Animal rights are privileges given to nonhuman animals based on the control of their own lives (Yount, 2004). This also involves consideration in their interests such as living free lives; thus, they deserve the same consideration as human beings. Animal activists protest against the protection of one species and not others in the world. They further argue that animal's use as food, experiments, entertainment or clothing needs control. Animal rights have been a case of debate for a long period of mainly due to the rising rates of experimentation on animals among many other reasons. PETA (People for Ethical Treatment of Animals) is a group that represents individuals, who act towards the protection of the right of animals against human exploitation (Newmyer, 2006). Human exploitation exhibits through various ways including the use of leather, fur or other body parts, consumption and for experimentation. This essay argues on the proposition for the encouragement and implementation of animals rights based on various aspects of life.
Arguments for Animal Rights
The allocation of animal rights bases on human morality. Animals have a space in this world in the same way as human beings (Rolin, 1980). The values behind animal rights mainly rely on the respect given to the logic behind the implementation of the rights. Any argument made that, conceivably elucidates the independent morals of human beings, also argues that animals have the same values and that these values equally rests on human beings. Consequently, any argument made in inclination to the treating of human beings with respect also deduces that animals have the same rights.
Additionally, it is necessary to protect animals and maintain the balance of biodiversity in the world (Karnack, 1996). Animals help human beings in various ways, such as feeding and for clothing. Animal rights are necessary for the protection of certain species of animals exploited significantly by human beings in different ways, for example, the use of fur from endangered species such as polar bears to make coats. Further than that, the consumption of animals also causes suffering of animals, which can be controlled and even avoided. This is because human beings are not entirely constrained by biological evolution, unlike other animals. As such, we can feed on plants and survive effectively without eating meat.
However, scientists opposing the implementation of the animal rights argue that human beings and animal species have some common rights. For example, a lion eats other animal species, and as such, even human beings can feed on other animals. However, about this argument, human beings have an option to feed on other substances other than animals, whereas nonhuman animals such as carnivores have no other option, but to feed on flesh. Therefore, human beings ought to give animals their rights and respect them while balancing the ecological system.
Another point of argument in relation to animal rights is the mental capacity of animals. Activists argue that human beings have rights regardless of their age and their mental capacity. This is mainly in relation to the mentally incapable individuals and babies who do not even have the ability to think for themselves. Notably, some of the animal species have a higher mental capability compared to mentally incapable individuals or individuals in comatose. Activists argue that if these people have their own rights in this universe, then it is only logic to have rights for animals protecting them against suffering and their survival.
Opposing this point, some individuals argue that human beings in general have a high, mental capacity compared to animals. Further, the allocation of rights lies on the ability of a species of people, to think and as such, animals should not have rights because they cannot think. However, the inability of a certain population of human beings to think on their own creates a leeway for animals to have rights as they also cannot think for themselves about morals. Further than that, the ability of animals to suffer creates a criterion for them to hold rights. Rights should ensure that individuals are protected without the compromise of their rights.
Another argument is on the ability to have duties. Just like the inappropriateness of tying rights and duties, having duties is also an inapt ground for having rights. This is because there are people who do not have duties, but still have their rights. Further than that, despite the fact that animals do not have their own duties, they are still subject to punishments and human laws. They can even be imprisoned or even sentenced to death. For example, if a dog attacks a human being, it faces sentencing to death, or under better circumstances, confined for the rest of its life. In addition to that, the farmer under a depredation permit (Regan, 1983) can kill a deer which eats crops form an individual’s farm. Therefore, if animals are subject to human laws, they also ought to have their own rights that protect them from harm.
In addition to that, there is no difference that can acceptably distinguish human beings from animals: morally in relation to intelligence, color, posture or shape. This is because human beings are also different from each other and there is no clear line that distinguishes who have rights or who is not. This comes as a counter argument to the fact that human beings and animals are dissimilar and as such, animals deserve different treatment. Activists continue to advocate for the equality of animals and human beings in the world.
Human beings should enhance their knowledge about animals, and as such, we should not be insensitive to animals based on ignorance. This is in relation to the facts known of some animals such as the parrot having a measure of speech, feelings and their own ideas. This can be seen through the responsibility of parent animals taking care of their young ones and various groups of animals staying collectively to enhance their safety. Animals also have a sense of belonging to their own groups, and as such, they fight to protect their own if trouble arises. Therefore, if animals have feelings and responsibilities, they should have their own rights.
Argument also arises over the aspect of reciprocation. Animal right opposition argues that it is illogical to give rights to animals, as they will not reciprocate the human rights. For example, human beings enjoy the right of protection, and it is difficult for animals to respect this right especially if they feel threatened. For this reason, they should not have rights. However, the entire concept of having animal rights rests on how human beings should treat animals under normal circumstances and not the other way round. Therefore, human instincts and human integrity forms the basis. Further than that, human beings also care about the rights of the future generations that are still unborn and yet the unborn generations cannot reciprocate.
Another point of controversy goes as far as the seclusion of plants as species. Argument rises over the ability of plants to feel pain. Scientists argue that plants are conscious, and as such, they should also have their own rights if animals get theirs. However, whether plants are conscious or whether they have pain receptors is still debatable. However, this has no impact on the allocation of rights to animals. In addition to that, the feeding on animals and the feeding on plants are not equivalent based on the fact that it requires many plants to feed an entire population including omnivores and herbivores.
In summary, the allocation of rights to animals should be highly considered as it would help in protecting animals and maintaining the balance on biodiversity. This relies on various arguments regarding human morality and the ability of humans to treat animals with dignity. Major arguments towards the implementation of animal rights include the dependence on animals, mental capacity, pain and suffering, sentience and territoriality. These factors play a crucial role in influencing the inclination towards the implementation of animal rights.