Animal rights, what a loaded little statement. There are many people who are major advocates of animal rights and rightly so. It is easy to fall in love with an adorable puppy and then jump on the animal rights bandwagon. Consider this scenario, there are three children outside playing in their yard and the neighbors dogs come to visit. While two of these dogs are friendly one however is aggressive towards the children causing them to hide in THEIR yard. The parents of the children go speak to the neighbor and they confirm that the dog is aggressive, and the children should stay away yet the dog continues to come into the children’s yard. Whose rights are being violated in this situation? Common sense and moral decisions play a huge role in this scene. Situations like this are what make the Animal Rights movement such a fine line to tread. Now consider the scenario Mark Twain put before us, an Earl came to America to hunt. He was merely hunting for sport and killed 72 buffalos on his hunt. He felt his trip was a success. They used the meat, and skin of one of these buffalos and left the rest to rot. In this scene the buffalo’s rights are clearly being violated. These two very different scenarios are what makes animal rights a double-edged scene. While there are compelling arguments in favor of animal rights, it can sometimes be taken to the extreme. The morality of the humane race should be enough to create a balance between animal rights and the use of animals for sustaining human life.
The adverse effects of extreme animal rights are plenty. The balance between Animal Rights Activists and humanity need to be kept just that, balanced. There is a quote from an animal rights activist that says, “The life of an ant and that of my child should be granted equal consideration.” This quote is a good example of how this can be taken to the extreme. Alex Pacheco co-founder of PETA said “Arson, property destruction, burglary, and threat are acceptable crimes when used for the animal cause.” (Alex Pacheco) There is cause for people to be alarmed should this be taken to the extreme. The use of animals to sustain human life, or even to improve human life has been in use for ages. A person can not deny that using animals to test vaccinations for children, help in curing cancer, and enhancing a life hasn’t been enjoyed by every human on the planet. There is a difference in Animal Rights and Animal welfare. Animal Rights states that animals have actual rights the same as a person. Animal welfare encompasses a person’s ethics and therefore make sound moral judgements on the treatment of animals. This creates that obvious balance that is so badly needed when discussing animal rights. The animal rights activist advocate for a bill of rights per say for all animals. This could mean that the killing of any animal for any purpose is a crime, or morally the same as killing a human.
Animal overpopulation is also an adverse effect of the animal rights movement. The effects of animal over population are numerous and can be devastating to species and to the environment as well. Lack of food, wandering, a damaged ecosystem, and disease are all problems that occur when over population happens. When lack of food occurs in an ecosystem it causes animals to search out or share food from an ecosystem causing it to fail to support its inhabitants. This causes animals to wander or leave their natural environment in search of food. As these animals’ wander, they seek homes that are already inhabited. This creates a ripple effect on the demise of these natural ecosystems. This causes more and more animals to be killed. When nature tries to compensate for this overpopulation diseases become a problem. These diseases are spread to other animals that are not suffering from overpopulation causing harm to fragile species. This also creates a problem for animal shelters, when animals are not spayed or neutered, they reproduce causing an outbreak in diseases such as rabies. These outbreaks spread to household animals, barn animals, and can potentially affect humans. Ways to prevent this overpopulation lay in the hands of humans with morals. Take for instance the deer population. Biologist encourage a controlled hunt of these animals to encourage a habitat that supports the healthy animals. Biologist Kevin Holsonback says “A given habitat can only support a certain number of deer in healthy condition. If the number of deer exceeds this level, habitat degradation and poorer health occurs.” This supports the theory of controlling animal population to support a habitat.
There is a definite balance in nature. The natural man tends to be selfish. Using up all its resources for their own enjoyment. This creates a need for laws regarding animal rights. A person that abuses and mistreats animals is going against their moral obligation to ensure the welfare of animals. When trying to decide the proper way to evaluate animal management practices it is important to look through the perspective of the animal and do what is largely best for them. When people are more concerned for their own enjoyment, they tend to make poor decisions regarding animal rights. Questions to ask yourself when making decisions regarding the welfare of animals may include 1. Will the animal be happy in this environment? 2. Does this harm the animal in anyway? 3. Is this what is best for the animal and the environment? If a person can answer yes to these questions, then they are acting in the animals best interest.
The evidence for both sides of this argument can align. Begging the question is the fallacy of arguing in a circle – trying to use a statement as both a premise in an argument and the conclusion. This implies that both conclusions can use the same argument. There is so much information for both sides of this debate. It is hard to see through the misconceptions of both views. PETA used a quote from Abraham Lincoln “I am in favor of animal rights as well as human rights. That is the way of a whole human being,” it was later proven that Abraham Lincoln did not say this. However, it did not stop PETA from using it to their benefit. A fallacy of appeal to authority was used.
My grandfather was a known woodsman in the community that I grew up in. He was an avid hunter. He didn’t waste anything. He tells a story about hunting turtles that always stuck with me. He was camping at Manatee Springs when he happened upon a rather large snapping turtle in the bottom of the spring. He caught it in the hopes to make turtle stew out of it for dinner. As he was taking It to his campsite two gentleman from the Smithsonian Institute saw him and wanted to buy it from him, it measured to be the biggest one on record and they wanted to display it in the institute. My grandfather was happy to oblige but wouldn’t let them take the shell and claws until he had gotten the meat from him. He didn’t waste anything. This tradition has been handed down to my family. They enjoy the sport of hunting; however, they are moral in their decisions. They only take what they will use. They work very hard to educate themselves on healthy environments of animals and give back anything they take. I am proud of their commitment to the rights of animals and humans alike.
Learning lessons are never easy and sometimes mistakes must be made in order to learn. There is room for improvement on both sides of this argument. I learned that a balance needs to be kept in order to keep animals and humans alike safe. The environment is fragile, and it requires balance. Too much animal rights could prove fatal to habitats. To little and our ecosystem could go the other way. Working together to create laws to protect animals is the answer to this debate. People have a moral obligation to act in the animal’s best interests all while not taking it to the extreme.