Animal rights are defined as “Rights believed to belong to animals to live free from use in medical research, hunting, and other services to humans” (Dictionary). The United States as a whole has a tendency to put the rights of mankind above all else, including that of animals. “Sixty-three percent of all the animals in the United States are household pets”, (Pet), while the rest are divided up amongst wild animals and those in captivity. Regardless of where the animal comes from, they all bear equal rights. There are many different groups of people whose views on animal rights vary in accordance of their occupation, whether an activist, an Animal Welfare Institute, a farmer, or a food company, animals and their rights will be perceived differently.
On one side of the spectrum there are activists. Activists are very vocal people who want to get their point across even if the stakes are high and against their favor. The official definition of an activist is “an especially active, vigorous advocate of a cause, mostly a political cause but can be other things” (Dictionary). There are groups like PETA, otherwise known as people for the ethical treatment of animals, whose sole purpose is to help animals in any way that they can. “PETA focuses its attention on the four areas in which the largest numbers of animals suffer the most intensely for the longest periods of time: on factory farms, in the clothing trade, in laboratories, and in the entertainment industry. We also work on a variety of other issues, including the cruel killing of beavers, birds, and other “pests” as well as cruelty to domesticated animals” (About). Groups like PETA prevent the abuse animals undergo from humans, such as research, hunting, neglect, starvation, and many more. This holds true for activists because they believe that animals, such as humans, have a soul and can feel and experience everything a human can. “Animals suffer harm in various forms during capture, breeding and incarceration, and suffer pain and injury during experiments”(Bekoff). Most activists try and prevent the problem of animal cruelty by peaceful actions and protesting while other activists resort to fear and violence to get their point across to the public. But there it isn’t just black and white, meaning there are groups that fight for animals but still understand that they are vital to society.
The Animal Welfare Institute is a non-profit organization that reduces the amount of animal cruelty in the United States. Their mission statement reads, “AWI has sought to alleviate the suffering inflicted on animals by people. In the organization’s early years, our particular emphasis was on the desperate needs used for experimentation. In the decades that followed, we expanded the scope of our work to address many other areas of animal suffering “(Who). Animal Welfare could be looked at as a way of “compromise”, they are against animal cruelty and abuse, but they do support hunting and other means of diet for today’s society. The reason Animal Welfare does not stop humane slaughter all together is because that Animal Welfare understands that animals are a large part of the human diet, thus being almost impossible to cut out the large portions of meat households consume daily. While Animal Welfare permits hunting, this organization disapproves of the use of animals being tested in the laboratory, as well as the inhumane deeds put forth towards marine wildlife. “AWI believes the capture, transport, trade, and confinement of healthy cetaceans are cruel and unnecessary. During the process of capture and confinement, these wild animals suffer shock and stress due to the brutal manner in which they are removed from their families and natural surroundings and held captive in foreign, unsuitable environments” (Who). Contrary to common belief, less than seven percent of the United States’ population hunts, but that does not mean that the wildlife population is not...
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