invasive species that may negatively impact the environment for wildlife?
Some simple ways you can help:
- Buy organic or free-range meat, chicken or dairy products.
- Don’t buy or wear fur products.
- Report animal cruelty.
- Prevent contributing to the pet overpopulation problem by ensuring your dog or cat is spayed or neutered.
- Adopt your pets from a shelter rather than buying from a pet shop
What are your thoughts on animal rights?
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