Animal rights groups pick up momentum

The growing influence of animal rights activists increasingly is affecting daily life, touching everything from the foods Americans eat to what they study in law school, where they buy their puppies and even whether they should enjoy a horse-drawn carriage ride in New York’s Central Park.

Animal activist groups such as the Humane Society of the United States and People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) say they are seeing a spike in membership as their campaigns spread.

“There’s been an explosion of interest” in animal welfare issues, says David Favre, a Michigan State University law professor and animal law specialist. “Groups like the Humane Society of the United States and PETA have brought to our social awareness their concerns about animals and all matter of creatures.”

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