Animal Welfare Policy: A Women’s Issue

Policy Overview
Women have led the charge for animal rights since the beginning. Parallels between animal rights and women’s rights issues have been recognized in research and advocacy. The objectification and devaluation of bodies belonging to beings other than white males have been cited as the source of exploitation of women, people of color, and, by extension, animals.

Many women care for and share homes with companion animals (dogs, cats, birds, horses, etc.).
In terms of professional care providers, there are 69,908 female veterinarians in the United States, which accounts for more than 60% of all veterinarians in the country. Yet, they earn less than their male counterparts with the same level of experience.

 

 

Gaps in Research and Policy
Data is not collected on the number of pets living in households in the United States. The American Veterinary Medical Association provides a calculation tool to determine an approximate number of pets living in a particular community, state, or region. The formula is based on survey data.

Opportunities for Impact
There are 157, 141, 000 pets in the United States, impacting more than 45,000,000 homes.

Threats to Progress
Pay inequality is a barrier to women working in the veterinary field.
Gender bias has also been cited as a potential barrier to the success of female veterinarians.
Resources have not been allocated by the federal government to track the number of pets in the United States.

Trends
Eight out ten students entering veterinary school this year are female.
Suicide rates among female practitioners are 3.5 times higher than the national average.

 

 

 

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