A Primer On Animal Advocacy

All animal advocates are not alike. In fact, there are two VERY different viewpoints about how animals should be seen. Today I’ll give a brief primer on the difference in the two camps. 


In one camp are the Abolitionists. Abolitionists believe that animals have rights and should not be used by people in any way. They promote a vegan lifestyle. They don’t believe any animals should be used to test any products ever. And they don’t believe animals should be kept as pets. Abolitionists believe wearing fur is wrong because animals should not be used to clothe humans. Period. PETA is an abolitionist organization.


And then there are the Welfarists. Welfarists believe animals can be used by humans, but only if treated humanely. They feel it’s OK to “own” animals. It’s OK to eat animals and animal products. But they do not believe animals should be used by humans when other means are available. For instance, welfarists oppose wearing fur because there are plenty of other options out there that don’t involve killing animals. The Humane Society of the US is a welfarist organization.


On more than one occasion, abolitionists and welfarists have stood on opposite sides of issues relating to animals. We have very different ideas on how animals should be treated, so this is to be expected. One issue the two sides disagree on is what to do with feral cats. Abolitionists believe the best thing to do with them is to kill them- humanely, of course. Welfarists, on the other hand, promote Trap-Neuter-Return efforts to manage populations of unowned cats.

When you know the differences in the belief systems of these two sides, you will better understand why we don’t all get along.

It also makes it less likely you will fall victim to the tactics of those industries that oppose ANY efforts to improve the plight of animals- namely animal agriculture and restaurant industries.

So, when you hear the message that PETA kills animals, or that the HSUS does not give money to local rescues, you have to ask yourself who is spreading that message, and what is their motivation for doing so. Most likely, it’s someone with financial incentive to keep the internal war stirred up. 

29 thoughts on “A Primer On Animal Advocacy

  1. Money…..what a complex beast it is. The lust for it causing untold evils to humans animals and the planet…and yet it can be a saviour as well……hugs Fozziemum

  2. This is a helpful way of looking at the “two camps” to get a sense of the philosophical differences. I have noticed that many of us don’t perfectly fit the profile of either side. I have never known a vegan who didn’t have a pet/companion animal. And personally I agree with some aspects of both sides. I am on the board of my local shelter, which is very much a welfarist group. They see my vegetarianism as strange.

  3. As for feral cats, I don’t agree with PETA….plus their belief for animal rights sounds a little extreme to me…..killing feral cats humanely seems to be humans ego….

  4. Wow, you know, I always knew in there needs norm course differences between the two, but didn’t so much realize they werenTHAT different. Really makes you think.
    I had no idea that PETA thinks we shouldn’t have pets? Wow……
    ((Husky hugz))
    Frum our pack at Love is being owned by a husky

  5. Interesting information. Money is not the culprit…greed is. I think there have been some issues with Corporate HSUS but our local HS is amazing and cares for so many unwanted cats. I feel good donating and volunteering at our local recuses of which we have many.

  6. I support both because animals deserve a ‘voice’. I do realize they are not perfect and can be extreme some times [we also ‘own’ a [former] stray / or I should say, she owns us! and I don’t agree on the feral cats with Peta], however the good they are both doing is far greater.
    I couldn’t agree more with you on questioning “who is spreading that message, and what is their motivation for doing so”
    Thank you! 🙂

  7. I don’t understand PETA’s views. As Abolitionists, you say they believe animals have rights. Yet, they think feral cats should be killed – humanely. That appears to be a real conflict. I’m in the camp that favors catch, neuter or spay, and release. That is a more humane way to treat animals and will reduce the feral cat population.

  8. Thanks for that information. I have often thought that PETA was a bit extreme. Although I don’t eat beef or pork for reasons of health and taste I don’t consider myself a vegetarian and I don’t push my choice on others because I do believe humans are meant to be omnivorous. However, even the Bible holds humans responsible for animal welfare so it has several provisions for humane treatment of even animals we eat as well as animals we use. I see something wrong with people who abuse and torture our animal friends to satisfy some sick need to be entertained that way. Thanks for all you do to keep us informed.

    1. Thanks Ms. Kathy. The Bible does say man is responsible for the care of the planet and its inhabitants. But many people who hate homosexuals because the Bible says its wrong seem to miss that part about taking care of the planet. I don’t get that.

  9. Very interesting post! As with politics, I think the two sides should come together for the common cause of making the world a better place. Agree to disagree but then work together toward a solution to the problems at hand. Perhaps that view comes off a little naïve, but I truly believe that it can be done (even if it takes a lot of work!). Much love, The Scottie Mom.

  10. You bring up some real and pretty disgusting elements of animal welfare. It is very sad that politics is often the center of animal advocacy and the animal’s part in it is diminished. Thanks for sharing this. Maybe some eyes will open up.

    1. I subscribe to the Dale Carnegie school of thought. To get what you want, you work with like-minded people and let them take the credit. I don’t care what you believe, if you agree with me on an issue, I’ll take from you what I can get.

  11. I did not know that PETA believes in killing feral animals! I know that they don’t believe in spaying/neutering them. My late wife, my beloved Robin, absolutely hated PETA. She was a genius. I’m not just saying this. It’s a documented fact. She tested above genius level in standardized tests as a child. I was always wary about PETA before I met her, but she convinced me that they were an evil entity, and now I see why. I am a welfarist. I don’t believe that I “own” my pets, even though Robin said we did. She said that pets, like children, were chattel. I believe that my “pets” (now I’m quoting myself…sophistry, I know). I believe that the cosmos has brought us together. It is my duty, now that I’ve accepted them into my care, to provide them with love, food, shelter and healthcare. Thank you for your blog, Rumpy! It was from you that I first heard about the genocide of dogs in Sochi. Much love and many blessings, Russell

    1. PETA does believe in killing ferals because they mess up the natural order. Cats are not native to the environment and so they should be removed. I understand their thinking, but I also know it will never fly because of the emotional attachment many of us have to animals.

      I agree, Robin was very smart! I would have liked her a lot.

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