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Animal Welfare vs. Animal Rights

Updated on October 12, 2015

No More Lassies?


There is confusion in the minds of the animal loving public as to the difference between "animal welfare" and "animal rights". This confusion is deliberate on the part of the animal rights activists. They wage an ongoing and emotional battle for the hearts and minds of animal lovers everywhere. The average person's right to own and interact with animals as mankind has always done is being stripped away without his consent or, in many cases, knowledge. Worse, he is often duped into funding the radical but oh, so nice "sounding" organizations that are his enemy! Animal rights activists lobby tirelessly to change laws affecting animals in ways that sound reasonable, but which incrementally move us in the direction of their ultimate goal: the total eradication of all domesticated animals. The difference between animal welfare and animal rights is that animal welfare is concerned with the humane care and treatment of animals whereas animal rights is an agenda that seeks to end ownership and use of animals, period. The animal rights movement is a wolf in sheep's clothing: it pretends to be your friend and share your values but it actually seeks to take away YOUR rights.

The Animal Rights Movement

The enemy is the Animal Rights Movement, its activists, and the organizations they support. Their arsenal of weapons begins with semantics, with vocabulary. If you're not already in the loop, "animal rights" sounds benign, does it not? The animal rights activist (think, Pied Piper) plays the tune that an animal has a "right" to quality food, a "right" to clean water, a "right" to veterinary care, a "right" to a certain quality of life. All of us who love animals would agree animals should have these things, so already we're lured into following the music they play. In recent years there has been a tendency to do away with the buy/sell vocabulary where animals are concerned. Once you "adopted" an animal only from a rescue program or animal shelter. Today, breeders, who have animals for sale, are more often than not approached by people wishing to "adopt" even though they know they are purchasing a puppy or kitten. This is the Animal Rights campaign to alter vocabulary at work.

The animal rights activist thinks it wrong for an animal have an "owner," and argues instead for animal "guardians." They are moving in the direction of the animal having the "right" to sue his owner in court. They would like to see every animal appointed a guardian to oversee the animal's care by its owner and if necessary, take the owner to court on the animal's behalf, suing for the animal's "rights". (Currently the "guardian" vocabulary is being swapped out for that of "owner" but that will be further refined as it becomes more widely accepted.) They know if they persist long enough, that that they can gradually bring the public's perception to the place where this radical agenda seems normal.

What they don't advertise, is that their ultimate goal is the end all ownership of animals, all life saving medical research that involves animals, all use of animals for food, fiber, beasts of burden, etc. There will be no more hunting, horseback riding, horse shows, rodeos, dog or cat ownership, no more "breeds" -- what animals that remain will be mixed breed leftovers as all breeding, let alone for specific traits, will be outlawed. There will be no more dog shows, cat shows, agility trials, fly-ball, herding, frisbee, no more meat (everyone would be required to be vegan), no circuses, zoos, pets of any kind, no guide dogs for the blind, no service animals to help disabled people, animals in movies or television, etc. No domesticated animals, period.

They have taken their "out there" beliefs, fine tuned them into an agenda, and have worked for decades with surprising success to make their radical views everyone's reality. Perhaps worst of all is how they've manipulated compassionate animal lovers into funding their efforts! They blanket the public with heartrending images of abused animals, pleading for financial aid, implying the money will be used to help end the suffering of these animals. Sadly, nothing could be further from the truth. The money people send to improve the lives of hurt and suffering animals is used to fund the lobby that seeks to take away their rights to own and use animals.

There are many faces to the enemy, but three of the most prominent, are:


All three of these organizations have deliberately misleading names, and they exploit the confusion they create when they couple their names with literature, television ads, etc. that cause compassionate people who care about animals to send them money. The Humane Society of the United States does not have humane treatment of animals as its goal, People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals are anything but ethical, and the Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine is not responsible in the sense it implies. All three organizations are fronts for the wealthiest animal rights activist groups on earth.

Other animal rights organizations to beware of include:



Books could be written (and have) on the deceptive, untrustworthy, and sometimes illegal tactics and practices of these organizations and others like them. Anyone who finds himself solicited for money on the behalf of animals should take the time to educate himself as to what the money really goes for. HSUS is NOT affiliated with any local animal shelters and has no shelter of it's own. PETA does take in unwanted animals, but euthanizes almost all of them immediately.

For More Information

There is a tendency for good people to go quietly about their lives, minding their own business and taking care of themselves, their families, friends, neighbors and pets, trusting that all is well with the world. Sadly, the "other side" has recognized this, and as we go about our affairs the radicals plot, strategize, raise funds, and generally develop a far reaching plan as to how they can mind our business for us.

Thankfully, there are places we can go for truth about these unscrupulous organizations and educate ourselves as to their true motives. They've made a lot of headway while we were unaware, and practically every community in America now faces changes in laws that run the gamut from seemingly innocent to sinister, all a result of the ball the Animal Rights Movement started rolling decades ago. Across America, city after city has enacted laws that legislate how many pets you may have, how much space you must (by law) allot them, how frequently you must exercise them. Many communities now tax unaltered dogs and some mandate the spaying and neutering of all pets. There are cities in which it is now illegal to own certain breeds of dogs. Insurance companies refuse to insure some homes if the owners own any of a number of dog breeds. The encroachment of our rights as pet owners and American citizens goes on and on. We must wake up, stand up and fight back.

To learn more about the true intentions and purposes of the most well known animal rights groups, visit these websites: (A project of the Center for Consumer Freedom, this websiteis a great place to start, and covers far more than just what I've listed here. It follows the money trails!)

To find out what is happening in your state and community, follow the AKC's Legislative Alerts:

In Conclusion

Animal welfare IS important. It would have been much more difficult for the animal rights groups to make the progress they have were this a perfect world, without cruelty or neglect. We should be concerned with the plight of abused or neglected animals. There ought to be laws protecting them. (In many cases, there ARE laws, that simply are not enforced ... how about enforcing the ones we have before running off to make new ones?) Animals do not have rights, but human beings, as the superior species made in the image of God DO have responsibilities to animals! The solution to cruelty and neglect in the animal world is not to elevate animals to the level of humans, but to require humans to exercise responsible stewardship towards the animals in their care.

The day is long and the hour is late but working together, pet owners have a voice and can make their opinions known. Many people are still being shamelessly manipulated by the unscrupulous tactics of the animal rights activists. Educate by sharing this information. Tell your neighbors. Write your Congressmen and Senators. Make your voices heard!


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    • profile image

      Peter 3 years ago

      This is horrible. You didn't even manage to spell out what "PETA" means properly. Most people who see this have better research skills than you, and should not take your advice.

      For anyone interested, check out the wiki article on the Center for Consumer Freedom. They're basically a Tyson Foods and Standard Meat Company subsidiary, so maybe take what they say about animal rights with a grain of salt.

    • Millercl profile image

      Millercl 5 years ago

      This is a great Hub! Good job with describing the differences and drawing out the issues.

    • profile image

      Lindsey 6 years ago

      Very well written. Thank you. I appreciate the list of Animal Rights Groups, but do you have a list of legitimate Animal Welfare groups that we could look into?

    • irtkris profile image

      irtkris 6 years ago from Alberta, Canada

      Excellent hub. You are very correct. Animal rights groups can often be extremists. Animal welfare groups are simply out to ensure that animals that have human contact are treated humanly. People do need to recognize the differnece.