Document Type

Editorial and Commentary

Publication Date



An economic depression inevitably means that the under-privileged are compelled to suffer, but the plight of animals during "hard times" is often overlooked. Further, the present administration's budget cuts, and the pro-industry policies expressed by the Environmental Protection Agency and the Department of the Interior, in conjunction with the attempted financial emasculation of the U.S. Department of Agriculture's Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (responsible for enforcing the Animal Welfare Act), all add insult to injury. Clearly, in such difficult economic times, the needs of people will inevitably take precedence over those of animals. But a society that unconditionally places the rights and interests of humans over those of animals and the quality of the environment, on the grounds of a short-term (near-sighted) version of economic necessity, not only lacks enlightened self-interest, but is also providing the critical impetus for its own eventual nemesis. Hence, there is an even greater need today for humane education and the promulgation of animal welfare principles and the animal and environmental rights philosophies. However, we see that "economic recovery," improved farm and laboratory animal welfare, and environmental quality are considered as exclusive and even con· tradictory goals under the present administration. But can we continue to pay the ever-higher costs of sacrificing environmental quality and animals' welfare in order to promote the tunnelvision goal of industrial "recovery"?