Straight from the Guardian's Mouth
"Guardian language reflects the way many of us think of our companion animals, as family members with our promise to always care for them. Sadly, many others neglect and abuse their pets, often treating them as unwanted property dumped on streets or in shelters, costing taxpayers huge amounts of money every year on intake, housing, and killing of these discarded animals.
Language is very important in changing mindsets and showing respect, as evidenced in the fact that racist, sexist and intimidating language is no longer accepted in society. Because words can make a powerful impact, “guardian” reflects the value of animals by recognizing them as part of our lives and community. We lose nothing but gain much by adding the word “guardian” when referring to “owners.” We’ve got to start somewhere and this change is easy and won't cost anything. Please approve guardian language giving it a chance to positively influence the public on the humane treatment of animals."
Lorna Pusateri to the San Jose City Council on June 19, 2007
"It's not enough for us to keep bailing out animals sitting on death row in the overcrowded LA city shelters and LA county shelters... we need to do something about the source of the problem - which is people just dumping off their animals like it's a broken toaster or an old couch they no longer want.
The public needs to be aware that once they bring a dog or a cat to the shelter to relinquish, not only does the animal loses everything he/she knows (home, comfort, family, security) all at once in a place very scary place with not a familiar face - but ultimately... he or she could lose his or her life!!! people HAS to be aware of their actions and know that their actions have consequences. They should be accountable to the responsibility that they took on when the first decided to have a pet instead of further contributing to the already at its peak - disposable society.
The word pet "owner" does not convey warmth, love or care that goes with having pets. However, when you use the word pet "guardian" - the tone changes. This word "guardian" conveys a lot more. The implicit meaning covers responsibility, care, love, respect - all the things that come with having pets in our lives."
"I went to the American Heritage Dictionary and I looked up the word “guardian.”
It read, 'One that guards or protects.' That is our role. Animals deserve to be treated responsibly with respect and compassion. They are intelligent, sensitive beings worthy of their own interests, rights and needs.” What this movement is about is the shift from the egocentric position of being the owner - 'I bought a pet and I own it' - to being their guardian,
so we can learn from them and make this a better planet."
Martin Goldstein, Veterinarian
“I am forever appalled by the way we humans tame and treat animals for our own selfish ends. In the final analysis this arrogance that we display towards "lesser" life and towards nature is going to recoil on us. I am convinced that the deterioration in our humanity is directly related to our abuse of life and nature. I think what you are attempting to do through the "Guardian" network needs to be replicated all over the world. Wish you all the best.”
Arun Gandhi, Grandson of Mahatma Gandhi
Founder and President M.K.Gandhi Institute for Nonviolence
"Everything we do to enhance the human/animal bond minimizes the likelihood of an animal being relinquished. I support "guardian" language as a powerful shift in the way we speak and think about the companion animals that share our lives. By truly understanding what it means to be a guardian, more animals will be adopted and rescued. The Guardian Campaign is leading to a better quality of life for animals as individuals, not as property."
Ed Boks, Former Executive Director of NYC Animals Care and Control
"In the legal sense, animals are regarded as 'things,' mere objects that can be bought, sold, discarded, or destroyed at an owner's whim. Only when animals can be regarded as 'persons' in the eyes of the law will it be possible to give teeth to the often-fuzzy laws protecting animals from abuse."
Jane Goodall, The Jane Goodall Institute
"As an attorney, it is all too obvious to me that true legal protection for animals from cruelty and abuse will not occur as long as they are recognized and treated as nothing more than commodities, property and things. Codifying the language and concepts of animal guardianship will help to usher in the day when our laws reflect our society's feelings that companion animals are members of our families and not mere objects to be used, abused and disposed of at will."
Robert Trimble, Attorney and Counselor
"Congratulations to the city of Boulder for having the foresight, leadership and courage to be the first city in the nation to recognize the importance of the Guardian Campaign. It is truly time for all of society to see animals as more than mere commodities or property to be bought, sold, exploited or killed at an 'owner's' whim. I am proud to be the guardian of my animal companions."
Gretchen Wyler, The Ark Trust
"Best Friends Animal (Society) is fully in support of your campaign to secure a change in the legal status of animals. People of other genders, races, and even age groups, were once treated as property in this country. Now, it is time for 'people' of other species to be accorded the same simple dignity of being recognized, not as someone else's property, but as beings in their own right."
Michael Mountain, Editor, Best Friends Magazine
"This campaign is a vital systemic approach to elevate the legal standing and compassionate care of animals. Changing our present oppressive language is a crucial first step in altering attitudes and expanding the concept of family. By working at the roots of injustice instead of the symptoms, we hasten the day when a new ethic is achieved for all beings
– human and non-human alike."
Ed Duvin, Director, Project Zero
"How can we own another person? We cannot. Why then should we think we can own another being, a dog, a cat or a horse? The law may (say) we can, but the law also told us in the past that men owned their wives, parents (owned) their children, slave owners (owned) their slaves. I now realize how wrong it is to consider myself an animal 'owner.' Language is no trivial matter; How we use it affects how we think and then how we act. In Defense of Animals is truly achieving something remarkable. For the first time in history, people are being made aware of the fact that animals can no longer be considered a 'thing,' a 'commodity,' or an 'object.'"
Jeffrey Moussaieff Masson, author, When Elephants Weep and Dogs Never Lie About Love
"I wholeheartedly support the Guardian Campaign. Animals are not
resources or property with whom we can do what we please, their lives
matter very much, and they should be firmly entrenched in our moral community."
Marc Bekoff, Professor, Department of Environmental, Population and Organismic Biology, University of Colorado at Boulder
"Please include United Humanitarians, a Corporation, in the list
of organizations that endorse your campaign to recognize animals as intelligent,
sensitive, living beings that share our planet, not as property, but as
Adele P. Hudson, Executive Vice President, United Humanitarians
"The Association of Veterinarians for Animals Rights (AVAR) strongly
endorses the In Defense of Animals' Guardian Campaign. This campaign is
vital to the animal rights movement in that all exploitation of nonhuman
animals revolves around the notion that they are human property. And,
as property, nonhuman beings are used in every conceivable way by human
society and often subjected to extreme privation and suffering as a result."
Nedim Buyukmihci, VMD, President, Association of Veterinarians for Animals Rights
"It is up to us to demonstrate through action and words that companion
animals are much more than mere property. They are our friends, partners
or companions and we are their guardians, advocates and protectors."
Richard Avanzino, former President, San Francisco SPCA/Executive Director, Maddie's Fund
“The change from "owner" to "guardian" is imperative. Only through
such changes will people begin to see animals as more than possessions.
A change in terms has been successful in many instances in changing mindsets.
No longer is the term "dog pound" used. Now, it's "animal
shelter". We don't "buy" a dog from the shelter, we "adopt".
Most companion animal guardians will also agree that they don't refer
to their animals as "it", but use terms such as "him",
"her", and "them". These are changes for the better
on a gradual progression to a better mindset for all people towards animals.”
Chad Brown, VOCAL - Voice Of Compassion For Animal Life
“We're pleased to support this initiative.”
Neal Barnard, M.D. Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine (PCRM)
"As long as people treat animals as toys, possessions and commodities,
rather than as individuals with feelings, widespread neglect and abuse
is destined to continue. People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA)
strongly supports the Guardian Campaign."
Ingrid E. Newkirk, President, People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals
"Animal Protection Institute is pleased to endorse IDA's Guardian
Campaign. Society's perception of animals as property must be changed
before legal rights for animals can be established. The time is right
to make such a change. We wish you success in this very worthwhile and
Alan Berger, Executive Director, Animal Protection Institute
"The Oakland SPCA is proud to support the In Defense of Animals'
Guardian Campaign. We wish you tremendous success in reaching thousands
of people with this valuable message."
Gary Templin, President, Oakland SPCA
"Animals are not things, but beings who share our planet and our
lives. We should acknowledge the kinship and call them by name -- friends
and companions. We support In Defense of Animals' Guardian Campaign."
Diane Allevato, Director, Marin Humane Society
"As we refer to other living beings as property, as things and as
'it,' we give ourselves permission as humans to disregard their needs
and wants and quality of life. This campaign is a wonderful step toward
respecting and caring for all life. The Center for Compassionate Living
is in full support of the Guardian Campaign."
Rae Sikora, Co-founder of the Center for Compassionate Living and Founder of Simply Enough
"The Guardian Campaign is important for educators to embrace because
it involves thinking critically about how we treat animals, promotes respect
and compassion for the more vulnerable among us and encourages responsibility
for our individual actions. It can also be a motivation for students to
engage in peaceful, civic action. All these elements foster the positive
character development of children as well as a more compassionate world."
Lisbet Chiriboga, M.S.Ed., Executive Director, Humane Education Advocates Reaching Teachers (HEART)
"When as a much younger person I first heard the term "Earth stewardship" in
the background clamor of Earth exploitation, I was moved to tears. Recently,
my experience was repeated and indeed amplified when I first became aware
of the term "animal guardianship" emerging from the degrading
substratum of "ownership", and I have been using it ever since.
My heart-felt thanks to IDA for this enlightened and elating initiative."
Anthony Marr, CARE campaign director and world-renowned tiger conservationist.
"In 1973 in my book The Lady and Her Tiger, I wrote, 'Wild animals
are not meant to be owned, any more than human beings are. No one has
the right to pass a cougar or gorilla from hand to hand, not for the purest
of motives. Now,
twenty-three years later, I feel even more strongly about this issue.
The Performing Animals Welfare Society (PAWS) pledges its support to IDA's
Pat Derby, President and Founder, Performing Animals Welfare Society
"The success of the Guardian Campaign would be an important step
toward helping to change the way we view and treat animals within our
society. Most people still treat each other as objects with which to fulfill
their own desires and to express their own frustrations. Nowhere is this
psychological pattern at its rawest and most accepted than in our relationship
with animals. THE INSTITUTE FOR THE DEVELOPMENT OF EARTH AWARNESS (IDEA)
wishes this campaign success."
Marjorie Spiegel, Executive Director IDEA
Author of The Dreaded Comparison: Human and Animal Slavery
"Ultimately there can be no real progress until society undergoes
a paradigm shift, a new way of looking at the world which opens the door
to new systems of interacting with it. As we have seen most strikingly
with the women's movement, language plays an essential part in such a
shift. Establishing legal rights for animals will be virtually impossible
while they continue to be called, and though of, as 'its' and 'things.'"
Lynn Manheim, Columnist, "Letters for Animals"
"Thank you for promoting the Guardian Campaign’s philosophy and for showing how important it is that we change our language to reflect and advance a just and companionable relationship with other creatures."
Karen Davis, President, United Poultry Concerns, Inc.
"The Animal Rights Foundation of Florida wholeheartedly supports
the Guardian Campaign. If animals were to be declassified as property,
the dollar-driven proponents of institutionalized animal abuse would be
stripped of the very foundation upon which they rely to perpetuate immense
Nancy Alexander, President and Founder, Animal Rights Foundation of Florida
"VOCAL applauds In Defense of Animals for this campaign. The use
of more appropriate terminology when referring to non-human animals can,
has and will affect a change in the mindset of those that would hear it.
This change in mindset may well be the first step in an individual's path
towards a more compassionate lifestyle. Let 'guardian' be the spark that
ignites that change in perception, and may "guardianship" someday be the manner in which we hold our relationship with all animal life."
Chad Brown, Voice Of Compassion for Animal Life (VOCAL)
"I looked up the word "property" in the dictionary. It
said, "a thing or things owned." To me, this makes it clear
that, by definition, animals can never be considered property. A "thing"
cannot love. A "thing" cannot act from compassion. A "thing"
will never risk its own life to help a stranger or even a friend."
Stephanie Laland, author, Peaceful Kingdom: Random Acts of Kindness by Animals
"The animal rights philosophy holds that animals are not property,
but are individuals with needs and interests of their own. By including
animals into our system of ethics, we remove the argument that animals
are things, that they are ours to dominate and use as we see fit. When
we see them as individuals in their own right, we strengthen the moral
foundation of our own society."
Mary Zoeter, President, Action for Animals Network
"The North Carolina Network for Animals is proud to support In Defense
of Animals' Guardian Campaign."
Stewart David, North Carolina Network for Animals
"From its inception, the Elephant Alliance has advanced the idea
that elephant captivity and servitude, like slavery, must end. We thank
and commend In Defense of Animals for initiating this important and necessary
Florence Lambert, President, The Elephant Alliance
"IDA's Guardian Campaign will prod us along in our moral evolution.
Just as we moved beyond 'owning' people after the Civil War, we now need
to move beyond 'owning' animals, who deserve a far greater understanding
in our society than simply being treated as property and things."
Kristin von Kreisler, Author, The Compassion of Animals
"DTFA is pleased to endorse the elevation of companion animals to
family member status, whose lives are worthy of our respect, compassion
and lifetime commitment. This effort, along with the spay/neuter movement,
will go a long way toward reducing the number of homeless animals glutting
our nation's shelters."
Lynda Foro, Doing Things For Animals
“We wholeheartedly support the Guardian Campaign. Semantics do make
a difference, as history and her story demonstrate. We accept that since
human animals have the power of language, we also have the responsibility
to promote and speak a humane language which honors and protects all beings."
Dawn Armstrong, Executive Director, Lake Tahoe Humane Society
"The real plight of equines is the societal value belief system behind
ownership and performance based value. Needless to say, we at Redwings
Horse Sanctuary pledge our full support for the Guardian Campaign."
Barbara Clarke, Director, Redwings Horse Sanctuary
“Beagles & Buddies is proud to endorse IDA's Guardian Campaign. We promote the use
of “guardian” instead of “owner” in our literature
and lives and urge others to do the same. We are so hopeful that this
shift in consciousness will reach all people, especially the children,
where permanent change can best take place.”
Connie Kramer, Esq. Founder and President, Beagles & Buddies Dog Rescue
"As we move into a new millennium, we are seeking a day when animals
are treated as sentient beings with rights. As an organization dealing
with companion animals, food-production animals, and exotic animals, we
are pleased to become part of this important campaign."
Dale Riffle, Director, PIGS, A Sanctuary
"Many thanks for your efforts. We would very much like to translate
this information into Mandarin and try to promote it as well here in Taiwan."
Wu Hung, Secretary General, Life Conservation Association
"Great Idea. I think it would be good to run a campaign like this
in Australia. It would certainly consolidate the animal movement."
Coral Hull, Director, Animal Watch Australia
”Those who care for feral cats exemplify the ideals behind the "guardian" concept.
These cats are homeless, often wild and can rarely be touched or approached,
yet they rely on the compassion of caring people to feed and look after
them. For guardians of feral cats, the reward for their service is the
health and well-being of their wards and knowing they've prevented more
suffering in this world. Their selflessness is a model for all human relations
Bryan Kortis, Director, Neighborhood Cats