Difference Between Animal Rights and Animal Welfare

Animal Rights and Animal Welfare


What’s the Difference Between Animal Rights and Animal Welfare — And Why Does It Matter?


Words matter. As dog lovers, we hear the words “Animal Rights” and “Animal Welfare” a lot. But have you given much thought to what the terms actually mean and their implications?

Online and in conversations, in popular media, and even among policymakers (especially around election time), these terms are commonly interchanged. This leads to a whole lot of confusion, but even worse, real danger for dog lovers and the future of our sport.

In fact, these terms represent diametrically opposing philosophical perspectives about the role that dogs and other animals should play in our lives. For dog enthusiasts, the debate is more than just philosophical; it’s about the value of science and our right to own, train, breed, and appropriately care for our beloved dogs. Every day, this battle is being fought in communities and in legislatures, and even in courtrooms around the country.

To protect the rights of breed enthusiasts and the future wellbeing of animals, this distinction between animal rights and animal welfare is simply too important to get wrong. Consider the following:

Animal Rights (AR) is a radical philosophy which posits that humans should not use or own animals in any way, even as companions, and seeks to ultimately make that grim agenda a reality.

For animal rights advocates, the ultimate goal is not to improve the wellbeing of animals, but to stopanimal breeding and, ultimately, even human interaction with animals. Animal rights groups typically utilize media to incrementally change perceptions about the humane use of animals and about legislation to advance the goal of ending animal use and ownership.