Should Animals Have The Same Rights As People?

Should Animals Have The Same Rights As People?

Opposing Views has posed the question, “Should Animals Have The Same Rights As People?”

I’ve answered:

The question is deliberately absurd. Of course animals shouldn’t have exactly the same rights as humans. Animals shouldn’t be allowed to sue other animals, they shouldn’t be allowed to legally marry or form civil unions, they shouldn’t have the right to choose medical procedures for themselves like abortion or birth control, they shouldn’t have the right to attend public schools and learn to read, etc…

Get Real.

But regarding fundamental rights: Yes, animals deserve the same rights as people. The very basic right of governing one’s own body, the right of freedom from torture, the right of freedom from unjustified violence are rights ALL living sentient beings deserve. Animals and humans alike deserve some basic autonomy and freedom from interference from others.

Get Honest.

Wild animals deserve to be left alone, not hunted, not captured and euthanized, not caged and enslaved as circus animals. Tame animals/ companion animals/ pets deserve to be treated kindly in a manner similar to how we treat human babies or small children. They deserve food and water, a resting area, opportunities for play, and basic medical care. “Farm animals”/ “food animals” deserve freedom from torture and human-inflicted, unnecessary death. They deserve not to be eaten simply because people like the taste.

Get vegan.

Get real. Get honest. Get vegan.

6 Responses to Should Animals Have The Same Rights As People?

  1. I’ve always been uncomfortable with the term “rights.” Rights are things that those in power grant to those who are not in power. I prefer to think in terms of personal responsibility. We all have a personal responsibility to treat others kindly and to not cause unnecessary suffering.

    Most of us were taught to treat others as we would want to be treated. Ethics really is that simple. If, as a feeling being, you would not want to be made to suffer unnecessarily, then don’t cause other feeling beings to suffer unnecessarily. I don’t know of anyone (aside from sadists) who would argue that it is okay to cause unnecessary suffering. Yet many otherwise moral people argue that it is okay to kill other animals for food even though eating meat isn’t necessary for human health.

    I’m always amazed at the lack of reasoning ability apparent in the human species and yet this prevailing myth that human beings are rational. In my experience, the majority of the human species is incapable of rational thought. They are very good at “rationalizing” which often involves logical fallacies, unreasonable worldviews and invented fictions. But rational thought seems elusive to most human beings.

    I read through some of the anti-amimal comments at “Should Animals Have The Same Rights As People?” and these people are absolutely stupid. One “expert” claims animals are basically instictual machines. Has he ever met an animal? It is obvious to anyone who has ever met a dog that these animals can think and feel and make decisions. And dogs aren’t the only animals who can act beyond mere instict.

    It’s odd how animals always get lumped together in these debates as if chimpazees, dogs, rabbits, worms and fruit flies all have the same mental capabilities. Odder still that one would argue that mental capabilities has any role in whether or not sentient beings should be treated kindly. Do they forget that humans are also animals and that there is very little difference between us an other animals when it comes to being able to feel pain and to suffer?

    I’ve heard so called rational humans get incredibly offended when people compare cruelty to human animals with cruelty to other animals. People get livid when one dares compare the Holocaust to the slaughter of animals, yet even Holocaust survivors will tell you that they were treated “like animals.” Even the word holocaust originally referred to the slaughter of animals and was used to describe the Nazi’s slaughter of Jews because of the obvious similarities between the way farmed animals are treated and the way that Jews were treated. But don’t dare make the Holocaust comparison in reverse.

    I read an article recently in which the author was angry that PETA compared the killing of a human being to the slaughter of animals. PETA decried both acts as immoral. The author angrily declared that you can’t compare people to animals. In the same article the author defended eating meat by saying that humans are animals and that other animals eat meat so it was okay if people do too. Obviously, the human animal comparisons can only go one way in these small minds. Obviously, the author neglected to mention that human beings share much more in common with other primates (who are predominatly vegetarian) than they do with lions and tigers and bears.

    Yes, I don’t think that reason is a human characteristic. Obviously, there are some differences between humans and other animals, but reason is not one of them. I think perhaps our ability for abstract thought is one such difference. Humans are capable of understanding that the word “tree” (both phonetically and written out) can be used to represent an actual tree. Of course, some animals can be taught this too.

    But humans can also think abstractly about a wide range of concepts including gods, the distant future, the distant past etc. This is an incredible ability and it has allowed us to develop a complex and rich language and pass incredible ideas down through the generations via spoken and written word. It has allowed us to develope art and music and poetry. But, this ability to think abstractly does not equate to an ability to think rationally.

    We are an incredible species, but we are not a rational species. It’s too bad. Until people become proficiently rational there will continue to be these absurd questions about if animals should have the same rights as humans and there will continue to be absurd (ir)rationalizations to justify elevating humans to the status of God and denegrading all other animals to the status of dirt.

  2. Animals are also living beings and they have right to freedom

  3. No one can live without freedom

  4. I belive(and dont get mad if you dont agree) animals are closely related to us. we have them living in our homes, sleeping with us and our kids, we feed them, they ove us and are loyal to us. why should we not treat them as a creature that is our friends? i have a question for you: DO YOU GO AND TREAT YOUR DOG/OR CAT LIKE THEY ARE LOWER THEN THE LOWEST SCUM OF THE EARTH? DO YOU TREAT YOUR BEST FRIENDS AS “LOWER THEN THE SCUM OF THE EARTH”? THEN WHY IN THE UNIVERSE WOULD YOU TREAT YOUR ANIMALS WITH THAT MUCH DISRESPECT?

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