Animal rights and animal protection programs have been a part of the United States society for decades. Animal welfare programs provide for an opportunity to care for the animals that would otherwise be endangered or at-risk for abuse and neglect. In the realm of animal rights and animal welfare, there is a difference in the approach to the care of animals.
In the animal rights movement, it is felt that all animals are afforded the right to life and protected from bodily harm. In contrast, animal welfare views the rights of animals to the extent they can be used by society so long as we simply consider their health and welfare as part of that process. Whether you are an animal rights activists or you are interested in improving the welfare of animals, your underlying focus, in most cases, is to improve the care of animals in every setting in which they may reside.
If you are considering the implementation of an animal rights or animal welfare program in your community, it is important to not only understand how to implement that program, from a regulatory and financial standpoint, but also how to promote the program. In communities where animal rights and animal welfare are strongly visible, there tends to be a greater acceptance towards animals and a change in the care, health and welfare.
In communities with strong agricultural backgrounds, or communities that support slaughter houses, it can be said the community is a “primary industry”. In a primary industry community, your animal rights and animal welfare program may not be as readily accepted had it been placed in community that does not have a primary industry. Because the primary industry community tends to view animals as utilitarian, it will be quite difficult to achieve success in those areas.
Beyond the industry in your community, it has been shown that women also tend to have a greater involvement in programs that promote animal welfare and animal rights. As a result, you may want to consider promoting your program towards all members of society, but especially towards women. Gaining visibility within female-based organizations can be a first step towards promoting your program and acquiring the support you desire.
While there are animal rights and animal welfare programs in many communities, organizations often find there is a great deal of difficulty in gaining support. With increased visibility, support will come. In gaining visibility during the initial phase of your animal rights or animal welfare program, your organization should focus on the promotion of your program to women while avoiding communities where the primary industry involves animals. In doing so, you can gain the visibility you are seeking, improve your support base and then move beyond your initial phase into more complex communities where greater resistance may lie.