Misconceptions and doubt have surrounded the issue of animal welfare over the years. That is the belief that animals should not be exploited or used by humans, and it should never be confused with welfare (animal welfare). Animals have been viewed as nothing more than a means of calories, supplications such as leather for wearables, experiment subjects, and better fitting in circuses since time immemorial. People prefer to eat animals and meat goods despite the fact that they can be entirely vegetarian and be fully balanced. Animal rights are not about giving the animals the same rights as human beings; it is about showing respect to the animals and treating them better than we are doing today. In every split of a second, thousands of animals are being killed worldwide for many reasons, some of which are mentioned here. To some extent, this is cruelty since a lot of these actions against animals could be stopped and mitigated.
Some of the experimentations carried out on animals, for instance, testing of cosmetics could be prevented because such items are not a necessity for human development. Experimentation due to discoveries is not as important as the effect that the animal feels as it endures the pain of death and being a test subject only to justify the curiosity of the human nature. These leaves one option, experiments for medical purposes. Well, on this one people still think that justification is outright given. I beg to differ, experimenting on animals can as well mean that scientists and doctors can also be allowed to carry out experiments on patients and babies since these people also have little or no control over what to choose.
There have been justifications on why animals are used the way human beings use them. These range from the biblical stories of how God instructed human beings on how animals should be eaten and serve mankind, that animals have no specific duty apart from being used, that people are much more important than animals and that their intelligence is not as much as human intelligent among many other reasons of justification. The determination whether one has a right or cannot be determined by one’s ability to think. If rights can be based on such ideologies, then also for humans, levels of intelligence need to be measured, to determine who has the rights and who does not. This approach will, in the end, mean that the old, the sick, the mentally retarded and babies will not have the same rights as other human beings. This is a baseless theory, which should be shunned at all costs since it is discriminative and only benefits the few.
Using approaches such as importance to justify why animals are used the way they are, is also a wrong move. When a matter in question is about the importance, every single person is important and very dear to oneself. Personal animals kept at home (pets) may seem important to a person, who may at some point see a stranger animal as less important. This does not give an outright permission to the individual to use the stranger animal as food or in any other manner that deprives the animal’s rights. A Governor of a state is an important person, but this does not mean that the governor has permission to destroy other people live, use their skin or pin them on walls. Importance can, therefore, never be used to determine the fate of animals.
“Duties are also not good criteria for rights holding because individuals who are incapable of recognizing or performing duties, such as babies or people with profound disabilities, still have a right not be eaten or experimented on” (Lin).
A utilitarianism approach states that as long as animals serve the greater human being fraternity, they should be used for the same purposes that they are serving at the moment. An approach that has been opposed greatly by some writers such as Tom Regan. “Many sorts of non-human animals possess moral rights because they possess what he referred to as inherent value” and that we should treat the animals in a way that respects such ideologies (Rowlands).
There has been an enactment of laws that protect the animals from unscrupulous reasons and motives.
“Although interest in animal law at law schools is increasing exponentially, progress in the legislatures and courts has not come close to matching that growth. In our class on Animal Law and Ethics at Penn, we discuss both the dearth of laws protecting animals as well as the lack of enforcement of the laws that do exist” (Ellison). Animal law is a field that is growing and taking shape, making progress over the years. Students in law schools are even encouraged to undertake it as their major since there are not so many animal lawyers in the current world. This is a clear picture of how animals have been neglected, with only a handful of non-profit organizations handling the issues affecting animals. As a fact, many animal cases are handled by prosecutors in the anticruelty departments, leaving little or no focus of lawyers to such attention. Other factors such as “expert testimony” make it even more difficult to determine how much pain the animal encountered while determining the matter in court. It is usually almost to an impossible doubt for the prosecutor to determine guilt beyond a reasonable doubt when dealing with an animal case, and even there are times that investigations conducted do not yield required threshold of expected evidence. This is an example of how difficult it is to get animals receive justice in the face of mistreatment and mishandle, and it only makes the “animal rights” issue more and thinner as time goes by.
There have been arguments that if a civil remedy is presented, animal advocates could take advantage and file cases, suing commercial firms dealing with animal products over baseless claims. This is a clear factor that animals are being abused, and those perpetrating the actions hide behind the “justification” idea. That it should be addressed and every loophole is closed, for good. Presentation of a civil remedy offers a platform upon which the interests animal welfare teams and animal rights could be merged, and the whole process is spearheaded forward. This will ensure that animals are well taken care of and abuse reduced (Ellison). Proper breeding grounds and housing, an example being proper egg-laying or gestation materials provided for poultry. This will effectively merge with the animal welfare and will improve the well-being of animals as well as reduce the mistreatment animals receive on a daily basis.
The case of animals being used in research has been in discussion for a long time. This sprang into action after using of human beings as test subject prove dangerous and inhumane when prisoners were being used as test subjects during World War II. Despite human beings being protected to be used as test subjects, a law to protect animals in research was also established. “The British Parliament passed the first set of protections for animals in 1876, with the Cruelty to Animals Act. Approximately ninety years later, the U.S. adopted regulations for animals used in research, with the passage of the Laboratory Animal Welfare Act of 1966” (Ferdowsian and Beck). This shows that animals too need protection, a matter that has been vastly neglected over time. It was followed by the enactment of more international and national laws which enhanced protection provision ton animals, though they had variations. Specifications and guidelines on human research differ from those of animal research, with an urgency of the matter being researched taking precedence over the welfare of the animal in question. Despite the fact that several documentation and presentations being made on animal research ethics, there have been no clear distinction between the two guidelines, i.e., anima; and human research guidelines.
Animal rights is a subject that teaches the human race that morality should be built in humans and that we should always know and acknowledge that animals too need respect and care, the same way that we care for ourselves and other human beings. If it is a case that animals have a right to be bred but not be killed, then this should be respected, and the animals are used as food sources.
“It makes no difference if the animals are given 5-star treatment throughout their lives and then killed humanely without any fear or pain – it’s just plain wrong in principle, and nothing can make it right” (BBC).
Humans need to start respecting the “animal rights” issue, which means that there will be no using of animals for entertainment, animals will not be hunted, there will be no breeding that is selective and that it should be done for the benefit of the animal, animals not being used in the provision of labor, animals will not be killed for any reason, be it food nor medicinal nor clothing and finally, no experimenting on animals (BBC). There have been limited arguments for the state of giving animals their rights since the human race finds it a little challenging to do without all the “goodies” that come from animals. The matter has been avoided, and only being addressed partially stating that not all animals have rights, that only a section of them, termed as “higher animals” have the rights. This is an outright approach to seclude a bigger part of the animal group, making it prone to human use and discovery, which primarily, has been done intentionally.
Giving rights to only a group of animals, known as “adult mammals” is discriminative, as this leaves animals which are less than a year old prone to exploitation. Basing on the fact that animals do not think and others such as the inability to behave morally and that the lack free will, is exploitation of animals that should be abolished and shun.
Animals are a part of the earth’s ecosystem, and human beings cannot survive without them. This is entirely true but does not give the human beings the right to use the animals to satisfy their vendetta. Animals should be taken care of and respected. Despite the fact that we take care of them, we should not take the advantage of them not having a free will nor their inability to reason out of situations and take advantage of them. Instead, we should take care of animals, treat them humanely and with love, the same way we treat other human beings.
BBC. Ethics Guide – Animal Rights. 2014. http://www.bbc.co.uk/ethics/animals/rights/rights_1.shtml. 10 December 2017.
Ellison, Penny Conly. “Introduction: Time To Give Anticruelty Laws Some Teeth – Bridging The Enforcement Gap.” Journal Of Animal Law And Ethics (2009): 1-18. Document.
Ferdowsian, Hope R. and Nancy Beck. Ethical and Scientific Considerations Regarding Animal Testing and Research. 7 September 2011. http://journals.plos.org/plosone/article?id=10.1371/journal.pone.0024059. 10 December 2017.
Lin, Doris. What are Animal Rights? 8 March 2017. https://www.thoughtco.com/what-are-animal-rights-127600. 10 December 2017.
Rowlands, Mark. Animal Rights. Miami: Macmillan, 2012. Document.