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Animal Rights 1

Animal Rights 1

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Published by: Kate20 on Jun 04, 2009
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Animal rights
Animal rights
, also known as animal liberation, is the idea that the mostbasic interests of animals should be afforded the same consideration as thesimilar interests of human beings. Advocates approach the issue from differentphilosophical positions but agree that animals should be viewed aslegal personsand members of the moral community, not property, and that theyshould not be used as food, clothing, research subjects, or entertainment.Critics argue that animals are unable to enter into asocial contractor make moral choices, and therefore cannot be regarded as possessors of rights,a position summed up by the philosopher Roger Scruton, who writes that onlyhuman beings have duties, and that, "[the] corollary is inescapable: we alonehave rights." A parallel argument is that there is nothing inherently wrong withusing animals as resources if there is no unnecessary suffering, a view knownas theanimal welfareposition.
There has also been criticism, including fromwithin theanimal rights movementitself, of certain forms of animal rightsactivism, in particular the destruction of fur farms and animal laboratories by theAnimal Liberation Front.
Late 20th century: Emergence of an animal liberation movement1960s: Formation of the Oxford group and the first wave of writers
A small group of intellectuals, particularly atOxford University— nowknown as the Oxford Group — began to view the increasing use of animals asunacceptable exploitation. In 1964, Ruth Harrison published
 Animal Machines
,a critique of factory farming, which proved influential. PsychologistRichard D.Ryder , who became a member of the Oxford Group, cites a 1965
Sunday Times
article by novelistBrigid Brophy, called "The Rights of Animals," ashaving encouraged his own interest.
1975: Publication of 
 Animal Liberation
It was in a review of 
 Animals, Men and Morals
for the
onApril 5,1973, that the Australian philosopher,Peter   Singer , first put forward his arguments in favour of animal liberation, whichhave become pivotal within the movement. He based his arguments on theprinciple of utilitarianism, the view, broadly speaking, that an act is rightinsofar as it leads to the "greatest happiness of the greatest number," aphrase first used in 1776 by Jeremy Bentham in
 A Fragment onGovernment 
. He drew an explicit comparison between theliberation of  womenand the liberation of animals.In 1970, over lunch in Oxford with fellow student Richard Keshen,who was a vegetarian, Singer first came to believe that, by eating animals,he was engaging in the oppression of other species by his own. Keshenintroduced Singer to the Godlovitches, and Singer and Roslind Godlovitchspent hours together refining their views. Singer's review of theGodlovitches' book evolved into
, published in 1975, nowwidely regarded as the "bible" of the modern animal rights movement.
1976: Founding of the Animal Liberation Front
A British law student,Ronnie Lee, formed an anti-hunting activistgroup in Luton in 1971, later calling it the Band of Mercy after a 19th-
century RSPCA youth group. The Band attacked hunters' vehicles byslashing tires and breaking windows, calling their brand of activism "activecompassion." In August 1974, Lee and another activist were sentenced tothree years in prison. They were paroled after 12 months, with Leeemerging more militant than ever. In 1976, he brought together theremaining Band of Mercy activists, with some fresh faces, 30 activists in all,in order to start a new movement. He called it theAnimal Liberation Front (ALF), a name he hoped would come to "haunt" those who used animals
Animal Rights and Care
Animal rights is an emotional issue and recently its supporters haveshown how passionate and determined they are to speak on behalf of animals. There is a huge amount of written information available for anyoneinterested in this issue, much of it from animal rights organisations.DEFRA (the Department for the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)publishes various leaflets explaining how the welfare of animals isprotected by law. Campaigning organisations, meanwhile, focus on specificissues of animal rights and welfare. TheLeague Against Cruel Sports, for example, campaigns against hunting, which it regards as cruel, whiletheCountryside Allianceargues that it is an effective form of countrysideconservation.Compassion in World Farmingprotests against 'factoryfarming' (eg. battery hens), and other groups argue for a ban on cosmetictests and vivisection, laboratory experiments on animals for medical or scientific research.There are a number of organisations you can join if you want tobecome more active in protecting animals. The RSPCA is an animalwelfare charity. It focuses on the way people treat animals and aims topromote kindness by preventing cruelty.
Animal experiments:
Cosmetic testing on animals
Tests of cosmetics on animals have now been abolished in Britishlaboratories. Animals have been used for many years to test new cosmeticproducts. The RSPCA has spoken out against this as have many 'newwave' cosmetic producers.
British Union for the Abolition of Vivisection (BUAV)
Protection and conservation of animals
There is a difference between animal protection and animalconservation.Animal protection is about the care of an individual animal or birdwhereas animal conservation is concerned with a population or species. Itis often the case that animal protection implies there is some danger to theanimal, perhaps from people or from pollution, whereas animal
conservation is about safeguarding environments so animals can liveundisturbed.Until very recently the law did not protect wild animals from cruelty.The Wild Mammals Protection Act which came into effect on 30 April 1997protects wild mammals (though not birds or fish) from acts of cruelty suchas kicking, beating, stoning or drowning.However there are a number of exceptions. For example, if ananimal is injured as a result of lawful hunting, shooting, coursing or pestcontrol activity, and is then killed swiftly and humanely, this is not illegal.Because the Act has only recently come into effect, it may be some timebefore the courts interpret sections of it.
Turtles in Trouble
Turtles have been on the earth for 200 million years! There areseven species, or kinds, of sea turtles. All are endangered.
Protecting wildlife and countryside areas
There is a wide range of areas which are defined for their scientificinterest, their importance for plant or wildlife, or for their habitats.The National Trust, Wildlife Trusts, English Nature, the CountrysideCommission, the European Commission and local authorities are some of the organisations responsible for establishing them.
Wildlife conservation
It is estimated that there are between 13 and 14 million differentspecies on earth and only about 1.75 million have been scientificallydescribed. Scientists and environmentalists are concerned at the increasingnumber of species in danger of extinction. It is not just rare animals whichare threatened. Species of butterflies, frogs, toads, newts, snakes andinsects are all in decline.
Annual RSPB Garden Birdwatch
The Big Garden Birdwatch takes place at the end of January everyyear. The Birdwatch continues to inspire hundreds of thousands of peopleto watch the birds their gardens and local parks. Approximately 6 millionbirds are recorded and 210,000 gardens surveyed.
Born Free FoundationRoyal Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals
Farm animals:
According to the RSPCA 750 million farm animals are reared in theUK each year. The huge demand for meat, eggs and dairy products hasencouraged farmers to use intensive methods of farming. Usually thismeans animals are kept in a limited space with little opportunity to roamoutside and look for their own food. Although there are governmentregulations on the conditions in which animals are raised, transported andslaughtered, many people feel they do not go far enough.To promote best practice in caring for farm animals, the RSPCAhelped launch and now monitors the Freedom Food mark. If you see thismark on a food wrapper or packet it means the RSPCA believes theanimals were properly cared for throughout their lives. According to the

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