Sports editor drops the ball in understanding animal-welfare movement

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I just happened across an editorial on “Animal Rights” by the sports editor of the Abilene Reflector-Chronicle out of Kansas. I don’t want to slam another writer too hard, but it is apparent that while he must know sports, on the topic of animal welfare …. well… not so much.

Of late, some folks on the other side of this topic have been attempting to define “animal rights” versus “animal welfare.” Too often the goal seems to be to hold off any efforts to improve animal welfare at all, by claiming it’s all an effort by animal rights extremists.

In reality, too often the fight against improved animal-welfare laws comes from those who want animals to have no more protection from abuse than a living room sofa.

Tim Horan writes – “”” Because greyhounds are so well regulated within the NGA and its inspection program headed by Abilene’s Craig Randle, the greyhounds raised to be registered with NGA are exempt from Kansas laws that regulate puppy mills. “”

That is really NOT the reason racing greyh0unds are exempt from puppy mill laws. Can you say lobbyists and special interests?

Horan obviously doesn’t know about the greyhounds that never make it out alive. He doesn’t know about the racing greyhounds taken in by rescue groups in poor health. He doesn’t know about the closed system the NGA operates under. He doesn’t know about the alarming rate of cancer in racing greyhounds.
And I wonder if Horan would eat in a local restaurant knowing that it had never been inspected by the health department and instead was merely being inspected by the owners of the restaurant?
Horan cries that if greyhound breeding did fall under USDA regulations, the cost would be too great for the breeders. Not for other breeders; just for greyhound breeders.
But if their breeding practices are so great, as he tries to claim, then they should fall well within the minimum standards of the USDA – right?
And he wraps up the piece by defining welfare vs. rights, noting animal welfare is defined by the American Veterinary Medical Association as being “a human responsibility that encompasses all aspects of animal well-being, including proper housing, management, disease prevention and treatment, responsible care, humane handling, and, when necessary, humane euthanasia.”
Exactly! That is why greyhounds and other animals should be protected from harm. Allowing an industry to self-regulate just won’t cut it. Allowing breeders who sell directly to the public to operate outside the necessary protections and regulations won’t cut it. Laws that merely catch the abusers after their victims have suffered for months and years won’t cut it. Laws that catch only the puppy mills that happen to be exposed by consequence or luck won’t cut it.
People can type out the definition of animal welfare, but it doesn’t help much if they really do not understand it. To insure that animals have “proper housing, management, disease prevention and treatment, responsible care and humane handling” is to insure they have basic rights to protect them abuse and neglect. Unfortunately, we are not there yet.
Because the other side doesn’t have a logical counter-argument, they routinely toss out tin-foil-hat claims that suggest people will be arrested for killing ants or maybe cats will get the right to vote if animal lovers get their way. We need a reasoned debate on animal welfare, as opposed propaganda.

State appeals court in Texas rules pets are worth more than their property value

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Word is spreading about a ruling back in November by a Texas appeals court, concerning the legal standing of pets, as more than property.

The ruling centers on a lawsuit filed because a family dog was euthanized at a city shelter. The dog went missing during a thunderstorm and picked up by an animal-control officer. Before the family could return to the shelter with the cash to pull him, he was euthanized.

The appeals court has ruled pets have sentimental value, beyond their value as a piece of property.

A Star-Telegram article included this statement from the court – “” “Dogs are unconditionally devoted to their owners,” says the ruling from the Texas 2nd Court of Appeals. “We interpret timeworn Supreme Court law … to acknowledge that the special value of ‘man’s best friend’ should be protected.” “”

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AVMA modifies its stance on the use of gas chambers

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The Animal Law Coalition is reporting the American Veterinary Medical Association has modified its stance on the use of gas chambers as a method of euthanasia.

To date the AVMA has called the use of carbon monoxide gas chambers “acceptable” as a method of euthanasia. Now, in a new 2011 proposal, the organization is stating the following – (from the Animal Law Coalition website) –

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Pack News Topics – Animal-welfare focus for AVMA, protest at UCLA lab and NYC shelter funding

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The American Veterinary Medical Association is advancing its recent move to focus more on animal welfare.

A group of veterinarians, animal scientists, and educators met June 22-24 at AVMA headquarters to discuss animal-welfare curriculum for U.S. veterinary schools.

A news piece on the AVMA website includes this –

“” While not completely absent from veterinary curricula, instruction in animal welfare science and ethics has come under increasing criticism as insufficient, unsystematic, and disconnected in delivery. In response, the AVMA created the Model Animal Welfare Curriculum Planning Group with the goal of helping veterinary students receive the education necessary to be leaders in the field of animal welfare as graduate veterinarians. “”

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