I know that this will sound controversial, and, well, it is: the breeding and training of animals to help handicapped persons and public institutions is wrong. Today, I'll be talking about guide dogs and ponies, police dogs, and many other animals who are "employed" by humans to do work that we couldn't be bothered to do ourselves.
You may say that blind people will not be able to go anywhere by themselves if they don't have a guide dog or another guide animal. This isn't necessarily true. People who are visually impaired can use a cane, take mobility classes (and they would have to take a course if they had a guide dog anyway), and technological aids. One of my friends is blind; she does not have a guide dog, and yet I sometimes see her walking by herself on the sidewalk.
And what about "pet therapy"? Another friend of mine has engaged in pet therapy. She actually didn't like it at all! Knowing an animal personally is one thing, like when you have an adopted companion animal, but having an unknown animal be brought to you in hopes of making you feel better is sort of dumb. If an animal came up to you on his/her own to cheer you up, that would be nice, but it doesn't happen very often. Why ruin the experience with all these forced encounters with dogs who would rather be somewhere else?
What about other animals who are trained to help the handicapped? There are still other ways to go about helping people, but I am not going to list all the various treatments for different impairments and diseases-- there are too many to list!
As for police dogs-- you know, the ones who sniff out drugs and chase criminals-- I think that this is downright cruelty. These dogs must be trained extensively to make sure that they will never disobey a command. I really doubt that the police dog trainers use gentle approaches, but even if they did, working with police is no life for a dog.
All in all, enslaving animals to make our lives easier is wrong. If you ever have a say in whether animals are used for any of these purposes, please make the compassionate choice and decide against it. All I can do, though, is spread the word!
|Ouch! Is that leather, too?|
Photo courtesy of http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Guide_dog_equip.jpg