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Animal Rights “What is man without the beast? If the beast were gone, man would die from a great loneliness of spirit. For whatever happens to the beast soon happens to man” (Chief Seattle). While much has been done to protect animals, it is nowhere near what needs to be done to secure their inhabitance on earth and give them their rights. Animals have nerves so they can feel pain and they do suffer so is it right to put them through that by experimenting on them? Additionally if more of the world’s animals are not protected a lot more will be extinct in the coming years. Finally hunting, in almost all areas, is no longer a way to gain food as it used to be, it is now just done for pure sport or “fun“. Should animals have to suffer just to benefit a single race of beings? And what does it feel like to be hunted down in terror and then torn apart while still alive?
In this society, it is under law for all people to have the basic rights under the universal declaration of human rights. As stated, this only benefits humans, where humans rule the world. So where does the rights of animals come from? Many people do not understand animal rights and how we should treat them equally and why. Through animal research and experimentations, humans are getting benefit and gains in the obscene inhumane ways; the poor animals are suffering through pain and distress, even though they have moral status and rights.
"Life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness; The Declaration of Independence holds these rights to be self-evident and unalienable. In the eighteenth century when these words were written they were called natural rights, today we call them human rights" (McShea 34). The issue of whether or not to grant animal rights such as those that humans retain is a greatly disputed issue. Philosophers, clergyman, and politicians have argued the point of animal rights for years, but without success. Animal right is an extremely intricate issue that involves the question of animal intelligence, animal activist groups, and the pros and cons of granting animals their rights.
A right is a particular way of protecting interests, to say that an interest is protected by a right, is to say that interest is protected against being ignored or violated simple because this will benefit someone else. So what are animal rights? Animal rights are the idea that animals have the same rights as humans, to live free of suffrage, just as important as living individuals, and with the same moral status as humans. However, rights are not absolute in the sense that their protection has no exception. David DeGrazia, the author of many scholarly animal rights books dealing ethical and philosophical issues, explained that animal rights might be unfamiliar to most people because of the daily abuses and killing toward animals that are viewed as socially acceptable, and unconsciously ignored due to normal day-to-day activities and even festivals with animal killings for fun. Animal abuses can be ranged from animal experimentations and testing’s, cosmetic testing’s, live animal shootings, to abuses of farm animals, these abuses are widespread and are considerably immoral and inhumane.
Animals have moral status and moral rights as much as humans does, however it might seem less important compared to humans, even though animals are not thought of as machines and property. As it has been respectfully argued that animals and humans are individuals, where both are living creatures, but because of the idea that they cannot think rationally or abstractly, that makes many believe it to be acceptable to treat them as property. Even young children or mentally handicapped people cannot think rationally or abstractly, yet no one would think of putting them through biomedical experiments, or a source of food. Having no obvious logical connection between these “facts” and the judgment that it would be wrong to do something’s to humans that it would not be wrong to do to animals. Animals do not exist for humans and our uses; they have the same moral status as humans and are to be treated well with respect, for their own sake, because they have moral importance in their own right, not having relations with humans. Many animals are treated as mere property and resources, causing an unbalanced and unhealthy relationship. And because of the mistreatment of animals in cruel acts, in the long run, many humans might be mistreated also, to the point of how animals are now being treated. Many believe that an animal’s moral status is of less than a human’s, yet still allowing animals to have moral rights. Humans believe that we are special and unique, different from what we classified as “animals”. Whatever attributed to the idea that we are different than other living creatures has been discovered, as there are no characteristics to distinguish humans from animals. All traits that were once believed to be different are found throughout other species. If intelligence was to set apart the difference, children, the elderly, mentally retarded people would also be classified as “animals”, yet this has nothing to do with the moral statuses of animals, and they are still not to be mistreated. Psychologists around the world, who have studied nonhuman primates, argue that these animals possess the capacity to communicate. They go on to explain that a communication barrier is all that separates humans from animals. If they bridged that barrier, then humans could talk with animals. Beatrice and Robert Gardner, two psychologists of the University of Nevada, realized that the pharynx and larynx of the chimpanzee are not suited for human speech. Since chimpanzees are far superior to humans in manual dexterity, the Garners decided to try to teach chimpanzees American Sign Language or Ameslan. The Gardners and others studied these chimpanzees, Washoe, Lucy, and Lana. These three chimpanzees learned to use and could display a working vocabulary of 100 to 200 words. They also distinguished between different grammatical patterns and syntaxes (Sagan 615). Besides distinguishing, the chimpanzees also inventively constructed new words and phrases. For example, when Washoe first saw a duck land on water, she gestured "water bird," which is the same phrase used in English. Washoe invented that gesture for the occasion (Sagan 615). Lucy also displayed her creative mind by signing "candy drink" after tasting a watermelon. The description "candy drink" is essentially the same word form as the English "water melon" (Sagan 615).
Another method of bridging the communication gap between humans and animals is by computer. At the Yerkes Regional Primate Research Center in Atlanta, Georgia, researchers teach chimpanzees like Lana a specific computer language called "Yerkish" (Sagan 616). "Yerkish" allows the chimpanzees to talk with the computer by keyboarding in messages. The computer in turn responds appropriately. While Lana types, she monitors her sentences on a computer display and erases those sentences with grammatical errors. At one point while Lana typed an intricate sentence, her trainer mischievously and repeatedly interfered with her typing from a separate console. Lana, who had become aggravated by this, typed, "Please, Tim, leave room." (Sagan 616). People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals, or PETA, is a nonviolent animal rights organization. They enforce the ideals that any exploitation of animals by humans is wrong and should be abolished. PETA, formed by Alex Pacheo and Ingrid Newkirk in 1984, has grown from a handful of members to an organization with more than 35,000 members and a yearly income of over five million dollars (Dejar 70). They quote Ingrid Newkirk as saying, "A rat is a pig is a dog is a boy." (Tapply 71). This quotation of Newkirk 's states her purpose in organizing PETA and it also provides a platform of ideals for PETA.
The main types of animals experimented on are monkeys, cats, dogs, cattle, sheep, horses, and small mammals. Numerous amounts of tests are carried out on these animals each year. Types of tests include acute toxicity test, chronic toxicity test, skin irritation tests, acute inhalation toxicity tests, psychology research, and weapons tests as listed by People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals or PETA (PETA fact sheet 2). An acute toxicity test is where certain chemicals are force fed to an animal to find out the lethal dosage. Chronic toxicity test is to find out whether or not a chemical can be harmful in small dosages over a period of time. Skin irritation tests are carried out by placing a chemical on the bare skin of an animal and covering it with a plaster like material, at which point the animals are restrained. Acute inhalation toxicity tests uses aerosol products to test its effect on an animal’s lungs animals are killed afterwards to check the effect on its tissues. Psychology research are pointless tests that determine the obvious, like effects of shocking, mutilation, drug abuse, etc. Weapons tests, the testing of weapons like radiation, lasers, and chemicals to find out what effect they would have on humans, are inhuman and very harmful to the animal (PETA fact sheet 2). With all of this pain and suffering not much good comes out of animals testing. Even with testing the buyer is not completely safe from harmful drugs because each animal’s reactions would not be the same in humans. One example is strychnine, which is one of the most deadly drugs a human could consume, has no effect on monkeys, chickens, or guinea pigs says People for Reason in Science and Medicine or PRISM (PRISM 4). In addition to different genes, the environment that the animals are tested in is way different than the ones that the human would actually be going through. Along the same lines, a disease that was formed artificially will not be the same as it would be if formed naturally. “Using animals to teach surgeons is a dangerous technique because it misleads the students leading to dangerous doctors.” (PRISM 6). They call another pro-animals group the Animal Liberation Front, or ALF. ALF commits violent and illegal acts to make sure that their point is apparent to all. Like PETA, ALF also seeks to end all human exploitation of animals, but unlike PETA, ALF will use any means possible to achieve their goal. ALF originated in England in 1974 by a man named Ronnie Lee. An anonymous woman who goes by the pseudonym "Valerie," organized the American branch of the ALF after training in terrorist techniques in England. The American ALF made their American debut on Christmas Eve in 1982. She and two other members broke into a lab at Howard University in Washington, D.C. They liberated thirty cats used in research to study the effects of drugs on nerve transmissions (Reed 38). The activists found the cats in poor condition. Deep incisions scarred some cats ' backs and they were dragging their hind legs (Reed 38). While in the lab, the ALF members photographed the cats and later turned the cats over to sympathetic veterinarians who treated and put the cats up for adoption. In June 1991, ALF claimed credit for $800,000 worth of damage caused by arson at the Northwest Farm Cooperative in Edmonds, Washington, a supplier of feed to mink ranches. Totally opposed to any kind of animal exploitation, ALF does not indulge in eating eggs, honey, or dairy products. On the other side of the coin is Putting People First (PPF). A grass roots organization made up of men and women who advocate the eating of meat, the wearing of furs and using animals in biomedical research. PPF takes the human side in the animal rights issue. As PPF is the only pro-human group, it is also the only nationwide organization attempting to merge interests of hunters with all the other interest groups that stand to lose to the animal rights extremists groups (Tapply 98). This human rights group promotes the age-old view that human rights are above animal rights. PPF began in 1990 with Kathleen Marquardt as the director and founder of the human rights organization. By tracking legislative proposals and lobbying against animal rights bills at state and local levels, PPF maintains a high public image. Marquardt 's organization also files public interest lawsuits in courts and with the federal regulatory agencies to expose the radicalism of the animal rights message (Tapply 98).
The granting of rights to animals such as the abolition of medical research, the dissolution of commercial animal agriculture, sport hunting, and trapping would in effect have both positive and negative consequences. Positive consequences to the granting of animal rights would include lessened cruelty to animals, a greater appreciation of animals, and even a probable decline in the rate at which endangered species decline in number. These positive consequences would have an immense impact on the ecological system of the world and in the end, may even benefit society. Negative consequences to the granting of rights to animals would include not being able to test potential cures of life threatening diseases, not having pets in homes, and the entire population becoming vegetarians. Both choices would incorporate many difficulties in the way of enforcement, but both contain valid consequences worth considering.
Animals are able to suffer, therefore worthy of our moral consideration. As argued, animals do have moral status, so the principle of equal consideration could be applied not only to humans, but also animals. Logical that this principle is giving everyone’s comparable interests equal moral weight should apply to all beings who have interest, unless a relevant difference between the beings that justifies unequal consideration. Human deserve full, equal consideration, while other animal deserve consideration in proportion to their cognitive emotional, and social complexity. From an animal rights perspective, animal experimentation is illegitimate irrespective of the human and or animal benefits deriving from it. This case is based on two propositions: that animal experimentation is unnecessary and that animal research causes too much suffering for too little or no benefit. The development and use of alternatives, on the other hand, has played and will continue to play a major role in the reduction of animal usage. On the second proposition, Rowan shows how difficult it is to weigh the benefits of animal research against the suffering inflicted. Every animal is able to suffer, recognition to the knowledge that humans can, also referring back to the point of which they also have the same moral status as humans. As per an object, incapable of suffrage, are not worthy of our moral consideration besides the economic, esthetic or utilitarian value of itself to the property owner.
Utilitarianism is also the notion of which maximizes benefits over harm of the animal, where all interests, including the animals’ are considered. The consideration of the animals is also not justified if harmed even if purpose is served, by the fact that the concept of utilitarianism is broken. Another equal consideration theory of animals is the strong animal rights view, the animals, like humans have rights in the “utility- trumping sense”. The utility-trumping sense have vital interest that we must not override, even in an effort to maximize the utility for society.
Billions of animals are being slaughtered, abused, and harmed every year; causing enormous amounts of pain, suffering and distress upon them. It is wrong for humans to cause extended harm to animals for no compelling reason, for the fact that they have moral statuses. We have obligations to animals, and these are not simply grounded in human interests. However, the issues of moral status and equal consideration are far more fundamental and far-reaching in practical impact. Animals have as much moral status and rights as humans do, and are most definitely worthy of our consideration in their lives. It is estimated that over 16million hunters pay for hunting licenses each year in the United States, and there are still many more that hunt illegally (Bender, Leone 148). If all of these people are hunting how is there any way that the animal population can keep up. The mourning pigeon is the most common pigeon in the United States but with a total of about 50 million being killed each year it is very likely that it may become the least common. And the sad part is that people kill them for no reason but pure sport. It may be different if we killed them for food but we don’t and it’s not only that we’re killing them without because it’s that we’re killing them in excessive amounts with no cause. The same goes for any game wildlife because with so many hunters and no restraint too many are being killed. And even though the hunters are paying to do this the government is still losing a lot more money because they are the ones that stock most of these hunting animals such as the pheasant (Bender, Leone 172) While seasons are set up to regulate when people can hunt a certain animal they do not do much good. This is because a lot of hunters do not follow game laws. A survey taken recorded that when asked if they had ever violated a game law 85 percent admitted they had (Bender, Leone 171). And when a hunter hunts illegal he takes about 4 times as much as the ones that hunt legally because if they don’t care that they hunt when they aren’t supposed to why not go over how many one person is allowed to kill (Bender, Leone 170). Hunting isn’t the only factor pushing animal endangerment; decrease in habitats and increase in pollution are also key factors. These along with other factors are on the edge of causing a mass extinction because of how rapidly animals are being killed off. As shown in past mass extinctions the more dominant of species thriving are the ones who are eradicated and the species less likely to become so are saved. Thus the next mass extinction that we are bringing forth may cause the extinction of the entire human population (Bender, Leone 140). And worst off all the tropics are the most vulnerable of areas. Containing over half of the world’s species, it is an astonishment that more is not being done to protect them. These unprotected forests are being lost at about 200,000 square kilometers per year. At this rate as much as 1 million species could be lost in 20 years (Bender, Leone 141). Zoos are vital to the preservation of a species because without it most species will no longer exists when human carelessness kills them off. Endangered species can be captured and bred in zoos later to be introduced into the wild in an attempt to keep the lineage going. Zoos may help in other ways like informing the public on how important animals are so that the awareness can go up and more can be done. Many supporters of animal experimentation would argue that animals do not go through pain at all but instead have no feelings what so ever. But they can still state that none of the experiments involve pain unless relief from pain would interrupt the results of the experiment. It is a prove fact that all animals have feelings and can be in pain. Animals have a nervous system and if they couldn’t feel anything what would be the point in even having a nervous system? Any one that has or does own a pet or has contact with animals at all can vouch that they have feelings. Pet owners can tell when their animal is in pain, is depressed, is happy or excited, cold or hot, or is angry. So how can a person say that an animal has no feelings and therefore, it’s safe to perform experiments on them that obviously would induce severe pain? Animals are vital to human existence, without any animals the human race very well may cease to exist, and at the rate we are killing them off we may not have any more left in the centuries to come unless they can obtain their rights necessary for survival. The testing on these animals should come to a halt to end unnecessary suffering and deaths. Stricter protections should be placed on endangered species if not all wild animals.
Hunting of animals should become prohibited because it serves no purpose but to amuse the hunter. If these actions are not taken mass extinction may be inevitable. So think what you as a pet owner would feel if a scientist violently shocked your dog just to find out the obvious reaction that it almost killed it, or if a hunter chased down that dog and tore painfully into its flesh while it was still alive just for that hunter’s own amusement.
All in all treating animals are wrong. “Animal cruelty is a concern for many reasons. It is a barometer of our society. If it 's ok to abuse animals, it will be ok to abuse children, disabled, & elderly people before too long. I believe God made every creature & they all have a purpose. Some were made to become food, some for clothing, some for warmth, and others for companionship. God cared so much about the animals that He commanded Noah to take 7 of the "clean" animals & 2 of the "unclean" animals into the ark before the Earth was destroyed by flood. That tells me that God loves all of His creation, and we should do the best we can to make sure they are treated humanely. Also, when a person abuses an animal, it will likely continue until they abuse humans. One of the main predictors in profiling serial killers or others that have committed heinous acts of violence is whether or not they abused animals as a young person. If they get enjoyment or a "high" from it & are never caught or given counseling to correct that behavior they will most likely hurt others when they are older”(Kristel Sinclair). So take a stand and report the abuse. “Reporting animal cruelty is the same as reporting any other crime. Expect to be asked the who, what when, where and why.
1. Who is the person doing the abuse? if known. If you do have a description ready of the person.
2. What type of animal is being abused. It is ok to use generalizations because not everyone is an animal expert. But, be descriptive if you have the details. Sometimes owners have two of the same breed of animal so if there, are for instance, two black Labradors but one is male or female wearing collar no collar have that information for the officer to differentiate between the animal. So, even if you get that it sounds like a large dog or small dog it can help.
3. When did the incident occur
4. Where did the incident occur
5. Why did it occur. You may not know but in some forms of abuse you will know. For example in an abandonment case you may know or have seen the owners moving. Or, you may see a dog in a locked car on a hot day and assume the owner left it inside the car to go shopping. Depending on the type of abuse other information may be needed. The questions will be different for beating than a neglect case” (Ruben Hernandez).
The normal person is not an animal expert for the most part but has common sense. Remember if it does not seem right to you report it. Animals are like people in that when they look too thin or sick or injured it affects them the same way. The only difference is animal victims can’t talk.
Work Cited
Cohen, Carl. "The Case for the Use of Animals in Biomedical Research." The
Norton Reader. Ed. Arthur M. Eastman, et al. New York:Norton 1992, 691-701.
Dajer, Tony. "Monkeying With the Brain." Discover. January 1992: 70-1.
McShea, Daniel W. "On the Rights of an Ape." Discover. February 1994: 35-7.
Reed, Susan. "Animal Passion." People Weekly. January 18, 1993: 35-9.
Regan, Tom. "The Case for Animal Rights." The Norton Reader. Ed. Arthur M.
Eastman, et al. New York: Norton 1992, 680-691.
Sagan, Carl. "The Abstraction of Beasts." The Norton Reader. Ed. Arthur M.
Eastman, et al. New York: Norton, 613-620.
Tapply, William. "Who Spaeks for People?" Feild and Stream. June 1991: 48-49,
98.
“Animal Experimentation and Human Medicine” , People for Reason in Science and
Medicine (PRISM), 0ctober 2004, http://www.sumeria.net/health/prism.html
“Animal Experimentation (vivisection)” , people for the ethical treatment of animals
(PETA), October 2004, http://www.sumeria.net/anim/tests.html
Bender, D., & Leone, B. (1989). Animal rights: opposing viewpoints. San Diego:
Greenhaven Press, Inc.
Sinclair, Kristel. Personal Interview. 15 Nov. 2013
Hernandez, Ruben. Personal Interview. 15 Nov. 2013

Cited: Reed, Susan. "Animal Passion." People Weekly. January 18, 1993: 35-9. Bender, D., & Leone, B. (1989). Animal rights: opposing viewpoints. San Diego: Greenhaven Press, Inc. Sinclair, Kristel. Personal Interview. 15 Nov. 2013 Hernandez, Ruben

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