Dog Lovers Likely Support the Endangered Species Act
by Bethany Meissner
If you love dogs, chances are you likely also support the Endangered Species Act.
Jeremy Bruskotter, Ph. D. is an Associate Professor at The Ohio State University. He and John Vucetich, Ph. D. from Michigan Technological University led a research team to examine Americans’ attitudes toward the Endangered Species Act.
The team found that four out of five Americans support the Endangered Species Act. Almost as impressive -- only one out of ten Americans actually oppose the act. The study even looked at support in specific groups of Americans. They looked at people who identified as Environmentalists, Animal Rights Advocates, Conservationists, Wildlife Advocates, Gun Rights Advocates, Farmers and Ranchers, Hunters, and Property Rights Advocates. All of the groups showed strong support for the Endangered Species Act.
Even though pet owners weren’t a separate group that the study examined, based on the numbers it’s likely that most pet owners support the Endangered Species Act, too. According to the 2017-2018 APPA National Pet Owners Survey, 68% of U.S. households have at least one pet. Overall, 89.7 million households, an easy majority of the 117.7 million households counted by the U.S. Census, have a dog. That means that even if a pet parent doesn’t consider herself to be an Animal Rights Advocate, she still is statistically likely to support the Endangered Species Act. Whether someone loves domestic dogs or their cousins, the wild wolves protected by the Endangered Species Act, they likely support the act itself.
Interestingly the study also asked people about their political leanings. Apparently support for the Endangered Species Act is bipartisan. Whether people reported as Liberal, Moderate, or Conservative, overwhelming majorities of each group said that they supported the Endangered Species Act. It’s nice to know we can agree on something political these days.
First passed in 1973, the act essentially tries to prevent the extinction of species and help the population of plants and animals that are in danger of extinction to recover. “The Endangered Species Act is a genuine point of American pride,” John said, “it’s considered one of the best laws in the world for conserving biodiversity. So why don’t our representatives represent us?” Jeremy noted that “In the 1990s and 2000s, a typical year saw roughly five attempts to amend the act or curtail its protection.” However, those attempts have severely increased. “There have been almost 150 [legislative attacks] in the last two years alone,” Jeremy said. The study authors write that their results and the studies they looked at “suggest that environmental policy is driven by narrow business interests and [the] wealthy…who benefit from less protective environmental policy,” adding later that “all citizens… have a legitimate interest in the conservation of species.”
Halo agrees that helping all animals, both domestic and wild, is important. We’re working to help people understand that the choices they make about pet food affect not only their own animals, but all animals in our ecosystem. We’re challenging the long-held one-way view of animal management as something that’s purely for human benefit, and supporting the view that we need to take care of each other – people, animals, and planet.
Bison provide one example of the importance of restoring and conserving biodiversity. Americans once hunted bison to near-extinction in the United States. Now, due to the hard work of ranchers and conservationists, bison are considered near-threatened, but not endangered. In fact, people are working to return bison herds to their native habitats. When bison are restored to their native grasslands, they revitalize habitats, form water-retention wallows, and even create food and sanctuary for other animals!
Given the substantial majority of Americans who have pets, and the substantial majority who support the Endangered Species Act, what can you do to show your support? Just by choosing nutritious Halo dog or cat food and treats for your pet, you can help support biodiversity and the work of the Endangered Species Act!