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Pet "Owners" or "Guardians," 
that is the question!

"They are not our property. We are not their owners," according to the Animal Rights Movement. 
Veterinarian Elliot Katz, President of In Defense of Animals, says, 
Now is the time to get rid of the concept of pet ownership!”

Language is a powerful tool. Usage of certain words can eventually lull us into acceptance of an ideology. At least that’s what the animal rights extremists hope will happen.

At the 11th annual meeting of the Summit for the Animals, held in St. Louis, MO, in April, 1995, representatives from 47 national organizations passed four resolutions, according to the Animals Agenda (Volume 15, No. 4). One of the resolutions was entitled "Adopting Language That Recognizes Animals as Individuals and Not As Property or Things" and says, "The animal advocacy movement accepts and works to teach others that animals are not property to be used for the benefit or whim of humans. We see this as an important first step."

San Francisco, CA, was the first testing of the waters. Veterinarian Elliot Katz, president of In Defense of Animals declared, "Now is the time to get rid of the concept of pet ownership."

Katz said changing the language is an important part of a "revolution" that will change the way people see their cats, dogs, and other pets. Katz considers pet "ownership" to be an offensive term and likens his cause to black slavery and the suffrage movement that gave American women the right to vote and own property.

An In Defense of Animals press release states: "Remember to always adopt or rescue and to never buy or sell animals."

Katz obtained approval from the San Francisco Commission of Animal Control and Welfare to add the term "pet guardian" wherever the term "pet owner" is used by a 5-1 vote.

The Commission recommended changes to the Municipal Code adding "guardian" as an alternative to animal "owner" and defining "guardian" as "any person who rescues an animal from a pound or shelter and has adopted that animal. A guardian shall have the same rights and responsibilities of an owner, and both terms shall be used interchangeably. A guardian shall also mean a person who possesses, has title to or an interest in, harbors or has control, custody or possession of an animal."

Public testimony was taken with commissioners favoring the changes but both the Animal Care and Control and Police Department opposed. Seven dog and cat fanciers and the city attorney also spoke out against it.

The city attorney’s office drafted the new language for approval by the Board of Supervisors, who would make the final decision whether to make the new language a part of the City’s codes. The proposal hasn't been able to get a sponsor on the Board of Supervisors and appears to be withering on the vine.

If this ordinance passes in San Francisco, the fall out will affect all of us. Every major US city will have a similar proposal, as with our on-going experience with Mandatory Spay/Neuter, Licensing Differentials and Breeder Permits Ordinances. The proposal has already surfaced in Boulder, CO.

American Kennel Club expressed the following concerns about the proposal in Taking Command, November 1999. "To the many dog owners who share a special, indefinable bond with their animals, this idea may sound appealing. However the long term legal implications of designating pets as more than property blurs the legal responsibilities of pet ownership. While they may seem insignificant on the surface, they represent a significant step forward for animal rights activists looking to terminate our sport."

According to a briefing sheet published by the Washington, D.C. based Capital Research Center, animal rights groups profess to work for improved animal treatment while their ultimate goal is to abolish the following: 1) the breeding and owning of pets; 2) the use of animals in biomedical research; 3) the raising of farm animals for food, clothing, and by-products such as insulin; 4) the use of animals in education and entertainment, including zoos, aquariums, circuses and rodeos; and 5) all forms of hunting (including field trial competition), trapping and fishing.

The Great Ape Project, USA, which includes IDA’s Dr. Sheri Speede on the board of directors, is a social and legal crusade to gain certain rights for primates. IDA says they intend to do the same for other species. When momentum is achieved, they say they will seek a legal test case.

Harvard Law School is now offering a course on what some consider an emerging field: animal rights law to be taught by Steven Wise. US News & World Report writes: "A dozen law schools now feature courses on animal law, and in some cases, at least, the teaching seems to be a simple extension of radical activism.

Steven Wise talks of using the courts to knock down the wall between humans and apes. The advantage of the litigation strategy is that there’s no need to sell radical ideas to the American people.

There are almost no takers for the concept of "nonhuman personhood," the view of pets as slaves, or the notion that meat eating is part of a "specter of oppression" that equally afflicts minorities, women, and animals in America.

The rhetoric is highminded, but the strategy is to force change without gaining the consent of the public." (End of quotes.)

The removal of our right to "own" our animals also removes our right to keep, nurture, and protect our pets. The Animal Rights Movement is telling you what they are going to do and how they are going to do it. Are you listening?


Provided here by the Responsible Pet Owners Alliance
 Contact the Responsible Pet Owners Alliance at rpoa@texas.net
 URL: http://rpoa.home.texas.net


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