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International Animal Rights Day

On December 10, 1948, the General Assembly of the United Nations adopted and proclaimed the Universal Declaration of Human Rights to prevent the horrors of genocide during World War II from being repeated. This document attested to basic human rights and declared that respect and dignity for human beings are “the foundations for freedomjustice, and peace in the world.”

Although the implementation of the Declaration of Human Rights has yet to be fulfilled to the extent that it was intended, National Human Rights Day does represent a time to reflect upon the progress made, yet to be made, and our individual responsibility toward furthering this objective. A very positive byproduct of the resolution resulted, 50 years later, in the establishment of similar protections for all species.

Individuals, organizations, and associations from all over the world demanded that the essence of the Declaration of Human Rights, such as respect, dignity, and basic rights, be extended to the other beings sharing the planet. December 10th marks the 23-year anniversary of International Animal Rights which emphasizes the moral imperative humanity holds toward protecting and respecting other living beings as we do ourselves.

The term speciesism was coined in 1970 to talk about discrimination of sentient beings based on which species they belong to. Speciesism overlooks our sameness, sentience, and as with racism and sexism, those without power suffer so that someone else can gain. International Animal Rights Day creates another lens for people to look through on how discrimination in any form is damaging to all.

Humanity now recognizes the capacity of animals to experience pleasure and pain, happiness, and suffering. We know that animals possess and express distinguishing characteristics as individuals and although they may not be able to communicate their interests in verbal language, the existence of such interests, to live their lives according to their own priorities, is beyond question. 

As we look at the damage to our environment caused by living under the pretense that human affairs exist in isolation from those of all other living creatures on the planet, we know that this approach cannot be sustained. International Animal Rights Day challenges us to redefine our understanding of “progress” with a consideration of our responsibility to protect the rights of all living beings. 

Although International Animal Rights Day doesn’t receive much press or recognition as it should, for that matter neither does National Human Rights Day, Second Chance Humane Society, whose mission is connecting pets, people and community, is hoping this will change. Treating animals with love and respect allows us to love and respect ourselves and others. Let’s be the change…

Dog of the week.          

Hi my name is Luna. I just got up from a long nap and missed my deadline for writing this week’s Pet Column so I am just going to share a little bit about me. I am seeking a loving home for the Holidays. I am a 3 year young Anatolian Shepherd, which means I am not small. I am 90 pounds of pure love, enough to share large quantities of it with every person I meet. I do well with other dogs too who, like people, can’t help but go soft in the heart when they meet me. Hoping my Holiday wish comes true…come meet me today!

Second Chance Humane Society’s Animal Resource Center and Thrift Shops have been servicing San Miguel, Ouray & Montrose Counties for 27 years. Call 626-2273 to report a lost pet, learn about adopting a homeless pet, or about our Emergency Response, Community Medical, Spay/Neuter, Volunteer, or other services. Submit questions to the Pet Column at: View our shelter pets and services online:

Second Chance Humane Society Animal Resource Center and Thrift Shops service San Miguel, Ouray and Montrose counties. Call the SCHS Helpline at 970-626-2273 to report a lost pet or to learn about adopting a homeless pet and the SCHS spay/neuter, volunteer, feral cat or other programs. View our shelter pets and services at

Our animals


Very friendly. She came in with her sister Peaches. They are a bonded pair. Would love to go to a...


Came in with her sister Cream. They are a bonded pair. would like them to go to a home together.


Harbor is a sweet girl. She can be a little shy at first but she does well once she warms...


WE have one very special puppy left who is looking for his forever home. Meet Diesel! He is about 12...


Buttercup is as sweet as they come. She is all about the love and wants to be close by you....


Maui is a beautiful boy who is full of energy. He would benefit from some extra training and structure. He...

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