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Animal rights, also known as animal liberation, is the idea that the most basic interests of animals should be afforded the same consideration as the similar interests of human beings. Advocates approach the issue from different philosophical positions but agree that animals should be viewed as legal persons and members of the moral community, not property, and that they should not be used as food, clothing, research subjects, or entertainment. Critics argue that animals are unable to enter into a social contract or make moral choices, and therefore cannot be regarded as possessors of rights, a position summed up by the philosopher Roger Scruton, who writes that only human beings have duties, and that, "[the] corollary is inescapable: we alone have rights." A parallel argument is that there is nothing inherently wrong with using animals as resources if there is no unnecessary suffering, a view known as the animal welfare position. There has also been criticism, including from within the animal rights movement itself, of certain forms of animal rights activism, in particular the destruction of fur farms and animal laboratories by the Animal Liberation Front. Late 20th century: Emergence of an animal liberation movement 1960s: Formation of the Oxford group and the first wave of writers A small group of intellectuals, particularly at Oxford University — now known as the Oxford Group — began to view the increasing use of animals as unacceptable exploitation. In 1964, Ruth Harrison published Animal Machines, a critique of factory farming, which proved influential. “ 1975: Publication of Animal Liberation It was in a review of Animals, Men and Morals for the The New York Review of Books on April 5, 1973, that the Australian philosopher, Peter Singer, first put forward his arguments in favour of animal liberation, which have become pivotal within the movement. He based his arguments on the principle of utilitarianism, the view, broadly speaking, that an act is right insofar as it leads to the "greatest happiness of the greatest number," a phrase first used in 1776 by Jeremy Bentham in A Fragment on Government. He drew an explicit comparison between the liberation of women and the liberation of animals. Animal Liberation, published in 1975. 1976: Founding of the Animal Liberation Front A British law student, Ronnie Lee, formed an anti-hunting activist group in Luton in 1971, later calling it the Band of Mercy after a 19thcentury RSPCA youth group. In August 1974, Lee and another activist were sentenced to three years in prison. They were paroled after 12 months, with Lee emerging more militant than ever. He called it the Animal 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 have shown how passionate and determined they are to speak on behalf of animals. There is a huge amount of written information available for anyone interested 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 is protected by law. Campaigning organisations, meanwhile, focus on specific issues of animal rights and welfare. The League Against Cruel Sports, for example, campaigns against hunting, which it regards as cruel, while the Countryside Alliance argues that it is an effective form of countryside conservation. Compassion in World Farming protests against 'factory farming' (eg. battery hens), and other groups argue for a ban on cosmetic tests and vivisection, laboratory experiments on animals for medical or scientific research. There are a number of organisations you can join if you want to become more active in protecting animals. The RSPCA is an animal welfare charity. It focuses on the way people treat animals and aims to promote kindness by preventing cruelty.
Cosmetic testing on animals Tests of cosmetics on animals have now been abolished in British laboratories. Animals have been used for many years to test new cosmetic products. The RSPCA has spoken out against this as have many 'new wave' cosmetic producers. Organisations British Union for the Abolition of Vivisection (BUAV)
• Protection and conservation of animals There is a difference between animal protection and animal conservation. Animal protection is about the care of an individual animal or bird whereas animal conservation is concerned with a population or species. It is often the case that animal protection implies there is some danger to the animal, perhaps from people or from pollution, whereas animal conservation is about safeguarding environments so animals can live undisturbed. Until very recently the law did not protect wild animals from cruelty. The Wild Mammals Protection Act which came into effect on 30 April 1997 protects wild mammals (though not birds or fish) from acts of cruelty such as kicking, beating, stoning or drowning. • Turtles in Trouble Turtles have been on the earth for 200 million years! There are seven 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 scientific
interest, their importance for plant or wildlife, or for their habitats. The National Trust, Wildlife Trusts, English Nature, the Countryside Commission, 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 different species on earth and only about 1.75 million have been scientifically described. Scientists and environmentalists are concerned at the increasing number of species in danger of extinction. It is not just rare animals which are threatened. Species of butterflies, frogs, toads, newts, snakes and insects are all in decline. • Annual RSPB Garden Birdwatch The Big Garden Birdwatch takes place at the end of January every year. The Birdwatch continues to inspire hundreds of thousands of people to watch the birds their gardens and local parks. Approximately 6 million birds are recorded and 210,000 gardens surveyed. Organisations Born Free Foundation Royal Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals
According to the RSPCA 750 million farm animals are reared in the UK each year. The huge demand for meat, eggs and dairy products has encouraged farmers to use intensive methods of farming. Usually this means animals are kept in a limited space with little opportunity to roam outside and look for their own food. Although there are government regulations on the conditions in which animals are raised, transported and slaughtered, many people feel they do not go far enough. To promote best practice in caring for farm animals, the RSPCA helped launch and now monitors the Freedom Food mark. If you see this mark on a food wrapper or packet it means the RSPCA believes the animals were properly cared for throughout their lives. According to the RSPCA animals need: a proper diet; a comfortable place to live; veterinary treatment when they need it; to be free from distress; and room to behave normally together. • Antibiotics and farm animals The use of antibiotics as part of farming have been in the news lately. Cattle are often kept together in large groups. This is known as intensive factory farming. Overcrowding causes infection amongst the herd so they are routinely fed antibiotics with their normal feed. Antibiotics have also been used to artificially boost the animal's growth. These are similar to the antibiotics used to treat humans and there is now growing evidence that we are becoming resistant to antibiotics as a result. The fact that we are consuming antibiotics though the food chain means that our own ability to fight disease is reduced.
Live export of animals:
In late 1994 and early 1995, the export of live calves for veal came into the news. One of the objections to exporting calves was that the animals have to travel such long distances before they are slaughtered. Live animals are expensive to transport but there are advantages because the meat is fresh when the animals are slaughtered near the market. Animal welfare organisations argued that there should be a European standard for the transport of live animals, including a maximum travelling time before a rest and feeding period. Inspectors should also be appointed to monitor the transport of the animals. On 1 July 1998, new regulations for live exports were introduced to implement the 1995 European Union (EU) directive on the transport of animals. However, the new regulations in some cases actually extend journey times for animals.
Although the law protects most animals from cruelty, thousands of pets are abandoned every year. Many of these are rescued by the RSPCA. In 1993 the Society found homes for over 80,000 animals, mostly dogs and cats. Others had to be put down or were treated for a variety of health problems before being returned to their owners. The RSPCA is the main agency in the UK providing welfare services to animals. Throughout the country its inspectors give advice on the conditions in which animals are kept, investigate complaints, rescue animals in distress, run animal welfare centres and find new homes for abandoned animals. The Society also publishes a range of leaflets with information on caring for your animal and giving advise on what to do if you are thinking of buying a particular pet. It is important to be aware of the cost of looking after a pet and the time and effort needed to take care of an animal properly. There are opportunities for volunteering with the RSPCA in many areas of its work, from fundraising and public relations to maintaining animal centres and clinics. • The Pet Travel Scheme The Pet Travel Scheme (PETS) is the system that allows pet animals from certain countries to enter the UK without quarantine as long as they meet certain conditions. It also means that people in the UK can, having taken their pets to these countries, bring them back without the need for quarantine. PETS was introduced for dogs and cats travelling from certain European countries on 28 February 2000. The Scheme was extended to Cyprus, Malta and certain Long Haul countries and territories on 31 January 2001. In order to qualify for the Pets Travel Scheme (PETS), owners will need to provide a veterinary certificate stating that their cat or dog has been microchipped, vaccinated against rabies and blood tested by a DEFRA
(formerly MAFF) approved laboratory. Once this certificate has been issued the pet can travel within the terms of the scheme for the period of the certificate's validity. However, on each occasion that the pet travels, the following must also happen: • The pet owner must produce a certificate declaring that the animal has been vaccinated against ticks and worms in the period 24 - 48 hours before entry into the U.K (the vet administering the vaccination will normally issue the certificate). • The owner must also complete a declaration stating that the pet has not been outside the qualifying countries for the scheme in the 6 months prior to entry into the U.K. Organizations: Blue Cross Cat Protection League Kennel Club ational Fancy Rat Society Paws for Kids Pet Fostering Service Royal Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (RSPCA)
Rights for circus animals Animals were once the central focus of family entertainment provided in the "big top". However, as our knowledge of the needs of animals has increased, they have been used less and less. There are some circus families though who still believe that they play an essential part of the show. • Animals in Zoos There are 5000 zoos worldwide. These can offer protection to endangered species and help boost populations in the wild. Zoos can be educational and interesting places for young people and families to visit. However some people feel that they are an outdated concept and that their main purpose is entertainment. • Travellers' Animal Alert Travellers' Alert is a dynamic online campaign working to alleviate the suffering of wild animals used in tourism experiences by: Generating greater public awareness of the issues surrounding wild animal cruelty and exploitation Encouraging you the public to alert us of any wild animal cruelty you see on your travels both at home and abroad Promoting the philosophies of the Born Free Foundation
Organizations: SPANA - Society for the Protection of Animals Abroad World Wide Fund for Nature UK. Captive Animals' Protection Trust (CAPT) British Trust for Ornithology Born Free Foundation Blue Cross
Bat Conservation Trust ARKive Animal Defenders Animal Action Club
Basic Tenets of Animal Rights By Doris Lin, About.com
Animal rights is the belief that animals have an intrinsic value separate from any value they have to humans, and are worthy of moral consideration. They have a right to be free of oppression, confinement, use and abuse by humans. The idea of animal rights may seem foreign to many people because throughout the world, animals are abused and killed for a wide variety of socially acceptable purposes. What is socially acceptable varies from one culture to the next. While eating dogs is morally offensive to some, there are those who would object to the practice of eating cows. The fact that these socially acceptable purposes vary from one culture to the next is an indication that the moral justification for these uses and killings is ingrained culturally, and is not based on a consistent moral position. What is “Undue” Suffering? When is suffering justified? Many animal activists would say that since humans are capable of living without animal-based foods, living without animal entertainment and living without cosmetics tested on animals, these forms of animal suffering have no moral justification. What about medical research? Non-animal medical research is available, although there is quite a bit of debate over the scientific value of animal research versus non-animal research. Some argue that results from animal experimentation are not applicable to humans, and we should conduct research on human cell and tissue cultures, as well as human subjects who provide voluntary, informed consent. Others argue that a cell or tissue culture cannot simulate a whole animal, and animals are the best available scientific models. All would probably agree that there are certain experiments that cannot be done on humans, regardless of informed consent. From a pure animal rights standpoint, animals should not be treated differently from humans. Since involuntary human experimentation is universally condemned regardless of its scientific value and animals are incapable of giving voluntary consent to an experiment, animal experimentation should also be condemned.
Making Changes in Your Life to Help Animals By Doris Lin, About.com For many activists, making changes in your own life is the first step towards helping animals. Each time we buy or boycott a product, we are voting with our wallets. By making these changes, you become part of the solution. 1. Switch to a Vegan Diet
This is the most direct way in which we can help animals. If we eat fewer animal products, there will be less demand for them, and fewer animals will be bred and slaughtered for human consumption. 2. Do Not Purchase Items Made of Fur, Leather, Wool or Silk By decreasing the demand for these products, we will cause fewer animals to be bred and/or killed for them. Fur, leather and silk all require the deaths of animals for their production. Even though sheep do not need to be killed in order to obtain their wool, the commercial production of wool sometimes includes cruel practices, and always leads to the killing of individual sheep who are unable to produce enough quality wool or are unable to breed. 3. Boycott Companies That Test on Animals, and Buy Only Cruelty-Free Products When you’re not sure whether a company tests on animals, contact the company and ask them. It’s important to know before you buy, and this tells them that there is a demand for cruelty-free products. Two of the largest cosmetics companies, Revlon and Avon, stopped testing on animals after pressure from animal activists. 4. Make Sure Your Own Cats, Dogs and Rabbits are Spayed and Neutered Millions of unwanted cats, dogs and rabbits are put to sleep in shelters all over the US every year. By spaying and neutering your own animals, you’ll make sure that you are not contributing to the problem. 5. Adopt From a Shelter or Rescue Group Instead of Buying Animals When you buy from a store or a breeder, you are supporting animal breeding. With so many shelters full of lovable, adoptable animals, we should provide homes for the animals who are already here instead of breeding more. 6. Boycott Zoos, Circuses and Other Types of Animal Entertainment Instead, support genuine animal sanctuaries where the animals have all been rescued and the sanctuary does not breed, buy or sell any of their animals. Support animal-free circuses, like Cirque du Soleil. http://animalrights.about.com/od/changesinyourownlife/tp/Changesin-Your-Own-Life.--0p.htm
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