AP – Months after facing sharp criticism for signing convicted dogfighter Michael Vick, the Philadelphia Eagles are making good on a pledge to support animal-welfare groups.

The team on Monday unveiled a program called TAWK, which stands for Treating Animals With Kindness. The initiative aims to reduce animal abuse, encourage spaying and neutering, and end dogfighting through public education and awareness.

The Eagles awarded grants of $50,000 each to Philadelphia Animal Welfare Society, the Humane Society of Berks County and the Humane Society of the United States.

Team spokeswoman Pamela Browner-Crawley says Vick is working with children to discourage them from dogfighting.

We at Drovers have expressed support for the Eagles and the NFL giving Michael Vick a second chance following his dogfighting conviction. He served his time, and now should have the right to work in his chosen profession. Animal-rights groups however, including the Humane Society of the United States have criticized and protested the Eagles’ decision to sign Vick to the team. It is understandable that the team would feel obligated to reach out with support for local animal-welfare organizations that shelter abandoned or mistreated pets, but it is unfortunate, and a disservice to Eagles fans, to support the anti-agriculture HSUS. The hot dogs, hamburgers, brats and cheese-covered nachos the organization sells in the stands are a bigger target for HSUS, and higher on the group’s agenda, than dogfigting ever was.

For more on this topic, read Greg Henderson’s commentary in  " Quarterbacks we love to hate" and in "Vick signs with Eagles – let the circus begin." — John Maday, managing editor