Some good news about the power of pet people!
I came across this story tonight at work, about how the animal-rights movement is growing. We all do what we can to help area rescues and animals in need, and it's usually a thankless job, one many people could care less about, especially our elected officials. So it's nice to read that people like us are having a real effect! We need some good news, right?
By LARRY COPELAND
The growing influence of animal rights activists increasingly is affecting daily life, touching everything from the foods Americans eat to what they study in law school, where they buy their puppies and even whether they should enjoy a horse-drawn carriage ride in New York’s Central Park.
Animal activist groups such as the Humane Society of the United States and People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) say they are seeing a spike in membership as their campaigns spread.
“There’s been an explosion of interest” in animal welfare issues, says David Favre, a Michigan State University law professor and animal law specialist. “Groups like the Humane Society of the United States and PETA have brought to our social awareness their concerns about animals and all matter of creatures.”
“Animals are made of flesh and blood and bone just like humans,” says Bruce Friedrich, PETA’s vice president for campaigns. “They feel pain just like we do. Recognition of that grows year by year. The animal rights movement is a social justice movement (similar to) suffrage and civil rights.”
— The Humane Society says it expects 28 state legislatures this year to consider strengthening existing bans on dogfighting and cockfighting; 13 states are considering bills regulating “puppy mills,” mass dog-breeding operations that keep puppies in small crates.
— Massachusetts activists are collecting signatures to get a statewide initiative on the November ballot that would ban commercial greyhound racing by 2010. The Committee to Protect Dogs says state records show that since 2002, 728 greyhounds have been injured racing at the state’s two tracks.
— Over the past three years, 330 colleges have stopped or dramatically reduced the use of eggs from hens in cramped wire crates called battery cages; retailers including Burger King, Hardee’s, Carl’s Jr. and Ben & Jerry’s now use eggs produced by cage-free hens, Markarian says.
— More than 90 American Bar Association-approved law schools now offer courses in animal law, compared with only a handful 10 years ago. Favre compares the growing interest in animal law among incoming law students to an explosion of interest in environmental law in the 1970s.
Animal welfare organizations are riding a wave of popularity. The Humane Society says it has 10.5 million members or supporters, up from 7.4 million five years ago; during the same period, PETA says its rolls have doubled to 1.8 million. The groups attribute intensified public interest partly to three recent events that highlighted the vulnerability of animals:
— New Orleans residents forced to leave pets to die in 2005 when they were evacuated during Hurricane Katrina.
— The recall last year of 60 million containers of pet food after an unknown number of cats and dogs were poisoned, raising questions about pet food safety.
— The conviction last year of Atlanta Falcons quarterback Michael Vick for dogfighting.
“Those were major events that made people realize we have so much power over animals,” says Markarian of the Humane Society. “We can use that power to be cruel and indifferent, or to be kind and careful stewards.”
So,don't get discouraged! We can make a difference!
PS. My sad Internet saga at home is not resolved and I will be stopping by the Better Business Bureau this week after ONE MORE CALL. I've signed up for a cheap dial-up plan back on AOL so I can hopefully do SOME of the things I NEED to do online! Thanks B for picking up the Cats Are Us slack!
Above is a photo I think I posted before, but it's one of my favorites. Zoe and the dear departed Penny.
posted by Sandy at 1/27/2008 10:40:00 PM