Clicker Training in the Greater Phoenix Area By Gary Wilkes

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Animal Rights and Welfare Quiz


 The subject of animal rights is guaranteed to make people angry. To help you decide where you stand on the issue, I have prepared a small test of your animal attitudes.

 1) Does it bother you more if a baby animal dies than an adult.

  2) Is it bad for a movie to depict cruelty to an animal as long as the animal actor was not actually injured?

 3) After seeing a dead animal on the side of the road, do you wonder who the owner was?

  4) Would you buy a toy animal head to put on your wall, but not a real one?

 5) Does it bother you to see a mink coat but not a down-filled parka, both of which require the death of an animal?

 6)  Will you refrain from calling animal control about a stray dog because you are afraid they might impound it and later kill it?  

  7) Is it cruel to suffocate  a dolphin in a tuna net, but not the tuna?

 8) If it is acceptable to jerk a dog by the neck to train it, why not do the same to a child?

  9) Does it bother you more to see an elephant in a cage than to see a captive whale in a tank?

 10) If a tiger is taught to jump through a ring of fire voluntarily, without the use of pain or force,(and  yes, it is relatively simple to teach this without any force)  is it cruel and unusual?

 11) If the offspring of a wild animal has never lived in the wild, is it cruel to keep it in captivity?

 12) If a coat made from farm-bred mink is acceptable, how about Siberian Husky coats made from unwanted dogs destroyed at the pound?

13) If puppy mills are horrible and their defective puppies are sold for outrageous  prices to unsuspecting buyers, how does the animal make the miraculous transformation to being a good pet when it is "rescued" by a shelter? (Author's note: Many shelters feature any purebred dogs in their media ads -  purebreds that most likely came from backyard breeders and pet shops. When two or more people want such a dog, it is often put up for an impromptu auction. I once say a very poor-quality AKC poodle, with valid pedigree papers, sell for $500 in a shelter I worked in. )

14) If it is wrong for an owner to lie to cover up defects in a dog so that it will not be put to sleep, is it ethical for a humane worker to knowingly withhold information about a dog's behavior that would stymie an adoption?

15) Is it better to kill an aggressive animal shelter in a less than humane fashion than let it live on the streets and die one of many less than perfect deaths. 

16) Is it better to rescue a purebred dog than a mutt?

17) If virtually every method of positive reinforcement training has failed to teach a dog to stop destroying furniture, shoes, wood,  dry-wall, soda cans and anything else he can bite, would you be willing to try using a  shock collar that can stop the destructive chewing? If you are answering this because you don't know how to use a shock collar, let me take it a step further. Should animal-care professionals at an animal shelter be willing to cause momentary, controlled punishment to stop a behavior that is preventing a dog from being adopted?

18) If a man on the street is seen dragging a reluctant dog across a street  by the neck, so severly that the dog is obviously choking, is it animal cruelty?  If a veterinary assitant is moving a frigthened dog from one kennel to another by a "control stick" (An aluminum pole with a slightly padded wire loop that cinches down on the dog's neck) is it cruel? If a dog catcher is loading a potentially dangerous dog into his truck with a control stick and lifts it momentarily off the ground by the neck, is it cruelty?

Unlike other tests, this one has no list of correct answers. The answers you have are the result of your personal experience with animals and your cultural perspective. Personal and cultural attitudes are often contradictory, though. Some of the questions above are hard to answer with a resounding yes or no.

 As America  matures and shifts to an industrial urban society, our perspective on animals changes. The advent of synthetic materials removes the necessity of many goods made from animals.  Nylon and cotton can replace leather for shoes,  and mono-filament fibers replace down for pillows and insulation for clothes. The attitudes that worked for our grandparents may not work for us, in today's world. The sight of draft horses being beaten by their   handlers is no longer normal or acceptable. The animal rights issue reflects the need for re-evaluation of our attitude toward animals.

 As with any social problem, the opportunity exists to do great things or to wind up with egg on our faces. The aspects of cruel­ty, humanity, compassion and understanding are embedded in this issue. The way we resolve it will set the mood for the next generation. There may be a day when catching a dolphin in a net is as archaic as "beating a dead horse".

Copyright 1991-2006 Gary Wilkes - All rights reserved. No portion of this website may be reproduced without permission. For questions regarding reprinting articles and copyright, contact Gary Wilkes at

Copyright 1991-2013 Gary Wilkes - All rights reserved. No portion of this website may be reproduced without permission. For questions regarding reprinting articles and copyright, contact Gary Wilkes at