Stepping from the shadows of other, better known causes such as the civil rights movement and blossoming from the awareness occasioned by the environmental movement, animal rights is, for the first time, becoming a serious issue for debate. Not long ago, animal rights activists were dismissed as fringe, covered in the press only for their more outlandish activities. Suddenly, stories about animals — both good and bad, heroic and tragic [ ii ] — take a more prominent place in the evening broadcast.
Major newspapers discuss the newest animal rights books [ iii ] and profile those whose legal careers center on animal advocacy. Unless one is reading the Bible, most stories do not begin at the beginning. Rather, they begin just as things are about to get interesting. So it is with animal rights. As such, no one — be it man, beast, or shrub — possesses rights. But then, neither are humans. Rather, all actions should be judged based on a cost-benefit analysis. As applied by Singer, the benefits to humans that flow from the domination and perceived mistreatment of animals does not, as a practical matter, overcome the costs imposed on those other species.
Animal rights advocates, as it turns out, come to the same conclusion, but based instead on the notion that there are certain rights so fundamental that they extend to other species and must be respected by human civilization. More important than Singer or his theories, however, is the recognition that he did not actually give birth to the animal rights debate. Some, like the great mathematician Pythagorus, believed animals deserved some protections and as such chose to eat a vegetarian diet.
At the other end of the philosophical spectrum, Aristotle forcefully argued that humanity was superior to all other Earth life and that such responsibility carried with it no ethical obligations towards lesser creatures. Religion and science also influenced human perception of animals. While vivisection — the experimentation on and dissection of animals for the advancement of scientific knowledge and human benefit — has subjected animals to untold pain and torment, the fruits of such procedures have also enabled medical breakthroughs that have lengthened and improved the quality of human life.
While the continued propriety of such procedures is highly contested [ xix ] , their historical significance on human attitudes cannot be questioned. The historical role of animals can also be viewed chronologically. As will be discussed later [ xx ] , through much of human history animals have served as a kind of commodity valuable to human enterprises, but devoid of any independent legal interests.
As such, many, if not all, of the earliest laws relating to animals revolved around their proprietary value to their owners. Thus, for example, the owner of cattle might be able to sue another person for the damage that individual caused to one of his cows his investment , but that same cattle owner could not be held liable for any harm he himself caused to that same creature.
In the late nineteenth century, this purely economic vision of animals began to change with the publication of a book entitled Animal Rights , the formation of both the British and American Societies for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, and the enactment of the first anti-cruelty laws. These laws for the first time recognized that animals themselves have an interest in being free from unnecessary and cruel suffering by giving the state the power to punish anyone who inflicts such pain on a non-human creature.
The instigation of World War I and the conflict and uncertainty that persisted until after World War II largely stifled further advances for animal interests during this period. In post-World War II America, however, concern for animals was reborn as organizations such as the Humane Society of the United States educated the public about animal welfare and society continued its march towards increased urbanization.
Moreover, the move from the country to the city and the transition of animals from mere means of livelihood to household pets further modified the human perception of animals. As more people developed emotional bonds to animals, they consequently began to view them, or at least certain species of animals, as deserving special protections.
With that historical foundation in place, the story now turns to the basic legal and social concepts fundamental to the discussion that follows. The prevalence of animals in society makes a detailed discussion of their importance unnecessary. Nonetheless, it is worth briefly summarizing some of the figures to emphasize just how important animals are to American society and the economy. According to the Census of Agriculture, in there were 98,, cattle and calves used in United State agriculture, 61,, hogs and pigs, 7,, sheep and lambs, and over 7 billion chickens used for egg and meat production.
Agriculture is but the tip of the proverbial iceberg, however. Veterinarians in private clinical practice are responsible for the health of approximately 53 million dogs, 59 million cats. Bird ownership has risen over the past 5 years from 11 million in to approximately 13 million birds.
The number of pleasure horses in the U. Other pets such as rabbits, ferrets, guinea pigs, hamsters, gerbils, other rodents, turtles, snakes, lizards, other reptiles and many other animals primarily kept as companion animals.
Rabbits and ferrets are owned by 2. The fish population is estimated at Of course, animals can also be found in the laboratory. A wide variety of species are used in research and experimentation. For such an overview of the animals in research controversy, one that is admittedly biased, see: One could also take a more functionalist perspective, viewing rights as those principles that protect individuals from the rest of society. They serve to protect individuals, in some cases at all costs, from the needs, wants, and prurient interests of the rest of society.
Such a definition, however, fails to make a critical distinction—that rights can be legal or philosophical. Legal rights are those that the government, in some fashion, provides protection for. Thus, when we talk of constitutional rights, we mean those interests that cannot be taken away by a court, government agent or action. Philosophical rights are those recognized as inherent to human civilization; those that are based on notions of basic morality.
Thus, these rights do not depend on the enactment of any formal law before they will be deemed to exist. Philosophical rights are those so fundamental that human society declares their existence even where it is unlikely that they will be enforced.
For example, people, we might say, have the right to be free from torture, even in countries where this right is not enforced or recognized by law. Such rights, then, may not be universally applied and may even be violated regularly in some locations, but they exist nonetheless as the ethical and moral underpinnings of civilized society. Legal rights, by contrast, are those that will be enforced by the law and provide substantive protections for the rights-holder. They are those enforceable in a court and recognized under the law.
Some come from statutes, others from a constitution state or federal , and still more from the common law made by judges. Most are express and easy to identify, at least in principle, while others remain shrouded in the penumbras of other recognized rights waiting to be discovered.
Their existence, however, is dependent upon the benevolence of the lawmaking authority to recognize and enact them. Moreover, competing legal rights must be balanced against one another to determine which should win out in any given situation wherein the two conflict. Legal rights also cannot be taken away by private individuals, though the scope of that protection is perhaps often misunderstood.
The simple existence of a legal right does not make it impossible for another to take that interest from another, rather the existence of that right will provide the aggrieved person with a remedy for that invasion.
To this point, however, society recognizes legal rights for only one species — humans. Under the law as it now stands, animals enjoy some legal protections from mistreatment, but they remain unable to enforce those entitlements themselves.
Instead, the state takes it upon itself to monitor, with varying degrees of success, human society to ensure that its members do not violate the safeguards meant to protect other species. To understand the meaning of this state of affairs, a little legal background is warranted.
The law is full of classifications, one of the most important of which is the distinction between persons and nonpersons. While there is no rule that prevents nonpersons from holding legal rights and protections, only legal persons have the capacity to enforce and safeguard those entitlements.
In reality, personhood is nothing more than a legal fiction, a term attached to certain entities that allow them to assert their rights and privileges. To the nonlawyer, it is probably no surprise that today all people are persons. It might be more surprising to learn that this was not always the case [ xxxvi ] or that entities like corporations and the government are legal persons.
Moreover, this fact also limits the benefits animals can receive. Personhood, then, for these purposes boils down to having the ability to sue. To be able to sue, a potential litigant must have standing, as referenced earlier.
Standing might be thought of as the confluence of a legal person, a legal right, and a legal interest seeking to redress a legal wrong. Because animals are not persons, they cannot sue. Moreover, the standing requirements articulated by the Supreme Court make it difficult for activists to sue on behalf of animal interests because rarely can they assert a sufficient legal injury to their legal interests. As articulated in Lujan v.
Defenders of Wildlife , to have standing a plaintiff must: Indeed, while courts have been willing to recognize an aesthetic injury to support a lawsuit [ xl ] they have at the same time refused to read into statutes private causes of action.
While it is absurd to imagine a nonhuman actually litigating a case [ xlii ] , it is less difficult to imagine a human attorney representing an animal client. That prospect, however, raises the potential for abuse by trial lawyers seeking out lawsuits. Moreover, as discussed later, there remains conflict within the animal protection community itself whether such a change should be a primary goal of the movement or simply the natural result of other substantive societal reforms.
To the law, animals are property: This principle is deeply interwoven into the law. Indeed, some of the first cases read by law students in Property class are Pierson v. Post [ xliv ] and Keeble v. Hickeringill [ xlv ] ; each of which is about the acquisition, ownership, and control of wild property — namely foxes and ducks.
Treating animals as property is not strictly a matter of law, however, as it is also deeply entrenched in Western religion. The Old Testament, for instance, decrees that animals are goods over which humanity has dominion. To him, animals were something common to the world, not unlike the air we breathe. On the other hand, animals have the potential and perhaps purpose of serving humanity. As property, they have no interests independent of those assigned by humanity.
And yet, animals are not just like any other household property. Unlike the household toaster, the law regulates how people treat their animals. Anti-cruelty laws prevent inhumane treatment to animals, subjecting violators to criminal sanction for causing unjustified harm to other creatures.
Penalties range from misdemeanor fines in some locations to a recent trend towards making such conduct a felony.
This sets animals apart, giving them special status within the property regime. They are entitled to certain minimum guarantees, namely that they will not be made to suffer unnecessarily. It is important to recognize at the same time, however, that such anti-cruelty regulations do not solely have animal interests at heart. Quite apart from any benefit the animal might receive from being free from cruel treatment, such laws also help to protect human investment in property.
Moreover, many who support such laws are truly concerned not with the actual harm to the animal, but with what such treatment indicates about the abuser — namely a propensity to violence that might ultimately lead to violence against humans. Given these concerns that exist independent of animal interests, it is not surprising that such laws are often vaguely written what after all is cruel and what is unnecessary? Of course, no discussion of federal law would be complete without a brief introduction to the most commonly known animal protection law—the Endangered Species Act.
The result, in addition to preserving species who might otherwise be lost to the world, is to increase the cost of development and in some cases prevent development altogether. Indeed, as originally drafted, the law was absolute in its protections, providing no exceptions from conservation of listed species, and as a result worked to temporarily stop the construction of the Tellico Dam in Tennessee because the area was the last known habitat of the Snail Darter.
Unlike harm caused to humans there is rarely a private cause of action to redress injuries inflicted upon animals. Surely, an animal owner can recover for the lost value of the animal, but in the case of a dog or cat such sums are usually insufficient to justify filing suit.
No court under the current legal regime would award an animal damages for injury to its being. Moreover, most courts deny animal owners the ability to sue for the damages they incur to their person, in the form of emotional damage, when their animals are injured or killed. Several jurisdictions in recent years have considered changes to this rule. Tennessee in went substantially further and actually enacted legislation allowing animal owners to recover emotional damages for injuries inflicted upon their pets.
For a more thorough discussion of this issue, please see http: No one would dispute that animals play an important, perhaps even vital, role in human society. In considering and evaluating the materials to follow, add the following to the more general list of characters already introduced.
Consider first animals that exhibit human characteristics, or how people attribute animal characteristics to some animals. For example, Alex is a parrot in Massachusetts that can speak. Unlike the pet store parrot, however, Alex does more than mimic sounds. He recognizes and can identify colors. Researchers at MIT are debating whether he can communicate. It is there that he lives in his cage, along with several other birds, subject to the close scrutiny and tests of scientists trying to ascertain the limits of his linguistic capabilities.
Flo, a female chimpanzee, died of old age by the side of a stream. Flint, her son, stayed by her corpse, grabbing one of her arms and trying to pull her up by the hand. He slept near her body all night, and in the morning he showed signs of depression. In the days following, no matter where he wandered off, he always returned to his mother's body, trying to remove the maggots from it.
Eventually, attacked by the maggots himself, he stopped coming back, but he stayed fifty yards away and would not move. In ten days he lost about a third of his body weight. Finally, after his mother's corpse had been removed for burial, Flint sat down on a rock near where she had lain down, and died.
The post mortem failed to show the cause of death. Primatologist Jane Goodall concludes that the major cause of death had to be grief: Next, consider the new ways in which society finds to utilize animals for their benefit.
In South Dakota there is a cow named Yoon. She looks and probably acts line any other bovine, but she is not. Yoon, like an ever-increasing number of animals, was genetically engineered by human scientists. Unlike some clones, designed for the novelty of science or for food production, Yoon and her siblings were created to save lives.
Such miracles might become a reality by infecting the animals with various bacteria and viruses. Other animals are similarly being used.
Research is underway, for instance into producing pigs whose hearts could be used for human transplants and who might better produce human insulin for diabetics. Finally, consider a dog. Luke was a yellow Labrador Retriever and a family pet. Over the course of his ten year life, he became a dear member of the family who was much loved.
His veterinarian prescribed special diet food for him to go along with his multiple, daily medications. He also had to have several surgeries and costly diagnostic tests from time to time.
Thus, when Luke blew out his knee like a football player, his family was given three choices: All along the way, these life choices were not, and perhaps could not be, made by Luke. Not everyone will react to the above biographies above in the same way. Thus, for instance, some might consider the use of Yoon a travesty, while others a necessary cost of promoting human health, and still others yet another creative way to make an otherwise dumb animal useful.
For purposes of simplicity, this article assumes only two general groups of people—those in favor of increasing legal protections afforded to all animals and those opposed to all such attempts. The discussion, then, is one of pure theory that intentionally omits the considerations of the great many people who find themselves in the middle of this ideological spectrum. Even within the animal protection movement there is disagreement about the goals that should be sought on behalf of other species.
Roughly, there are three competing philosophies: Briefly, one might understand welfare and rights to lie at opposite ends of the protectionist spectrum.
Animal welfare advocates support the types of reforms long sought on behalf of animals — increased penalties for unjustifiable harsh treatment, in other words. Welfarists accept the legal status of other species as property, even condoning such a classification. Moreover, they acknowledge that animals always will be, and perhaps to some extent should be, used as resources for humanity.
The limit, however, is that animals should not suffer unnecessarily at the hands of people. Many of the contemporary gains made on behalf of animals are welfare-based in nature.
For instance, at the federal level, statutes such as the Animal Welfare Act [ lxiii ] and the Humane Slaughter Method Act [ lxiv ] seek to ensure that animals used in industry are treated appropriately. State anti-cruelty laws aim to proscribe the mistreatment of animals by private citizens, in other words setting the bounds for the treatment of dogs, cats, birds, and the like.
Take note that the goal is to regulate unnecessary pain and suffering, not all suffering. This means that it is all right to eat animals, to use them for some experimentation, to domesticate them, and in some circumstances to kill them.
On the other end of the protectionist spectrum lie animal rights advocates. Rights advocates seek to first change the fundamental legal status of animals away from mere property towards something closer to personhood. Such a change would open the door to more expansive reforms down the line. At base, rights advocates believe that all animals, human and otherwise, possess some inalienable rights that deserve recognition and protection.
To the law, these might be characterized as fundamental rights that must never be abridged except in the most dire of circumstances. It covers housing, food, cleanliness, and medical care. According to Psychological Abstracts, every year approximately million animals are used for research purposes. Presently there are two major animal rights groups around. PETA attempts to establish and defend the rights of all animals. Their primary focus is on the factory farms, laboratories and the fur trade, but will also concern themselves with hunting, fishing, zoos, the circus and other ways in which animals are used for entertainment purposes.
PETA is actively involved in exposing all the illegal practices used in animal experimentation. As many new studies continue to come out, more research is pointing to the conclusion that animal experiments are not always as accurate as we'd like to think they are. Although some similarities exist, quite a few of the positive results gotten from animal tests, will backfire when first used by humans. A commonly used test by researchers is the LD The LD 50 Lethal Dose gets its name because in this experiment animals are taken, and then subjected to lethel doses of a potentially dangerous chemical or drug.
The dosage is the increased until 50 of the animals die. If the animal is "lucky" enough to survive, its life will be a total hell. They could end up being deformed for life. If not deformed than definitely traumatized. After being subjected to constant pain, punishment, stress and social and emotional deprivation, the animal might never act the same.
Animal rights is a humane position which looks out for the rights of others not just humans. It must be understood, that all living beings are unique expressions of life. They each have their own inherent value, for if they did not, then why would they exist?
We may think that just because animals do not speak to us, that they do not possess feelings, but they are capable of feeling pain and suffering. Just like you and me animals have the right to live their life without exploitation, or unnecessary pain. What has billions of legs but still can't run away? The 6 Billion animals raised and killed for food every year in the US.
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Animal Rights. City Journal. Alternatively: " animal rights must not only be an idea but a social movement for the liberation of the world's most oppressed beings, both in terms of numbers and in the severity of their pain." Steven Best. Essay: Animal Rights and the New Enlightenment.
If some rights restricting animals from serving people are implemented, most of the domesticated animals will suffer as they don’t have adaptations to survive if left alone in the jungle. No one will see the need to domesticate a non-beneficial animal in his/her home. Despite the disadvantages of animal’s rights they still dearly need the rights.
While animal rights as theory already has a significant history, animal rights as a vehicle for legal change is just taking root. In countries around the world changes in the legal status of other animals is already underway and several localities in the United States are beginning the slow process of . Animal Rights Essay This IELTS animal rights essay discusses the exploitation of animals by humans. People who believe in animal rights think that they should not be treated cruelly, for example in experiments or for sport.
Dec 09, · I have to write an essay on animal rights and why I think animals should have more rights. I already wrote my outline, and I have all of my body paragraphs, I just don't know how to introduce my paper. Animal Rights Essay - Justifying Animal Rights In this society, it is under law for all people 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.