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For the introduction of this animal rights, I will firstly give the definition of rights as a whole. Right is a moral or legal entitlement to have or obtain something or to act in a certain way. As people’s rights are something that we deserve, especially when we talk about human rights. Human rights are rights that every person is born with and keeps throughout his life no matter race, sex, nationality, ethnicity, language, religion, or any other status. These rights include things such as freedom of speech, right to marriage and family, freedom of belief and religion as well as many others. Human rights have been something that people have been fighting for throughout all of history, and they have been something people have given their lives for because they believed in equality and that everyone deserved to be given these human rights. But do rights stop at humans?
Rights are something that most people know as things that everyone deserves, but there are multiple kinds of rights; two of them being earned rights and human rights. Earned rights are the rights that are given or eared. An example of these would be certain licenses such as the ones hunters receive. This license gives them the right to hunt as long as they follow the law. People think that there isn’t anything wrong with hunting as long as they don’t hunt the animal into extinction, they aren’t exactly wrong. Hunting is acceptable when it is needed for resources, or when there is an animal that is overpopulating a certain area and hunters help keep that population down. Many more times though hunters mess with the habitat they are hunting in by killing animals that are necessary for those places. There are animals all over the world that are suffering because they don’t get treated correctly. There are people who believe that they can treat animals however they want just because they aren’t people. Animals are not able to communicate and defend themselves, but they are still capable of emotion, pain, and suffering.
Animal owners have rights as well when it comes to owning an animal. They have the right to sell or keep their animals. The problem is, that depending on who they sell the animal to the animal might not get treated or taken care of how it’s supposed to be. Many people just give away animals when they don’t want them as a way to get rid of them that they often don’t double check or see if the person they give their animals to are capable or taking care of the animal or if they have had a history of hurting them. The owners of these animals are the first step in making sure these animals are being taken care of.
Animals are creatures that feel and aren’t able to defend themselves, therefore it is our job to defend them against abuse and cruelty. Animal rights have been an ongoing issue in society since I can remember. They became prevalent at some point in the past and never went away. The issues only seem to matter to people whenever a big story breaks through of certain animals being abused, a company being accused or proven of something concerning the abuse of animals or when it is announced that an animal has become an endangered species or has become extinct. But after people see what is going on, they don’t take any actions to stop what is happening; and just like that the topic of animal rights and the topic of how animals aren’t treated properly disappears until the next time it happens. In today’s day an age people like to refer themselves as “woke”. This makes them out to be aware of social justice issues or of things that other people aren’t aware of. People like to be seen social justice warriors, but many times let the topic of animal rights go over their heads. Animal rights should be something more widely discussed when in terms of social justice because at the end of the day these are living creatures too.
This topic, like mentioned before has been and is brought up constantly and because of this, things have been done about animal rights, but we are far from being done and solving the issue. Animals are no less than humans just because they aren’t as “evolved” as us and they have the right to live without being abused or killed. Animal rights at the moment are seen as an ethical issue because there is disagreement about the way that animals should be treated. The argument for animal rights and is that animals should be treated well and with respect, animals feel pain and suffering and just like humans they don’t deserve to be subjected to that for any reason because all types of life should be respected. Some may think that the animal rights movement is trying to give animals all the same rights as humans like marriage and voting, which is ridiculous, it is just about the treatment they receive.
Animals just like humans have some of the same rights that we do. These rights being as to how there are treated. Animals should be respected and taken care of since they are living creates and deserve to live just like we do. Animal rights should be supported just like other causes, though it might not seem important, but even if it isn’t, it can’t be something that is left in the back burner for us to get to because at the end of the day there are living creatures who are being mistreated, tortured, abandoned and killed.
Strides that have happened in animal rights are the Humane Slaughter Act, the Twenty-Eight Hour Law, and animal welfarism. The term animal welfarism is used to describe the well-being of animals and how they are being treated. This has different views depending on the person because everyone has their own definition of how animals should be treated. Jennifer Everett explains in her journal that even though everyone has a different understanding of the term most people agree that “all members of some class of animals are properly treated as direct objects of moral concern but differ as theories about the rightness or wrongness of actions affecting the members of that class.” Continuing on, there have been laws and regulations passed about the rights of animals. Though if looked at, they can seem rather useless since much of the time these laws and legislations are very under-enforced. According to NAVS (National Anti-Vivisection Society) The Welfare Act, is a law that was “established in 1966 in response to growing concern for dogs and cats used in research, particularly with regard to a large number of reported thefts of dogs and cats for use in research institutions.” The problem with the welfare act is the animals protected under it are so specific and excludes many more of the animals that are used in research institutions. Since the law was enacted it the number of animals protected under it has grown but at the same time added more exclusions such as one for farm animals.
The Welfare Act can also be compared to the Humane Slaughter Act. The Humane Slaughter Act was originally known as Humane Methods of Slaughter Act, “Originally passed in 1958, the law that is enforced today by the USDA Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) was passed as the Humane Slaughter Act of 1978. This Act requires the proper treatment and humane handling of all food animals slaughtered in USDA inspected slaughter plants.” The law though seeming helpful also has many exclusion such as the slaughtering of poultry, this being one of the only law protecting the humane slaughtering of animals so that they can die without pain fails not only chickens but other animals that are also excluded or ignored. One more law that there is to protect animals is the Twenty-Eight Hour law. The Animal Legal and Historical Center in the University of Michigan explains the law as, “This Federal law addresses the transportation of animals, including those raised for food or in food production, across state lines. The statute provides that animals cannot be transported by ‘rail carrier, express carrier or common carrier’ (except by air or water) for more than 28 consecutive hours without being unloaded for five hours for rest, water and food.” Though the law is helpful in protecting animals being transported, it makes no effort in controlling the conditions in which the animals are being transported in, which at times causes animals to be transported in bad conditions.
These laws though try to help do at some extent aren’t enough to keep animals safe. This is why there are people who still fight for the rights of animals. These people are a great help and are a part of a great movement, but it takes more people to make a point and get the thigs we think are not only needed but deserved. There are many ways to help the movement and many organizations to join to do so. Unfortunately, many people are scared or nervous to join these organizations because in the past these organization have been called extremists for doing things to bring attention to the cause. Though they do it with good intentions their actions are seen as offensive or unnecessary because there are more ways to do things and instead of doing things in a peaceful way to bring attention these organizations will usually go the latter and do things that will catch peoples attentions even if it causes people to disagree with what they are doing. Two examples brought up in in an essay titled Earth Wars: PETA, Sea Shepherds, Greenpeace and Ethics by Kim Pewitt-Jones are linguistic choices made by PETA (People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals) and the actions taken by The Sea Shepherd Conservation Society in order to stop the Japanese from killing whales in the South Antarctic Ocean in 2000. The reason the linguistic choices made by PETA in the advertisements got them into trouble was because they compared the abuse of animals and the use of leather to awful events that happened in history.
“Holocaust on your plate” and “End Slavery” were used to gain the support of African Americans and Jewish people globally, but these phrases backfired because those minority groups said it demeaned the horrific events of slavery and the Holocaust.” Though PETA was just trying to evoke emotion into people by relating what these animals are going through to events that might have affected people in serious ways in real life can be seen as insulting. In the other hand The Sea Shepherd Conservation Society used more extreme measures to stop the Japanese from killing whales. The Japanese were doing this legally for research and the Sea Shepherds discovered that they were canning the meat for profit and to stop them from doing so they use a more extreme strategy. “The strategy used by the Sea Shepherds was high-powered pressure cannons bolted to their ship’s deck to shoot butyric acid (a rancid substance with a putrid odor that spoils meat) onto the deck of the Japanese factory ship.” This, by most was seen as to extreme. Though the actions they took weren’t violent they weren’t the best to take. There are other ways to aid the cause without going into extreme and offensive measures, but at times it can seem frustrating to come up with ways to help since there are also laws that go against animal rights activists
Animal rights activist have been trying to bring a change to the way animals are treated for a long time, but it made difficult by the number of hurdles they have to pass in order to do it. Many times they get into trouble for the things they do even if they never reach an extreme level such as the ones made by big organizations. Laws that have been passed to go against them don’t help and only make things harder for them but allow companies and factories to get away with mistreating and abusing animals. One of the examples of these laws are Ag-Gag Legislations. Animal enterprise interference’ statutes known as Ag-Gag laws are described by Pamela Fiber-Ostrow and Jarret S. Lovell in their article Behind a veil of secrecy: animal abuse, factory farms, and Ag-Gag legislation as “Proposed legislation would prohibit visual and sound recordings at meat and dairy farms, would make it illegal for job applications to fail to disclose affiliation with an animal advocacy organization, and legislation would mandate the prompt reporting of animal abuse.” These laws make it almost impossible for animal rights activists to expose companies who are mistreating their animals even when these people are doing things in a legal manner. Fiber-Ostrow and Lovell provide the case of Amy Meyer as an example in their Article. They explain how in 2013 she was the first person to be prosecuted under one of these laws for recording what was going on inside a meat packing company. “She refused, since she was actually filming from across the street and was therefore on public property.” Amy Meyer is a great example of how companies get away with the way they treat animals because she was not on property of the meat packing company yet was still prosecuted.
Everywhere there are animals who are suffering because they are being mistreated, abused, have no home or are being neglected. Different types of animals require different things, some need to be given shelter and to be fed while other find shelter and food for themselves. All animals have different characteristics and to humans only certain animals deserve to be treated correctly. No matter what all animals are important, and people need to understand the importance that it is to protect animals. No creature should be subjected to live a life with pain. It is important for us to stand up for the rights of the creatures who aren’t able to defend themselves.
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