The issue of animals’ rights recognition and development has reached outstanding level of relevance today. Unfortunately, it is long being out of discussion domain, as opposing to each other parties are radically approached. For example, we may remind stats that more than one third of animal researchers in UK has witnessed physical attacks, harassment fire bombings and property destruction (Browne). At the same time, some activists as Animal Liberation Front claim even for the reduce of humans’ pollution: “To create a world that is fair to the other creatures on it we have to have some policy of reducing the human population so that would mean we would have to breed less” (Cox). At last, bold and sometimes cynical actions of PETE are known all around the globe. More other examplescould be placed as supports of issue’s acuteness today. In this paper, we’ll try to get the roots of animals rights movement and to find out, why some people are against it.
To begin with, the crucial role in this discussion devoted to the concept of “conscious society” that became so popular nowadays. The school of conscious community states that everyone of us takes responsibility for his / her actions towards our common environment. In other, words humanity should change its direction from environmental consumerism, as it was formed during numerous centuries. Frankly, this approach seems to be absolutely reasonable, as current Earth’s ecosystem requires mandatory rethinking in part of its exploitation. Attention of world community to appropriate problem found manifestation in public international agreements, with the most significant Kyoto Protocol. Moreover, we all witnessed the appearance of serious global philosophical school that is called environmentalism. One of the brightest its representatives is Albert Gore, who once said: “We are threatening to push the earth out of balance. Modern industrial civilization, as presently organized, is colliding violently with our planet’s ecological system. The ferocity of its assault on the earth is breathtaking, and the horrific consequences are occurring so quickly as to defy our capacity to recognize them, comprehend their global implications, and organize an appropriate and timely response” (Gore 269). In fact this quote is perfect to show out the main disturbs of environmentalists. It’s important to understand that “animals right movement” is a kind of a by-product of environmentalism. In addition, it should not be fully associated to some kind of heightened concern and care about animals only. This movement claims for humans’ rights sharing to them, that is the stand point of all disputes. Let’s outline the main ideas of appropriate movement: 1) animals are equal to humans’; 2) killing of animals is unethical; 3) animals are nothing different from humans’ with their natural rights’, such as life, freedom etc. It looks clear that all of them found reasonable cons in recent scholar thought.
Ethics domain.In this part, the arguments of animals’ rights activists are the weakest probably. In general, they are centered around religious prohibition of murder, violence and cruelty. Really, Christian religion became the ground for moral values as we know them today, however, it is really questionable issue that Bible is against murder of animals. At this part, pretty curious research was made by Dean Ohlman, whose deep examination of Biblical justification allowed him to make next conclusions:
- Killing animals for human food and survival: obviously justified.
- Killing animals in research regarding the survival of human beings: justified.
- Killing animals for clothing and essential needs: partially justified.
- Killing animals for species control: partially justified.
- Killing animals for sport or entertainment: not justified.
- Killing animals for vanity products: not justified.
- Killing animals for religious purposes: no longer justified.
- Inflicting pain for sport or entertainment: not justified.
- Inflicting pain for research regarding vanity products: not justified
- Confining animals: partially justified.
- Destroying an animal species: no clear biblical viewpoint. (species is a manmade distinction)(Ohlman).
In this regard, we have no reasonable ground to state that killing of animals is unethical. However, it is important to hold the line between killing as need and for pleasure just. Actually, this point was never denied by those who claims against animals’ rights movement.
Equality.The equality of all Earth beings is also a by-product of environmentalism. This idea is devoted to the necessity of “perfect world” keeping, just like it was created, as the only solution to keep ecosystem alive. In this regard, we may mention PhilipShabecoff’s words, who once wrote: ”An unspoiled land of great beauty and wonder began to change when Europeans came here five hundred years ago. …Its resources were squandered…large areas were sullied, disfigured, and degraded, and…our negligent use of the Promethean forces of science and technology has brought us to the verge of disaster” (Shabecoff 97). In this way, the idea of perfect world and humans’ equality to animals forces us to refuse all blessings of civilization. One serious miss here is the restriction of humans’ mental abilities, while animals are allowed to use all their advantages endowed with the nature, such as speed or strength. In addition, the ability of civil values refusal is incredibly doubtful. In this order, words of Robert James Bidinotto are important to be mentioned: “If untouched nature is the ideal, then in logic our lives, interests, well-being, and pleasures must be sacrificed to the “greater” interests of our surroundings. And if they aren’t-if our selfish, life-serving acts impinge on the “ideal” in any way, as they must-then we will come to feel guilty about being alive”(Bidinotto).
Natural rights.Talking about this part, advocates of animals’ rights say that the great apes in some way share part of our genetic material, consequently they ought to be endowed with the same rights as people are. In this respect, we have to outline that there is a talk about concrete legal prescriptions that are inherently secured with the mechanism of state’s constraint. The argument towards necessity of natural rights of animals recognition hardly can be adequately opposed to views of those, who are against appropriate concept. As for the most significant cons, the reference to “moral agent” is worth to be called the most persuasive and undoubted. The point is that humans’ are only creations, who are able to differ wrong from right. In other words, they are only species whose deeds are determined by consciousness choice. In this aspect, we also may remind the gift of a free will, that no one expect humans is endowed with. In this way, rights’ cannot be applied to animals’ as they always go side-by-side with legal responsibilities. In this aspect, Ilana Mercer writes:”Because animals kill with no forethought or conscience, we don’t hold them responsible for their actions in the legal sense, as we would a human being. We agree they were only acting on their animal instincts – they don’t function on a higher plane” (Mercer).
To sum up, it worth being recognized that the opposition to animals rights’ movement has all reasonable grounds to exists. Probably, someone may treat it like the manifestation of human’s selfishness. However, its arguments are strong enough to be convincing. Let’s repeat one more time that those who claims for irrationality of animals’ rights should not be perceived as some kind of enemies to animals. The main idea here that people are reasonably considered higher species than others. Except all privileges, this status imposes some kind of additional responsibility. As Wesley J. Smith states man’s nature is the source of the responsibility he bears for his actions. In its turn, the nature of animals makes them worthy of human compassion, kindness and care, but never of any human rights. Probably, this point hardly can be argued from the sides of both camps.
Bidinotto, R.J. (2010). “Environmentalism or Individualism?”. Web 26 Nov. 2011. http://www.econot.com/page4.html
Browne, P. (2011). “Animal rights and wrongs”.Nature: International weekly journal of science, 470.
Cox, S. (2004). “How animal rights took on the world”. BBC News. Web. 26 Nov. 2011 http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/uk_news/magazine/4020235.stm
Gore, A. (1993). “Earth in the Balance: Ecology and the Human Spirit”. New York: Plume edition/Penguin Books.
Kevin, A. (2010).”You beast! (animals’ rights & wrongs)”. SALVO magazine.Web. 26 Nov. 2011 http://www.salvomag.com/new/articles/salvo13/13allen.php
Mercer, I. (2003). “No rights for animals!”.Web. 26 Nov. 2011. http://www.wnd.com/news/article.asp?ARTICLE_ID=35022
Ohlman, D. (2010). “Animals and the Peacable Kingdom”. Web 26 Nov. 2011. http://restoringeden.org/resources/Ohlman/AnimalsPeacableKingdom/view
Osborne, L. (2009). “Chemical Weapons in the Animal Kingdom”.Web. 26 Nov. 2011 http://lynda-osborne.suite101.com/chemical-weapons-in-the-animal-kingdom-a161189
Shabecoff, P. (1993). “ A Fierce Green Fire: The American Environmental Movement”.New York: Hill and Wang.