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Animal Rights The nervous systems in most animals, especially mammals, are almost identical to those in human beings, suggesting that animals can feel pain just as acutely as people. Therefore, if people have no right to cause pain in other people, they have no right to cause pain in animals. Moreover, there is scientific evidence stating that most animals have emotions, are susceptible to mental stress, and are affected by some of the same things that affect humans emotionally. Animals confined in cages for very long periods of time, such as those on farms and those in vivisection laboratories, show signs of insanity and neuroticism, often throwing themselves against the walls or tearing flesh from their own bodies in crazed, desperate fits (Singer 19). The obvious signs that animals are like humans in their ability to feel pain and joy demand that they be granted their inalienable rights against murder, torture, and imprisonment. The only things that stand in the way for animal rights are money and human convenience. Most people do not consider animals worthy of any rights because they are not human, and humans are somehow better, though that is no excuse for cruel treatment. It used to be considered acceptable to enslave Africans because they were not white, and the German people accepted the murder of six million Jews people they were not Christian (Newkirk 45). To be concise, this paper argues that animals have their inalienable rights and people should seek no excuses in halting the progress of animal moral rights, anti- abuse and fair treatment movements developing nowadays. Animal Moral Rights Power is no excuse for oppression, and it’s time to throw away the silly prejudices and look at the facts: animals are sentient. Animal rights have often been deemed untenable for several reasons, but a close look at facts proves otherwise.
Some people question how far to push laws against animal cruelty, and where to draw the line between sentient and non-sentient creatures. Can a man be prosecuted for stepping on an ant? Should it be illegal to shoot a wild animal that is attacking you? The answer to the second question is “No” because, self-defense has always been, and will always be a legitimate reason to kill (Herscovici 33). As for the question of where to draw the line in which animals to guarantee fundamental rights, the answer is that all animals have rights, including the tiniest insect. However, it is inevitable to avoid all contact with the smaller creatures, and protecting every bug is impossible, so killing an insect can be overlooked. The primary question put forth is whether or not man is taking unfair advantage of his animal counterparts through gross exploitation. Indeed, one must carefully analyzes the various supportive efforts animals routinely perform for the benefit of humanity, as well as the myriad consequences that arise from this selflessness. “Why and in what ways should humans be assessed differently than other animals, if they should?” (Singer 368). While there exists two very diverse sides to the animal rights debate, the prevailing opinion is that the animals forced to succumb to the horrendous testing procedures or inadequate treatment in zoos and circuses are worthy of being considered cognizant creatures with rights of their own. It can readily be argued that while animals may not be granted to the same type of rights mankind has granted for himself, they are still deserving of the rights to a life free of pain and suffering, and to live the way in which nature had intended.
One need only look around today’s society to recognize the many and varied contributions animals have historically made as a means by which to better mankind’s existence (Herscovici 56). Have animals been given the respect such overwhelming contributions demand? Can humanity ever get past the point where it views the animal kingdom as nothing more than a collection of living beings who exist solely to support man’s needs? The general view of animals - the stewards’ view of animals - has proved endlessly malleable, easily adjustable for our own convenience and peace of mind. Thus on the one hand animals were supposed to welcome the chase to the death; but on the other were supposed to lack the capability to care (Herscovici 25). There is no question that animals are, in fact, creatures who feel pain and submit to suffering for human causes. Carefully dissecting the definition of rights as they pertain to human and non-human animals, supporters effectively demonstrate how animals have their own established rights far removed from those of their human counterparts. The debate has raged long and loud with regard to animals and whether or not they truly possess rights; however, that battle has historically been waged in pursuit of attributing human rights to the animal kingdom. This aspect, in and of itself, is an inaccurate interpretation of rights, being that man cannot expect to find his reflection in any other species but his own. The separation of human and non-human rights converge at the point where it is recognized that animals experience pain, suffering, wishes, desire, hopes, urges and impulses no differently than that of humanity (Newkirk 92). The Abuse and Ways to Prevent it Mammals, amphibians, reptiles, birds, and fish deserve protection under the law.
Cruelty or imprisonment of these types of animals should be a crime, since it is only done by choice, and is perfectly avoidable. A person should be charged with murder of an animal if the accusation is substantial, and if the act was done deliberately (Newkirk 72). For, if an animal is killed by a firearm or by a trap, or by anything that shows deliberate intention to kill, then the offense is prosecutable. It is easy to avoid killing if one does not pursue with the intention of murdering. Animals, of course, do not have an obligation to honor other animals’ rights because they cannot possibly be aware of these rights. In addition, if people somehow prevented animals from killing other animals, the result would be a disaster for the ecosystem, and a disruption of the balance of nature. Humans are the only species that has the choice of whether to be violent or placatory, and should therefore be obligated to steer clear of bloodshed. In conclusion, the practices of meat farming, fur farming, and vivisection, should be outlawed to stop the brutal treatment of helpless animals. The problem with so-called animal rights today is that they are rights more for people than for animals. It is a crime to kill a dog only because the owner will suffer mental stress, inconvenience, or loss of money (Herscovici 133). The dog’s life is not taken into consideration because crimes against animals are only considered crimes on the grounds of the harm that they cause the owners of the animals. It is vital to acknowledge the rights of animals because doing so will stop the unimaginable atrocities that are committed against animals everyday in places like meat and dairy farms, fur farms, and vivisection labs.
Every year, 30 million sentient animals are slaughtered for food, after living lives on farms that mimic Hitler’s concentration camps (Singer 243). The meat industry treats its animals as machines that should be exploited and manipulated in whatever means necessary to ensure the maximum output of meat as quickly as possible, for the lowest cost. Farms take calves from their mothers at birth, and stuff them into jam-packed, disease infested, light-less barns with hundreds of other despairing animals. Each animal is injected with globs of growth hormones that speed up growth so fast that many animals lack the leg muscles to support their overgrown, abnormal body waits. In order to be fattened, each is force fed with a funnel until its stomach nearly bursts, and is then given chemicals that prevent vomiting. Females live a constant cycle of births and immediate re-impregnation, while kept in furrowing crates and gestation cages, which don’t allow them to lie down comfortably. As long as it is profitable to abuse animals in this way, it will continue to be done- unless people realize the truth about animals’ rights, and treat animals with the same dignity and respect with which they treat themselves. Basic logic and reasoning should tell people that there is something wrong with torturing animals for money or meat. No law should have to define what cruelty is- people should be able to see it. All that stands in the way of giving animals their rights is greed and pure cruelty.