April 21, 2024 The Best Source of News, Culture, Lifestyle for Culver City, Mar Vista, Del Rey, Palms and West Los Angeles

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Dr. Elliot Katz

In Defense of Animals, a non-profit organization based in the Bay Area, tackles the more difficult animal advocacy issues. I was impressed by the integrity, sensitivity and caring with which founder Dr. Elliot Katz, DVM, discussed these issues.  

IDA is an organization that speaks for those who cannot speak for themselves.  Throughout his career, Dr. Katz has brought unknown and controversial issues into the spotlight of mainstream media in order to help suffering creatures great and small.

During his successful campaign to halt biomedical testing on chimpanzees by the Coulston Foundation, Dr. Katz was painted as an extremist, and what he considers a “damning blow,†he was blacklisted from media interviews by the labs because his experience as a veterinarian made him too credible to debate.

The American Medical Association issued a document that suggested doctors and vets like Katz should occupy themselves as members of Boards of Directors for organizations such as the ASPCA, and stay away from issues surrounding medical research on animals.

While Dr. Katz and IDA supporters continue to challenge large medical testing labs, propose legislation protecting animals from cruelty, exploitation, and abandonment and prevent the entrapment and slaughter of primates, dolphins, baby seals, and others, they have also successfully created a paradigm shift among pet lovers.  

The goal of the “Guardian campaign†is to change the standard of how we view other species. Just as wives are no longer the property of husbands, Dr. Katz wants to change this consciousness to the level of all species. Rather than buy and own a pet, we should adopt and care for them as guardians.  

Along with this shift in understanding in the relationship between humans and animals, Dr. Katz mentions that as individuals the decisions we make can be valuable in preventing cruelty to animals. Whether or not you have the time to volunteer or money to donate, you do have the choice to eat less meat, wear less fur, boycott organizations known to treat animals badly, and spread the word about positive, effective organizations like In Defense of Animals.

For more information on current campaigns, projects, victories, and resources, see www.IDAUSA.org.

Katie Hall is a primatologist. She is from Brentwood and is currently doing research at the University of St. Andrews in Scotland.

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