16 April 2010

May is Guardian Month

IDA’s Guardian Campaign is the only animal rights project that lets you help animals simply by changing the words you use to talk about them. From the comfort of your couch, while talking on the phone, when writing to your newspaper, you can improve the lives of real animals just by choosing the right words and encouraging others to do the same.
To start, all we ask is that you replace one simple word with another simple but more accurate word: replace “owner” with “guardian” whenever you discuss the animals who share our lives. Any situation where you would normally refer to an animal “owner,” use “guardian” instead. That’s it – you’re now an activist in IDA’s Guardian Campaign. You should start feeling empowered any minute now. And I bet your dog just wagged her tail – she understands the difference. Wouldn’t you rather have a guardian than an owner?
project hope volunteer and dog

It couldn’t be simpler – you don’t have to march, buy any new product, or send us money. Since May is IDA’s annual Guardian Month, now is the perfect time to get involved and make a difference right in your own backyard.
Certainly you’re asking how this language change will help animals. A “guardian” has an entirely different relationship with animals than does an “owner.” And that relationship works out better for the animals, starting with those who share your home and expanding throughout your community. This simple change reinforces and increases respect, responsibility and compassion. By eliminating the concept that animals are "property" that we can own and dispose of, and replacing it with a new idea of their place in society, we actually change their status. This change in status will grant them new rights, and these new rights will gradually force into history at least the worst indignities suffered by our non-human kin. It will be much harder for the law to allow the perpetual confinement of veal crates or the outright torture that drives the circus and vivisection industries once society accepts that animals cannot be “owned.”
What You Can Do
We need your help to promote the Guardian Campaign. Everything you need can be found at www.guardiancampaign.org, including ideas to promote language change, and educational and marketing materials you can order or download and print.
Examples of ways you can help include emailing your friends and family about the campaign, posting the Guardian website on your Facebook page, or distributing brochures. You can ask your community’s animal-related organizations to adopt the language, and send a letter to your newspaper. We have educational lesson plans on the website that you can use to educate kids. You can even change the language in your city ordinances, replacing “owner” with “guardian.” We can show you how others have already successfully changed their laws.
Visit www.guardiancampaign.org and order your free Guardian Pack to get started. Guardian Month – May - is just around the corner. Contact us at guardian@idausa.org for more information.


  1. Great post! I cringe when I hear "owner" and actually just had a discussion at work today with my co-workers about this. :)

  2. I know. I agree. When Jessi & I went to the Animal Rights Conference last July, we saw Alex Hershaft speak about this campaign. I will see if I have any stickers left. Send a few to you :)

  3. Great post! I don't usually use the word 'guardian', but equally wouldn't use the term 'owner'. I always refer to myself as my dogs Max & Mollys' 'human' or 'person'- I agree that 'owner' definitely has the wrong connotations though & I think the language we use to describe the world around us certainly has an impact on how both we & others view (& thereby treat) it. Jx


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