By: Patti Strand  Date: 01/8/2012 Category: | Animal Legislation | Canine Issues |

Animal rights advocates in California are lobbying the Los Angeles City Council to change ‘pet owner’ to ‘pet guardian’ in the city’s animal control laws, but a vote on the proposal has been postponed until later in the year.

Those who favor the change claim that ‘owners’ treat pets as disposable commodities but that those who consider themselves ‘guardians’ will stop and think before neglecting their pets. The city’s Animal Control Commission now refers to ‘guardians’ instead of ‘owners’ in its communications with the public and has recommended the change to Council.

The guardianship movement is the brainchild of Eliot Katz DVM, president of In Defense of Animals. It is supported by other animal rights groups and opposed by NAIA, the American Kennel Club, the Cat Fanciers Association, The Animal Council, the California Veterinary Medical Association, the California Federation of Dog Clubs and many other organizations whose members already practice and promote responsible pet care.

Innocuous on its surface, the guardianship movement is another step in the long-fought battle waged by animal rights activists to end human use and enjoyment of animals. The current strategy attempts to convert the love people have for their pets into legal standing for animals.

“It is an incremental strategy that would first remove the rights of ownership, then allow only certain people to own animals, and finally would outlaw human-animal interaction altogether, so we could only ‘enjoy them at a distance,’ as PeTA’s Ingrid Newkirk has admonished,” said NAIA president Patti Strand,

Although activists soft pedal these goals when approaching lawmakers and sugarcoat their efforts by appealing to the very emotions that bind humans to their pets, the leaders are frank about their ultimate goals when promoting their agenda in other venues.

“Ultimately we want to elevate the status of animals from that of property to that of individuals with needs and rights of their own. Legal language is a first step. In the short term we hope to extend existing laws to recognize a respectful relationship between two individuals of differing species, rather than maintaining the present relationship of ‘owner’ and ‘property.’ – Eliot Katz DVM, president, In Defense of Animals, Christian Science Monitor, September 27, 1999.

“We have no problem with the extinction of domestic animals.” – Wayne Pacelle, Senior Vice-President of Humane Society of the US, formerly of Friends of Animals

“Pet ownership is an absolutely abysmal situation brought about by human manipulation. – Ingrid Newkirk, co-founder, PETA

“We recognize that we will not abolish overnight the property status of nonhumans, but we will support only those campaigns and positions that explicitly promote the abolitionist agenda.” – Gary Francione in an interview in Actionlines, an animal rights newsletter

“Liberating our language by eliminating the word ‘pet’ is the first step... In an ideal society where all exploitation and oppression has been eliminated, it will be NJARA’s policy to oppose the keeping of animals as ‘pets.’” New Jersey Animal Rights Alliance, “Should Dogs Be Kept As Pets? NO!” Good Dog! February 1991, p. 20.

“Dog and cat fanciers, breeders, and exhibitors; obedience trainers; dog and cat groomers; boarding kennel owners, and veterinarians already have a well-developed network in place with programs geared to helping people make responsible choices about pet purchase, care, and training and channeling millions of dollars into pet health care and research,” said Strand. “Those who would further improve treatment for pets should support these efforts instead of playing into the hands of those who want to end pet ownership.”

About The Author

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Patti Strand - NAIA President

Patti is a recognized expert and consultant on contemporary animal issues, most notably responsible dog ownership and the animal rights movement. She often appears on radio and television and her articles on canine issues, animal welfare, public policy and animal rights have appeared in major US news publications and in trade, professional and scientific journals. Patti and her…

All Authors Of This Article: | Patti Strand |
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