December 10th is International Animal Rights Day – a special occasion to reaffirm our obligation to protect and preserve the animals that enliven our planet.
Started by the humane organization, Uncaged, in 1998, this date intentionally coincides with Human Rights Day, reminding us that values such as dignity and respect are also owed to animals. Animals cannot protest, advocate, or vote for their own protection – giving humans this sacred responsibility.
Why should we care so much about animal rights? For starters, animals are sentient beings with the capacity to feel pleasure, pain, happiness, and distress. As such, animals deserve basic protections to minimize any unnecessary harm or threats.
We must also recognize that animals are not just valuable for their own sake. In an interconnected world, they belong to a wider ecosystem where they provide food, nutrients, and other functions to wildlife and people. As a prime example, pets make affectionate companions to humans – enriching our lives through social and emotional support.
Today, far too many species face inhumane treatment, violence, and even the specter of extinction.
Just this past week, law enforcement rescued over 180 dogs and cats from a New Jersey home, where the animals were subjected to deplorable conditions and overcrowding. Similarly, the U.S. Department of Agriculture recently announced an animal abuse probe of Elon Musk’s brain chip company Neuralink, which has reportedly killed around 1,500 animals through testing and experiments.
Recently, we acknowledged that humans have “failed to honor the human-animal bond which has resulted in a breakdown of our social contract with the animal world.” At American Humane, our core mission is to strengthen our bond with animals by ensuring their safety, welfare, and well-being.
We believe an effective way to defend animal rights is supporting organizations involved in wildlife conservation – especially zoos and aquariums.
Through our Humane Conservation program, we provide certification to facilities meeting the highest standards of animal care. Whether it’s managing breeding programs for endangered species or spreading awareness of wildlife protection, zoos play a critical role in enlisting public support for defending vulnerable animals. Learn more about our conservation efforts here.