Animal rights describes a set of principles based on the understanding that animals are sentient beings who have the right to live their lives free from abuse, violation and being used to meet the desires of humans.
We can support animal rights by taking measures in our own lives to protect animals, such as adopting a vegan or vegetarian diet and boycotting or directly campaigning against companies and organisations which cruelly use animals for entertainment, research or other purposes.
Inspired by animal rights, Michael Kern has been a vegetarian for over 45 years. In the PDF attachment you can learn more about the difference between ‘animal rights’ and ‘animal welfare’.
Doctrine of Animal Rights
The doctrine of animal rights involves ensuring that no animals are bred and killed for the purpose of providing humans with food, clothing or medicine. It also involves ensuring that no animal should be experimented on or used for hard labour.
Animals should also have the rights not be hunted, used for the purpose of entertainment (including keeping them in restricted zoo enclosures), and any form of selective breeding other than that which may be beneficial for the animal.
The embedded infographic shares some statistics on global animal cruelty.
While many countries have laws to protect some of the worst suffering of animals, these are very inconsistent and there are millions of animals around the world living in pain or fear because of human insensitivity and cruelty.
Realising that animals are sentient beings who experience pain and suffering encourages us to treat animals in the same way as we would wish to be treated by our fellow humans – with kindness, respect and understanding.
Putting Principles into Practice
We can put the principles of animal rights into practice in numerous ways, from avoiding eating meat to getting involved in protests. We can also make conscious decisions about the things that we consume and the products we choose to use based on the treatment of animals. This may include boycotting certain brands when shopping, so helping to reduce the profits of any corporation or business that doesn’t respect the rights of animals.
It’s within the reach of all of us to create a way of life that respects all living beings, and the short video attachment has some ideas about how to get started.