Animal Rights The Inhumane Crusade
by Daniel T. Oliver
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About the Author
Daniel T. Oliver is a research associate at the Capital Research Center
and editor of CRC's monthly newsletter Alternatives in Philanthropy. He
received his undergraduate degree in sociology from the University of
Akron. His writings have appeared in publications include the Wall Street
Journal, the Cleveland Plain Dealer, the Minneapolis Star Tribune, the
Washington Times, the Chronicle of Philanthropy, the Nonprofit Times,
and Human Events.
In the last 15 years, Americans have become increasingly aware of the
animal rights movement. Through demonstrations, boycotts, letter-writing
campaigns, criminal and terrorist acts, and lurid charges of animal abuse
directed at animal researchers, livestock and poultry farmers, and others
who use animals, animal rights organizations are challenging the traditional
roles of animals in our lives.
This study examines the ideas, agenda, and activities of one of the largest
social movements today. It concludes that:
Animal rights groups routinely use false
and unsubstantiated allegations of animal abuse to raise funds, attract
media attention, and bring supporters into the movement.
Animal rights groups have imposed significant
costs on the individuals, businesses, and concerns they have targeted.
Moreover, these costs are borne by all of society-for example, when raids
on research laboratories destroy studies that seek to better understand
An Animal Non-Use Campaign
While publicly professing a desire to improve the treatment of animals,
the animal rights movement is actually an animal non-use campaign. It
animals in biomedical research that has markedly improved the health and
longevity of both humans and animals over the last 100 years.
Raising farm animals for food, clothing,
and byproducts of which many Americans are unaware, such as antifreeze,
brake fluid, and tires.
Hunting, trapping, and fishing-activities
that conserve wildlife and protect threatened and endangered species.
animals in education and entertainment, including zoos, aquariums, circuses,
and owning pets.
Costs to Humans and Animals
The largest animal rights organizations together raise over $100 million
annually. These contributions have affected public policy: research laboratories,
zoos, and animal dealers spent at least $1 billion in 1990 alone complying
with new federal regulations promoted by animal rights groups which cover
the housing, feeding, and general care of animals. Critics doubt that
these changes have improved animal well-being, but activists have nonetheless
reallocated funds that otherwise could have been used to search for treatments
and cures for diseases.
Undermining Animal Welfare
Ironically, the animal rights movement has become an obstacle to improving
the treatment of animals for two reasons:
When donors contribute-perhaps unwittingly-to
groups that oppose the use of animals, traditional humane organizations
are deprived of the funds they need to improve the treatment of animals.
When animal rights organizations attack those
who use animals rather than work with them to improve animal treatment
(as humane organizations traditionally have), targeted individuals must
spend time and money defending themselves, again leaving fewer resources
to improve animal treatment.
This study cautions animal lovers to look beyond the rhetoric of organizations
that profess a concern about animal treatment. Potential donors should
closely examine the agendas and activities of groups before they contribute.
Most importantly, they should find out if an organization seeks to improve
the treatment of animals or if its real aim is actually to end animal
Chapter I: Overview of the Movement
Chapter II: Research Animals
Chapter III: Farm Animals
Chapter IV: Wildlife
Chapter V: Animals in Education and Entertainment
Chapter VI: Pets
Chapter VII: Shaping Public Opinion
Chapter VIII: How Animal Rights Undermines Animal Welfare
Chapter IX: Criminal Actions and Terrorism
Bibliography and Index
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to The Truth About Animal Rights Organizations]