Legislative Action Center

What’s The Difference Between Animal Rights And Animal Welfare—And Why Does It Matter?
August 4, 2022 by AKC Government Relations

*This article was originally published in the May 2022 edition of ShowSight Magazine. It is reprinted with permission. 

The most radical animal rights groups advocate violence to achieve this goal. The federal government recognizes such activities as animal terrorism. The federal Animal Enterprise Terrorism Act (AETA) (18 U.S.C. § 43) outlaws activities for the purpose of damaging or interfering with the operations of an animal enterprise (including educational, agricultural, breeding, and other activities) and causing damage or loss of real or personal property, or placing a person in reasonable fear of injury.

More commonly, animal rights takes the form of a political agenda, which uses legislation to advance its anti-animal/anti- breeder goals. As published in Animal People News in 1987, the 12-step agenda of the Animal Rights movement includes the following steps (abridged) taken directly related to our sport:

  • Enforcement of animal welfare legislation must be transferred from the Department of Agriculture to an agency created for the purpose of protecting animals and the environment;
  • Prohibit hunting, trapping, and fishing for sport;
  • Strongly discourage any further breeding of companion animals, including pedigreed or purebred dogs or cats;
  • End the use of animals in entertainment and sports;
  • Genetic manipulation of species to produce transgenic animals must be prohibited. (In 1987, genetic manipulation meant breeding.)

    Each of these agenda items appears on a regular basis among the legislation that AKC Government Relations addresses.

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