Animal Health, Well-Being and Rights

Much progress has been made in the field of animal rights, with state and local laws to regulate industries that perform medical testing on animals, raise animals for food, or those that breed pets. Animal cruelty by individuals is taken seriously and usually punished with fines or incarceration. However, there are still many areas where animal health and well-being are at risk – and many organizations work to improve and enforce animal rights. Current issues in animal rights include the abuse and neglect of pets, farm animals, and wildlife. Despite growing awareness, penalties, and fines, millions of pets are abused or suffer neglect at the hands of their owners. Many organizations work on these issues, offering advocacy, information, and shelter. They include large organizations with national and global divisions, such as the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals and the Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (SPCA), which has locations around the world that provide adoption, vaccinations, and veterinary care. PetSmart sponsors animal adoptions throughout the country. Pet-Abuse.com lists offenders, searchable by map or zip code, as well as resources to support an end to animal cruelty. The American Kennel Club lists organizations that rescue specific breeds of dogs. The Society for the Protection of Animals Abroad provides veterinary care to animals in West Africa and the Middle East. There are a great number of no-kill shelters run by individuals and non-profit groups that house pets without using euthanization unless the animal is ill. Some of them have branches nationwide, including Hearts United for Animals, North Shore Animal League, and the Best Friends Animal Society.Organizations that offer searchable databases of pets that need homes include GreenPeople, and Pets911. One animal rights issue that has drawn attention in recent years is the treatment of dogs at puppy mills. Puppy mills house dogs in overcrowded, poor conditions, breeding thousands of puppies that are sold to pet stores and private individuals. Some dogs spend their entire lives in cages, bred for years, without veterinary care, toys, or soft beds. Puppies produced by puppy mills often have health problems and behavioral issues. Organizations that work to increase awareness about puppy mills include Stop Puppy Mills, Puppy Mill Rescue, and United Against Puppy Mills.Factory farming is another issue that has received more awareness, in part because of the rise of tainted meat. Investigations and videos have raised public awareness about the shocking conditions and cruelty suffered by pigs, cows, chickens, and other farm animals at large food production facilities. The Animal Freedom Foundation provides information about factory farming, abuse and animal rights. FarmSancturary.org has shelters for rescued factory farm animals in New York and California, as well as animal adoption network. Another issue in animal health and rights is the conservation of wildlife, which is advocated by groups like the World Wildlife Fund and the Wildlife Conservation Society. Organizations like the National Anti-Vivisection Society (NAVS), The Center for Animals and Public Policy and The JohnsHopkinsCenter for Alternatives to Animal Testing (CAAT)campaign for the elimination or reduction of animals for medical research and product testing. Some national and global organizations work on a variety of animal rights issues. They act to pass federal and state legislation, rescue animals, and increase awareness about animal rights. These organizations include the United States, which works to end cruelty to wildlife, farm animals, horses and pets. The World Organization for Animal Health has over 150 member countries and works to address animal health issues throughout the world.
PETA (People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals is the largest animal rights organization in the world, focusing on factory farming, laboratory research cruelty, and cruelty in the clothing and entertainment industries. The World Society for the Protection of Animals supports a Universal Declaration on Animal Welfare and includes an online petition.