Primer on Animal Rights

Animal rights is 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.

Singer challenges this by arguing that formerly unequal rights for gays, women, and certain races were justified using the same set of intuitions. Researchers point out that, with the use of animals as subjects, scientists may be capable of curing or reducing the death and disability rates caused by such diseases as kidney and liver failure, birth defects, cancer, and AIDS. Religion and Ethics home Religions.

Animal Welfare Facts and Resources. Use these resources to learn important facts about animal welfare, laws, issues, and activism focusing on the treatment and mistreatment of animals worldwide.
Dec 08,  · Animal rights. There is much disagreement as to whether non-human animals have rights, and what is meant by animal rights. There is much less disagreement about the consequences of accepting that.
Friends of Animals Programs Our program section is a collection of our continued efforts to free animals from cruelty and institutionalized exploitation around the world. Animal Rights The right of animals to be free from exploitation, domination and abuse by humans.
Animal rights is 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.
What is Animal Rights? Animal rights is the philosophy of allowing non-human animals to have the most basic rights that all sentient beings desire: the freedom to live a natural life free from human exploitation, unnecessary pain and suffering, and premature death.
Navigation menu

Philosophical background

Animal Welfare Facts and Resources. Use these resources to learn important facts about animal welfare, laws, issues, and activism focusing on the treatment and mistreatment of animals worldwide.

In addition, vegetarians are also helping the environment and the world hunger problem, since less water, land, and energy are needed to feed a person on a vegetarian diet than on an animal-based diet. Vegetarians do not eat meat, poultry, and fish. Vegans are vegetarians who abstain from eating or using all animal products, including milk, cheese, other dairy items, eggs, wool, silk, or leather.

Many people become vegetarian instantly. They totally give up flesh foods overnight. Others make the change gradually. Do what works best for you. The key to a healthy vegetarian diet, as with any other diet, is to eat a wide variety of foods, including fruits, vegetables, plenty of leafy greens, whole grain products, nuts, seeds, and legumes.

Limit your intake of sweets and fatty foods. Books, pamphlets, bumper stickers, t-shirts, post cards, article reprints. Box , Baltimore, MD or send a request via electronic mail to vrg vrg.

The page Vegetarian Journal contains educational articles, delicious recipes, informative book reviews, notices about vegetarian events, product evaluations, and hints on where to find vegetarian products and services. Vegetarian Journal is published by The Vegetarian Resource Group, a non-profit educational organization. Donations above the cost of membership are tax deductible. The contents of this website and our other publications, including Vegetarian Journal, are not intended to provide personal medical advice.

Medical advice should be obtained from a qualified health professional. We often depend on product and ingredient information from company statements. Please use your best judgement about whether a product is suitable for you.

To be sure, do further research or confirmation on your own. Any page on this site may be reproduced for non-commercial use if left intact with credit given to The Vegetarian Resource Group and each page linked to www.

What is Animal Rights? There is a saying which reflects this sentiment: When they came for the socialists, I didn't do anything, for I wasn't a socialist.

When they came for the Gypsies, I didn't do anything for I wasn't a Gypsy. When they came for the Jews, I didn't do anything for I wasn't a Jew. When they came for me, there wasn't anyone left to do anything for me. Bringing About Change Though it seems impossible for humans always to act perfectly, animal rights activists strive not to hurt other beings.

Animal Rights Concerns People involved in animal rights have many different opinions. Fur Wool Wildlife Aquariums and zoos Pets or companion animals Cosmetic testing on animals Use of animals in entertainment Medical experiments on animals If we add up all the deaths of animals in all the areas mentioned above, we would get a very small percentage of total animal deaths in the United States.

Stevens then began working for passage of federal legislation that would also protect laboratory animals. Congress charged the u. In , after Stevens documented continuing inhumane laboratory conditions, the Animal Welfare Act was amended to strengthen standards for the humane handling, treatment, and transportation of animals by dealers, research facilities, and exhibitors.

In , the secretary of agriculture issued regulations implementing the amended act. During this period, the animal protection movement continued to expand. Over animal rights groups had been organized in the United States, claiming a total membership of 10 million. Although each of these groups can be said to support the humane treatment of animals, their philosophies vary dramatically.

The most radical group is the Animal Liberation Front ALF , an underground organization formed in with an estimated worldwide membership of several hundred as of the mids.

ALF opposes the use of all animals in medical and scientific research, including psychological and surgical experimentation on living animals; ALF also opposes using animals for testing new drugs and cosmetics, for instructional purposes in biology and medical school classes, and for food, clothing, sports, circuses, and pets. Although most of ALF's targets have been scientific research labs, the group claimed responsibility for bombing the cars of two research scientists in England in June ALF has also conducted raids in more than a dozen other countries.

By , in response to raids by ALF and other groups, more than 20 states had enacted protective legislation prohibiting interference with animal research and agricultural facilities. In August , citing the inability of state and local law enforcement agencies to conduct interstate or international investigations, Congress passed comparable federal legislation. PETA denies any connection between the two groups but has expressed its admiration for ALF's activities and often publicizes the group's raids.

Both ALF and PETA share a common goal of ending all animal research, a philosophy that represents a fundamental split from other animal rights organizations such as Stevens's Animal Welfare Institute and the Humane Society of the United States, which accept animal experimentation but work for the humane treatment of animals in that and other contexts.

Supporters of animal research debunk many of the claims of animal rights activities as pure myths. For instance, animal rights activists often direct their attention towards the use of such animals as dogs, cats, and non-human primates in medical research, but scientists point out that the use of such animals accounts for less than 1 percent of the total number of animals used in research.

The vast majority of animals used in research, according to these scientists, are rodents, including mice and rats bred specifically for the purpose of testing them. Similarly, these scientists refute animal rights advocates' claims that alternatives to animal research exist in the form of computer models and tissue cultures but that the scientific community refuses to accept them.

Scientists claim that even the most sophisticated technological model cannot replicate the genetic and physiological systems of humans as those found in live animals.

According to the Foundation for Biomedical Research, the limitations in the use of computer models and other alternatives may overcome the need for animals in research, but these alternative methods serve only as adjuncts to basic animal research. They value their lives, even if we don't understand those lives. The survey also found that 54 percent opposed hunting for sport and 50 percent opposed the wearing of fur.

Forty-six percent said the laws protecting animals from inhumane treatment were satisfactory, whereas 30 percent said the laws did not go far enough, and 17 percent said the laws went too far. Animal rights leaders expressed surprise that so many Americans agreed with some of the principle tenets of the animal protection movement. A new wrinkle in the Animal Rights movement has been the attempt to gain the recognition of legal rights for animals. But this theory remained abstract until the end of the twentieth century.

Then in , Stephen Wise published an influential animal rights book. Toward Legal Rights for Animals took a legalistic approach in arguing that at least two human-like species, chimpanzees and bonobos, and perhaps other species that were similarly developed, should be considered "persons". Among those legal scholars discussing the book were richard posner , eminent professor at the University of Chicago law school and judge for the U.

Tribe seemed especially taken with the book's arguments. With the aid of statutes like those creating corporate persons, our legal system could surely recognize the personhood of chimpanzees, bonobos, and maybe someday of computers that are capable not just of beating Gary Kasparov but feeling sorry for him when he loses.

In , Wise published a book called Drawing the Line: Science and the Case for Animal Rights , in which he expanded his rights arguments to include other species. But the arguments remained very similar. Many legal commentators have been supportive or, at least, sympathetic toward the views of Wise and writers with similar opinions. Other legal scholars, on the other hand, have pointed out that granting broad rights to animals conflicts with some of the basic assumptions of the U.

Even where laws provide heightened protection for animals against abuse, the animals are still treated as a special form of property. If the law were to extend recognition of animals as holders of certain legal rights, their status as something greater than property raises difficult questions. For instance, when would these rights conflict with recognized Human Rights , and could the right of an animal in a certain case be greater than a right enjoyed by a human? Likewise, how can society merge the recognition of animal rights with the traditional, and in some cases, fundamental uses of animals, including their functions as sources of food and as goods and services that may be bartered?

Scholarship and debate by legal experts continues to grow regarding these questions. A Guide to the Issues. The Draize test measures the irritancy of a substance such as a cosmetic or pesticide by applying it to the eyes of live rabbits for twenty-four hours.

The LD50 test is used to calculate the median lethal dose of a substance by feeding it to a defined population of animals until 50 percent of them die. Some product manufacturers, such as Avon Products, Revlon, Faberge, Amway Corporation, Mary Kay Cosmetics, and Noxell Corporation, have discontinued some or all animal testing as a result of continued protests over the use of these tests. During the late s, the Federal Bureau of Investigation reported more than fifty incidents of Vandalism annually at research facilities and attacks on researchers themselves.

In response, the U. Congress and numerous state legislatures enacted protective legislation. If serious bodily injury or death to another person occurs in the course of the prohibited activity, the statute provides for imprisonment up to a life term.

The act defines an animal enterprise as " A a commercial or academic enterprise that uses animals for food or fiber production, agriculture, research, or testing; B a zoo, aquarium, circus, rodeo, or lawful competitive animal event; or C any fair or similar event intended to advance agricultural arts and sciences. Several states also regulate the use of animals kept in pounds for use in research. Maine prohibits the use of pound animals for any research Me. California requires that any pound or animal regulation department where animals are turned over to a research facility post a sign stating "Animals Turned in to This Shelter May Be Used for Research Purposes," in a clearly visible place Cal.

In Oklahoma, pounds are required to supply unclaimed animals to research institutions, unless the owner of an animal bringing it to the pound specifies it is not to be used in research Okla. At least three states regulate the sale of animals to research facilities.

Minnesota law prohibits the transfer of a dog or cat by a person other than the owner to a research animal dealer, the possession of a dog or cat by a dealer without the owner's permission, or the transfer of a dog or cat by a dealer to an institution without the owner's permission Minn.

California law provides that anyone who steals an animal for purposes of sale, medical research, or other commercial use, or who knowingly defrauds another person of any animal for purposes of medical research or slaughter, may be imprisoned for up to one year Cal. New York law prohibits the selling or giving away of a dog to a research institution without the written permission of its owner N.

On the federal level, the Animal Welfare Act was amended in to regulate the use of pound animals in research. A new section titled "Protection of pets" provides that dogs and cats acquired by a pound, humane society, or similar entity or research facility must be held for not less than five days before being sold to dealers, so as to allow their recovery by their owners or their adoption by other individuals 7 U.

The use of animals in scientific, medical, and commercial research is expected to remain controversial. In her book The Monkey Wars , Deborah Blum advocated that animal rights activists and researchers share their viewpoints together in education programs to achieve a realistic understanding of the issues.

According to Blum, such an understanding could end the two sides' long and bitter standoff. Since its founding, PETA has claimed a certain level of success in curbing unethical treatment of animals. Its self-proclaimed successes include the closing of the largest horse slaughterhouse in the United States, the closing of a military laboratory where animals were shot, and the end of the use of cats and dogs in wound laboratories.

PETA not only details its "victories" on its web site, it also provides "action alerts" that identify instances that the group believes constitute animal cruelty. Although PETA has had a significant impact on the use of animals in medical and scientific research, as well as other uses, its tactics have created an equal level of controversy. For instance, according to PETA president Ingrid Newkirk, human beings should not drink milk produced by cows, eat turkey meat, or wear fur because of the practices involved in preparing these goods.

PETA's protests have ranged from vandalizing fur coats sold at a Macy's outlet in Boston to advocating the bombing of a New Jersey laboratory that uses animals for research.

PETA claims that it does not support Terrorism , but it has funded, for example, the legal defense of an arsonist that set fire to a Michigan research lab. PETA has been active in the court system, with various levels of success. On each of the sections was a statement or quotation "concerning the health and ethical problems associated with the killing of cows for food.

PETA brought suit in the U. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit affirmed the summary judgment.

Animal rights is the idea in which some, or all, non-human animals are entitled to the possession of their own lives and that their most basic interests—such as the need to avoid suffering—should be afforded the same consideration as similar interests of human beings. Animal rights: Animal rights, moral or legal entitlements attributed to nonhuman animals, usually because of the complexity of their cognitive, emotional, and social lives or their capacity to experience physical or emotional pain or pleasure. Historically, different views of the scope of animal rights have. Animal Welfare Facts and Resources. Use these resources to learn important facts about animal welfare, laws, issues, and activism focusing on the treatment and mistreatment of animals worldwide.