Reading the term ‘animal welfare’, images of the WWF, WAP or other organizations that work hard in the context of animal welfare may come to mind. Or you think of the reports about the mega stalls and the ‘slaughter debate’. You may immediately think of the bio-industry, whether or not you consume meat. With a background as animal therapist and a dog living in our own Dreampack, animal welfare is very important to me. Therefore, such images and thoughts also come to my mind.
Years ago, when I still actively gave advice as an animal therapist, specifically to humans about their dogs, the hardest part for me were those people who just could not stop treating their furry friends as little human beings. Forgot to let the dog be, well… just a dog. Unfortunately, today, there hasn’t changed much.
Thinking of animal welfare, I still immediately think of the gentleman who finds it necessary to beat his dog with a leash for correction. Of the lady I never see walking with her dog; only a few times a day, her furry companion is allowed to be in the garden, for a little while. Of the people who have their dogs frustrated on the leash zigzagging and pulling. Of the dogs I notice during my daily walks, who are panting and trying to be more comfortable with their overweight body. Of the news item ‘man hits his dog with stick’, or ‘shepherd tied to crash barrier along highway’. Of the dog who is waiting in a cage all day long, until he is allowed to show up in the show-ring and immediately after has to go back into that same cage. Of the dog who needs to be relocated from family to family, because people don’t know how to care for a dog, or because they no longer have ‘the time’ for their once so beloved furry friend. Of the dog who is condemned to death by man’s egoism. My heart goes out to all those dogs who will be dumped every holiday season.
My heart goes out to all those dogs who do not live in a Dreampack.
To me, welfare for animals and therefore also dogs, means leaving them in their value as much as possible. Don’t mistreat a dog, don’t dress the furry friend, don’t treat the furry companion as a child / person. Give a dog proper nutrition, sufficient exercise and other activities. Provide dry and safe shelter. Treat them as a living being with rights. Etc. Etc. In short: let a dog be a dog, with his/her own unique character, qualities and needs.
As a human being we are not superior to other animals, because we happen to be differently developed.
This development gives us the responsibility and duty to treat other animals with respect. We humans live among other animals on this planet and do not automatically have a right to claim our surroundings, or to imprison animals for our entertainment, to abuse animals for our well-being.
At the same time, I believe we humans have the right to survive too. It doesn’t mean, I believe animals should be treated without respect. Hence, I strongly feel we have to keep searching with our more evolved brains for alternatives to industrial meat, medical testing, clothes made of animals.
Animal welfare means to me: consciously reflecting on your role as a human being with animals.
Read more what a Dreampack is to me HERE (click)