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Animal Rights vs Animal Welfare

Animal rights is the belief that humans do not have a right to use animals for their own purposes, and they are worthy of moral consideration. They have a right to be free of oppression, confinement, use, and abuse by humans. At the heart of the animal rights movement are two basic principles: the rejection of speciesism (discrimination based on species) and the knowledge that animals are sentient beings. While, animal welfare is the belief that humans do have a right to use animals as long as the animals are treated humanely. For example, the animal rights position on factory farming would be that humans do not have a right to slaughter animals for food no matter how “humanely” the animals were treated while they were alive, while the animal welfare position might only call for certain cruel practices to be eliminated.

Animal rights activists strive for a vegan world where animals are no longer used and exploited for meat, milk, eggs, animal experimentation, fur, hunting, and circuses.

The American Dietetic Association recognizes that people can be perfectly healthy as vegans. In fact, according to Dr. Michael Greger, the vegan diet can “prevent, treat, and even reverse many of the top 15 killers in the United States.” There are plenty of plant-based sources for essential vitamins and supplementation is an option. It also gives you a confidence boost once you start seeing your skin clear out, your hair is softer and stronger, your nails are healthy, and you lose excess fat. Overall, you attain a more active, healthy lifestyle.

Regarding animal experimentation, most would agree that scientific experimentation on animals for the sake of science, with no immediate, obvious application to human health, is unnecessary because the suffering of the animals outweighs the satisfaction of human curiosity.

However, some people believe this practice is absolutely necessary and try to justify it by saying that animals are not intelligent nor are they as important as people. Rights cannot be determined by the ability to think, or we’d have to give intelligence tests to determine which humans deserve rights. This would mean that babies, the mentally disabled, and the mentally ill would have no rights. Importance is not a good criteria either because importance is highly subjective and individuals have their own interests that make each individual important to him/herself. One person may find that their own pets are more important to them than a stranger on the other side of the world, but that doesn’t give them the right to kill and eat that stranger. Also, there is ample evidence showing that if particular animals go extinct, the entire ecosystem would collapse, while if the entire human race was wiped out, the Earth would actually flourish.

Also, it has been stated in many recent studies that animal testing is actually ineffective. According to Neavs: “Relying on animal research and testing to protect and improve human health is not only unsafe, but also expensive, time-consuming, and unreliable. Problems of extrapolation—applying information from animal research to humans—are inevitable when researchers use animal models to study human diseases. Species differences in anatomy, organ structure and function, toxin metabolism, chemical and drug absorption, and mechanisms of DNA repair—among myriad other differences between humans and other species—can give us inadequate or erroneous information when we attempt to apply animal data to human diseases and drug responses. For example, penicillin is toxic to guinea pigs, aspirin is poisonous to cats, and the recalled diet drug phen-fen caused no heart damage in animals, while it did in humans. And despite millions of animals used and billions of taxpayer dollars spent on cancer research, roughly 95 percent of cancer drugs that enter human clinical testing fail while our incidences of cancer have continued to rise. Stated by Dr. Richard Klausner, former Director of the National Cancer Institute, “We have cured cancer in mice for decades—and it simply didn’t work in humans.”[1] Even chimpanzees, our closest genetic relatives, do not accurately predict results in humans—of the more than 80 HIV vaccines that have proven safe and efficacious in chimpanzees (as well as other nonhuman primates), all have failed to protect or prove safe in humans in nearly 200 human clinical trials, with one actually increasing a human’s chance of HIV infection.”

Hunting and circuses are obviously solely for entertainment purposes, and it is extremely selfish of humans to abuse and/or kill an animal just to give them a sadistic, heartless sense of pleasure. Anyone that truly advocates for the proper treatment of animals and supports animal rights is absolutely against hunting and circuses.

In conclusion, veganism is the ultimate ethical choice. Vegans support animal rights and believe that no animals deserve to be mistreated, slaughtered, or exploited. Vegans believe that animals have the right to live long, happy, healthy lives. Vegans want people to be empathetic and try to see things from the animals’ perspective, because if they did, then they would undeniably be fighting to give them the rights they deserve. Vegans are also extremely healthy and environmentally-conscious, so it helps humans and the world they live in. Veganism is the most altruistic and beneficial lifestyle, so show compassion and make a wonderful difference in this world by becoming vegan!

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