Animal rights

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This article is about the concept or philosophy of animal rights. For information about animal rights activism, see Animal liberation movement. For the album by Moby, see Animal Rights (album). For animal welfare, see Animal welfare.
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Image:Great Ape Project logo.jpg
The logo of the Great Ape Project, which is campaigning for a Declaration on Great Apes. <ref name=ape>"Declaration on Great Apes", Great Ape Project, retrieved April 20, 2006.</ref>

Animal rights, animal liberation, or animal personhood, <ref name=Michael>Michael, Steven. "Animal personhood: A Threat to Research", The Physiologist, Volume 47, No. 6, December 2004.</ref> is the movement to protect non human animals from being used or regarded as property by humans. It is a radical social movement <ref name=Guither>Guither, Harold D. Animal Rights: History and Scope of a Radical Social Movement. Southern Illinois University Press; reissue edition 1997. ISBN 0-8093-2199-8</ref> <ref name=EB1>"Ethics," Encyclopaedia Britannica, retrieved June 17, 2006.</ref> insofar as it aims not only to attain more humane treatment for animals, <ref name=EB2> "Environmentalism," Encyclopædia Britannica, retrieved June 17, 2006.</ref> which is the sole focus of animal welfare, but also to include species other than human beings within the moral community <ref>Taylor, Angus. Animals and Ethics: An Overview of the Philosophical Debate, Broadview Press, May 2003. ISBN 1-55111-569-7</ref> by giving their basic interests — for example, the interest in avoiding suffering — the same consideration as those of human beings. <ref name=EB3>"Animal rights," Encyclopædia Britannica, retrieved June 16, 2006.</ref> The claim is that animals should no longer be regarded legally or morally as property, or treated as resources for human purposes, but should instead be regarded as persons. <ref name=AAMC>"'Personhood' Redefined: Animal Rights Strategy Gets at the Essence of Being Human", Association of American Medical Colleges, retrieved July 12, 2006.</ref>

Animal law courses are now taught in 69 out of 180 United States law schools, <ref>Animal law program, Animal Legal Defense Fund, retrieved August 23, 2006; 47 U.S. law schools have student animal legal defense funds, with more being set up in Australia, Canada, England, and New Zealand and many others. State, regional, and local bar associations are forming animal law committees to advocate for new animal rights and protections.</ref> and the idea of extending personhood to animals has the support of some senior legal scholars, including Alan Dershowitz <ref name=DershowitzAA>Dershowitz, Alan. Rights from Wrongs: A Secular Theory of the Origins of Rights, 2004, pp. 198-99, and PDF The Animals' Advocate, Winter 2002, volume 21.</ref> and Laurence Tribe of Harvard Law School. <ref name=AAMC/> The Seattle-based Great Ape Project is campaigning for the United Nations to adopt a Declaration on Great Apes, which would see gorillas, orangutans, chimpanzees and bonobos included in a "community of equals" with human beings, extending to them the protection of three basic interests: the right to life, the protection of individual liberty, and the prohibition of torture. <ref name=ape /> This is seen by an increasing number of animal rights lawyers as a first step toward granting rights to other animals. <ref name=Michael/><ref>Steven Wise, who teaches animal rights law at Harvard Law School, has said of this approach, quoting economist Robert Samuelson: "Progress occurs funeral by funeral." (Wise, Steven M. "Address at the 5th Annual Conference on Animals and the Law," Committee on Legal Issues Pertaining to Animals, Association of the Bar of the City of New York, September 25, 1999)</ref>


[edit] History of the concept

Image:Great Chain of Being 2.png
The Great Chain of Being, the hierarchy of all forms of life, including angels. From Didacus Valades' Rhetorica Christiana, 1579

The 20th century debate about animal rights can be traced back to the earliest philosophers. <ref name=EB3/> In the 6th century BC Pythagoras, a Greek philosopher and mathematician, urged respect for animals because he believed in the transmigration of souls, while, another Athenian, Aristotle, writing in the 4th century BC, argued that non human animals ranked far below humans in the Great Chain of Being, or scala naturae, because of their alleged irrationality, and that as a result animals had no interests of their own, and existed only for human benefit. <ref name=EB3/>

Henry Burgh created the aspca to stop that idea from controlling human minds he loved animals.

In the 17th century, the French philosopher René Descartes argued that animals had no souls, and therefore did not think or feel pain, meaning that no ill-treatment of them was wrong. Against this, his compatriot Jean-Jacques Rousseau argued, in the preface of his Discourse on Inequality (1754), that man starts as an animal, though not one "devoid of intellect and freedom." <ref name=Rousseau>Rousseau, Jean-Jacques. Discourse on Inequality, 1754, preface.</ref> However, as animals are sensitive beings, "they too ought to participate in natural right, and that man is subject to some sort of duties toward them," specifically "one [has] the right not to be uselessly mistreated by the other." <ref name=Rousseau/>

Contemporaneous with Rousseau was the Scottish writer John Oswald, who died in 1793. In The Cry of Nature or an Appeal to Mercy and Justice on Behalf of the Persecuted Animals, Oswald argued that man is naturally equipped with feelings of mercy and compassion. [citation needed] If each man had to witness the death of the animals he ate, he argued, a vegetarian diet would be far more common. The division of labor, however, allows modern man to eat flesh without experiencing what Oswald called the prompting of man's natural sensitivities, while the brutalization of modern man made him inured to these sensitivities.

Later in the 18th century, one of the founders of modern utilitarianism, the English philosopher Jeremy Bentham, argued that animal pain is as real and as morally relevant as human pain, and that "[t]he day may come when the rest of the animal creation may acquire those rights which never could have been witholden from them but by the hand of tyranny." <ref name=Bentham>Bentham, Jeremy. An Introduction to the Principles of Morals and Legislation, 1789. Latest edition: Adamant Media Corporation, 2005.</ref> Bentham argued that the ability to suffer, not the ability to reason, must be the benchmark of how we treat other beings. If the ability to reason were the criterion, many human beings, including babies and disabled people, would also have to be treated as though they were things, famously writing that:

It may one day come to be recognized that the number of the legs, the villosity of the skin, or the termination of the os sacrum are reasons equally insufficient for abandoning a sensitive being to the same fate. What else is it that should trace the insuperable line? Is it the faculty of reason or perhaps the faculty of discourse? But a full-grown horse or dog is beyond comparison a more rational, as well as more conversable animal, than an infant of a day or a week or even a month old. But suppose they were otherwise, what would it avail? The question is not, Can they reason?, nor Can they talk? but, Can they suffer? Why should the law refuse its protection to any sensitive being? The time will come when humanity will extend its mantle over everything which breathes ... <ref name=Bentham/>

In the 19th century, Arthur Schopenhauer argued that non human animals have the same essence as humans, despite lacking the faculty of reason. Although he considered vegetarianism to be only supererogatory, he argued for consideration to be given to animals in morality, and he opposed vivisection. His critique of Kantian ethics contains a lengthy and often furious polemic against the exclusion of animals in his moral system, which contained the famous line: "Cursed be any morality that does not see the essential unity in all eyes that see the sun." [citation needed]

The concept of animal rights became the subject of an influential book in 1892, Animals' Rights: Considered in Relation to Social Progress, by English social reformer Henry Salt, who had formed the Humanitarian League a year earlier, with the objective of banning hunting as a sport.

In Nazi Germany, one of the first acts of the new regime was to enact animal rights laws, <ref name=kaltio>Animal Rights in the Third Reich Kaltio, Aslak Aikio February 2003</ref> <ref name=nlaw>1933 Law on Animal Protection World Future Fund</ref> although writers such as Roberta Kalechofsky have argued that the Nazis continued to allow research on animals. Kalechofsky cites The Lancet, which reviewed the Nazis' anti-vivisection legislation and concluded that it was no different from the British law that had been passed in 1875, which restricted but did not eliminate animal research.<ref name=micahbooks>Nazis and Animal Research Micah Publications, Roberta Kalechofsky</ref> Kalechofsky has also written a refutation of Hitler's vegetarianism. <ref name=micahbooks2>Hitler's Vegetarianism Micah Publications, Roberta Kalechofsky</ref>

[edit] History of the modern movement

The modern animal rights movement can be traced to the early 1970s, and is one of the few examples of social movements that were created by philosophers, <ref name=EB1/> and in which they remain in the forefront. In the early 1970s, a group of Oxford philosophers began to question whether the moral status of non-human animals was necessarily inferior to that of human beings. <ref name=EB1/> This group included the psychologist Richard D. Ryder, who coined the phrase "speciesism" in 1970, first using it in a privately printed pamphlet <ref name=Ryder>Ryder, Richard D. "All beings that feel pain deserve human rights", The Guardian, August 6, 2005</ref> to describe the assignment of value to the interests of beings on the basis of their membership of a particular species.

Ryder became a contributor to the influential book Animals, Men and Morals: An Inquiry into the Maltreatment of Non-humans, edited by Roslind and Stanley Godlovitch and John Harris, and published in 1972. It was in a review of this book for the New York Review of Books that Peter Singer, now Ira W. DeCamp Professor of Bioethics at the University Center for Human Values at Princeton, put forward the basic arguments, based on utilitarianism, that in 1975 became Animal Liberation, the book often referred to as the "bible" of the animal rights movement.

In the 1980s and 1990s, the movement was joined by a wide variety of academic and professional groups, including theologians, lawyers, physicians, psychologists, psychiatrists, veterinarians, <ref name=EB3/> pathologists, and former vivisectionists.

Other books regarded as ground-breaking include Tom Regan's, The Case for Animal Rights (1983); James Rachels's, Created from Animals: The Moral Implications of Darwinism (1990), Steven M. Wise's, Rattling the Cage: Toward Legal Rights for Animals (2000) and Julian H. Franklin's "Animal Rights and Moral Philosophy(2005). <ref name=EB3/>

[edit] Philosophy

Animal rights
Image:Olive baboon1.jpg

Greg Avery · David Barbarash
Rod Coronado · Barry Horne
Ronnie Lee · Keith Mann
Ingrid Newkirk · Andrew Tyler
Jerry Vlasak · Robin Webb

Animal Aid · ALF
Animal liberation movement
Animal Rights Militia
BUAV · Great Ape Project
Justice Department
Stop Huntingdon Animal Cruelty

Animal Enterprise Terrorism Act
Animal rights · Animal testing
Bile bear · Factory farming
Operation Backfire

Cambridge University primates
Pit of despair · Silver Spring monkeys
Unnecessary Fuss

Steven Best · Stephen R.L. Clark
Gary Francione · Gill Langley
Tom Regan · Richard D. Ryder
Peter Singer · Steven M. Wise

Animal experimentation
Animal Liberation Front
Animal rights movement
Animal rights

WikiProject Animal rights

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Animal rights is the concept that all or some animals are entitled to possess their own lives; that they are deserving of, or already possess, certain moral rights; and that some basic rights for animals ought to be enshrined in law. The animal-rights view rejects the concept that animals are merely capital goods or property intended for the benefit of humans. The concept is often confused with animal welfare, which is the philosophy that takes cruelty towards animals and animal suffering into account, but that does not assign specific moral rights to them.

The animal-rights philosophy does not necessarily maintain that human and non-human animals are equal. For example, animal-rights advocates do not call for voting rights for chickens. Some activists also make a distinction between sentient or self-aware animals and other life forms, with the belief that only sentient animals, or perhaps only animals who have a significant degree of self-awareness, should be afforded the right to possess their own lives and bodies, without regard to how they are valued by humans. Others would extend this right to all animals, even those without developed nervous systems or self-consciousness. [citation needed] Activists maintain that any human being or institution that commodifies animals for food, entertainment, cosmetics, clothing, animal testing, or for any other reason, infringes upon the animals' right to possess themselves and to pursue their own ends.

Few people would deny that non-human great apes, such as chimpanzees, bonobos, and gorillas, are intelligent, are aware of their own condition, have goals, and may become frustrated when their freedoms are curtailed.

In the late 1960s and early '70s, Martin E. P. Seligman demonstrated that dogs repeatedly exposed to inescapable electroshocks are very similar to severely depressed humans. He wrote:

So there are considerable parallels between the behaviors which define learned helplessness and major symptoms of depression. Helpless animals become passive in the face of later trauma; they do not initiate responses to control trauma and the amplitude of responding is lowered. Depressed patients are characterized by diminished response initiation; their behavioral repertoire is impoverished and in severe cases, almost stuporous. Helpless animals do not benefit from exposure to experiences in which responding now produces relief; rather they often revert to passively accepting shock. Depressed patients have strong negative expectations about the effectiveness of their own responding. They construe even actions that succeed as having failed and underestimate and devalue their own performance. In addition, evidence exists which suggests that both learned helplessness and depression dissipate in time, are associated with weight loss and anorexia, or loss of libido, and norepinephrine depletion.

Finally, it is not an accident that we have used the word “helplessness” to describe the behavior of dogs in our laboratory. Animals that lie down in traumatic shock that could be removed simply by jumping to the other side, and who fail even to make escape movements are readily seen as helpless. Moreover we should not forget that depressed patients commonly describe themselves helpless, hopeless, and powerless.<ref name=Seligman> Seligman, M.E. “Depression and Learned Helplessness.” In (R.J Friedmand and M.M. Katz Eds.) The Psychology of Depression: Contemporary Theory and Research. V.H. Winston and Sons. 1974.</ref>

In contrast, animals like jellyfish have simple nervous systems, and may be little more than automata, capable of basic reflexes but incapable of formulating any ends to their actions or plans to pursue them, and equally unable to notice whether they are in captivity. But the biology of mind is largely a black box and claims regarding the existence or absence of mind in other animals, based on their physiology, are speculative. Neuroscientist Sam Harris points out:

Inevitably, scientists treat consciousness as a mere attribute of certain large-brained animals. The problem, however, is that nothing about a brain, when surveyed as a physical system, delares it to be a bearer of that peculiar, inner dimension that each of us experiences as consciousness in his own case.... The operational definition of consciousness ... is reportability. But consciousness and reportabiltiy are not the same thing. Is a starfish conscious? No science that conflates consciousness with reportabilty will deliver an answer to this question. To look for consciousness in the world on the basis of its outward signs is the only thing we can do.

And so, while we know many things about ourselves [and other animals] in anatomical, physiological, and evolutionary terms, we currently have no idea why it is "like something" to be what we are. The fact that the universe is illuminated where you stand, the fact that your thoughts and moods and sensations have a qualitative character, is an absolute mystery.<ref name=Harris> Harris, S The End of Faith. Religion, Terror, And The Future Of Reason. W.W. Norton & Company. 2004.</ref>

The animal-rights debate, much like the abortion debate, is complicated by the difficulty in establishing clear-cut distinctions on which to base moral and political judgements. The default human/nonhuman animal relationship is deeply rooted in prehistory and tradition.

Opponents of animal rights have attempted to identify the morally relevant differences between humans and animals that might justify the attribution of rights and interests to the former but not to the latter. Various distinguishing features of humans have been proposed, including the possession of a soul, the ability to use language, self-consciousness, a high level of intelligence, and the ability to recognize the rights and interests of others. However, such criteria face the difficulty that they do not seem to apply to all and only humans: each may apply either to some but not to all humans or to all humans but also to some animals.

[edit] Different approaches

Peter Singer and Tom Regan are the best-known proponents of animal liberation, though they differ in their philosophical approaches. Another influential thinker is Gary L. Francione, who presents an abolitionist view that non-human animals should have the basic right not to be treated as the property of humans.

[edit] Utilitarian approach

Although Singer is said to be the ideological founder of today's animal-liberation movement, his approach to an animal's moral status is not based on the concept of rights, but on the utilitarian principle of equal consideration of interests. His 1975 book Animal Liberation argues that humans grant moral consideration to other humans not on the basis of intelligence (in the instance of children, or the mentally disabled), on the ability to moralize (criminals and the insane), or on any other attribute that is inherently human, but rather on their ability to experience suffering. <ref name=Singer>Singer, Peter. Animal Liberation, 1975; second edition, New York: Avon Books, 1990, ISBN 0-940322-00-5</ref> As animals also experience suffering, he argues, excluding animals from such consideration is a form of discrimination known as "speciesism."

Singer uses a particularly compelling argument called the Argument from Marginal Cases. If we give rights to humans based on some quality they possess, then we cannot argue that humans that lack that quality should have rights. Such a quality may be sentience or ability to enter a social contract or rationality. But an infant born with a defect so that it will never have those qualities can not be granted rights without invoking speciesism. Singer argues that the way in which humans use animals is not justified, because the benefits to humans are negligible compared to the amount of animal suffering they necessarily entail, and because he feels the same benefits can be obtained in ways that do not involve the same degree of suffering.

A substantial multiple part debate between Singer and senior US Judge Richard Posner on Animal Liberation is listed online.<ref>Posner-Singer debate at Slate</ref> In it, Posner first argues that instead of starting his philosophy on the idea that consideration of pain for all animals is equal, his moral intuition tells him that humans prefer their own. If a dog threatened an infant, and it required causing more pain to the dog to get it to stop than the dog would have caused to the infant, then we, as humans, spare the infant. It would be "monstrous to spare the dog." Singer challenged Posner's moral intuition with ethical arguments that formerly unequal rights for homosexuals, women, and those of different races also were justified using moral intuition. Posner replies that equality in civil rights did not occur because of ethical arguments, but because facts mounted that there were not significant differences between humans based on race, sex, or sexual orientation that would support that inequality. If and when similar facts mount on the differences between humans and animals, those differences in rights too will erode. But facts will drive equality, and not ethical arguments that run contrary to moral instinct. Posner calls his approach soft utilitarian in contrast to Singer's hard utilitarian, in which the terms hard and soft refer to the power of the logic of the ethical arguments to overpower moral intuition. Posner concludes his philosophical arguments
The "soft" utilitarian position on animal rights is a moral intuition of many, probably most, Americans. We realize that animals feel pain, and we think that to inflict pain without a reason is bad. Nothing of practical value is added by dressing up this intuition in the language of philosophy; much is lost when the intuition is made a stage in a logical argument. When kindness toward animals is levered into a duty of weighting the pains of animals and of people equally, bizarre vistas of social engineering are opened up.

[edit] Rights-based approach

Tom Regan (The Case for Animal Rights and Empty Cages) argues that non-human animals, as "subjects-of-a-life," are bearers of rights like humans. He argues that, because the moral rights of humans are based on their possession of certain cognitive abilities, and because these abilities are also possessed by at least some non-human animals, such animals must have the same moral rights as humans. Although only humans act as moral agents, both marginal case humans and at least some non-humans must have the status of moral patients.

Animals in this class have "inherent value" as individuals, and cannot be regarded as means to an end. This is also called the "direct duty" view. According to Regan, we should abolish the breeding of animals for food, animal experimentation, and commercial hunting. Regan's theory does not extend to all sentient animals but only to those that can be regarded as "subjects-of-a-life." He argues that all normal mammals of at least one year of age would qualify in this regard.

The predation reductio argument is often applied to Regan's rights-based approach. If we are to protect animals with rights from moral patient humans, must we also protect them from other animals? This raises the issue of whether giving animals 'moral patient' status condemns to extermination certain classes of predation. <ref>[] Animal Rights Lecture</ref><ref>Predation Reductio by Fink</ref>

While Singer is primarily concerned with improving the treatment of animals and accepts that, at least in some hypothetical scenarios, animals could be legitimately used for further (human or non-human) ends, Regan believes we ought to treat animals as we would persons, and he applies the strict Kantian idea that they ought never to be sacrificed as mere means to ends, and must be treated as ends unto themselves. Notably, Kant himself did not believe animals were subject to what he called the moral law; he believed we ought to show compassion, but primarily because not to do so brutalizes human beings, and not for the sake of animals themselves.

Despite these theoretical differences, both Singer and Regan largely agree about what to do in practise. For example, they agree that the adoption of a vegan diet and the abolition of nearly all forms of animal testing are ethically mandatory.

[edit] Rights require obligations

Critics such as Carl Cohen, professor of philosophy at the University of Michigan and the University of Michigan Medical School, oppose the granting of personhood to animals. Cohen wrote in the New England Journal of Medicine in October 1986: that "[t]he holders of rights must have the capacity to comprehend rules of duty governing all, including themselves. In applying such rules, the holders of rights must recognize possible conflicts between what is in their own interest and what is just. Only in a community of beings capable of self-restricting moral judgments can the concept of a right be correctly invoked."

Cohen rejects Peter Singer's argument that since a brain-damaged human could not exhibit the ability to make moral judgments, that moral judgments cannot be used as the distinguishing characteristic for determining who is awarded rights. Cohen states that the test for moral judgment "is not a test to be administered to humans one by one."<ref> Template:Cite journal</ref>

The British philosopher Roger Scruton has argued that rights can only be assigned to beings who are able to understand them and to reciprocate by observing their own obligations to other beings. Scruton also argues against animal rights on practical grounds. For example, in Animal Rights and Wrongs, he supports foxhunting because it encourages humans to protect the habitat in which foxes live. <ref>Scruton, Roger (1998). Animal Rights and Wrongs. Demos, pp. 82-85. ISBN 1-898309-19-1.</ref> However, he condemns factory farming because, he says, the animals are not provided with even a minimally acceptable life.<ref>Scruton, Roger (1998). Animal Rights and Wrongs. Demos, p. 93. ISBN 1-898309-19-1.</ref>

The Foundation for Animal Use and Education states that "[o]ur recognition of the rights of others stems from our unique human character as moral agents — that is, beings capable of making moral judgments and comprehending moral duty. Only human beings are capable of exercising moral judgment and recognizing the rights of one another. Animals do not exercise responsibility as moral agents. They do not recognize the rights of other animals. They kill and eat one another instinctively, as a matter of survival. They act from a combination of conditioning, fear, instinct and intelligence, but they do not exercise moral judgment in the process." [citation needed]

In The Animals Issue: Moral Theory in Practice, the British philosopher Peter Carruthers argues that humans have obligations only to other beings who can take part in a hypothetical social contract.<ref>Carruthers, Peter (1992). The Animals Issue: Moral Theory in Practice. Cambridge University Press, pp. 90-2. ISBN 0-521-43689-3.</ref> thus animals are excluded from the group of beings to whom humans have moral obligations. <ref>Carruthers, Peter (1992). The Animals Issue: Moral Theory in Practice. Cambridge University Press, pp. 141-3. ISBN 0-521-43689-3.</ref>

Social contract arguments do not address the problem of animals acting as if they they have entered into such contracts with others of their species. Cooperation and relatively peaceful coexistence in group situations are characterisics of many species. Jules Masserman (1905-1989), past president of the American Psychiatric Association, concluded in 1964 that: "A majority of rhesus monkeys will consistently suffer hunger rather than secure food at the expense of electroshock to a conspecific." <ref>Masserman J, Wechkin S, Terris W. 1964. ‘Altruistic' behavior in rhesus monkeys. American Journal of Psychiatry vol. 121: 584-5. [1]</ref> In the Masserman study, it appears that rhesus monkeys might act in accordance with the Golden Rule.

These arguments also fail to address the Argument from Marginal Cases, or Singer's example of a mentally retarded orphan.

[edit] Abolitionist view

Gary Francione's work (Introduction to Animal Rights, is based on the premise that if non-human animals are considered to be property then any rights that they may be granted would be directly undermined by that property status. He points out that a call to equally consider the interests of your property against your own interests is absurd. Without the basic right not to be treated as the property of humans, non-human animals have no rights whatsoever, he says. Francione posits that sentience is the only valid determinant for moral standing, unlike Regan who sees qualitative degrees in the subjective experiences of his "subjects-of-a-life" based upon a loose determination of who falls within that category. Francione claims that there is no actual animal-rights movement in the United States, but only an animal-welfarist movement. In line with his philosophical position and his work in animal-rights law for the Animal Rights Law Project [2] at Rutgers University, he points out that any effort that does not advocate the abolition of the property status of animals is misguided, in that it inevitably results in the institutionalization of animal exploitation. It is logically inconsistent and doomed never to achieve its stated goal of improving the condition of animals, he argues. Francione holds that a society which regards dogs and cats as family members yet kills cows, chickens, and pigs for food exhibits what he calls "moral schizophrenia".

[edit] Animal rights in law

A monkey in a restraint tube filmed by PETA in a Covance branch, Vienna, Virginia, 2004-5 <ref name=covancecruelty>Photo Gallery Covance Cruelty</ref>

Animals are protected under the law, but in general their individual rights have no protection. There are criminal laws against cruelty to animals, laws that regulate the keeping of animals in cities and on farms, the transit of animals internationally, as well as quarantine and inspection provisions. These laws are designed to protect animals from unnecessary physical harm and to regulate the use of animals as food. In the common law, it is possible to create a charitable trust and have the trust empowered to see to the care of a particular animal after the death of the benefactor of the trust. Some individuals create such trusts in their will. Trusts of this kind can be upheld by the courts if properly drafted and if the testator is of sound mind. There are several movements in the UK campaigning to require the British parliament to award greater protection to animals. The legislation, if passed, will introduce a duty of care, whereby a keeper of an animal would commit an offence if he or she fails to take reasonable steps to ensure an animal’s welfare. This concept of giving the animal keeper a duty towards the animal is equivalent to granting the animal a right to proper welfare. The draft bill is supported by an RSPCA campaign.

Laws prohibiting cruelty against animals were not uncommon in ancient India. For example, the Mauryan emperor Ashoka issued laws to protect several animals, prohibited gratituous killing of all animals, condemned violent acts against animals, and provided facilities for their welfare. The first anti-cruelty law in the West was included in the legal code of the Massachusetts Bay Colony in 1641. <ref name=EB3/> In 1822, the British parliament adopted the Martin Act, which forbade the "cruel and improper Treatment" of large domestic animals. <ref name=EB3/> The Tierschutzgesetz was passed in Germany in 1933 by the National Socialist government. Switzerland passed legislation in 1992 to recognize animals as beings, rather than things, and the protection of animals was enshrined in the German constitution in 2002, when its upper house of parliament voted to add the words "and animals" to the clause in the constitution obliging the state to protect the "natural foundations of life ... in the interests of future generations." <ref name=CNN1/>

[edit] Animal rights and human rights

Those who are usually conerned about human rights and oppression also generally support the rights of animals. In fact, one reason why people switch to an animal-free diet is because livestock depletes resources that could be directly used for other people.

Mahatma Gandhi, known throughout history for using peaceful protesting for the sake of human rights states "The greatness of a nation and its moral progress can be judged by the way its animals are treated." and that "To my mind, the life of a lamb is no less precious than that of a human being."

Robert Bidinotto, anti-environmentalist [3], said in a 1992 speech to the Northeastern Association of Fish and Wildlife Agencies: "Strict observance of animal rights forbids even direct protection of people and their values against nature's many predators. Losses to people are acceptable ... losses to animals are not. Logically then, beavers may change the flow of streams, but Man must not. Locusts may denude hundreds of miles of plant life ... but Man must not. Cougars may eat sheep and chickens, but Man must not."<ref>Template:Cite web</ref>

When given the choice between rescuing a human baby or a dog after a lifeboat capsized, Susan Rich, PETA Outreach Coordinator, answered, "I wouldn't know for sure ... I might choose the human baby or I might choose the dog."<ref>Susan Rich. (1989). Steve Kane Show WIOD-AM Radio Miami, FL. Cited by Template:Cite web</ref> Tom Regan, animal rights philosopher, answered "If it were a retarded baby and a bright dog, I'd save the dog." <ref>Regan, Tom. "Animal Rights, Human Wrongs", speech given at the University of Wisonsin, Madison, 1989-10-27. Cited by Template:Cite web</ref>

[edit] Animal rights and the Holocaust

Charles Patterson, in his book Eternal Treblinka<ref>Patterson, Charles, PhD., Eternal Treblinka Our Treatment of Animals and the Holocaust, ISBN: 1-930051-99-9, Lantern Books, 1999</ref>, draws analogies between the treatment of animals today and the Holocaust. He writes in the forward that the book reveals "the common roots of Nazi genocide and modern society's enslavement and slaughter of non-human animals", and presents "the profoundly troubling connections between animal exploitation in the United States and Hitler's Final Solution."

Patterson points out that Henry Ford, a Nazi supporter and friend of Adolph Hitler, while often credited with the invention of the modern assembly line, actually got the idea while touring the highly mechanised slaughterhouses in Chicago. Patterson also provides evidence that throughout history, when peoples have been oppressed, occupied, or invaded, analogies have been made between the oppressed people and animals, such as calling them "dogs" or "cockroaches".

[edit] PETA controversy

In a campaign largely based on Patterson's book, PETA in 2003 organized a touring exhibition titled "Holocaust on your Plate," which mixed imagery of Jews in concentration camps with animals being killed and abused. PETA president Ingrid Newkirk has been quoted as saying "Six million Jews died in concentration camps, but six billion broiler chickens will die this year in slaughterhouses."<ref>Shafran, Rabbi Avi, "This time PETA’s guilty of missing the point", The Jewish News Weekly of Northern California, May 20, 2005. Cited by Template:Cite web</ref>

The National Primate Research Exhibition Hall, a project of animal rights activists in Wisconsin, compares itself to the Holocaust Memorial at Auschwitz and uses Holocaust imagery in its literature and plans extensive use of such imagery in its exhibits.<ref name=ADL1>"Holocaust Imagery and Animal Rights", Anti Defamation League Template:Cite web</ref> In 2001, the animal rights website contained an "Animal Holocaust" section made up of pictures of animals emblazoned with the words "Holocaust Victim". The Northwest Animal Rights Network of Seattle has published an ad which juxtaposes pictured of dead, naked Holocaust victims with photographs of dead cows and a large swastika in the centre. <ref>"Archive:Holocaust Imagery and Animal Rights", Anti Defamation League Template:Cite web</ref>

The Anti-Defamation League has criticized the use of Holocaust imagery in animal rights campaigns as trivializing the murder of six million Jews. PETA President Ingrid Newkirk issued an apology, saying she realized that the campaign had caused pain: "This was never our intention, and we are deeply sorry."" <ref>ADL Denounces Peta for its "Holocaust On Your Plate" Campaign; Calls Appeal for Jewish Community Support 'The Height Of Chutzpah', Anti-Defamation LeagueTemplate:Cite web</ref>

The National Primate Research Exhibition Hall has argued that such comparisons are sometimes accurate and appropriate<ref>July 8, 2005. Answer to ADL Template:Cite web</ref>

[edit] Criticism

Critics of the concept of animal rights argue that animals do not have the capacity to enter into a social contract or make moral choices <ref name=Regan1>. Regan, Tom. "The Case for Animal Rights", retrieved April 20, 2006.</ref> and cannot respect the rights of others or understand the concept of rights, and therefore they cannot be regarded as possessors of moral rights. The philosopher Roger Scruton argues that only human beings have duties and that "[t]he corollary is inescapable: we alone have rights." Critics holding this position argue that there is nothing inherently wrong with using animals for food, as entertainment, and in research, though human beings may nevertheless have an obligation to ensure they do not suffer unnecessarily. <ref name=Frey>Frey, R.G. Interests and Rights: The Case against Animals. Clarendon Press, 1980 ISBN 0-19-824421-5</ref><ref name=Scruton2>Scruton, Roger. Animal Rights and Wrongs, Metro, 2000.ISBN 1-900512-81-5.</ref> This position is generally called the animal welfare position, and it is held by some of the oldest of the animal protection agencies: for example, by the Royal Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals in the UK.

Other criticisms cite methods employed by animal rights activists, prompting some countries to enact tougher laws against them. [4] [5][6] British Prime Minister Tony Blair recently described some campaigns as "appalling," and said "it is time for the silent majority to act against animal rights protesters who hinder medical research." [7] See Animal liberation movement.

[edit] Notes


[edit] References

[edit] Further reading

Books about animal rights
  • Adams, Carol J. The Sexual Politics of Meat: A Feminist-Vegetarian Critical Theory. New York: Continuum, 1996.
  • ____________. The Pornography of Meat. New York: Continuum, 2004.
  • ____________. & Donovan, Josephine. (eds). Animals and Women: Feminist Theoretical Explorations. London: Duke University Press, 1995.
  • ____________. The Social Construction of Edible Bodies
  • Adams, Douglas. Meeting a Gorilla.
  • Anstötz, Christopher. Profoundly Intellectually Disabled Humans
  • Auxter, Thomas. The Right Not to Be Eaten
  • Barnes, Donald J. A Matter of Change
  • Barry, Brian. Why Not Noah's Ark?
  • Bekoff, Marc. Common Sense, Cognitive Ethology and Evolution.
  • Cantor, David. Items of Property.
  • Cate, Dexter L. The Island of the Dragon
  • Cavalieri, Paola. The Great Ape Project — and Beyond
  • Carwardine, Mark. Meeting a Gorilla
  • Clark, Stephen R.L. The Moral Status of Animals. (Clarendon Press 1977; pbk 1984).
  • _______________. The Nature of the Beast. (Oxford University Press 1982; pbk 1984)
  • _______________. Animals and their Moral Standing. (Routledge 1997)
  • _______________. The Political Animal. (Routledge 1999)
  • _______________. Biology and Christian Ethics. (Cambridge University Press 2000)
  • Clark, Ward M. Misplaced Compassion: The Animal Rights Movement Exposed, Writer's Club Press, 2001
  • Dawkins, Richard. Gaps in the mind.
  • Dunayer, Joan. "Animal Equality, Language and Liberation" 2001
  • Francione, Gary. Introduction to Animal Rights, Your child or the dog?, Philadelphia: Temple University Press, 2000
  • Hall, Lee. Capers in the Churchyard: Animal Rights Advocacy in the Age of Terror, Nectar Bat Press, 2006
  • Kean, Hilda. Animal Rights: Political and Social Change in Britain since 1800, London: Reaktion Books, 1998
  • Nibert, David. Animal Rights, Human Rights: Entanglements of Oppression and Liberation, New York: Rowman and Litterfield, 2002
  • Patterson, Charles. Eternal Treblinka: Our Treatment of Animals and the Holocaust. New York: Lantern, 2002. ISBN 1-930051-99-9
  • Ryder, Richard. D. Animal Revolution: Changing Attitudes towards Speciesism, Oxford: Basil Blackwell, 1989
  • Scarce, Rik. Eco-Warriors (2006) (ISBN 1-59874-028-8)
  • Scruton, Roger. Animal Rights and Wrongs Claridge Press, 2000
  • Singer, Peter, "Animal Liberation", New York: HarperCollins, 1975 ISBN 0-06-001157-2 (paperback)
  • Spiegal, Marjorie. The Dreaded Comparison: Human and Animal Slavery, New York: Mirror Books, 1996.
  • Steeve, Peter H. (ed.) Animal Others: On Ethics, Ontology, and Animal Life. New York: SUNY Press, 1999.
  • Sztybel, David. "Can the Treatment of Animals Be Compared to the Holocaust?" Ethics and the Environment 11 (Spring 2006): 97-132.
  • Sztybel, David. "The Rights of Animal Persons." Animal Liberation Philosophy and Policy Journal 4 (1) (2006): 1-37.
  • Weil, Zoe. The Power and Promise of Humane Education. British Columbia: New Society Publishers, 2004.
  • Wolfe, Cary. Animal Rites: American Culture, the Discourse of Species, and Posthumanist Theory, Chicago: University of Chicago Press: 2003.
  • Wolch, Jennifer, & Emel, Jody. Animal Geographies: Place, Politics, and Identity in the Nature-Culture Borderlands. New York: Verso, 1998.
Animal rights in philosophy and law
Animal rights resources
Animal rights organizations/campaigns
Animal rights critics;

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