Growing up I’ve always been around many different types of animals. On my mother’s side, my grandfather and uncle both own very large farms in my community. I personally live on a small farm and so do the rest of my cousins. We all live very close on the same road. Even on my father’s side my grandfather lives on a small farm. We all have animals on our farms making it something I have been around my entire life.
It has always been a very normal part of my life to be around and understand all different types of animals. I will invariably cherish this opportunity I was given to experience many great animals over the years. Yes, some animals can be stubborn, but some can allow you to form a bonding relationship with them. To this day I can remember the names of spectacular animals I’ve come across in my lifetime that have sadly passed away.
For example, my grandfather had a horse that was about the same age as my mother. Her name was Timber and she was something special. She was so smart and loyal, a person could consider her a big dog. Sadly, however she did recently pass away and I personally buried her. Simply because of not supporting animal rights, I was capable of creating memories with this great horse and other animals like her.
So this leads me to the question of who supports animal rights? When I was a young boy, I thought everyone had their own animals because again, that was my normal.
It wasn’t until I started to go to school that I realized I was incorrect. Some of the other kids grew up commonly to me and could relate to relationships with animals the same way I did. On the other hand, many of them could not. At first this was strange to me, but it eventually made sense. They had a different normal than me and much less exposure to animals. Some people have never even come into contact with animals in their life. These are the same exact people that I believe came up with and support animal rights. People that have little to no understanding of animals. It can be quite frustrating to people when someone tries to tell them to do something and that person has no idea what they are even talking about or are poorly educated on the topic. It’s like if a businessman who has never played football before tried to tell a professional running back how he should be running the football. I think the running back who became a professional based on his abilities, knows a lot more about running the football than an inexperienced businessman.
Many people often have the wrong understanding of the term “animal rights.” A person may say, “Yeah, I support animal rights,” with little to no understanding of what animal rights truly consist of. If a person says this while they are eating any type of meat, wearing anything that derived from an animal, or petting their dog, then a person may want to ask them to do more research on animal rights. They may have meant to say that they support animal welfare instead.
Animal welfare is a term that relates to a standard of laws that have been created for the protection of animals. It endorses the idea that a human can utilize the use of animals as long as they do so in a responsible manner. This use can connect to sport, companionship, or taking an animal life for clothing, food, and medical research. The responsible part of animal welfare is the part that we humans should be much considerate of. We humans should be careful to treat animals right and provide them with everything necessary for their survival. This only the kind and grateful thing to do in order to thank them for all the many things they ever done for us since the beginning of time. Being responsible with animals means that we provide them with basic needs such as food, water, shelter, and health. When a human is taking on the responsibility of caring for or using an animal to their advantage, it is ideal for that animal to experience no unnecessary suffering during the process. To insure the responsibility of human usage of animals, the Animal Welfare Act of 1966 was passed. This made animal welfare a lawful idea that could legally punish people that were not considerate to the lives of animals.
The golden rule that we all learn as young children tells us to treat others as we would want to be treated ourselves. Although we cannot treat animals like humans, or give them the same lives as us due to their lesser intelligence, we can do our best to give them the best life they will ever know. According to the Texas Society for Biomedical Research, “ . . . humankind’s right to use animals for human benefit carries with it the responsibility to do so humanely” (Animal Welfare Is Different Than Animal Rights, 2). Many communities have instilled their own additional local law that help further protect animals from harsh punishment. These laws can address many things from pet neglect and abuse to how circus animals are treated. Many of these local laws include bag limits for hunting and fishing to insure animal populations are not descending below their normal level. The wisdom and natural correctness of using animals for human benefit has been recognized for centuries by mankind. This idea should not disintegrate simply because some people in today’s world believe in the new idea of animal rights, meaning that all animals should hold the same standard of rights as humans. Paradoxically enough, animals can’t even speak. If animals have the same rights as humans, wouldn’t a person think they should have the same responsibilities in society as well? How could lower animals possibly provide for people the same way we provide for them under animal rights laws?
Protecting animals from all types of suffering is the goal of animal rights activists. However, the way animal rights advocates go about this is highly unreasonable. Supporters of animal rights believe that animals are not ours to use at all. Zip. Zero. None. They cannot be a part of our food, entertainment, clothing, or experimentation. As the Texas Society for Biomedical Research states, “ . . .animals must be included within the same system of morals that are applied to people” (Animal Welfare Is Different Than Animal Rights, 3). Again, how can we morally relate to something that isn’t the same species as us or let alone communicate with clearly? Animal rights are another way of saying equality among human beings and lower animals. Advocates believe animals should not be owned and confined, a food source, have the right to live, and a subject of experimentation only with given consent. How are we supposed to acquire consent from an animal? As a whole, instead of putting the needs of animals behind the needs of people, animal right directly compares the two. Even if a medical procedure that sacrificed an animal life saved a human life, we would be violating that animals right to live.
Some people may argue that animal rights are the new way to go in today’s society. According to Monyak, “More than two thirds of American households own pets and annually they spend more than $50 billion dollars on their care” (When the Law Recognizes Animals as People, 2). This money can be spent in multiple different ways besides basic needs of animals, including professional photographs taken of the animal and birthday presents. People obviously love their animals if they are willing to spend this much money on them every year. Household animals have become part of many peoples families. Now the law is beginning stages to catch up with this new idea of animal rights. When a person loves something like many people love their animals, it is only natural to want to grant that thing the same rights that you have. PETA (People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals) is a major animal rights advocates group. They raise tons of money every year, claiming to help save the lives of animals across the world. Animals do so much for us in today’s world so why not spend a little extra money to organizations such as PETA. As a result of some studies, “ . . . many Americans grow more concerned when they see a dog in pain than when they see an adult human suffering” (When the Law Recognizes Animals as People, 2). If animals mean this much to us then they should be equal and granted the same rights that we humans have. Right?
If the law made it so that animals had the same rights as people, then we could no longer enjoy them as our loving pets. Agriculture would suffer greatly and so would our chances of getting to visit zoos and aquariums like SeaWorld with our families or friends. It isn’t like animals today don’t have any rights either. Even though animals are considered property, if someone were to murder a dog, that person could be liable for a felony. Animals are already protected by the animal welfare laws that were put in place well before animal rights came about. The idea of animal rights simply degrades humans as a whole. Supporters of animal rights agree that there should only be a very narrow gap between animals and humans in terms of legality. Are animals really that close to us however in day to day life? The author David R. Carlin shows this relationship in the article, “The Concept of Animal Rights Degrades Humans”, “ . . . rationality (or a capacity for logical thinking) is the distinctive characteristic of human beings” (3). We humans as a species are simply much more intelligent than the lower animals. That is how we made our way on the higher side of the relationship between us and animals. We will never know if animals rights are extraordinary dangerous or inhumane unless the idea comes to reveal itself in many years to come. People should come to know that supporters of animal rights, no matter what their reason is to be so, can be considered enemies of the human race and the superior species we have all worked hard to become.
The enemy part of animal rights brings about the final point. Extremist animal rights activists can at times be classified as terrorist. PETA has done many insane things over the years such as telling children to drink beer instead of milk derived from animals. Shockingly, “They even wrote to Oklahoma City bomber Timothy McVeigh urging him to stop the killing at his dinner plate and to request a vegetarian dinner for his last meal” (Extreme Animal Rights Activists Are Terrorists, 2). These are just some of the less than appropriate actions that animal rights activists have taken over the past few years. Multiple researchers studying ways to improve human lives have had their cars and houses vandalized by people more worried about animal lives than the lives of people. At any given moment we are under the risk of possibly being attacked by an extremist for taking medication, eating a hamburger, having a pet, or using a pacemaker. This means that we must tell thousands of people out there with cancer, AIDS, heart attacks, or other diseases that their lives do not mean anything more than an animal’s. Animals affected by humans already live much longer than their relatives in the wild. Some get even better medical care and nutrition than many children in the United States. Animals are not capable of taking on responsibility for their actions, but PETA is! In 2006 alone, “PETA killed 2,981 dogs, cats, puppies, kittens and other animals-an astonishing 97 percent of the animals left in their care” (Extreme Animal Rights Activists Are Terrorists, 3). Animal extremists say they are engaged in animal rights beliefs, but are they? “PETA collects tens of millions in donations by claiming to advocate for the welfare of animals, but the group has killed 17,400 pets since 1998” (Extreme Animal Rights Activists Are Terrorists, 4). According to authors Michael P. Conn and Parker V. James, “Terrorist Rodney Coronado was convicted of an arson attack at Michigan State University that caused $125,000 worth of damage and destroyed thirty-two years of research data. PETA donated $45,200 to his legal defense” (Extreme Animal Rights Activists Are Terrorists, 4). These are just some of the numerous ways PETA has promoted terrorism in society among us. To defend PETA, they have been careful not to openly embrace such vandalism, threats, and assaults, however they do not oppose such savagery either. Today’s college students studying topics such as biomedical research are being scared off by attacks from animal rights extremists more and more everyday. Animal extremism is bad for our health because it looks to bring an end to ethical medical research. To protect friends or family that may be affected by animal rights activists a person can organize neighborhood watch groups or simply keep a good eye out for one another.
Most responsible people will agree with the idea of animal welfare more so than the idea of animal rights. I personally love my dog and do everything possible to insure it the best life it can have. It is crucial to respect all animal lives for what they truly have done for us. On the contrary, this does not mean that we should grant them the same rights that we humans possess. For me, that animal will only be a part of my life. For the animal, I will be its whole life. It is key to think about that when owning a pet or often being in contact with animals. If animal rights became a law that all people had to follow then we could no longer have guide dogs for the blind, zoos, dog shows, police dogs, rescue dogs, animal foods, hunting/fishing, or even the practice of owning pets that we all can enjoy and love.