Animals are not human.
That means, at least in the US, they are treated as property in the courts.
But that is slowly changing, thanks to dogs and cats.
People are duking it out over custody of the family companion animal in divorce proceedings. People are suing for damages when a companion animal is injured or killed. People are demanding consideration of companion animals during disaster response.
I guess that means laws giving rights to, at the very least, dogs and cats should be right around the corner, right?
Not so fast, pardner. There are plenty of adversaries to face down before you ride into that town.
Well, the American Veterinary Medical Association, for one. To be sure, they WANT you to consider your pet a beloved family member. But they don’t want you suing the crap out of them when you believe a member of their ranks provides substandard care.
They do have a valid point. If dogs and cats had rights, the cost of veterinary care would go through the roof. Think your vet bills are high now? What would they be if the cost of malpractice insurance was tacked onto the cost? And that thing I’m doing now with using a dog medication off-label with Bubba Cat? I’m sure THAT would not be allowed to continue.
Pet stores and Puppy mill breeders are most certainly not for animals having rights. Would that impact the sale of animals? Probably. At the very least, the standards of care required for breeder animals would be strictly regulated, unlike it is now.
Research labs would not be able to conduct the testing on dogs and cats, because dogs and cats cannot provide consent.
Dog food would be more expensive as the requirements for manufacture would become more stringent. Though, to be sure, dog food is already a cut-throat business, and manufacturers are already employing strict manufacturing standards to avoid recalls that can destroy a brand.
Shock collars would most certainly go by the wayside. Say good-bye to your invisible fence!
If you think the one-upmanship of pet owners is bad now, imagine how it would be if your neighbor could report you for not bathing your dog regularly or not taking him for a walk every day. It would be kind of like child abuse investigations are now: some investigations have merit, while others are nuisance calls made to harass the one being investigated.
If dogs and cats had legal rights, how would that impact other animals?
It wouldn’t take long for courts to rule that the Great Apes should also be afforded rights. After all, they are the animals most like humans in appearance. That would impact research labs and zoos.
Animal agriculture would most certainly be impacted. The cost of meat, milk, and eggs would rise as farms would be forced to provide humane living conditions for animals used to feed humans.
Extermination practices would have to change considerably, as it would no longer be acceptable to just poison rats and mice.
As you have no doubt figured out, this is not a change that people would willingly accept in one lump sum. It’s going to take time, and a continuing change in public perception to get us there.
Are YOU still willing to fight for animals to have rights, or is the cost going to be higher than you’re willing to pay?