Magazine, website & books written by teens since 1989

Animal Rights and Why to Get Involved

Custom User Avatar
More by this author
Animal rights are the idea that some or all nonhuman animals are entitled to the possession of their own lives, and their most basic interests – such as an interest in not suffering. They agree for the most part that animals should no longer be viewed as property, or used as food, clothing, research subjects, or entertainment.

The basic principle of equality does not require identical treatment; it requires equal consideration. This is an important distinction when talking about animal rights. People often ask if animals should have rights, and quite simply, the answer is “Yes!” Animals deserve to live their lives free from suffering. All animals have the ability to suffer in the same way and to the same degree that humans do. They feel pain, pleasure, fear, frustration, loneliness, and motherly love. Whenever we consider doing something that would interfere with their needs, we are morally obligated to take them into account.

Supporters of animal rights believe that animals have an inherent worth—a value completely separate from their usefulness to humans. We believe that every creature with a will to live has a right to live free from pain and suffering. Animal rights are not just a philosophy—it is a social movement that challenges society’s traditional view that all nonhuman animals exist solely for human use. As PETA founder Ingrid Newkirk has said, “When it comes to pain, love, joy, loneliness, and fear, a rat is a pig is a dog is a boy. Only prejudice allows us to deny others the rights that we expect to have for ourselves. Whether it’s based on race, gender, sexual orientation, or species, prejudice is morally unacceptable. If you wouldn’t eat a dog, why eat a pig? Dogs and pigs have the same capacity to feel pain, but it is prejudice based on species that allows us to think of one animal as a companion and the other as dinner.

Advocates approach the issue from a variety of perspectives. The view is that animals do have moral rights, which encourage human beings to feel comfortable about using them. Animal rights groups who pursue welfare concerns, such as People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals, risk making the public feel comfortable about its use of animals. Animals have interests, particularly an interest in not suffering, and there is no moral or logical reason not to award those interests equal consideration.

Multiple cultural traditions around the world, such as Hinduism and Buddhism also support some forms of animal rights. In Islam, animal rights were recognized early by Sharia (Islamic law). Scientific studies have also provided evidence of similar evolutionary characteristics and cognitive abilities between humans and some animals.



Post a Comment

Be the first to comment on this article!

Site Feedback