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The Guardian Campaign

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The Guardian Campaign

By Sheila Wasserman, founder of Action Now+Network as postedf by In Defense of Animals (IDA)
March 2012

A SEISMIC SHIFT IN THE WAY WE VIEW AND UNDERSTAND ANIMALS

In a nutshell, The Guardian Campaign is an international effort which aims to instill a sense of respect, responsibility and compassion for the animals with whom we share our lives and our planet. The way it works is through a switch-out of one word which defines our relationship with animals: "owners" are out. "Guardians" are in. Rather than "owners", we must be the "Guardians" of animals in our midst.

The term "Guardian" speaks volumes. It implies a protective posture. It implicitly acknowledges that animals are living, breathing sentient beings that have highly evolved emotional systems with the ability to feel love, joy, pain, fear, loss, depression. It challenges us to remember that animals are not mere property, objects or things that can be bought and sold at will, dumped, abused, exploited and killed when they are no longer useful.

The term "Guardian" opens up new vistas of possibility for our relationship with other species. As Guardians, as protectors, we accept an inherent responsibility and an unspoken promise to treat them with compassion and respect and to make decisions on their behalf that will enhance their lives.

THE POTENTIAL TO REDUCE CRUELTY AND ABANDONMENT, REDEFINE THE BOUNDARIES OF COMPASSION FOR ANIMALS

The IDA Guardian Campaign is an idea whose time has come. This campaign not only has the potential to significantly reduce animal cruelty and abandonment, but also to redefine the boundaries, to expand the definition of compassion, and to rewrite the script for treatment of animals in a way that has not been accomplished before.

The Guardian Campaign has already made substantial headway in this regard. They have partnered with organizations and individuals who have committed to spreading the word about Guardians. They have influenced legislation, working with city officials to develop new language for resolutions and ordinances. Thus far, twenty-one communities have formally accepted the term "Guardian" into their codes which describe human-animal relationships.

This is more than a good start. It is the beginning of a sea change that can sweep the
country, change the lives of the animals we love, and in the process, our own as well.