Rifkin's Rhetorical Analysis

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In discussion of inhumane treatment, a controversial issue is whether animals are entitled to their rights. While some argue that only humans have rights, others contend that animals should have the same privileges as humans. The author of “A Change of Heart about Animals,” Jeremy Rifkin, claims that animals should have better treatment. Rifkin rhetorically changes one’s view on this subject without the consent of the reader. Rifkin begins by showing the animals’ human qualities, then giving a counter statement to common objections, and finally ends it by utilizing negative language.

Rifkin’s eloquent strategy is to note the similarities between animals and humans. Rifkin mentions Koko, a 300-pound gorilla. Koko was able to learn sign language and yet some people never even learn how to communicate in sign language. Rifkin also notes the similarity between rats and humans. He states, “Recent studies in the brain chemistry of rats show that when they play, their brains release large amounts of dopamine, a neurochemical associated with pleasure and excitement in human beings.” Rifkin shows that not only do animals have the ability to learn the things we do, but also have some features that we do. After providing the analogy between the two, Rifkin anticipated that many people would view animals as one of them. The result is that readers are more likely to believe that animals are not any different than us, so they shouldn’t be in the brutal situations they face everyday. In the end, this makes the reader much more likely to accept the statement he makes based on the similarities he provides, that we must work to increase the benevolent treatment of animals.

Among Rifkin’s subtly persuasive strategies is to denote the common objections and give a counter statement. Rifkin says that philosophers and animal behaviorists have argued about the capability of self –awareness in other animals. While some argue that animals do not have self-awareness because “they lack...
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