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Commentary

Punishment to Support: The Need to Align Animal Control Enforcement with the Human Social Justice Movement

Institute for Human-Animal Connection, Graduate School of Social Work, University of Denver, Denver, CO 80208, USA
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Animals 2020, 10(10), 1902; https://doi.org/10.3390/ani10101902
Received: 2 September 2020 / Revised: 12 October 2020 / Accepted: 14 October 2020 / Published: 16 October 2020
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Urban Animal Welfare Policies and Practices)
The current emphasis on enforcement and punishment in animal control policy has disproportionately negative impacts on low-income communities in the United States (US), particularly people of color. In this way, animal protection efforts are perpetuating many of the same inequities under examination in the human social justice movement. Reallocating the resources that have historically gone towards enforcement in communities to efforts that provide support in addressing the root causes of animal welfare concerns is needed to improve outcomes for pets in historically underserved communities.
Due to inherent and systemic biases, animal control policies in the US are over-enforced in low-income communities and communities of color, resulting in worse health outcomes for the pets in these communities. These outcomes are exemplified by higher confiscation, relinquishment, and euthanasia rates, lower return to owner rates, and extended lengths of stay in animal shelters. The Humane Communities framework operationalizes One Health and One Welfare concepts to comprehensively address issues of inequity at both the individual and structural levels to improve animal control policy and outcomes. Person-centered and culturally competent policies and programs that focus resources on addressing root causes of pet health and welfare issues as opposed to an emphasis on code enforcement can create more positive, scalable, and sustainable improvements in human, other animal, and environmental health and welfare outcomes. This shift from punishment-oriented approaches to support-based models of animal control aligns the animal welfare field with the modern human social justice movement. View Full-Text
Keywords: animal control; policy; one health; one welfare; humane communities; social justice; access to care; underserved communities; companion animals animal control; policy; one health; one welfare; humane communities; social justice; access to care; underserved communities; companion animals
MDPI and ACS Style

Hawes, S.M.; Hupe, T.; Morris, K.N. Punishment to Support: The Need to Align Animal Control Enforcement with the Human Social Justice Movement. Animals 2020, 10, 1902. https://doi.org/10.3390/ani10101902

AMA Style

Hawes SM, Hupe T, Morris KN. Punishment to Support: The Need to Align Animal Control Enforcement with the Human Social Justice Movement. Animals. 2020; 10(10):1902. https://doi.org/10.3390/ani10101902

Chicago/Turabian Style

Hawes, Sloane M., Tess Hupe, and Kevin N. Morris. 2020. "Punishment to Support: The Need to Align Animal Control Enforcement with the Human Social Justice Movement" Animals 10, no. 10: 1902. https://doi.org/10.3390/ani10101902

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