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The Best Friends Podcast Episode 21

Treating Animals and People as Individuals
July 9, 2020

It wasn’t that long ago that the majority of dogs rescued from dogfighting operations were killed without any kind of behavior evaluation. It was widely accepted that they were too dangerous for a second chance. That changed with the rescue of the dogs from Michael Vick’s Bad Newz Kennels. The plea to evaluate the dogs was heard, and since that time, they have served as an example of how every animal should be treated as an individual.

We have made great strides when it comes to treating every animal as an individual, but that objectivity isn’t always applied when it comes to people. Our inherent biases can sometimes play out in ways we may not even realize - from racism to classism, ageism, sexism, and ableism. These subconscious isms restrict our effectiveness in saving animals.

So it begs the question. If we treat all animals as individuals, shouldn’t we do the same for people?

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Guests this week
Stacey Coleman

Stacey Coleman

Executive Director, Animal Farm Foundation

In her role at Animal Farm Foundation (AFF), Stacey Coleman has become a national spokeswoman for the human-canine bond. Stacey has transformed AFF from a traditional grant-making private foundation and small rescue kennel to a national opinion leader. Under Stacey’s visionary leadership, AFF and its subsidiary National Canine Research Council (NCRC), stand with other national organizations at the promontory where the human-canine bond is understood and championed as a fundamental public good.

AFF operates a program at Rikers Island to benefit prison inmates and dogs from shelters. As part of its mission to break down conventional and misguided stereotypes about dogs living in shelters, AFF operates a service dog program and a police (detection) dog program, whose animal trainees were all found in shelters. AFF supports public interest litigation to fight constitutionally suspect discrimination against pet owners and those dependent on service animals, whatever form that discrimination takes.

Stacey is constantly working to expand the common ground at the intersection of the human canine bond and the public interest. She sees opportunities for change, queries the stakeholders, asks the tough questions, and constantly seeks the common ground that will benefit pets and the people who love them.