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The importance of the issue of the rights of animals

What is the basis for granting rights to animals? Is there a satisfactory basic principle? Can freedom be maintained as a fundamental right if it is infringed? Isn't being an owner of an animal in conflict with the right of freedom? Advocating animal rights should be financially rewarded Should all wrongful actions towards animals be prohibited?

Animals are only capable of expressing themselves indirectly in case of abuse. Therefore it is up to us to answer the question above.

Concepts that are eligible for forming the basis of animal rights are intrinsic value, welfare, respect, freedom, equality, compassion etc. Many of these concepts seem appropriate but are less suitable if we apply them in practical situations.

We will now test the workability of each concept according to a number of important principles: The formulation of animal rights should be a workable and practical concept that can be legally reviewed. Animal rights are meant to benefit all individual animals including all species from wildlife and agriculture e. Considering the diversity of those species we should take into account their specific nature.

Animal rights apply to people and should be called upon by people.

It's Right to Give Animals Rights

Death holds a distinct position in animal rights: Regulations should be enforced to ensure a fast and painless death, which must serve a purpose in contrast with undesired extra fish to the catch. This also applies to killing off harmful vertebrae, which can otherwise not be stopped.

Rights of the species outweigh the rights of the individual if a plant or animal threatens to become extinct people should be forbidden to disturb its life. A certain species e. This mass production is unworthy of an animal and it is meant to satisfy more than only our basic needs. Some concepts are unsuitable as a legal basis for animal rights On the basis of the first mentioned principle we should exclude the concepts of intrinsic value and respect.

Introduction to animal rights

Though these concepts are widely used, it is impossible to formulate unequivocal animal rights on the strength of either concept. It is perfectly acceptable to mention intrinsic value and respect when talking about behavior towards animals but the concepts cannot be used to judge human behavior from a judicial point of view.

Of course it is always possible to distance yourself from objectionable behavior and to label it as disrespectful behavior. An example is when circus bears and lions are forced to do tricks unworthy of an animal, you may say that this is treating animals in a disrespectful way.

Likewise you cannot enforce civilized behavior or good taste but you can comment on these matters. The concept of intrinsic value is also unsuitable as a legal basis for animal rights. It could only apply to rare species in the sense of: The commercial value of pigs instead of their intrinsic value will only incite the pig breeder to take better care of his livestock.

The above-mentioned concepts are actually too vague to be legally defined as a basis for animal rights. Animal rights have the same basis for all animals but different implications If we take the second basic principle the implication may be that each species has to be dealt with separately. Animals include earthworms as well as elephants, fish but also insects. We have to come up with a general formulation for animal rights including certain preconditions that apply to all categories of animals.

A number of preconditions may include: Land animals do not ask to be surrounded by water. Whales need more than just a swimming pool for a habitat. It would be wrong to allow wolves to dwell in areas where humans and their livestock live. Farm animals should be looked after properly, animals in the wild should not be fed at all. All measures, such as shooting predators or introducing diseases, taken to counteract ecological "pollution and degeneration" or "substitute habitats" or "protection", should be rendered unnecessary.

Other concepts and summary When issues are at stake such as animal welfare, their intelligence, feelings and instincts, it must be concluded that it is virtually impossible to formulate clear guidelines to judge by. Questions arise like "do fish have feelings? On the other hand, it would be acceptable to include these concepts in working out animal rights in actual practice or when trying to prevent violation of animal interests.

Maltreatment of animals is punishable by law as laid down in e. Disregarding an animal's well being is related to animal rights but animals also have fundamental rights in case of an obscure relation between human behavior and the animal's well being. Our view on this point deviates from that of Jeremy Bentham who believed that the key question is "is an animal capable of suffering"? If so, animals the importance of the issue of the rights of animals the right to be considered equal to humans in this respect but it does not grant the animal rights.

Concepts and their relation with well being and animal rights summary The concepts that we have discussed are summarized in the outline below. The squares portray how the various issues should be seen in relation to each other. The starting point of the outline is that animals have rights and that the purpose of granting rights should safeguarding the conditions for their well-being.

An example of how to read the outline: