Animal Rights Essay: Topics, Outline, & Writing Tips

Why is democracy only for people? In many terms, we are animals who learned to speak and drive cars. Then why are our rights to comfort and safety more important than those of animals?

This article will guide your way to a perfect animal rights essay. You will find a free list of animal rights essay topics for students, as well as an outline and example in 200 words. Besides, we have prepared a bonus section featuring statistics and facts about animal rights.

  • 🐇 Animal Rights Essay: the Basics
  • 💡 Animal Rights Essay Topics
  • 📑 Outlining Your Essay
  • ✍️ Sample Essay (200 Words)

🔗 References

🐇 animal rights essay: what is it about.

Animal rights supporters advocate for the idea that animals should have the same freedom to live as they wish, just as humans do. They should not be exploited or used in meat , fur, and other production. At long last, we should distinguish animals from inanimate objects and resources like coal, timber, or oil.

The picture contains an animal rights essay definition.

Interdisciplinary research has shown that animals are emotional and sensitive, just like we are.

Their array of emotions includes joy, happiness, embarrassment, resentment, jealousy, anger, love, compassion, respect, disgust, despair, and even grief.

However, animal rights legislation does not extend human rights to animals. It establishes their right to have their fundamental needs and interests respected while people decide how to treat them. This right changes the status of animals from being property to being legal entities.

The statement may sound strange until we recall that churches , banks, and universities are also legal entities. Their interests are legally protected by law. Then why do we disregard the feelings of animals , which are not inanimate institutions? Several federal laws protect them from human interference.

But the following statements are only some of the rules that could one day protect animal rights in full:

  • Animals should not be killed by hunting.
  • Animals’ habitats should allow them to live in freedom.
  • Animals should not be bred for sale or any other purpose.
  • Animals should not be used for food by industries or households.

Most arguments against the adoption of similar laws are linked to money concerns. Animal exploitation has grown into a multi-billion-dollar industry. The lives of many private farmers depend on meat production, and most people prefer not to change the comfortable status quo.

Animal Rights Argumentative Essay

An animal rights argumentative essay should tackle a problematic issue that people have widely discussed. While choosing ideas for the assignment, opt for the most debatable topics.

Here is a brief list of argumentative essay prompts on animal rights:

  • The pros and cons of animal rights.
  • Can humanity exist without meat production?
  • Do animals have souls?
  • Should society become vegan to protect animal rights?

As you see, these questions could raise controversy between interlocutors. Your purpose is to take a side and give several arguments in its support. Then you’ll have to state a counterargument to your opinion and explain why it is incorrect.

Animal Rights Persuasive Essay

An animal rights persuasive essay should clearly state your opinion on the topic without analyzing different points of view. Still, the purpose of your article is to persuade the reader that your position is not only reasonable but the only correct one. For this purpose, select topics relating to your opinion or formulated in questionary form.

For example:

  • What is your idea about wearing fur?
  • Do you think people would ever ban animal exploitation ?
  • Is having pets a harmful practice?
  • Animal factories hinder the development of civilization .

💡 53 Animal Rights Essay Topics

  • Animal rights have been suppressed for ages because people disregard their mental abilities .
  • Cosmetic and medical animal testing .
  • Laws preventing unnecessary suffering of animals mean that there is some necessary suffering.
  • Red fluorescent protein transgenic dogs experiment .
  • Do you believe animals should have legal rights?
  • Genetically modified animals and implications .
  • Why is animal welfare important?
  • Neutering animals to prevent overpopulation: Pros and cons.
  • Animal testing: Arguments for and against .
  • What is our impact on marine life ?
  • Some animals cannot stay wild .
  • Animal testing for medical purposes .
  • We are not the ones to choose which species to preserve.
  • Pavlov’s dog experiment .
  • Keeping dogs chained outdoors is animal neglect.
  • The use of animals for research .
  • Animal dissection as a learning tool: Alternatives?
  • More people beat their pets than we think.
  • Duties to non-human animals .
  • If we do not control the population of some animals, they will control ours.
  • Animals in entertainment: Not entertaining at all.
  • Animals in research, education, and teaching.
  • Which non-animal production endangers the species?
  • Is animal testing really needed?
  • Why do some people think that buying a new pet is cheaper than paying for medical treatment of the old one?
  • Animal experiments: benefits, ethics, and defenders.
  • Can people still be carnivorous if they stop eating animals?
  • Animal testing role .
  • Marine aquariums and zoos are animal prisons.
  • Animal experimentation: justification arguments .
  • What would happen if we replace animals in circuses with people, keeping the same living conditions?
  • The ethics of animal use in scientific research .
  • Animal sports: Relics of the past.
  • Animal testing ban: counterargument and rebuttal .
  • Denial to purchase animal-tested cosmetics will not change anything.
  • Animal research, its ineffectiveness and amorality .
  • Animal rights protection based on their intellect level: It tells a lot about humanity.
  • Debates of using animals in scientific analysis .
  • How can we ban tests on rats and kill them in our homes at the same time?
  • Animal testing in experiments .
  • What is the level of tissue engineering development in leather and meat production?
  • Equal consideration of interests to non-human animals .
  • Animals should not have to be our servants .
  • Zoos as an example of humans’ immorality .
  • We should feed wild animals to help them survive.
  • Animal testing in biomedical research .
  • Abolitionism: The right not to be owned.
  • Do you support the Prima facie rights theory?
  • Psychologist perspective on research involving animal and human subjects .
  • Ecofeminism: What is the link between animals’ and women’s rights ?
  • No philosophy could rationalize cruelty against animals.
  • Qualities that humans and animals share .
  • Ancient Buddhist societies and vegetarianism: A research paper.

Need more ideas? You are welcome to use our free research topic generator !

📑 Animal Rights Essay Outline

An animal rights essay should be constructed as a standard 5-paragraph essay (if not required otherwise in the assignment). The three following sections provide a comprehensive outline.

The picture lists the structural parts of an animal rights essay.

Animal Rights Essay: Introduction

An introduction consists of:

  • Background information,
  • A thesis statement .

In other words, here you need to explain why you decided to write about the given topic and which position you will take. The background part should comprise a couple of sentences highlighting the topicality of the issue. The thesis statement expresses your plans in the essay.

For example: In this essay, I will explain why animal-based production harms the ecology.

Animal Rights Essay: Main Body

The main body is a place for you to argue your position . One paragraph equals one argument. In informative essays, replace argumentation with facts.

Start each section with a topical sentence consisting of a general truth. Then give some explanation and more specific points. By the way, at the end of this article, you’ll find a bonus! It is a priceless selection of statistics and facts about animal rights.

Animal Rights Essay: Conclusion

A conclusion restates your central ideas and thesis statement. Approach it as a summary of your essay, avoid providing new facts or arguments.

✍️ Animal Rights Essay Example (200 Words)

Why is animal welfare important? The term “animal welfare” evokes the pictures of happy cows from a milk advertisement. But the reality has nothing to do with these bright videos. Humane treatment of animals is a relative concept. This essay explains why animal welfare is important, despite that it does not prevent farms from killing or confining animals.

The best way to approach animal welfare is by thinking of it as a temporary measure. We all agree that the current state of the economy does not allow humanity to abandon animal-based production. Moreover, such quick decisions could make farm animals suffer even more. But ensuring the minimum possible pain is the best solution as of the moment.

The current legislation on animal welfare is far from perfect. The Animal Welfare Act of 1966 prevents cruelty against animals in labs and zoos. Meanwhile, the majority of suffering animals do not fall under its purview. For example, it says nothing about the vivisection of rats and mice for educational and research purposes, although the procedure is extremely painful for the creature. Neither does it protect farm animals.

Unfortunately, the principles of animal welfare leave too much room for interpretation. Animals should be free from fear and stress, but how can we measure that? They should be allowed to engage in natural behaviors, but no confined space would let them do so. Thus, the legislation is imprecise.

The problem of animal welfare is almost unresolvable because it is a temporary measure to prevent any suffering of domesticated animals. It has its drawbacks but allows us to ensure at least some comfort for those we unjustifiably use for food. They have the same right to live on this planet as we do, and animal farming will be stopped one day.

📊 Bonus: Statistics & Facts for Your Animal Rights Essay Introduction

Improve the quality of your essay on animal rights by working in the following statistics and facts about animals.

  • According to USDA, National Agricultural Statistics Service , about 4.6 billion animals — including hogs, sheep, cattle, chickens, ducks, lambs, and turkey — were killed and used for food in the United States last year (2015).
  • People in the U.S. kill over 100 million animals for laboratory experiments every year, according to PETA .
  • More than 40 million animals are killed for fur worldwide every year. About 30 million animals are raised and killed on fur farms, and nearly 10 million wild animals are hunted and killed for the same reasons — for their valuable fur.
  • According to a report by In Defense of Animals , hunters kill more than 200 million animals in the United States yearly.
  • The Humane Society of the United States notes that a huge number of cats and dogs — between 3 and 4 million each year — are killed in the country’s animal shelters. Sadly, this number does not include dogs or cats killed in animal cruelty cases.
  • According to the ASPCA , about 7.6 million companion animals enter animal shelters in the United States yearly. Of this number, 3.9 Mil of dogs, and 3.4 Mil of cats.
  • About 2.7 million animals are euthanized in shelters every year (1.4 million cats and 1.2 million dogs).
  • About 2.7 million shelter animals are adopted every year (1.3 million cats and 1.4 million dogs).
  • In total, there are approximately 70-80 million dogs and 74-96 million cats living as pets in the United States.
  • It’s impossible to determine the exact number of stray cats and dogs living in the United States, but the number of cats is estimated to be up to 70 million.
  • Many stray cats and dogs were once family pets — but they were not kept securely indoors or provided with proper identification.

Each essay on animals rights makes humanity closer to a better and more civilized world. Please share any thoughts and experience in creating such texts in the comments below. And if you would like to hear how your essay would sound in someone’s mind, use our Text-To-Speech tool .

  • Why Animal Rights? | PETA
  • Animal Rights – Encyclopedia Britannica
  • Animal ethics: Animal rights – BBC
  • Animal Health and Welfare – National Agricultural Library
  • The Top 10 Animal Rights Issues – Treehugger
  • Animal welfare – European Commission

Research Paper Analysis: How to Analyze a Research Article + Example

Film analysis: example, format, and outline + topics & prompts.

Animal Rights: Definition, Issues, and Examples

Animal rights advocates believe that non-human animals should be free to live as they wish, without being used, exploited, or otherwise interfered with by humans.

animal rights thesis statement

T he idea of giving rights to animals has long been contentious, but a deeper look into the reasoning behind the philosophy reveals ideas that aren’t all that radical. Animal rights advocates want to distinguish animals from inanimate objects, as they are so often considered by exploitative industries and the law.

The animal rights movement strives to make the public aware of the fact that animals are sensitive, emotional , and intelligent beings who deserve dignity and respect. But first, it’s important to understand what the term "animal rights" really means.

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What are animal rights?

Animal rights are moral principles grounded in the belief that non-human animals deserve the ability to live as they wish, without being subjected to the desires of human beings. At the core of animal rights is autonomy, which is another way of saying choice . In many countries, human rights are enshrined to protect certain freedoms, such as the right to expression, freedom from torture, and access to democracy. Of course, these choices are constrained depending on social locations like race, class, and gender, but generally speaking, human rights safeguard the basic tenets of what makes human lives worth living. Animal rights aim to do something similar, only for non-human animals.

Animal rights come into direct opposition with animal exploitation, which includes animals used by humans for a variety of reasons, be it for food , as experimental objects, or even pets. Animal rights can also be violated when it comes to human destruction of animal habitats . This negatively impacts the ability of animals to lead full lives of their choosing.

Do animals have rights?

Very few countries have enshrined animal rights into law. However, the US and the UK do have some basic protections and guidelines for how animals can be treated.

The UK Sentience Bill

In 2021, the United Kingdom's House of Commons introduced the Animal Sentience Bill . If passed, this bill would enshrine into law that animals are, in fact, sentient beings, and they deserve humane treatment at the hands of humans. While this law would not afford animals full autonomy, it would be a watershed in the movement to protect animals—officially recognizing their capacity to feel and to suffer, and distinguishing them from inanimate objects.

The US Animal Welfare Act

In 1966, the United States passed the Animal Welfare Act . While it is the biggest federal legislation addressing the treatment of animals to date, its scope is fairly narrow—the law excludes many species, including farmed animals , from its protections. The law does establish some basic guidelines for the sale, transport, and handling of dogs, cats, rabbits, nonhuman primates, guinea pigs, and hamsters. It also protects the psychological welfare of animals who are used in lab experiments, and prohibits the violent practices of dogfighting and cockfighting. Again, this law does not recognize the rights and autonomy of animals—or even their ability to feel pain and suffer—but it does afford non-human animals some basic welfare protections .

What are some examples of animal rights?

While few laws currently exist in the UK or US that recognize or protect animals' rights to enjoy lives free from human interference, the following is a list of examples of animal rights that could one day be enacted:

  • Animals may not be used for food.
  • Animals may not be hunted.
  • The habitats of animals must be protected to allow them to live according to their choosing.
  • Animals may not be bred.

What's the difference between animal welfare and animal rights?

Animal rights philosophy is based on the idea that animals should not be used by people for any reason, and that animal rights should protect their interests the way human rights protect people. Animal welfare , on the other hand, is a set of practices designed to govern the treatment of animals who are being dominated by humans, whether for food, research, or entertainment.

Do animals need rights? Pros and cons

The idea of giving animals rights tends to be contentious, given how embedded animal products are within societies such as the United States. Some people, including animal activists, believe in an all-or-nothing approach, where animal rights must be legally enshrined and animals totally liberated from all exploitation. On the other end of the spectrum are people whose livelihoods depend upon animal-based industries. Below are some arguments both in favor of and opposing animal rights.

Arguments in favor of animal rights

Should the rights of animals be recognized, animal exploitative industries would disappear, as would the host of environmental problems they cause, including water pollution, air pollution, greenhouse gas emissions, and deforestation.

Halting the widespread use of animals would also eliminate the systematic cruelty and denial of choice that animal industries perpetuate. The physical and psychological pain endured by animals in places like factory farms has reached a point many consider to be unacceptable , to say the least. Animals are mutilated by humans in several different ways, including castrations, dehorning, and cutting off various body parts, usually without the use of anesthetic.

“ Many species never see the outdoors except on their way to the slaughterhouse.

As their name suggests, concentrated animal feeding operations (CAFOs) pack vast numbers of animals in cramped conditions, often forcing animals to perpetually stand in their own waste. Many species—including chickens, cows, and pigs—never see the outdoors except on their way to the slaughterhouse. Recognizing animal rights would necessitate stopping this mistreatment for good.

Arguments against animal rights

Most arguments against animal rights can be traced back to money, because animal exploitation is big business. Factory farming for animal products is a multi-billion-dollar industry. JBS, the world’s largest meatpacker, posted $9 billion in revenue for the third quarter of 2020 alone.

A lesser-known, yet also massive, industry is that which supplies animals for laboratories. The US market for lab rats (who are far less popular than mice for experiments) was valued at over $412 million in 2016. Big industrial producers of animals and animal products have enough political clout to influence legislation—including passing laws making it illegal to document farm conditions—and to benefit from government subsidies.

Many people depend upon animal exploitation for work. On factory farms, relatively small numbers of people can manage vast herds or flocks of animals, thanks to mechanization and other industrial farming techniques. Unfortunately, jobs in industrial meatpacking facilities are also known to be some of the most dangerous in the US. Smaller farmers coming from multi-generational farming families more directly depend upon using animals to make a living and tend to follow welfare standards more judiciously. However, smaller farms have been decreasing in number, due to the proliferation of factory farms against which they often cannot compete.

Although people may lose money or jobs in the transition to animal alternatives, new jobs can be created in the alternative protein sector and other plant-based industries.

When did the animal rights movement begin in the US?

The modern day animal rights movement in the United States includes thousands of individuals and a multitude of groups who advocate for animals in a variety of ways—from lobbying legislators to support animal rights laws, to rescuing animals from situations of abuse and neglect. While individuals throughout history have believed in and fought for animal rights, we can trace back the modern, US-based animal rights movement to the founding of the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA) in 1866. The group's founder, Henry Burgh , believed that animals are "entitled to kind and respectful treatment at the hands of humans and must be protected under the law." The organization worked with the New York City government to pass and enforce anti-cruelty laws that prevented the abuse of carthorses and provided care for injured horses. Since then, the ASPCA has expanded its advocacy across different non-human animal species—including farmed animals—and many more animal protection groups have sprung up, both locally and nationwide. Currently, there are over 40,000 non-profit organizations identified as animal groups in the US.

Why are animal rights important?

Animal rights are important because they represent a set of beliefs that counteract inaccurate yet long-held assumptions that animals are nothing more than mindless machines—beliefs popularized by western philosopher Rene Descartes in the 17th century. The perception of animals as being unthinking, unfeeling beings justified using them for human desires, resulting in today’s world where farmed mammals outnumber those in the wild, and the majority of these farmed animals are forced to endure harsh conditions on factory farms.

“ Farmed mammals outnumber those in the wild.

But the science is increasingly clear: The animals we eat ( pigs, chickens, cows ), the animals we use in laboratories ( mice and rats ), the animals who provide us with clothing , and those whose backs we ride upon have all been found to possess more cognitive complexity, emotions, and overall sophistication than has long been believed. This sophistication renders animals more susceptible not only to physical pain but also to the psychological impacts caused by the habitual denial of choice. Awareness of their own subjugation forms sufficient reasoning to rethink the ways animals are treated in western societies.

The consequences of animal rights

Currently, laws in the US and UK are geared toward shielding animals from cruelty, not giving them the same freedom of choice that humans have. (Even these laws are sorely lacking, as they fail to protect livestock and laboratory animals.) However, the animal rights movement can still have real-world consequences. Calls for animal liberation from places like factory farms can raise public awareness of the poor living conditions and welfare violations these facilities perpetuate, sometimes resulting in stronger protections, higher welfare standards , and decreasing consumer demand. Each of these outcomes carries economic consequences for producers, as typically it is more expensive for factory farms to provide better living conditions such as more space, or using fewer growth hormones which can result in lower production yields.

Of course, should the animal rights movement achieve its goals , society would look much different than it does today. If people consume more alternative sources of protein, such as plant-based or lab-grown meat, the global environment would be far less impacted. Clothing would be made without leather or other animal products; alternative sources, such as pineapple leather created from waste products from the pineapple industry, could replace toxic tanneries. The fur industry is being increasingly shunned, with fashion labels rejecting fur in favor of faux materials. Ocean ecosystems would be able to recover, replenishing fish populations and seafloor habitats. Today these are razed by bottom trawling fishing, resulting in the clear-cutting of corals that can be thousands of years old .

How you can advocate for animals

A world in which animals are free from human exploitation still seems far off, but we can make choices that create a kinder world for animals, every day. We can start by leaving animals off our plate in favor of plant-based alternatives—a choice that recognizes animals as the sentient beings that they are, and not products for consumption.

When we come together, we can also fight for better protections for animals in the US and around the world. There's a robust movement to hold corporations accountability and end the cruelty of factory farming—an industry which causes immense amount of suffering for billions of animals. If you want to help end this suffering and spread compassion for animals, join our community of online animal activists and take action .

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How to Deal with Animal Right Essays: Quick & Simple Prompts

Jared Houdi

Table of Contents

Whether you’re a student at the Ethics, Biology, or Medicine department, you can receive an assignment to write animal right essays from time to time.

On the one hand, the task may seem simple and manageable at first glance. On the other hand, such essays (as any other type of academic work) require careful research, outlining, structuring, and writing in line with top academic standards. Thus, if you’re stuck on this task with no ideas in mind, read on to find valuable tips for this kind of essay.

Here we compiled valuable recommendations from our writing experts about:

  • Finding an interesting, relevant topic.
  • Composing an animal rights outline.
  • Developing an effective animal rights thesis statement.
  • Researching credible sources for animal right essays.
  • Structuring your arguments.
  • Effective editing and proofreading of the assignment.

Why It Is Important to Discuss Animal Rights

Whenever you approach writing about animal rights, this topic’s relevance always surfaces as a critical vantage point of your animal rights essays. It’s a commonly recognized fact that throughout history, humans have been too cruel toward animals, and they have ruined much of the authentic wildlife ecosystems in the process of industrialization and urbanization. As a result, numerous species lost their habitats and were urged to seek shelter elsewhere, thus altering other natural habitats by residing in places where they shouldn’t be.

Even in cities, where people and animals seem to have different lives, cruel treatment and abuse of human authority are evident.

First, pets are not always treated ethically and respectfully, mainly because of their legal status as human property.

Second, many pets are abandoned and flood the streets, where they are either killed by other street animals or are doomed to wandering the streets and surviving by eating trash and food remnants.

Third, corporate breeding animals for food (e.g., children farms and daily factories) is highly inhumane, involving cruel treatment of animals and their stay in awful conditions.

The situation with wildlife is not much better, with hunters and poachers killing wild animals for fun and entertainment. Fires and floods caused by human-made climate change also urge wild animals to seek shelter and food in human residences, which often ends in their killing or captivation.

Thus, as one can see, the problem of animal rights and human oppression of the planet’s fauna is pressing, with so many manifestations of unethical, inconsiderate, and cruel attitudes to all creatures, great and small.

Main Points to Elaborate on

Given the problems surrounding animal protection and rights today, you can approach the subject from numerous perspectives in your academic assignment:

  • Legal rights of animals in your country or abroad. Comparison of legal policies towards wildlife and pet protection.
  • Pet protection and a new legal status for pets.
  • Legal and ethical standards for corporate farming.
  • Legal and ethical standards for animal use with medical/experimental purposes.
  • Wildlife protection and conservation.
  • Protection of marine life from exploitative industrial practices.

How to Write Animal Rights Essay Introduction

All animal right essays should start with an impactful introduction so that your audience understands what you’re talking about, what you’re driving at, and what your key arguments are.

To achieve this goal, we recommend structuring an introduction as follows:

  • First, discuss the broad context of the paper – animal rights in general, what kinds of rights they possess, and what abuses of those rights are observed globally.
  • You may also boost the interest of your readers by citing some shocking stats or providing some anecdotal evidence. Anyway, this information should be relevant, pointing to the serious, pressing problem in the field of animal rights you have identified.
  • Next, it’s vital to formulate the problem clearly and indicate how you will resolve/discuss it. It will be your thesis statement.

Following this structure, you’re sure to make a captivating intro that will urge your audience to read the paper until its end.

Animal Rights Essay Outline

To complete animal right essays quickly and effectively, you need to perform some pre-writing work. Composing an outline is always a helpful approach to organizing the basis for your writing process as you receive a roadmap for the further composition of your essay’s vital parts.

Here is a sample outline for a paper about pet rights and legal status. Still, you can successfully appropriate this outline for any other topic by following the instructions about each part’s content.

INTRODUCTION

Introduce your subject and give some background information. Underline the problem’s significance. State your key idea of the paper.

Pets are typically a part of the family in which they live, causing warm feelings and enjoying commitment from the people who invited them to their homes. Still, sadly, pets are considered property by law in 90% of countries, limiting the protection of cruelly treated and abandoned animals. Thus, a legal change is required to improve pet coverage by law and enable animal rights advocates to take measures against pet maltreatment.

BODY OF THE PAPER

Paragraph #1-3 – Indicate a topic sentence with each paragraph’s key idea. Support that key idea with some supporting data from credible sources. Offer your interpretation of the information in those external sources. Make a transition to the next paragraph and then to the conclusion.

Paragraph #1 – statistics on pet maltreatment. Animal abandonment and abuse.

Paragraph #2 – protective legislation. E.g., the UK Animal Welfare Act (2007), felony animal cruelty laws in the USA.

Paragraph #3 – animal rights advocacy organizations (e.g., ALDF). Actions they take to prevent and minimize pet maltreatment.

Summarize your arguments concisely and refer them back to the general argument. Clarify the arguments’ significance for the broader subject of your research. Again, stress the importance of dwelling on this subject theoretically and with practical steps.

Pet abuse is still commonplace because of the legal status of home animals as human property. Still, numerous laws and activist organizations work to change the situation. A broader legal change is required to change pets’ status and enhance their protection.

How to Write Animal Rights Thesis Statement

The thesis statement for animal right essays should be clear and concise, communicating your central message and purpose of the paper. The thesis should not be too long or too short. It should also incorporate the central arguments you’ll expand in the following sections of your text.

In this way, this statement will function as your readers’ roadmap leading them from one argument to another one and helping them follow your logic.

20 Animal Topics for Research Papers – Choose the Best Idea

Looking for some bulletproof animal topics for research papers? Here is a list you can use on all occasions to compose various academic works with ease.

  • Is it realistic to protect all animal rights today?
  • Is the animals’ right to no selective breeding compatible with the human needs?
  • What is the best way to protect animals from the harmful impact of humans?
  • Is hunting ethical on any grounds?
  • Hunting and animal species extinction – a need for a more effective protective policy.
  • Is experimentation on animals generally avoidable?
  • How does the human-made climate change affect the well-being of fauna?
  • Is pet euthanasia a reality?
  • The impact of massive fishing on biodiversity and fish species survival.
  • Increasing peopling of suburbs and the loss of animal habitat – a reverse side of people’s flight from the vices of urbanization.
  • What is the impact of invasive species on the local wildlife? Discuss with examples.
  • Cruel handling of corporately farmed animals.
  • Is overbreeding of pets a pressing problem? What are the far-reaching consequences of overbreeding?
  • Destroying predators – a step towards human safety or an ecological crime? Discuss the fundamental role of predators in local wildlife and the adverse effects of these species’ minimization.
  • Are police and military dogs given similar rights upon retirement as people who served their motherland? Discuss more extensive coverage of police/military dog health and care services.
  • What kinds of experiments on animals are unavoidable to save people’s lives? And what are senseless and cruel?
  • Animal abuse in zoos – the reverse side of human entertainment and endangered species conservation.
  • Is it ethical to use animals in hard manual/agricultural labor?
  • What can people do to enhance animal rights protection?
  • Is it ethical to consider animals human property? The need for a legal change of pet status as a vital contribution to the more humane treatment of home pets.

With these topics, you’re sure to beat all professors’ expectations and develop an attention-grabbing, exciting argument.

Need Professional Help?

Writing animal right essays is an exciting activity that can help you hone your writing skills and, at the same time, enhance your understanding of the topic. But what can you do if the task seems too complicated or you have too little time for composing several urgent papers?

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  • Animal Rights Essays

Animal Rights Argumentative Essay

Animal rights have been a consistent subject of debate, with animal activists emphasizing the need to differentiate between animal rights and welfare. The government’s failure to lay down sufficient legislation to help in the protection of animals from human predation has made it difficult for several people to believe in animal rights. It is essential to note that animal rights do not concern putting animals over and above humans but instead on the rejection of speciesism and sentience. Humans utilize several ways to exploit animals, including hunting, fur, circuses, and animal products like eggs and meat. There is an urgent need to help in securing strategies that will free animals from human exploitation. Therefore, this paper seeks to analyze the reasons against animal exploitation and reinforce the probable methods to uphold animal rights.

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There is a general feeling that the use of animals for both scientific and medical research results yields significant improvement in living standards and medical advancements. Thus, it is sensible for many to agree over the use of animals to test how healthy or harmful a newly discovered medicine is before giving it to the human species for consumption (Lin n.p). However, such tests and exposure to chemicals often result in the killing of thousands of animals for courses that in some instances turn unhelpful (Garner 21). Therefore, animals’ mere use for sciences’ sake is unacceptable since the animals’ suffering vastly outweighs the satisfaction of human curiosity (Lin n.p). It is thus unnecessary to justify animal exploitation on immoral grounds.

Animals cannot think and make rational decisions concerning what should take place in their lives. However, the determination of rights should not be based on intelligence grounds. Otherwise, conducting intelligence tests would be necessary for all humans for them to enjoy certain fundamental rights. Exploiting animals based on their inability to think and reason is unreasonable (Lin n.p). This form of reasoning would mean that babies with no intelligence and mentally challenged humans would have no rights.

Preservation of animal rights and dignity is an appreciation for their life since it develops significant status. Individuals who hold contrary arguments on animal rights protection tend to believe that human life is more critical than animal life (Lin n.p). Therefore, destroying animal life to preserve human life is justifiable. This is an ineffective criterion to determine the importance of having rights since such are usually subjective, and individuals often have selfish personal interests (Garner 9). Interestingly, an individual may find their home-bred animals more important than a stranger in the neighborhood with this scope. It should not allow the individual to kill or misuse animals just for the sake of prioritizing and ranking the importance.

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In conclusion, the concept that animals should have the ability to move freely without human interference and exploitation affirms the need for animal protection. With the ability to experience emotions, fear, pain, and happiness, the argument that the absence of cognitive abilities makes animals lesser than humans is baseless. Besides, arguments in favor of the protection of animals and giving more rights to animals does not mean putting them at the same level as humans, but attempts to show the value that animals have as a human source of food and labor objects. Therefore, upholding animals’ inherent value is critical for maintaining animals’ rights and ensuring the maintenance of a balanced and organized ecosystem where there is a significant minimization of human predation on animals.

Works Cited

  • Garner, Robert, ed. Animal rights: The changing debate . Springer, 2016.
  • Lin, Doris. What Are Animals Rights? 2018. Retrieved from: https://www.thoughtco.com/what-are-animal-rights-127600

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Argumentative Paper: Against Animal Testing

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Discussion of The Issue of Animal Rights and Cruelty to Animals

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Animal Rights Ethics: The Moral Dilemma with Animal Testing

Animal rights and cruelty in the circus life, animal deserve their own bill of rights, animal rights ethics and ineffectiveness of animal testing, the animal bill of rights is a step into the right direction, speciesism among animals, overview of the reasons and types of animal abuse, animals should not be kept in captivity, the arguments against keeping animals in captivity, discussion of whether animals should be kept in captivity, animal rights in the book of genesis, inhumane surgeries against animal rights, hostage animals: the reasons behind keeping animals in captivity, dangers of captivity: the issue of animal-welfare in zoos, the negative consequences of keeping animals in captivity, the controversy of animal testing in scientific research and testing, the topic of animal rights in relation to the virtue theory, why exotic animals should not be pets, stop the cruel and unnecessary animal testing, animal cloning: advancements and ethical considerations.

Animal rights are moral or legal entitlements attributed to nonhuman animals, usually because of the complexity of their cognitive, emotional, and social lives or their capacity to experience physical or emotional pain or pleasure.

Animal rights is the philosophy according to which many or all sentient animals have moral worth that is independent of their utility for humans, and that their most basic interests — such as in avoiding suffering — should be afforded the same consideration as similar interests of human beings. More narrowly, "animal rights" refers to the idea that many animals have fundamental rights to be treated with respect as individuals—rights to life, liberty, and freedom from torture that may not be overridden by considerations of aggregate welfare.

Earliest examples of animal rights being acknowledged date to Ancient Greece and India, where figures like Pythagoras and Buddha advocated for a vegetarian diet. In 2014 Sandra, an orangutan at Buenos Aires Zoo was granted basic human rights in an unprecedented ruling. The Great Ape Project advocates for basic human rights to be extended to our closest primate relatives.

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animal rights thesis statement

Arguments for Animal Rights Research Paper

Introduction.

For a long time, many human societies have viewed animals as sources of food, labor, and clothing. This view (partly) stems from religious influences, which define people’s perceptions of animal rights. For example, Christian teachings show that God gave man the power to control all animals (on land and in the sea). Therefore, many Christian societies know that human beings are superior to animals.

Philosophers, such as Aristotle, also supported the above-mentioned religious arguments by ranking animals in the lowest cadre of living things (Taylor 36). Although the Greek philosopher explored the differences and similarities between both species, he said animals were a “lower-stature” species (compared to human beings) because they could not reason, think, or have beliefs, as people do (Taylor 36). These ancient perceptions of animals largely explain the background of animal rights debates. They also explain how different societies treat animals today.

Relative to how people treat animals, Singera (13) says, in 2001, North American farmers raised and killed about 17 billion land animals for human consumption. Scientists in America and Europe killed another 100 million animals for experimental purposes (Singera 13). People killed about 30 million more land animals for their fur (Singera 13).

Most of these animals lived and died in morally repugnant circumstances. Such “inhuman” treatments continue unabated because many societies believe animals do not have any rights. This paper seeks to change this narrative by focusing on pets and arguing for their rights. Although it explores critics’ arguments too, it shows that, like human beings, pets are emotional creatures and not property items, as many people would like to believe. Therefore, it is immoral to mistreat them.

Arguments for Animal Rights

Pets can feel emotion and pain as people do.

Singera (1) is widely considered as the greatest pioneer of animal rights. He said human beings do not have a special status above other animals. For him, the degree that both species experience when feeling pleasure or pain is the only difference between animals and human beings. Since both groups have a threshold of pain, Singera (1) does not understand why people do not protect animals the same way they protect their offspring. Here, Singera (1) strives to eliminate the differences between animals and human beings to advance animal rights.

Linker (9) supports this view by saying, “Once the dividing line between humans and animals disappears, it is hard to uphold any fundamental ethical distinction between them.” Steve Wise, an American Law Professor (cited in Linker 9), similarly advances the above argument by using a different justification for supporting animal rights. Instead of using shared pain and pleasure to show the similarities between people and animals, he strives to elevate animals to human status. For example, he criticizes people who view animals as property because he believes animals could reason as human beings do.

For example, he says Chimpanzees have this ability (Linker 9). He uses this argument to say their reasoning ability makes them more valuable than other types of property. Therefore, he believes animals share the same dignity as people do. Referring to Wise’s argument, Linker (12) says, “if he can demonstrate that certain higher animals possess the same intrinsic dignity that human beings do, the law within liberal democracies will be obliged to recognize that such animals are persons possessing at least some fundamental, inviolable rights.”

The above arguments show no significant differences between people and animals. In terms of shared emotion and pain, Singerb (11) says scientists infer almost all human physiological pain manifestations on other species. He particularly draws our attention to animals that are close to us – mammals and birds. He says, “Their behavioral signs include writhing, facial contortions, moaning, yelping, or other forms of calling, attempts to avoid the source of pain, appearance of fear at the prospect of its repetition, and so on” (Singerb 11).

Indeed, like how human beings behave (when they feel pain) animals show the same physiological symptoms of pain, such as dilated pupils, increased pulse rates, and increased blood pressure. To explain this commonality, Grandin (141) says both species have similar nervous systems. In line with this argument, Singerb (11) emphasizes that the nervous systems of animals evolved the same way the nervous systems of human beings did. Their ability to feel pain is part of their survival tactics because they use it to avoid injury and death.

Grandin (141) says animals also experience fear, the same way human beings do. Certainly, although fear is subjective, it causes significant stress to animals. This is why advocates of animal rights say they need environmental enrichments to prevent them from developing irregular developmental patterns, such as EEG patterns (Grandin 141). Relative to this argument, Grandin (141) says people’s nervous systems do not differ with that of higher animals. For example, scientific evidence shows that the nervous systems of chimpanzees, dogs, and cows are like that of human beings (Grandin 141).

The genome project also supports the same finding by showing that people’s gene make-up is like a mouse’s gene makeup (Grandin 141). Relative to this fact, Grandin (141) says mammals have more than 30% of their genes designed to serve nervous system functions. These similarities explain why some animals adopt human-like behaviors, such as self-medication. For example, studies have shown that rats self-medicate when they suffer from arthritis (Grandin 141). Besides these behavioral similarities, animals are as social as human beings are (Grandin 142).

Although some people may not support these facts, scientific evidence suggests that most animals perceive pain the same way human beings do. Governments have used this evidence to protect animal rights in many parts of the world. For example, three separate government committees (on animal welfare), in the UK, affirm that most animals feel pain (Singerb 13). However, Grandin (140) says we need more research to explain the extent that these animals experience the pain.

Animals are not Property

Taylor (36) says until the early 1900s, many people saw animals as worthless creatures. In fact, many societies could not accord a “property status” to them because of spite (Taylor 36). Therefore, the law permitted people to steal and kill animals without any consequences. The abolition approach has strived to change people’s perception of animals (as property).

It says that focusing on animal welfare distracts people from eliminating property rights on animal ownership (Grandin 140). Instead, the theory proposes a moral and legal paradigm shift, which strives to differentiate animals from other types of property (Grandin 140). To do so, the abolitionist approach encourages people to perceive animals as sentient creatures (having subjective awareness).

Proponents of this view say they do not need human-like rationalities to receive better treatment from people (Grandin 140). Therefore, since they are creatures that experience pain, they should belong to the moral community. This view differs with the animal rights view, which (only) supports the better treatment of human-like animals, such as apes, because their DNA make-up is more like human beings than other animals. As such, they say all animals are the same (Grandin 140). They also oppose treating animals as human property (merely) because they do not fit our conventional perceptions of property (Taylor 36).

Grandin (140) takes a more practical approach in elaborating the above point by comparing an animal and a screwdriver. He says that although many societies perceive them as property, they are different. To elaborate this point, he uses the US legal system and culture by highlighting how the law allows American citizens to sell, profit, and “eat” their property (among other utilities) (Grandin 140). Although property holders could do the above things, the law restricts them from committing the same acts on animals (the same restrictions do not apply to other properties).

For example, law enforcement officials could arrest a person for using a screwdriver to puncture a cow’s eye. However, they would not penalize the offender for using a hammer to deform a screwdriver. Based on this understanding, the status of animals has slowly changed, in America, because the law now recognizes animal rights. For example, all 50 states have introduced anti-cruelty laws that protect animals from mistreatment (Grimm 3). These laws allow judges to impose fines of up to $125,000, or a jail term of ten years on offenders (Grimm 4).

Similarly, many existing legislations support animal rights (such as the Federal Pets Evacuation and Transportation Standards Act, which requires rescue services to save animals, as they would rescue a human being) (Grimm 3). This trend has equally seen many judges treat dogs as people (some judges even allow dogs to have lawyers).

Consequently, some animals have received damages from the judges (Grimm 3). Other types of “property” do not receive the same status. Using the above examples, Grandin (140) supports the views of animal rights advocates who say animals need rights because they feel pain (a goat can feel pain, but a screwdriver cannot).

It is Immoral to Mistreat Animals

Although many researchers have used different criteria to explain the differences between man and animals, few have bothered to explain man’s higher reasoning that allows them to act ethically. Indeed, unlike many animals, human beings can understand the differences between right and wrong. Based on this higher level of reasoning, people can understand that it is wrong to mistreat animals because they do not have rights.

This argument stems from the immoral and heinous acts that some people do to animals and people alike. Here, it is irrelevant to distinguish between animals and human beings because inflicting pain on another animal is wrong (human beings are animals too). People who do so diminish the moral authority that human beings have on other species.

The utilitarian view condemns how people treat and use animals. This theory says people should evaluate the net use of animals (to human beings) and adopt strategies that lead to the overall net satisfaction of animal and human interests (Singerb 14). Relative to this view, the utilitarian view urges people to “act in such a way as to maximize the expected satisfaction of interests in the world, equally considered” (Singerb 14).

When we apply this theory to animal treatment, it encourages people to imagine themselves in conditions that the animals live and, afterwards, take the best course of action. Using a welfare approach, the theory argues that all people should treat animals in a “humane” way and avoid inflicting unnecessary pain on them. In line with this argument, Singera (1) says it is important for people to take animal rights seriously because species-bias (the justification that most people use to mistreat animals) is like racism and other social practices that many societies dislike.

He also believes that most people who oppose animal rights do so because they rely on invariable animal defects, like their lack of language skills, or advanced cognitive skills, to mistreat animals (Singerb 14). On the other side, the same people do not perceive mentally incapacitated human beings (who cannot talk or profess the same advanced cognitive skills as other people do) as animals. Based on this analysis, Francione (3) says species-bias is the only justification that most people use to exploit animals. However, this reasoning is unjust.

Arguments Against

Many people have used the utilitarian view to support animal rights. However, this view has significant weaknesses that undermine its applicability to animal rights. For example, proponents of these rights say animals have feelings, the way human beings do (Singerb 14). However, Nordin (2) questions the criterion that such people use to measure these feelings (no one has ever been a dog or a cat).

Stated differently, people have used physiological variations in a dog’s behavior to advance the view that they experience pain or emotion, but how do people know how much pain it is feeling? For example, is it correct to assume that a whimpering dog experiences the same pain as a human baby crying? Similarly, it is difficult to draw the same inferences about a dog’s pain to a whale, frog, or another animal. Therefore, many critics question whether animals could express the same emotions as grief, melancholy, and a deep interest in life, as human beings do.

Machan (1) is among groups of researchers who do not understand why animals should have the same rights as people do. Particularly, they say it is a mistake for the government to entrench animal rights in law. For example, they believe that those people who support animal rights should persuade other people to join their cause, as opposed to forcing them to do so, legally (Machan 1).

Stated differently, Machan (2) says if advocates of animal rights do not support killing animals for their fur, they should persuade people to stop buying coats, or other animal products, and not ban the use of the animal product. Again, this argument stems from the belief that no animal enjoys the same basic rights as people do. As shown above, Machan (3) believes that all people should start perceiving this matter as an ethical issue, as opposed to a legal issue. He says people can empathize with the pain that other people feel, but animals cannot.

Therefore, he opposes the views of animal rights advocates, such as Singerb (14). He argues that if animals could empathize with the pain of other animals, people should hold them to the same accountability standards as human beings do (Machan 3). For example, animals should punish other animals for killing and maiming their kind.

Since this suggestion is impractical, Machan (3) says animal advocates have misguided views. However, he defines this issue as a philosophical one (category mistake) because advocates of animal rights strive to impose their hopes and dreams on animals, using human perceptions about life. Overall, although these arguments largely describe the views of many animal right critics, they do not legitimize the inhumane treatment of animals.

Conclusion and Recommendations

The abolitionist and utilitarian views are sympathetic to animal causes. They differ from classical animal welfare views, which do not have a high regard for the creatures, or their rights. Nonetheless, this paper shows that all animals should have the same rights as human beings do because they experience, pain, fear, and emotions. Similarly, animals are not like other types of property because they are human-like. Based on these arguments alone, it is immoral to mistreat animals and cause unnecessary pain to them.

Proponents of animal rights advance the above views. However, their thoughts are not theories of animal rights; instead, they are moral judgments of human actions on animals. Such ideas come from the consequences of what we perceive as right or wrong. For example, if a person violated the right of a person, or an animal, because it produced more good than bad, the law should not punish him. Based on the findings of this research, the “good” includes giving animals the same rights as people do.

Works Cited

Francione, Gary. Animal Rights Theory and Utilitarianism: Relative Normative Guidance. September. 2003. PDF file.

Grandin, Temple. Animals Are Not Things: A View on Animal Welfare Based on Neurological, Complexity . 2014. PDF file.

Grimm, David. Should Pets Have the Same Legal Rights as People? 2014.

Linker, Damon. No, Animals Don’t Have Rights . 2014.

Machan, Tibor. Animals Do Not Have Rights . 2014.

Nordin, Ingemar. Animals Don’t Have Rights: A Philosophical Study . 2001. PDF file.

Singera, Peter. In Defense of Animals , Malded, Ma: Blackwell Publishing, 2006. Print.

Singerb, Peter. Animal Liberation , New York, NY: HarperCollins Publishers, 2002. Print.

Taylor, Angus. Animals and Ethics , New York, NY: Broadview Press, 2009. Print.

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Rights of Nature, Rights of Animals

  • Kristen Stilt
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The fields of animal law and environmental law have an uneasy relationship. At a basic level, they are intertwined by the fundamental observation that animals, human and nonhuman, exist in the environment. Environmental law is generally concerned with animals at the level of species (and specifically endangered or threatened species), whereas animal law is concerned with all animals, regardless of particular characteristics. The issue of wild horses in the western United States illustrates this tension. Some environmentalists view the horses as “feral pests” that damage the fragile ecosystem and compete with wildlife — and privately owned cattle — for resources. 1 They argue that the horses should be gathered through helicopter-led “roundups” and euthanized or sold. 2 Animal protection advocates argue that these roundups are cruel and note that the millions of cattle also grazing on these lands are far more damaging to the environment than the horses. 3 They insist that these wild horses should not be killed — the life of each individual animal matters and should be protected. 4

Environmental law is the older and more established field of law. There are many ways to measure this, such as at the constitutional level, which shows environmental law’s seniority and success. Most constitutions address the environment, and the typical phrasing is anthropocentric: a human right to a healthy environment as seen, for example, in article 42 of the Constitution of Kenya: “Every person has the right to a clean and healthy environment . . . .” 5 Newer trends adopt ecocentric or biocentric approaches and grant rights to nature (or its component parts, such as a river) at the constitutional or legislative level or through judicial decisions. 6

In contrast to environmental rights, it is only a fairly recent phenomenon that assigns “constitutional significance to the experiences of individual nonhuman animals.” 7 Animals are protected in just a handful of constitutions with no clear adoption trend: Switzerland (1973), 8 India (1976), 9 Brazil (1988), 10 Slovenia (1991), 11 Germany (2002), 12 Luxembourg (2007), 13 Austria (2013), 14 Egypt (2014), 15 and Russia (2020). 16 ) (Russ.), translated in World Constitutions Illustrated ( HeinOnline, 2020) . The year accompanying each country listed above indicates when the provision was added to an existing constitution or when a new constitution with the provision was adopted. These provisions use terms such as the “welfare” of animals, 17 the “dignity” of animals, 18 animal “protection,” 19 “compassion” toward animals, 20 and animal “cruelty” 21 — all of which follow a general animal welfare approach. In contrast to the environmental context, none of the provisions uses the term “rights.” 22

In this Essay, I show how developments and achievements in the field of environmental rights and specifically rights of nature can be instructive, intellectually and practically, to the cause of animal protection and animal rights. 23 That instruction includes not only positive examples but also notes of caution, where animal law may face different and more formidable challenges. The Essay first assesses the role that a human right to a healthy environment has played in the development of environmental rights and rights of nature, and then it discusses the relevance of this experience for animal rights. In Part II, it turns to how rights of nature have been interpreted and applied in several prominent court decisions and suggests insights that animal rights can take from this jurisprudence. Given the brevity of Forum essays, I cannot be comprehensive. Rather, I chart out the range of my arguments and support them with some notable examples, with the intention to treat this topic more fully in a future work.

I. A Human Right to a Healthy Environment, A Human Right to Animal Protection

The anthropocentric formulation of a human right to a healthy environment initially may not seem like a helpful framing for the cause of animal rights, but it is actually very instructive. “Rights of Nature” have roots in two sources. First, these rights emerged from a recent recognition that current environmental law, including the human right to a healthy environment, has failed to address the global ecological crisis and notably climate change. 24 Second, indigenous traditions and jurisprudence “that have always treated humans as part of nature, rather than distinct from it,” have long provided a rights of nature framework and approach. 25 The widespread acceptance of a human right to a healthy environment served as part of the foundation for the development of a stronger rights of nature approach, which synergistically connected with indigenous approaches to nature.

In an animal context, an analogous formulation would be a human right to animal protection, a right of humans to have all animals adequately protected. This may sound like awkward phrasing, but such an approach does closely match how, in general, legal systems currently treat animals. 26 That is, animal interests are protected to the extent that humans want them to be and benefit from those protections and limitations.

An anthropocentric approach to animal protection along these lines is likely politically more acceptable than an animal rights–based approach. If it were widely adopted, however, it could serve merely to entrench the status quo in animal law. Alternatively, a human right to animal protection could offer the possibility of far more robust protection than currently exists under animal welfare laws. Because different humans will have different ideas about what the protection of animals should involve, a human right could allow more protective views to be recognized. It could also provide an intermediate step to animal rights, laying a foundation for future expansion. More needs to be known about the evolution from the right to a healthy environment to rights of nature, and how animal rights might be able to follow a similar path.

II. Rights of Nature, Rights of Animals

Ecocentric or biocentric approaches that lodge a right in nature or its component parts also may be promising for the development of legally recognized animal rights. Rights of nature are not widespread, but they have potential for growth and impact. At the constitutional level, Ecuador was the first to recognize the rights of nature. Article 71 begins: “Nature, or Pacha Mama, where life is reproduced and occurs, has the right to integral respect for its existence and for the maintenance and regeneration of its life cycles, structure, functions and evolutionary processes.” 27 Bolivia adopted this approach through the Law on the Rights of Mother Earth (2010); 28 the enumerated rights are the rights to life, diversity of life, water, clean air, equilibrium, restoration, and pollution-free living. 29 Other countries have recognized the right in judicial opinions. 30

A. Animals as Part of Nature

At the most fundamental level, if nature has rights, and if nature includes animals, then rights-based claims could be made on behalf of animals using existing rights of nature doctrine and strategy. A 2008 case from the Superior Court of Justice in Brazil, known as the Wild Parrot case, illustrates this possibility. 31 The case involved an individual who had kept a single wild animal, a blue-fronted parrot, in custody for more than two decades and in inadequate living conditions. 32 This parrot was considered a wild species; this no doubt facilitated the connection to nature, but the court engaged in language that stretched beyond concern for a wild species. The court cited article 225 of the constitution as evidence for Brazil’s “ecological approach.” 33 Article 225 is an anthropocentric human right to an “ecologically balanced environment,” not a rights of nature provision, and the constitutional framing of animal protection comes through an environmental, “fauna and . . . flora” framework. 34 What is remarkable is that the court took this limited language as a starting point to reach a discussion of rights of nature and recognition of sentient beings in general.

The court called for a rethinking of the “Kantian, anthropocentric and individualistic concept of human dignity.” 35 Dignity should be reformulated to recognize “an intrinsic value conferred to non-human sensitive beings, whose moral status would be recognized and would share with the human beings the same moral community.” 36 The treatment of animals “must be based no longer on human dignity or human compassion, but on the very dignity inherent in the existence of nonhuman animals.” 37 The court brought together two strands of jurisprudence: the protection of animals in the German and Swiss Constitutions 38 and the rights of nature language in the Ecuadorean Constitution and Bolivian Law on the Rights of Mother Earth. By doing so, it reached a language of rights: “This view of nature as an expression of life in its entirety enables the Constitutional Law and other areas of law to recognize the environment and non-human animals as beings of their own value, therefore deserving respect and care, so that the legal system grants them the ownership of rights and dignity.” 39 The court conceptually moved nonhuman animals out of the environmental constraints of article 225 to attain their own independent status, for which the court advocated both rights and dignity.

B. Nonhuman Rights

Even if the concept of nature is not currently understood to include individual animals, provisions recognizing the rights of nature still implicitly acknowledge that a nonhuman can have rights. This may seem obvious since corporations and other nonhuman entities are legal persons and have rights, but entities such as rivers or ecosystems traditionally have not been extended the same recognition by legal systems worldwide. Rivers have been treated as legal persons in some jurisdictions, notably in Bangladesh, 40 Colombia, 41 Ecuador, 42 India, 43 New Zealand, 44 and the United States. 45

One of the most significant cases involving river rights was decided by the Constitutional Court of Colombia in 2016 (the Atrato River Case). 46 The plaintiffs challenged the pollution and degradation that industrial and illegal mining and logging had caused to the Atrato River basin, the tributaries, and surrounding territories. 47 They showed that the Atrato banks were the ancestral home to Afro-Colombian and indigenous communities such as themselves. 48 The river provided a subsistence means of living based on agriculture, hunting, fishing, and artisanal mining. 49 The plaintiffs asked the court to protect their fundamental rights to life, health, water, food security, a healthy environment, and the culture and territory of their ethnic communities. 50 They also asked the court to impose measures to address the crisis in the Atrato River basin resulting from the environmental pollution and degradation. 51

While the plaintiffs framed their claims as rights of the individuals living in the Atrato River basin, the court did not limit itself to a consideration of anthropocentric rights. For the court, the importance of nature “[was] established, of course, in reference to the humans that inhabit it and the need to count on a healthy environment to live a dignified life in conditions of well-being; but [nature’s importance was founded] also in connection with the other living organisms with whom the planet is shared, understood as entities deserving of protection in and of themselves .” 52 Nature was a subject of rights. 53

Thus, theoretically, the rights of nature may be violated even in the absence of any injury to humans. A decision from the Inter-American Court of Human Rights made this point clearly: “The Court consider[ed] it important to stress that, as an autonomous right, the right to a healthy environment, unlike other rights, protects the components of the environment, such as forests, rivers, and seas, as legal interests in themselves, even in the absence of the certainty or evidence of a risk to individuals.” 54

An excellent example of an approach that leads with the rights of nature is the Turag River case, decided by the Supreme Court of Bangladesh in 2019. 55 Through time-sequenced photographs, a news article that the court relied on in its decision showed the encroachment on the Turag River due to “river-grabbers,” pollutants, and the failure to keep the river navigable through dredging. 56 Despite laws and many judicial decisions, encroachers walled off land in the river and deployed bulldozers and excavators to fill their newly claimed territory, expanding the reach of dry land at the river’s expense. 57 The same actions were taking place in other rivers in the capital of this “riverine country.” 58 The NGO Human Rights and Peace for Bangladesh brought the case to eject all the illegal occupiers and stop landfilling and construction activities on the river’s territory. 59

The Turag River itself was at the center of the case from the outset. But the river for its own sake? The court echoed the language of the Daily Star article, speaking in terms of the Turag becoming a “dead river” 60 or facing “extinction” if the activity was not stopped. 61 The court also acknowledged that the occupation and pollution had caused a “major shortage of potable water, for which people are constantly facing health risks.” 62 And given the centrality of waterways to Bangladesh, “[d]estroying the rivers is . . . the same as our collective suicide.” 63 As a last resort to save the river, the court declared the Turag and indeed all rivers in the country legal persons. 64 It also ordered the removal of all unlawful pollution and construction and issued seventeen other wide-ranging orders. 65 The Turag River case and others show that rights can be lodged in a nonhuman, but in practice the human rights are also significant components.

C. Nonhuman Remedies and Enforcement

Finally, the remedies discussion in rights of nature cases demonstrates that there are adequate ways for humans to assess and implement the desires and needs of nonhuman entities. In what is known as the Deforestation Case, the Superior Court of Justice in Brazil held that in addition to the requirement to restore the damage caused to the environment, a defendant may also be required to pay monetary damages, or “pure ecological damage,” for “degrading nature in itself, an asset that is not and cannot be owned.” 66 Applied to the animal context, it could stand for the principle that wrongful treatment of an animal, for example, could require the payment of compensation without any particular showing of physical harm. The payment would presumably go into a trust established to support the needs of the animal or her ecosystem.

In the animal context, the idea that humans are capable of making such an assessment has been questioned. In Naruto v. Slater , 67 the Ninth Circuit took a generally irritated tone toward the organization that brought the case on behalf of Naruto, a crested macaque. 68 Concurring in part, Judge Smith stated: “But the interests of animals? We are really asking what another species desires. . . . We have millennia of experience understanding the interests and desires of humankind. That is not necessarily true of animals.” 69 If so — and without conceding the point — that is also not necessarily true of rivers, forests, or ecosystems, but courts that grant rights to nature routinely appoint guardianship bodies to make these determinations. 70

There is a limit to the analogy between nature and nonhuman animals that appears at the stage of remedies in some cases and goes to the heart of the comparison. For a river, the component of nature for which there is the most extensive case law, courts typically speak in terms of “rights that imply its protection, conservation, maintenance” and “restoration,” as in the Atrato River Case. 71 That court sought to have the conditions of the river improved so that the human communities could again make full use of the river for agriculture, hunting, fishing, and artisanal mining. The remedy raises a deeper question, one that the court did not ask: What is the intrinsic purpose of a river? The implication of rights of river judgments is not that a river simply seeks to be left alone. The purpose of a river in these decisions is to serve humans, through access to water, transportation, and the animals who live in them.

The rights that advocates seek for animals are far more robust and categorically reject that the inherent purpose of an animal is to serve human interests and uses. In the habeas corpus cases, the animals are in captivity, such as in a zoo or research facility. 72 The plaintiffs seek release of these animals to a setting in which they can live more natural lives, such as a sanctuary, given that these animals generally cannot be placed in a fully natural, wild environment. 73 While the presumption is that the transfer to better environments would aid in the protection, conservation, maintenance, and restoration of these animals, the point was not that the animals will look and feel better for any kind of human benefit. The remedy of habeas corpus seeks to release the animals from a human environment so that they could be, to the extent possible, left alone to be animals.

This difference in the issue of remedies and their enforcement may be significant and may project back onto the fundamental question of whether humans will recognize animal rights at all. Rights of nature call for some major changes in the way that humans live in the world, as seen in the above cases. Viewed from the remedy angle, the rights of animals are an even greater challenge to the behavior of humans. Rights of animals impact fundamental questions such as what humans eat and drink, what they wear, and what kinds of entertainment they engage in, to name just a few. A judge may seek to avoid remedies that would alter human behavior in dramatic ways, and the mere possibility of these remedies may also work to undermine the cause of action itself. 74

Rights of nature approaches are instructive to the cause of animal rights, intellectually and practically. They do not offer a model to be copied wholesale, but instead call for careful study of the parallels and points of disconnection, of the commonalities and the conflicts, with the potential for significant results.

* Professor of Law, Harvard Law School; Faculty Director, Harvard Animal Law & Policy Program. I thank Sam Bookman, Doug Kysar, Justin Marceau, Kathy Meyer, and Steve Wise for insightful comments on this Essay. I thank the editors of the Harvard Law Review for their thoughtful engagement and editorial assistance. Andy Stawasz, J.D. ’21, provided outstanding research assistance. I also thank the translators who assisted with translations of the cases cited in the Essay: Cibele Maria Melendez Texeira Bandeira and Harvard Law School S.J.D. candidates Beatriz Botero Arcila, Sannoy Das, and Nicolás Parra-Herrera.

^ Karin Brulliard, The Battle over Wild Horses , WASH. POST (Sept. 18, 2019), https://www.washingtonpost.com/science/2019/09/18/wild-horses-have-long-kicked-up-controversy-now-foes-say-they-have-solution [ https://perma.cc/L9BW-GJP7 ].

^ The constitution of Kenya , 2010, art. 42, in World Constitutions Illustrated ( HeinOnline , 2010) .

^ James R. May & Erin Daly, Global Environmental Constitutionalism 255–56 (2015). A biocentric approach places humans on the same level as all living beings, whereas an ecocentric approach considers all that is in the natural world — living beings and nonliving entities — to all be equally valued. Int’l Rivers et al., Rights of Rivers 10 (2020), https://3waryu2g9363hdvii1ci666p-wpengine.netdna-ssl.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/86/2020/09/Right-of-Rivers-Report-V3-Digital-compressed.pdf [ https://perma.cc/JLG7-4QD5 ].

^ Jessica Eisen & Kristen Stilt, Protection and Status of Animals , in Max Planck Encyclopedia of Comparative Constitutional Law ¶ 1 (Rainer Grote, Frauke Lachenmann & Rüdiger Wolfrum eds., 2016), Oxford Constitutional Law (article updated Dec. 2016).

^ Id . ¶¶ 26–35.

^ Id . ¶¶ 11–17.

^ Id . ¶¶ 36–38.

^ Id . ¶¶ 39–41.

^ Id . ¶¶ 18–25.

^ Id . ¶¶ 47–56.

^ Id . ¶¶ 42–46.

^ Id . ¶¶ 63–65.

^ See Konstitutsiia Rossiĭskoĭ Federatsii [Konst. RF] [Constitution] art. 114(1)(e 5

^ Eisen & Stilt, supra note 7, ¶ 45.

^ Id . ¶ 31.

^ Id . ¶ 23.

^ Id . ¶ 12.

^ Id . ¶ 36.

^ Id . ¶ 69.

^ The desire for more rights is not an unqualified positive, as some have argued. While an important question, this Essay does not engage in that debate.

^ Int’l Rivers et al ., supra note 6, at 6.

^ Id . In the animal law context, more research is needed on the alignment of beliefs in indigenous communities with animal rights approaches — a partnership that has been important in the contemporary rights of nature movement. Due to issues such as whaling and seal hunting, this alignment has proven difficult, but with thoughtful engagement, it is within reach. See generally Maneesha Deckha, Unsettling Anthropocentric Legal Systems: Reconciliation, Indigenous Laws, and Animal Personhood , 41 J. Intercultural Stud . 77 (2020).

^ There is a long line of thinking in animal protection that preventing cruelty to animals is also beneficial for humans. One strand of this thinking focuses on a connection between violence against animals and violence against humans, referred to as the “link” theory. For a discussion and critique of this theory, see Justin Marceau , Beyond Cages 193–250 (2019).

^ Constitución de la República del Ecuador [Constitution] 2008 , art. 71, translated in World Constitutions Illustrated ( HeinOnline, Jefri Jay Ruchti, ed., Maria Del Carmen Gress & J.J. Ruchti, trans., 2018 ) .

^ Ley de Derechos de la Madre Tierra [Law of the Rights of Mother Earth], Ley 071 (2010) ( Bol .) .

^ See Int’l Rivers et al ., supra note 6, at 15–49.

^ S.T.J., No. 1.797.175/SP, Relator: Ministro OG Fernandes, 21.03.2019, Revista Eletrônica da Jurisprudência [R.S.T.J.], 13.05.2019 (Braz.), https://processo.stj.jus.br/processo/revista/documento/mediado/?componente=ITA&sequencial=1806039&num_registro=201800312300&data=20190513&peticao_numero=-1&formato=PDF [ https://perma.cc/TZ76-P4E3 ] (translation on file with the Harvard Law School Library) [hereinafter Wild Parrot Case].

^ Id . at 2–3.

^ Id . at 9.

^ Constitução Federal [C.F.] [Constitution] art. 225 (Braz.), translated in World Constitutions Illustrated ( HeinOnline, Jefri Jay Ruchi, ed., Keith S. Rosenn, trans., 2020) .

^ Wild Parrot Case, supra note 31, at 10.

^ Id . at 12.

^ See Eisen & Stilt, supra note 7, ¶¶ 22–24, 28–29.

^ Wild Parrot Case, supra note 31, at 14.

^ See Int’l Rivers et al ., supra note 6, at 47.

^ See id . at 23.

^ See id . at 33.

^ See id . at 44.

^ See id . at 17.

^ See id . at 39. In India, the decisions have been stayed by the Supreme Court. Id . at 46. In the U.S. context, Native American tribal jurisdictions have led the way in recognizing rights of nature. The Navajo Nation Code Annotated, tit. I, § 205 (2014), states that “[a]ll creation, from Mother Earth and Father Sky to the animals, those who live in water, those who fly and plant life have their own laws and have rights and freedoms to exist.” The publication of Christopher D. Stone’s Should Trees Have Standing? — Toward Legal Rights for Natural Objects , 45 S. Cal. L. Rev . 450 (1972), was influential for Justice Douglas, dissenting in Sierra Club v. Morton , 405 U.S. 727, 741–42 (1972) (“Contemporary public concern for protecting nature’s ecological equilibrium should lead to the conferral of standing upon environmental objects to sue for their own preservation.”). Recently, some local governments in the United States have attempted to declare that natural communities and ecosystems have rights. For a discussion of these efforts, see David R. Boyd, The Rights of Nature 109–30 (2017).

^ Corte Constitucional [C.C.] [Constitutional Court], noviembre 10, 2016, Sentencia T-622/16 (Colom.), https://www.corteconstitucional.gov.co/relatoria/2016/t-622-16.htm [ https://perma.cc/CP7X-3NCJ ], translated in Center for Social Justice Studies v. Presidency of the Republic, Judgment T-622/16, Constitutional Court of Colombia (Nov. 10, 2016), The Atrato River Case , Dignity Rts. Project , http://files.harmonywithnatureun.org/uploads/upload838.pdf [ https://perma.cc/SF8R-W8EC ] [hereinafter Atrato River Case].

^ Id . § I.2.1.

^ Id . § I.1.

^ Id . § I.2.10.

^ Id . § IV.9.27.

^ Id . § IV.9.31.

^ The Environment and Human Rights (Arts. 4(1) and 5(1) in Relation to Arts. 1(1) and 2 American Convention on Human Rights), Advisory Opinion OC-23/17, Inter-Am. Ct. H.R. (ser. A) No. 23, ¶ 62 (Nov. 15, 2017), https://www.corteidh.or.cr/docs/opiniones/seriea_23_ing.pdf [ https://perma.cc/W3HZ-LPX9 ].

^ Bangladesh Supreme Court, High Court Division, Writ Petition No. 13898/2016 (2019) (official translation on file with the Harvard Law School Library) [hereinafter Turag River Case].

^ See id . at 3; Tawfique Ali, Time to Declare Turag Dead , Daily Star (Nov. 6, 2016), https://www.thedailystar.net/frontpage/time-declare-turag-dead-1310182 [ https://perma.cc/R5NL-WA6M ].

^ See Ali, supra note 56.

^ See Turag River Case, supra note 55, at 3.

^ Id . at 4.

^ Id . at 54.

^ Id . at 449.

^ Id . at 449–50.

^ S.T.J., No. 1.145.083/MG, Relator: Ministro Heman Benjamin, 27.09.2011, Revista Eletrônica da Jurisprudência [R.S.T.J.], 04.09.2012, 10 (Braz.), https://processo.stj.jus.br/processo/revista/documento/mediado/?componente=ITA&sequencial=975073&num_registro=200901152629&data=20120904&formato=PDF [ https://perma.cc/FW7S-C6Q8 ] (translation on file with the Harvard Law School Library).

^ 888 F.3d 418 (9th Cir. 2018).

^ Id . at 420.

^ Id . at 432 (Smith, J., concurring in part).

^ Int’l Rivers et al ., supra note 6, at 8.

^ Atrato River Case, supra note 46, § IV.9.32.

^ See, e.g ., Cámara del Fuero Contencioso Administrativo y Tributario [CABA] [Chamber of Appeals in Contentious Administrative and Tax Matters], Buenos Aires, sala 1, 14/06/2016, “Asociación de Funcionarios y Abogados por los Derechos de los Animales y Otros c. GCBA s/ Amparo,” (Arg.), 3, https://www.animallaw.info/sites/default/files/1%20%E2%80%9CASOCIACIO%CC%81N%20DE%20FUNCIONARIOS%20Y%20ABOGADOS%20POR%20LOS%20DERECHOS%20DE%20LOS%20ANIMALES%20Y%20OTROS%20C%3A%20GCBA%20S%3A%20AMPARO%E2%80%9D%20.pdf [ https://perma.cc/7LD3-XCDG ] (translation on file with the Harvard Law School Library); Corte Constitucional [C.C.] [Constitutional Court], enero 23, 2020, Sentencia SU-016/20 (§§ I.1 to .3) (Colom.), https://www.corteconstitucional.gov.co/comunicados/Comunicado%20No.%2003%20del%2023%20de%20enero%20de%202020.pdf [ https://perma.cc/9EX8-UCYL ] (translation on file with the Harvard Law School Library). For an overview of habeas corpus cases brought in the United States on behalf of nonhuman animals, see Challenging the Legal Thinghood of Autonomous Nonhuman Animals , Nonhuman Rts. Project , https://www.nonhumanrights.org/litigation [ https://perma.cc/69P9-UU7M ].

^ CABA, 14/06/2016, “Asociación de Funcionarios y Abogados por los Derechos de los Animales y Otros c. GCBA s/ Amparo,” 2, 14; C.C., enero 23, 2020, Sentencia SU-016/20 (§§ I.1 to .3).

^ I thank Doug Kysar for the point that this also works in reverse; a judge in a jurisdiction with weak enforcement might be willing to go further with a finding of animal rights, knowing that the implications are unlikely to be seen as a practical matter.

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Animal Rights and Human Responsibilities: Towards a Relational Capabilities Approach in Animal Ethics

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In this thesis, I analyze some of the most important contributions concerning the inclusion of animals in the moral and political sphere. Moving from these positions, I suggest that a meaningful consideration of animals' sentience demands a profound, radical political theory which considers animals as moral patients endowed with specific capabilities whose actualization needs to be allowed and/or promoted. Such theory would take human-animal different types of relationships into account to decide what kind of ethical and political responsibilities humans have towards animals. It would be also based on the assumption that animals' sentience is the necessary and sufficient feature … continued below

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Guerini, Elena May 2018.

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  • Name: Master of Arts
  • Level: Master's
  • Department: Department of Political Science
  • College: College of Liberal Arts and Social Sciences
  • Discipline: Political Science
  • PublicationType: Master's Thesis
  • Grantor: University of North Texas

In this thesis, I analyze some of the most important contributions concerning the inclusion of animals in the moral and political sphere. Moving from these positions, I suggest that a meaningful consideration of animals' sentience demands a profound, radical political theory which considers animals as moral patients endowed with specific capabilities whose actualization needs to be allowed and/or promoted. Such theory would take human-animal different types of relationships into account to decide what kind of ethical and political responsibilities humans have towards animals. It would be also based on the assumption that animals' sentience is the necessary and sufficient feature for assigning moral status. I start from the consideration that in the history of political philosophy, most theorists have excluded animals from the realm of justice. I then propose an examination of utilitarianism, capabilities approach, and relational-based theories of animal rights (in particular the works by Kymlicka and Donaldson, and Clare Palmer) and borrow essential elements from each of these approaches to build my theory. I claim that a political theory which attaches high importance to individual capabilities, as well as to the various types of relationships we have with animals, is the most appropriate to tackle the puzzle of human responsibilities to animals.

  • Animal Ethics
  • Animal Rights
  • Capabilities Theory

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  • Animal rights -- Political aspects.
  • Animal welfare -- Political aspects.
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Guerini, Elena. Animal Rights and Human Responsibilities: Towards a Relational Capabilities Approach in Animal Ethics , thesis , May 2018; Denton, Texas . ( https://digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc1157548/ : accessed February 22, 2024 ), University of North Texas Libraries, UNT Digital Library, https://digital.library.unt.edu ; .

Animal Rights Essay. Research Paper on Animal Rights

Published by gudwriter on January 4, 2021 January 4, 2021

This sample animal rights essay features an outline, 1000+ words, and a list of credible references.  If you would like to write a high quality research paper, ideas from this sample will give you a head start and the much needed inspiration. Animals are entitled to rights also that’s why MBA essay writers from Gudwriter are experts in writing such kind of essays for you.

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Animal Rights Argumentative Essay Outline

Introduction.

Animals are entitled to fundamental rights.

Paragraph 1:

Animals have an inherent worth just like human beings and this value is completely separate from their usefulness to humans.

  • They should enjoy the right to freedom from suffering and pain.
  • It wrong for society to view them as existing solely for human use
  • They have emotions
  • Animals have rights just like human being rights .

Paragraph 2:

Denying animals their rights is based on no meaningful argument but prejudice that is conducted by humans.

  • It is only prejudice that makes humans to deny others the rights that they expect to have for themselves
  • Prejudice is morally unacceptable in the society whether it is based on species, sexual orientation, gender, religion, or race.

Paragraph 3:

Animals are sentient just like the human species and it is only speciesism of animals that makes humans treating them differently.

  • Speciesism is the assumption of human superiority leading to the exploitation of nonhuman animals
  • Speciesism is wrong because animals suffer when they are tortured

Paragraph 4:

Human rights opponents may argue that animals do not deserve rights because rights should be accompanied by responsibilities.

  • This is wrong because animal rights are essentially about allowing animals to live freely
  • This is a fundamental right that any creature should naturally enjoy by virtue of being a living being

Paragraph 5:

Opponents may contend that animals do not have the capacity to make free moral judgment

  • However, some animals such as chimpanzees at times show behaviors that are truly altruistic
  • Moreover, humans do not always make moral judgments
  • Animals should have rights because they are living beings with the right to live freely
  • They have an inherent value that cannot be separated from them just like humans
  • There is no moral ground upon which humans should deny them their rights

Essay, term paper, research paper:  Animal Rights  

Almost everybody grew up going to zoos and circuses, wearing leather, and eating meat. People also visited pet shops and bought and kept their beloved “pets” and even went fishing and wore clothes made from silk and wool. Well, it turns out that while people did not care to find out the effects of all these activities on animals, they were going against animal rights. The debate about whether non-human animals have rights still rages on with some people saying they do while others saying they are non-human and thus do not. This debate is however irrelevant because animals, just like humans, are entitled to fundamental rights.

Animals have an inherent worth just like human beings and this value is completely separate from how they might be seen as being useful to humans. Every being that has a will to live should be able to enjoy the right to freedom from suffering and pain. It is thus wrong for society to view nonhuman animals as existing solely for human use. When it comes to such emotions as fear, loneliness, joy, love, and pain, the same feeling a human being has is the one an animal has. Each attaches immense value to their life and fights to keep it and that is why animals too try to avoid harm as much as they can (Smith, 2012). It is surprising that humans see no wrong in snatching this freedom from animals. Moreover, determining whether a living being has rights or not should not rest on whether it can reason or talk but on whether it has the capacity to suffer. Thus, humans should consider the extent of harm or suffering they would expose animals to before subjecting them to certain acts. This is because the capacity to suffer has more sensitivity and significance as compared to other characteristics such as the capacity to think, talk, or worship. Animals undergo suffering when exposed to harm just like humans do, and can also succumb to pain. They can feel pressure, frustration, and motherly love as well.

Denying animals their rights is based on no meaningful argument but prejudice that is conducted by humans. This is because it is only prejudice that makes humans to deny others, including animals, the rights that they expect to have for themselves (Smith, 2012). Prejudice is morally unacceptable in society whether it is based on species, sexual orientation, gender, religion, or race. It is this prejudice that makes humans to think of some animals as food and others as companions or pets. If a dog should be kept at home for security purposes, why should a cow for instance be butchered for its meat? Society should give similar levels of attention it gives to different forms of prejudices against humans to prejudices against animals because they are not justifiable.

Animals are sentient just like the human species and it is only speciesism that sends humans into treating them differently. Cochrane (2012) defines speciesism as the assumption of human superiority leading to the exploitation of nonhuman animals. Out of this assumption, humans have developed an incorrect belief that they are the only species among all species that deserve to be treated morally. Speciesism is wrong because when animals such as chickens, pigs, and cows are slaughtered, tortured, or confined for their meat, they suffer. Such sufferance is unjustified because morally, there is no reason that creates a distinction between nonhuman animals and humans. The reason for which people have rights, which is to prevent unjust suffering, is the same reason why animals should have rights.

Animal rights opponents may argue that animals do not deserve rights because rights should be accompanied by responsibilities. They may say that humans are granted rights and are at the same time expected to be responsible by for instance abiding by universal laws. Since animals may not be in a position to exercise such responsibility, the opponents feel they should not be entitled to any rights (Cavalieri, 2004). People promoting such an argument are however forgetting that animal rights are essentially about allowing animals to live freely, free from human exploitation and use. This is a fundamental right that any creature should naturally enjoy by virtue of being a living being. It is not like animal rights involve animals coming to scramble for economic, social or political opportunities with humans or compete with them in any manner.

Opponents may also contend that animals do not have the capacity to make free moral judgment and thus deserve no moral treatment. It is for example often argued that animals are selfish in their behavior and are only interested in their own wellbeing and not of other beings. The argument goes on that on the other hand; humans will always offer a helping hand to others even if it means getting disadvantaged in the process. This argument fails to recognize that some animals such as chimpanzees at times show behaviors that are truly altruistic (Isacat, 2014). Moreover, it is not true that humans will always help fellow humans since there are situations in which a person would actually rejoice when another person is experiencing difficulties.

Animals should have rights because they are living beings with the right to live freely as long as they have the will to. Humans are not in a position to determine when an animal should die or what its life should be like. Animals have an inherent value that cannot be separated from them just like humans. They value their lives very much and are sentient and this is why they try to avoid any harm that may come their way. There is no moral ground upon which humans should deny them their rights. Moreover, granting them their rights will take nothing away from humans.

Cavalieri, P. (2004). The animal question: why nonhuman animals deserve human rights . New York, NY: Oxford University Press.

Cochrane, A. (2012). Animal rights without liberation: applied ethics and human obligations . New York, NY: Columbia University Press.

Isacat, B. (2014). How to do animal rights . Raleigh, NC: Lulu.

Smith, W. J. (2012). A rat is a pig is a dog is a boy: the human cost of the animal rights movement . New York, NY: Encounter Books.

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Animal Testing Thesis Statement

Animal experimentation has been a controversial topic for many years. Some people believe that it is necessary in order to advance medical research, while others argue that it is cruel and inhumane.

There are pros and cons to both sides of the argument. On one hand, animal testing can be vital in developing new treatments and medications for diseases. Without animal testing, many life-saving drugs would not be available today. On the other hand, animal testing is often criticized because it can be cruel and inhumane. Animals in experiments are often subjected to pain and suffering, and sometimes they do not survive.

Ultimately, the decision of whether or not to support animal experimentation is a personal one. There are valid arguments on both sides of the issue, and it is up to each individual to decide what they believe is right.

There has been a dispute between animal rights activists and scientists about the morality of using animals in laboratory testing. It is also contentious whether utilizing animals for such research aids in the discovery of cures. If there are no other options and if it is probable that this will advance medical research, I believe that animals may be used for experimental study.

Animal testing is the use of animals in experiments and development projects to determine the toxicity, efficacy or side effects of substances such as drugs, chemicals, cosmetics, vaccines and other products. In many countries around the world animals are still suffering in laboratories with little hope for relief. According to the Animal Welfare Act (AWA), federal law regulates the treatment of animals in research, exhibition, transport, and by dealers.

The AWA does not extend to birds, rats of the genus Rattus, and mice of the genus Mus, which together account for more than 95% of all animals used in research.(1)Animal Experimentation Up 80 Percent In Last Decade) There has been an increase in the use of animals in experiments, although the number of rats and mice used has decreased slightly.

While animal rights advocates argue that people and animals are equivalent, I believe that people and animals cannot be compared; as a result, the death of an animal can never be the same as that of a person. As a result, causing animals to die for science in order to save human lives may be considered ethical to some extent if it aids scientific progress and is beneficial to humanity in general.

Animal testing has been a controversial issue for many years. Some people believe that animal testing is cruel and inhumane, and that it should be stopped immediately. Others believe that animal testing is necessary in order to continue making progress in medical research.

There are pros and cons to both sides of the argument, but I believe that the pros of animal testing outweigh the cons. The main reason I believe this is because animal testing has led to significant medical advances over the years, and has helped save countless lives.

One example of how animal testing has led to a medical breakthrough is the development of penicillin. Penicillin is an antibiotic used to treat bacterial infections, and it was first discovered in 1928 by Alexander Fleming. Fleming’s discovery of penicillin was accidental; he was studying bacteria in a petri dish when he noticed that a fungus had contaminated the dish.

Fleming observed that the bacteria were not growing near the fungus, and he realized that the fungus must be producing a substance that was inhibiting the growth of the bacteria. He isolated this substance, which we now know as penicillin, and found that it was effective at killing bacteria.

Fleming’s discovery of penicillin was a major medical breakthrough, and it would not have been possible without animal testing. In order to test whether or not penicillin was effective at treating bacterial infections, Fleming injected it into mice. He found that the mice who were injected with penicillin survived, while the mice who were not injected with penicillin died.

This experiment proved that penicillin was effective at treating bacterial infections in animals, and it paved the way for further research into the drug’s effects on humans. In 1942, penicillin was used to treat a patient with a serious bacterial infection for the first time, and it was found to be effective.

Since then, penicillin has been used to treat millions of people with bacterial infections, and has saved countless lives. Animal testing played a vital role in the development of this life-saving drug, and without it, we would not have the medical advances that we do today.

Animal testing has also played a role in the development of vaccines. Vaccines are used to prevent diseases, and they work by causing the body to develop immunity to a particular disease.

The first vaccine was developed in 1796 by Edward Jenner, and it was used to prevent smallpox. Jenner observed that milkmaids who had contracted cowpox (a mild form of smallpox) were immune to smallpox. He vaccinate people with cowpox in order to give them immunity to smallpox, and his experiment was successful.

Since then, vaccines have been developed for many other diseases, including polio, measles, mumps, rubella, and chickenpox. Animal testing has played a vital role in the development of these life-saving vaccines.

For example, the polio vaccine was developed in 1952 by Jonas Salk. In order to test whether or not the vaccine was safe and effective, Salk injected it into monkeys. He found that the monkeys who were injected with the vaccine did not develop polio, while the monkeys who were not vaccinated developed the disease.

This experiment proved that the polio vaccine was safe and effective, and it paved the way for further research into the vaccine. In 1955, the polio vaccine was declared safe for use in humans, and it has since been used to vaccinate millions of people around the world.

Furthermore, animal rights advocates accuse scientists of being ” barbarous” for causing animals to die in medical research, yet they do not object to people, particularly farmers, who kill animals for food. Even though they are aware that 99 percent of deaths are caused by farmers and only 1 percent by scientists, the reason for that is that they find scientists simpler to attack and have no strategy against farmers who are organized and powerful.

Animal testing has been a controversial issue for many years. Is it necessary? Does it save lives? These are the questions that people ask when they think about animal testing. Animal testing is the use of animals in experiments and development projects usually to determine toxicity, dosing and efficacy of test drugs before proceeding to human clinical trials (1).

Approximately 26 million vertebrate animals are used for research each year around the world (2). The animals used in research vary from mice and rats, which make up 85-90% of all laboratory animals, to larger mammals such as dogs, primates and farm animals.

The United States currently uses the most animals for research, with approximately 1.2 million animals used per year. This is followed by China, Japan, the United Kingdom and Canada (3).

Animal testing has been used for centuries to test products before they are made available to the public. It is only in recent years that animal rights groups have started to question the necessity of animal testing.

Animal testing is necessary in order to ensure the safety of products before they are made available to consumers. Without animal testing, many products would be released that could potentially be harmful to humans. Animal testing allows scientists to test the safety of products before they are used on human subjects.

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About the Book

Themes and Analysis

The call of the wild, by jack london.

There is a range of themes, symbols, and key moments one should consider when analyzing Jack London’s ‘The Call of the Wild.’ These include Buck’s fight with Spitz, arrogance, man vs. nature, and more. 

Emma Baldwin

Written by Emma Baldwin

B.A. in English, B.F.A. in Fine Art, and B.A. in Art Histories from East Carolina University.

Jack London employs a unique narrative perspective throughout this novel and asks readers to consider the dangers of over-civilization and the importance, or lack thereof, of material possessions and more.

The Call of the Wild Themes and Analysis

The Call of the Wild Themes

Transformation.

The novel’s main focus is Buck’s transformation from a pet dog in California to a wild dog running with a pack of wolves in the Alaskan wilderness. Throughout the book, he learns what it means to be “wild” and manages the skills it takes to survive in the harsh environment of the freezing North.

The wild is one of the most important themes in Jack London’s literary work. The concept of the wild “calling” to Buck is important to his evolution as a character and revitalizing his natural instincts. It’s not until the novel’s end that he fully gives in to the “call of the wild” and joins a pack of wolves in the wilderness.

The wild also presents horrifying dangers to everyone involved in the novel. Even Thornton, an avid outdoorsman, loses his life somewhat unexpectedly.

The theme of mastery is present throughout the entire novel. It begins with Buck in California experiencing a kind master who provides him with everything he needs in life. Judge Miller is wealthy and lives a life of relative ease. 

Buck’s perception of mastery changes when he’s thrust into the wild North and is no longer the master of his own environment, nor does he have a master who inspires loyalty. Throughout the novel, the various characters are all striving to master their surroundings and one another.

Analysis of Key Moments in The Call of the Wild

  • Buck is stolen from his California home by Manuel. 
  • He meets Curly and watches Spitz kill her. 
  • He is purchased by Francois to work as a sled dog. 
  • He fights and kills Spitz and becomes the lead dog. 
  • Francois sells the team to another mail carrier who mistreats them. 
  • The team of dogs is sold again to three Americans. 
  • They treat the dogs cruelly and show a great deal of arrogance about their environment. 
  • John Thonront tries to warn them about thin ice, but they don’t listen. 
  • Buck refuses to go out on the ice and is beaten by Hal. 
  • John saves his life, and Buck watches as the remaining dogs and the Americans drown after plunging through the ice. 
  • John Thornton becomes Buck’s best master and inspires his love and loyalty. 
  • The two travel together and Buck proves his strength. 
  • Thornton finds gold shortly before being killed by Yeehat Native Americans. 
  • Buck kills tribe members in vengeance before joining a pack of wolves.

Style, Tone, and Figurative Language

Jack London employed an unusual writing style for ‘ The Call of the Wild .’ Much of the book is written from the perspective of Buck, a dog. But, he also uses a human narrator to provide integral details to one’s understanding of the story. 

Throughout, Jack London does not shy away from the violence and terror of life in the Yukon territory. There are moments in which the language is very stark and others in which it is more poetic. For example:

He was mastered by the sheer surging of life, the tidal wave of being, the perfect joy of each separate muscle, joint, and sinew in that it was everything that was not death, that it was aglow and rampant, expressing itself in movement, flying exultantly under the stars.

He also employs a contemplative tone throughout, as is seen in the above quote . Buck is constantly analyzing his situation and trying to understand what it takes to survive. Buck’s situation is also presented as incredibly sympathetic. Readers are consistently on Buck’s side and hoping that he finds happiness. 

London employs multiple examples of figurative language throughout this book. They include: 

  • Metaphors 
  • Personification

Analysis of Symbols

Mercedes’ possessions.

Mercedes’ possessions symbolize over-civilization, arrogance, and ignorance. She feels the sled with so many items and even ditches other essentials in favor of her fashionable possessions that she helps bring about the final disaster that the falls her, her husband, and her brother.

The traces, or the bindings that attach the sled dogs to the sled symbolize service and labor. The dogs take pride in their strength and what they’re able to accomplish. But, at the same time, they don’t have a choice in the matter. Their master decides where they go and how fast they need to get there, and the dogs have to obey. 

The call of the wild is one of the primary symbols in this book. It’s a metaphorical call that keeps Buck’s attention and makes him want to step away from the remnants of his civilized life. It is not until the end of the book that he fully indulges “call” and leaves civilization and his human masters behind.

Why did Jack London write The Call of the Wild ?

London wrote this book to share some of what he saw while living for a year in the Yukon Territory. He also wrote it to convey the theme of transformation and how, over a period of time, one’s entire life and intentions can change. Buck transformed from a pet to a wild dog from the first to the last chapter. 

What is the meaning behind The Call of the Wild ?

The meaning behind the symbol “the call of the wild” is that the “call” triggers one’s instincts and desire to escape civilization. London suggests that wild instincts are far more natural to humanity and non-human animals, like dogs, than are the confines of civilized life. 

What can you learn from The Call of the Wild ?

You can learn that tapping into your instincts may provide insight and allow you to survive in difficult situations. The novel also teaches about the dangers of over-civilization and dependence on material possessions.

What is the main conflict of the novel The Call of the Wild ?

The main conflict is civilization versus the wild. Buck deals with an intense transformation as he has forced to contend with the new reality of the freezing northern Yukon. There, he has to set aside a civilized life and learn what it takes to survive in the wild.

Emma Baldwin

About Emma Baldwin

Emma Baldwin, a graduate of East Carolina University, has a deep-rooted passion for literature. She serves as a key contributor to the Book Analysis team with years of experience.

Cite This Page

Baldwin, Emma " The Call of the Wild Themes and Analysis 📖 " Book Analysis , https://bookanalysis.com/jack-london/the-call-of-the-wild/themes-analysis/ . Accessed 22 February 2024.

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