The Guardian Campaign Has Another Victory
An Animal Rights Article from


The Guardian Campaign, In Defense of Animals
January 2009

Beverly Hills Replaces the Term "Owner" with the Term "Guardian" in their Animal Related Ordinances

In Defense of Animals (IDA) applauds the Beverly Hills City Council for voting unanimously yesterday to replace the term "owner" with "guardian" in its animal-related ordinances. Beverly Hills joins 17 other cities in officially recognizing the value of the term “animal guardian” in reference to their animal companions. Those cities include West Hollywood, San Francisco, Sebastopol, and San Jose, California; St Louis, Missouri; Woodstock, New York; Bloomington, Indiana; Boulder, Colorado; Sherwood AR, and Amherst, MA; plus California’s Marin and Santa Clara Counties, and the state of Rhode Island.

"In Defense of Animals would like to acknowledge the assistance of Councilman Jimmy Delshad for bringing the guardian issue before the full council," said Bill Dyer, IDA’s Southern California Coordinator. "Thank you, Beverly Hills, for recognizing the important role language plays in our evolution toward a more compassionate, peaceful and just society for humans and animals alike." Dyer quoted author Jeffrey Masson: "Language is no trivial matter; how we use it affects how we think and therefore how we act."

The Guardian Campaign was created in 1999 by IDA. For a growing segment of society, the term "owner" does not reflect the human/animal bond that develops between people and their animal companions. The term "guardian" denotes a higher level of responsibility, caring and respect toward the animals with whom we share our lives. As more people use the term "animal guardian" more animals will be adopted and rescued, and fewer dogs and cats, puppies and kittens will be killed in our nation’s shelters.

To quote, Edwin J. Sayres, President of the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA), "The term 'guardian' accurately describes the relationship of perpetual care that is needed to teach children respect, compassion and kindness for domestic pets. Studies show that children who learn compassion and respect for animals have a better chance at becoming compassionate adults, responsible community members, and are less likely to behave violently towards others."

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