“Animals give me more pleasure through the viewfinder of a camera than they ever did in the crosshairs of a gun sight. And after I've finished ‘shooting,’ my unharmed victims are still around for others to enjoy. I have developed a deep respect for animals. I consider them fellow living creatures with certain rights that should not be violated any more than those of humans, “said actor and animal rights activist, Jimmy Stewart
Animals should have a Bill of Rights just like humans. They should be treated as any other human being on the planet. Animal rights are defined as “rights (as to fair and humane treatment) regarded as belonging fundamentally to all animals” (Merriam-Webster.com).
Peter Singer was the first person to bring public awareness to the issue with his book, Animal Liberation. The book stated that because humans have special qualities (talking, reasoning, feelings, ect.), they have more power over animals. He described this as “speciesist” or “discrimination against animals.” (Ertell 1) Singer thought that society should recognize all beings, not just humans. He wanted to terminate the idea that human life matters more than other species. He also started the ‘Great Ape Project,’ in 1993, with the objective of gaining a worldwide testimony that the ape family is equal to humans. The Great Ape Project was intended for giving these animals rights and would break the barrier of human philosophy. This idea would create a new approach of equal moral worth. This in return would break down Christian morals and open doors to more animals being accepted as equals (Ertell 1, 3, 7, 9).
Today, animals still do not have the rights they deserve. We still hunt them as a source of food, perform animal experimentations to advance our medical research, and harvest farm animals for our food and food products. Apes are also used to give humans blood (Romas 1). If animals had rights we would not use them for our selfish purposes. They could live a better life without us using them to advance our way of living. They should not be in zoos in the city or in cages in some scientist’s laboratory. They should be free in the wild. They should be free because if humans did not tame animals, then they would be living wild and untamed.
A person who is against animal rights would suggest that animals do not reason or contemplate the same way as human beings; therefore, they are not entitled to the same rights. Also, they would propose that just because we are relatives of animals it does not give them any more civil liberties and that we would also have to give rights to deadly diseases that can harm humans. Animals do not perform the civil duties of human beings, making them unentitled to our societies rights. These rights are given to us because we have responsibilities. It is seamlessly normal to use animals for our desire and nourishment. Animals that are wild are in distress all the time. They are always being hunted in the wild and put through the survival of the fittest. Humans have been successful in our survival so we deserve our rights. Lastly, they would argue pro-animal rights activists can be compared to terrorists and extremist groups making them irrational and unreasonable (Dixon 1-5). Animal rights activists do irrational crimes and threats to society, for example in Sweden two animal rights activists’ allegedly poisoned meat in a super market. (Avery 2).
People who believe in rights for animals would generally agree that even though the negative side of the subject suggested that we are extremists and terrorists we are not all like that. They would also suggest that animals not only think, but feel pain similar to humans, giving them the same privileges. (Dixon 1) One of the best and most distinguished neurologists, Lord Brain once said:
“Every particle of factual evidence supports the contention that the higher mammalian vertebrates experience pain sensations at least as acute as our own. To say that they feel less because they are lower animals is an absurdity; it can easily be shown that many of their senses are far more acute that ours--visual acuity in certain birds, hearing in most wild animals, and touch in others; these animals depend more than we do today on the sharpest possible awareness of a hostile environment. Apart from the complexity of the cerebral cortex (which does not directly perceive pain) their nervous systems are almost identical to ours and their reactions to pain remarkably similar, though lacking (so far as we know) the philosophical and moral overtones. The emotional element is all too evident, mainly in the form of fear and anger. […] So to conclude: there are no good reasons, scientific or philosophical, for denying that animals feel pain. If we do not doubt that other humans feel pain we should not doubt that other animals do so too. Animals can feel pain" (qtd. in Singer).
According to Darwinism, we are related to animals. We should all be generous and kind to our furry friends. If we define who and what has rights by the ability to converse though speaking communication, then newborns and some mentally handicapped should not have little or any rights just like animals. (Dixon 2-3) An animal rights activist named, Jeremy Bentham, “The question is not, ‘Can they reason?’ nor, ‘Can they talk?’ but rather, ‘Can they suffer?’”
Cruelty to animals is an indication of an uncivilized society. Cruelty shows that our society is barbaric and that America supports violence. When we use animals to advance our medical research we are hurting them. (Dixon 4-5) We need to find a way to advance our medical research without animals. We should use volunteers instead of animals for testing our medical indications. The difference between animal testing and human testing is that animals do not volunteer themselves to be tested on. Human testing would be better for our medical research anyways because animals and humans rarely get the same diseases. Animals and humans only share less than two percent of diseases and illnesses. The success percentage rate of animal testings working on humans is five to twenty-five percent (Lynch 1-2).
Animals should be in the untamed wild and be as free. It is wrong for us to exploit them for our entertainment and amusement (PeTA 6). We should not use animals in movies or television because we corrupt their minds to do unnatural things. Animals do not do tricks or stunts in the wild. When movies and television shows say “no animals were harmed in the making of this show” it can be misleading. If the animal is harmed or dies accidently, they can still get approved for that message. In the movie Ben-Hur, they have a climatic chariot race. When they were done with this scene they ended up with nearly one hundred dead horses (VeganMeans 10). Also in the movie Zookeeper, they had a scene with a giraffe. During the scene the giraffe collapsed and died during the filming (PeTA 1).
When we eat animals it is possible for us to get fatal diseases. We can develop diseases such as: heart disease, stroke, cancer, and many additional illnesses. Giving animals a Bill of Rights would stop humans destroying the universe. If we give them rights we can get rid of companies with machineries that destroy our rainforests. Letting animals have rights would stop the world from brutalization and inequality. Responsible Policies for Animals, Inc says giving animals their rights would abolish businesses that would destroy land. “Animal rights will end poverty” (Responsible Policies for Animals, Inc. 4, 8-10).
When I go to church I hear, “Your will be done, on Earth as it is in heaven.” This means (as in my own interpretation) there will be no killing at all in heaven. So by saying there is no killing in heaven that means there is no killing on Earth either. Therefore, we should not kill animals because in heaven we are not allowed to kill animals. So animals should not be killed at all. An animal rights activist, William Ralph Inge once said, “We have enslaved the rest of the animal creation, and have treated our distant cousins in fur and feathers so badly that beyond doubt, if they were able to formulate a religion, they would depict the Devil in human form.”
Do animals deserve a Bill of Rights just like humans? Animals do deserve as many rights as humans do. Animals can feel pain just like humans can. We are related to animals; therefore, they should have rights just like humans. When we test our medications on animals we are hurting them. When we use animals in our entertainment business we are making them do unnatural tasks. Animal meat can give us harmful diseases. Companies would stop destroying our rainforests if animals had rights. Animal rights would stop inequality in the universe. Animal rights will put an end to insufficiency to our country. Without cruelty to animals our society would not be barbaric. Thomas A. Edison once said: “Non-violence leads to the highest ethics, which is the goal of all evolution. Until we stop harming all other living beings, we are still savages
“Animal Rights.” Merrium-Webster.com. 2011. 11/4/11. http://east.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/animal+rights?show=0&t=1320447177.
Avery, Alex. “Center for Global Food Issues.” Did “Animal Rightists” Inject Rat Poison Into Swedish Meat? 12/8/03. 11/9/11. http://www.cgfi.org/2003/12/did-animal-rightists-inject-rat-poison-into-swedish-meat/
Dixon, Tomas. “idebate.org.” Animal Rights. 6/30/00. 11/4/11. http://www.idebate.org/debatabase/topic_details.php?topicID=8
Ertell, Steve. “LifeNews.com.” The Triumph of Peter Singer Values: Animal Rights More Important Than Human. 7/28/08. 11/4/11. http://www.lifenews.com/2008/07/28/bio-2518/
Lord Brain, "Presidential Address," in C.A. Keele and R. Smith, eds., The Assessment of Pain in Men and Animals (London: Universities Federation for Animal Welfare, 1962).
Lynch, Noel. “Does Animal Testing Help Human Medicine.” Noel Lynch. 1/15/09. 11/7/11. http://theonlygreenroom.blogspot.com/2009/01/does-animal-testing-help-human-medicine.html
PeTA “Animals Used for Entertainment.” 7/7/11. 11/10/11 http://www.peta.org/issues/animals-in-entertainment/default2.aspx
PeTA. “Animals Were Harmed In The Making Of ‘Zookeeper’” 7/7/11 11/8/11 http://www.peta.org/b/thepetafiles/archive/2011/07/07/animals-were-harmed-in-the-making-of-zookeeper.aspx
“QuoteGarden.com.” Quotations on Animal Rights. 5/17/11. 11/5/11. http://www.quotegarden.com/a-rights.html
Ramos, Jaqueline. Great Ape Project. Mission and Vision. 2011. 11/8/11. http://www.greatapeproject.org/en-US/oprojetogap/Missao
Responsible Policies of Animals, Inc. “Responsible Policies of Animals, Inc.” Animal Rights: What America Needs Most. 9/1/11. 11/5/11. http://www.rpaforall.org/needsmost.html
Singer, Peter. “Do Animals Feel Pain?” Animal Liberation. 1990. 11/6/11 http://www.animal-rights-library.com/texts-m/singer03.htm
“VeganMeans.com” Should Other Animals Entertain Us?. 2007. 11/7/11. http://www.veganmeans.com/why_veganism/Animals_in_Entertainment.htm