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Animal Rights

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Why does society not tolerate a harmful action of a man against another man, but very often they overlook a harmful action of a man against an animal? I think this question must be understood if we are ever to change the rights animals have. I feel strongly that animals should have rights. When I was a child I didn't believe animals had any actual rights, rather humans had rights that involved animals. My view of this has changed over the years. If we allow animals to have rights the same or similar to humans then we must first define what it is that makes us feel as if they are entitled to rights. But in order for us to do this we must first define equality.

I think that the overuse of the word equality has been a set back in the movement for animal rights. Obviously a dog is not physically equal to a human and it would be outlandish to state that a dog has equal mental ability to that of the average human. However, there are humans that have fewer mental capabilities than that of the average dog. We would not subject this human to product testing and research but we feel it is all right to place animals in this position. A general defense to this is that the human life matters more than that of an animal, but what allows us to make that judgment. Now that I think back on it, for the majority of my life, I have considered myself a person in favor of animal rights.

It wasn't until I came upon the subject of animal rights in this class that made me think back on what I thought about it. It also brought back a memory that I had long since forgotten. I was raised by my father to respect life, even if it was the life of an insect or rodent. Instead of squashing a bug he would take it out side and let it go. When I was about eight or nine he caught me shooting at birds in the backyard with my pellet gun and grounded me. I threw a fit and screamed, "What's the big deal? It's just a stupid bird!" and ran inside. That evening my dad called me into his room and sat me down for a talk. He tried to explain to me that everything had a right to live and we had no business taking that right away with out a reason. I didn't quite understand what he meant by that and still insisted that it was only a bird. Eventually, I finally agreed to stop shooting them. This was only to get out of the room and there was no truth in what I had agreed to do. Later that week I was at it again, shooting at birds while he was at work. As I took aim at a large bird sitting in the open on a fence, and at that moment his words lingered in the back of my head. I pushed them aside in my mind but the hesitation was just enough to throw my aim off. The pellet hit the bird and sent it to the ground but it didn't kill it immediately. It lay on the ground squawking and flapping its wings. I stood there and watched it die and at that moment my father's words took effect and as I witnessed the life slowly leave this creature I felt tears welling up inside of me. It wasn't until then that I fully realized the effect my actions had. After that I only raised my gun at another animal if I intended to bring it home and harvest the meat.

I realize that while I have considered myself to be strongly for animal rights and against animal testing and cruelty to animals, I have really only looked at the issues from my point of view. I'm strongly against those things that don't directly affect me. I eat meat and hunt and have never really had a problem with it. I hate the fact that we test our products on animals but have no problem going out and shooting a deer or going fishing. This brings up an argument that can be seen to disagree with animal rights. Hunting has always been a part of human existence. I have always thought I was being a good animal rights supporter by hunting and helping keep the overgrown deer population under control. Yet in order for there to be total animal rights we would almost have to abolish hunting. This argument plays a major factor in deciding animal rights.

Like I stated



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