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Animal rights

Animals primarily use instinct to survive, people use reason.

Mans consciousness shares with animals the first two stages of its development; sensations and percetions; but it is the third state, conceptions that makes him a man.  

While animals survive by adjusting themselves to their background, man survives by adjusting his background to himself”

   --  Ayn Rand

Animal grievances

  • No experiments on animals 
  • No breeding and killing animals for food or clothes or medicine 
  • No use of animals for hard labour 
  • No selective breeding for any reason other than the benefit of the animal 
  • No hunting 
  • No zoos or use of animals in entertainment

Do animals have rights?

Sure they do. The same principles that give us our rights, give animals their rights. They control their own bodies and nothing can change this.

Do animals have legal rights?

Only the ones we give them in peoples courts. When Pig court/Cow court demands I come an answer for the heinous crimes of eating pork and beef then I will start worrying about infringing on their rights.

Isn't that contradictory?

No, In the same way, that a rape victim must pursue the perpetrator in court, so must the pig pursue the violator of their rights. This is the distinction between
  • Natural rights
  • Legal rights
  • Enforced rights

So why should animal rights be enforced in a people court?

Why is it that the following should be a crime, but eating animals not.
  • Bestiality
  • Cruelty to animals
  • Animal neglect
    (Poaching not included here as that is a crime agains the owner, not the animal)
The above crimes are not normally found in the animal kingdom, they are specific to people only. As an owner of an animal, you become its custodian, and therefore duties towards its welfare(like a child). 

Most animals kill for sustenance only, this is a way of life for the animal kingdom, to prosecute any person for doing what is natural in the animal kingdom, you would have to punish all other animals in the kingdom for the same offence. That would not work.

Why do we not give animals rights?

  • The consequences are so limiting for humanity
  • It would give rights to creatures that are so simple that the idea of them having rights seems to defy common sense
  • Only that 'higher' animals have rights
Animals don't think
Animals are not really conscious
Animals were put on earth to serve human beings
Animals don't have souls
Animals don't behave morally
Animals are not members of the 'moral community'
Animals lack the capacity for free moral judgement
Animals don't think

St Thomas Aquinas taught that animals acted purely on instinct while human beings engaged in rational thought.

Animals don't have rights against other animals, rights are a human invention, to be applied to humans.

Why should we give animals rights?

  • Human animals have rights
  • There is no morally relevant difference between human animals and adult mammals
  • Therefore adult mammals must have rights too
Human beings and adult mammals have rights because they are both 'subjects-of-a-life'.

This means that:

They have similar levels of biological complexity
They are conscious and aware that they exist
They know what is happening to them
They prefer some things and dislike others
They make conscious choices
They live in such a way as to give themselves the best quality of life
They plan their lives to some extent
The quality and length of their life matters to them



Link24Ethics of Animal rights (much of content on this page comes from here)
(more can be taken from this page)