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Animal Rights

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Animal Rights
"The worst sin towards our fellow creatures is not to hate them, but to
be indifferent to them. That's the essence of inhumanity"
George Bernard Shaw
What does "Animal Rights" mean?
–plural noun
the rights of animals, claimed on ethical
grounds, to the same humane treatment
and protection from exploitation and abuse
that are accorded to humans.
“It is not the animals who are demanding rights,
but the humans who are conferring rights upon
the animals. This argument is not about the
rights of animals but about the duties of human
History - Where did it all begin??
Then God said: "Let us make humankind in
our own image, according to our likeness;
and let them have dominion over the fish of
the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over
the cattle and over all the earth, and over
every creeping thing that creeps upon the
Discussion point:
What does dominion mean??
Genesis 1:26-27
What responsibilities does it imply, if any?
17th Century - Animals as automata
The first known legislation against animal cruelty
in the English-speaking world was passed in
Ireland in 1635. It prohibited pulling wool off
sheep, and the attaching of ploughs to horses'
tails, referring to "the cruelty used to beasts”.
In 1641 the first legal code to protect domestic
animals in North America was passed by the
Massachusetts Bay Colony - No man shall
exercise any Tyranny or Cruelty toward any
Creature which are usually kept for man's use.
18th Century - Centrality
of sentience, not reason
Frenchman Francois Magendie
(1783-1855) was among the first to
determine that many bodily
processes resulted from the cofunctioning of several organs. This
realisation set in train numerous
experiments that involved
manipulative procedures rather
than just internal observations.
19th Century - Emergence of jus animalium
In 1824 the Society for the Prevention of Cruelty of Animals (SPCA) was
established in England. Its members committed themselves to the principles of
kindness to animals. Later in 1840, Queen Victoria gave the society her personal
endorsement by giving it the title Royal Society for the Prevention of Cruelty of
Animals. Throughout the nineteenth century, the RSPCA successfully lobbied for
numerous changes to legislation.
The establishment of the SPCA/RSPCA
started the regulation of treatment of
animals in farming and domestication and
some might say, the development of
collective societal beliefs and values with
regard to the treatment of animals.
However, the medical and scientific community were also coming under scrutiny. No
longer were people free to experiment with animals, the Cruelty to Animals Act
(1876) required that any person wishing to perform experiments using live
vertebrates must first be licensed, and all experiments involving animals be certified
by the British Home Secretary.
20th Century - Increase in animal use and start of animal rights
Perhaps the most influential work to be published at that time, or
since, was Australian philosopher Peter Singer's Animal
Liberation (1975)
Bernard Rollin's Animal Rights and Human Morality (1981) were
crucial publications in the resurgence of popular interest in the
controversy that is animal welfare.
21st Century - First rights proposed for animals
Animal welfare laws may be defined as those laws that seek to promote the
interests of animals, within a legal framework that characterises them as
Animal rights law may be defined as an area of law which seeks to question
animals' well-entrenched status as property, with a view to securing fundamental
rights for animals.
Animals, Welfare and Bills of Rights: At the present time, there are no
universally accepted animal welfare laws or �Bills of Rights’ that set out the
legal interests and entitlements of animals.
The Value of Life
Discussion point:
Are human and animal lives of equal value?
Major World Religion Perspectives on
Animal Rights
Respect for the welfare of animals is a
precept of some ancient Eastern religions,
including Jainism, which enjoins
ahimsa (“noninjury”) toward all living things,
and Buddhism, which forbids the needless
killing of animals, especially (in India) of
Traditional Judaism and
Christianity taught that animals were
created by God for human use,
including as food, and many Christian
thinkers argued that humans had no
moral duties of any kind to animals.
Major World Religion Perspectives on
Animal Rights
The Qur’an has a tendency towards anthropocentrism.
The Qur'an explicitly allows the eating of the
meat of animals.
Buddhism considers all of life to be evolving toward
higher consciousness. To the Buddhist, any practice by
which man sustains himself at the expense of other
sentient beings is considered wrong.
Because Hinduism is a term that includes many different
although related religious ideas, there is no clear
single Hindu view on the right way to treat animals.
Something to ponder as you read
the next few slides.
Do animal rights vary for different types of
Can or should all animals have equal rights?
How are animals viewed in Industry?
For thousands of years people have killed
animals for their fur.
Discoveries in technology have led to the
development of synthetic fibres, increased
production in other natural fibres which do
not require the killing of animals.
How does this change our understanding
of animal rights?
Do we still need to kill animals for their fur?
Should we?
Medical / Scientific Research
The use of animals for medical research has led to
the development of numerous vacinations and cures
for deseases which have killed millions of people.
But at what cost? How should vaccines be tested
and developed?
If animal testing didn't take place then people
would still be dying from these diseases today.
How are animals viewed in Industry?
Farming of animals
Australians love food.
In the last 30 years, our society has experienced a food
revolution, which has transformed the lives of more than
half a billion Australian farm animals who comprise the
meat, milk and egg producing machines annually called on
to satisfy our national appetite.
The interests of farm animals have been
largely disregarded in this relentless
pursuit for profit. Most animals in
factory farms live a life of confinement.
Loss and Destruction of Natural
Does animal rights include the protection of animal habitats?
Many natural habitats for animals are being lost through deforestation.
Deforestation is the clearing of forests by logging and/or burning and occurs in
many countries around the world for many reasons.
Forests are cleared for many different reasons including, trees or derived
charcoal being used as or sold for fuel, pasture for livestock, growing crops
and expansion of communities who require more housing. This provides an
income for many families.
The removal of trees and destruction of these habitats
has resulted in much devastation including biodiversity
loss, aridity and the extinction of many species of
Do individuals have a role to play in defining /
shaping the treatment of animals?
Consumer Choices
As consumers we are now
becoming informed with regard to
how animals are treated before
being sold to us as consumer
Consumer buying power
can make a difference. 20 years
ago consumers bought eggs without
much consideration for where they came
Today we expect to be informed with
regard to where our eggs come from so
that we can choose between free range
and cage eggs.
Consumer demands for these
products is on the rise.
Is it elitism or genuine concern for
animal rights?
What obligation if any do we have to buy
We have the
products which support the ethical and
choice to buy
humane treatment of animals?
tuna which is
Should financial cost play a
role in our decision making?
killing dolphins.
Do individuals have a role to play in defining /
shaping the treatment of animals?
Domestic Pets
Domestication is a process whereby man has structurally, physiologically and
behaviourally modified certain species of animals by maintaining them in or
near human habitation and by breeding from those certain animals who seem
best suited for various human objectives.
As life becomes busier what
does this mean for our pets?
What obligation do we
have to them?
Home alone for over
12 hours a day?
Is this taking
animal rights too
Do we have the right to domesticate animals?
Can we reverse the process of domestication?
Is it humane to tame wild animals?
Indigenous people of Australia and the
treatment of animals
Over the past 60,000 years we have successfully managed our natural environment
to provide for our cultural and physical needs. We have a holistic approach to life the environment and our culture are one and the same. We have a lifetime
commitment to protect and sustainably use our natural resources.
"An indigenous perspective on flying fox harvesting" by Charles L Massi.
Harvesting and eating wildlife is a vital part
of indigenous cultures however animals are
not kept in cages and are treated with
Indigenous peoples kill what they need
and use all parts of the animal.
What can we learn from the way in which indigenous people interact with animals?
Goldfinger Lyrics
Artist: Goldfinger
Song: Free Me
Album: Open Your Eyes
I didn’t ask you to take me from here, I didn’t ask to be broken
I didn’t ask you to stroke my hair, or treat me like a worthless token
But my skin is thick and my mind is strong
I am built like my father was, I’ve done nothing wrong
So free me, I just wanna feel what life should be
I just want enough space to turn around and face the truth, so free me
When are you gonna realize you’re just wrong
You can’t even think for yourself, can’t even make up your minds
So my minds a jail, I hate the whole god damn human race
What the hell do you want from me? Kill me if you just don’t know
Or free me, I just want to feel what life should be
I just want enough space to turn around cause you’re all fucked and someday
maybe you’ll treat me like you
WARNING This is a very graphic video clip and could upset many viewers
Many groups of conservationists and activists have taken up the cause
of defending the animal rights. Some of the best known include:
Green Peace: Probably
the best known
organisation around the
globe for defending the
rights of animals
that started in 1971
WWF-World Wide Fund
For Nature: Protecting
the wildlife around the
globe and saving animals
from extinction
RSPCA - Royal Society
for the Prevention of
Cruelty to Animals:
Organisation that
safeguards the way in
which people treat animals
in captivity.
PETA - People for the
Ethical Treatment of
Animals: American
organisation that
supports the universal
declaration of animal
rights (1972)
Why is this such an emotionally charged issue with many activists being seen as trouble makers?
Why do we have so many of these types of organisations throughout the world?
Animal exploitation
Animal rights?
READING - Working for a Peaceful World for Humans, Animals and
the Environment
Animals Australia, the Voice for Animals
People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals
Greenpeace -Asia Pacific
RSPCA – Royal Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals
WWF – World Wide Fund for Nature
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