What Are Animal Rights . . . And Why You Should Care?
Imagine that some people think we humans just aren’t good enough to own or use animals. In fact they’re so convinced of this that they have formed large organizations that work tirelessly around the clock and around the world to eliminate animal farming, eating of meat, use of animals in research, hunting, circuses, zoos, and yes, as pets.
This isn’t just a bad dream — it’s real. Those people are called the ‘animal rights’ movement. While there probably aren’t more than a thousand people in the U.S. who accept the whole idea — that humans should be completely separated from our animals even if that means that many species becomes extinct — they are supported by many more who support important parts of the movement.
For example many believe that eating meat is wrong. Some think that medical research using animals is unnecessary and cruel. Other thousands believe most pet owners are irresponsible. And it is those people, the ones who support small parts of animal rights, who are carrying the movement forward.
This is America: It is our right to believe whatever we want and to try to convince others of what we believe. However the AR movement goes beyond that. The biggest thing they do is pass laws that make animal use, breeding, and ownership steadily harder and more costly.
This happens in several steps:
- They invent problems or magnify small ones. The real problems generally are much less than the good that comes from the same activity but what we are told about is only the problem.
For example: “Hunting is cruel and unnecessary” — never mind that for many species hunting is a main way of controlling population to prevent starvation and other problems.
“‘Pet overpopulation’ leads to the tragedy of euthanasia” — although the animal shelter euthanasia rate has been falling steadily for decades, is probably now only 10-15% of what it was 30 years ago and many areas of the country now actually have a shortage of dogs.
“Pet breeders are just exploiting animals for money” — although if there were no breeders there would be no pets, and it’s almost impossible to make money if you breed as a hobby.
“Animals are dangerous and cause human health problems” — though most of us have pets, serious problems are rare and study after study shows that pet owners are happier, have lower stress levels, and may live longer than other people.
“Animal farming is cruelty” — though cruelty is already illegal and the practices being attacked are ancient and often inspected and specifically approved by the government.