This past weekend I was given the honor of being one of the first journalists to read a recent interview with Elliot Katz, DVM. You can read the full interview at the link provided below.
Dr. Katz is the Founder and President Emeritus of In Defense of Animals. IDA is one of the most amazing organizations in the world, promoting animal rights and animal welfare globally. IDA has had huge successes in bringing about positive changes for animals everywhere.
One of the programs founded by Dr. Katz is the “Guardian Campaign.” This campaign seeks to change the mindset of humans as it relates to animals, from being “pet owners” to “animal guardians”. You wouldn’t think that something so small as a word could have such a huge impact, but it most definitely does. In Dr. Katz’s own words:
“The very use of the term “animal owner” reinforces the concept that our fellow beings are “things” that have little or no interest and needs of their own. It implies they do not need or deserve to be treated responsibly and respectfully.”
The majority of laws in place today consider animals to be nothing more than property. Just as women and children were for decades considered as property, for animals today crimes committed against them usually result in nothing more than the same punishment someone would receive if they cut up your couch. But the important difference is, we’re talking about another living, breathing, sentient being and not some piece of furniture.
By changing the use of the term “owner” to “guardian”, we begin to realize our role in animals’ lives. We can never own another living being. While you might have paid for your cat or dog or paid an adoption fee, that still doesn’t make you the “owner” of his/her life.
The realization that you are an animal’s guardian brings with it the vision of how truly blessed you are. This wonderful creature has come into your life and looks to you for food, shelter, health and love. In return, they give back the best of unconditional love and devotion.
As the use of the term “guardian” begins to take over, we’ll definitely see changes in the laws to reflect those attitudes and ideals. Animals will no longer be treated like your DVD player, but instead as a living being with feelings and emotions, and deserving of the same legal protections as any child would have.
Please take a few moments and read Dr. Katz’s interview and read the IDA’s Guardian Campaign. Please consider signing the Guardian Pledge as well. You can even become a trailblazer in your own community and help your city to become a Guardian City as well.
The following quote sums it up best:
“We patronize them for their incompleteness, for their tragic fate for having taken form so far below ourselves. And therein we err. For the animal shall not be measured by man…They are not brethren, they are not underlings; they are other nations, caught with ourselves in the net of life and time, fellow prisoners of the splendor and travail of the earth.” ~ Henry Beston.
Click here for Dr. Katz’s interview.
Click here for the IDA Guardian Campaign information.
Click here for the IDA home page.
Bless all of the hearts who care about all living beings.
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