I in no way consider myself an extremist in any aspect of life. Common sense and moderation just come naturally. But, after reading the difference between animal rights and animal welfare as noted by the National Animal Interest Alliance, I have to confess that I am suddenly a little confused.
According to NAIA, those who have issues with hunting, breeding, animals used in medical research and more are extremists and have an “agenda that includes ending exploitation of animals.” As I said, I am very confused. The last time I checked, hunting was an unnecessary sport and breeding pets was a trade mostly motivated by money and with proven consequences for the welfare world. Medical research…well, that is a bigger discussion than the rest. Of course, there is no black and white in life and each circumstance is different, but the basic premise is there…these are bad to many rational people.
NAIA’s mission is to promote the welfare of animals, to strengthen the human-animal bond and safeguard the rights of responsible animal owners. But, anyone who spends any amount of time in the trenches of shelters, or picking hunting dogs up from the side of the road after they become of no use and are shot, may be as conflicted as I am with some of their views.
To be fair, they do target some of the big name animal rights organizations in regards to their motivations, which everyone can relate to on some level. As well, they offer a large variety of information on many topics that are important to both the public and people who work with animals.
But, if you take a closer look you will see that the board consists of breeders, past AKC presidents, clubs, scientists and other “business professionals”…which leads back again to the confusion part. When was the last time any of these people were really exposed to the daily world of rescue? When was the last time they had to scrape dead newborns off of the sidewalk because someone did not spay their cat and abandoned it when it got pregnant? Who are they to talk about rescue and decide the difference between rights and welfare?
When asked what her thoughts were in regards to these concerns, NAIA founder Patti Strand stated: “NAIA has a long history in rescue compared to most of the current rescue organizations. Nancy Campbell and Ken Marden in particular contributed many years of their lives doing rescue on a large scale. But as you point out, NAIA doesn’t focus on rescue. It’s just one of the things we are engaged in. Some of our members also train, or breed their dogs, or participate in dogs sports. Over the years, because of our long-term wide involvement in dogs, we’ve seen and influenced many changes in the conduct of breeding, training, dog sports and rescue. Some of the changes are very good, but some expose serious problems and suggest looming tragedies in the world of pet rescue.