Animal rights refer to a movement that ensures that animals are not used by humans in a way that causes harm to them. People cause a lot of suffering to animals, specifically domestic animals, with the argument that they are their property and thus they are entitled to treat them as they intend. From the defense that such people use, it is evident that the society suffers a serious misunderstanding of the meaning of ‘animal rights.’
Non-supporters of animal rights have the misconception that caring for the welfare of animals and imposing regulations so that they are not mistreated amounts to equating animals to humans. This ignorance has resulted to the death and suffering of a lot of animals all over the world and a substantial decrease in animal population. Animals have been greatly used in experimentation where they are exposed to a lot of painful procedures.
The procedures may involve, the sewing of animals’ eyes for a long period of time, dissection of animals, mutilation, starvation, isolation, electrocution, burning, poisoning of the animals etcetera. Since the start of medical research, millions of animals have been killed and a lot of others exposed to excruciating pain. The killing of animals in medical research amounts to productive animal use but it can confidently be considered as a serious violation of animal rights due to the questions related to its necessity.
In contemporary medical laboratories like the American College of Surgeons laboratory, students use simulators as a substitute of animals in their lessons. Thus students complete their courses without dissecting a single animal. It is therefore necessary that we evaluate the benefit that we get from animal use before engaging ourselves in it.
Animal rights activism is mainly concerned with differentiating between animal use and animal mistreatment. Most people who do not believe in animal rights use the negative effects of animal use to defend their mistreatment of these animals. For instance, people who cause severe injuries on the bodies of animals may argue that their actions are better than slaughtering the animals for food. To some extend, their argument makes sense; but it must be considered that the injuring of animals amounts to mistreatment without a good cause while the slaughtering of animals amounts to their use for a productive cause.
Despite the fact that animals are kept and owned by humans, it is inhuman to mistreat them. Their use is the primary objective of keeping them but we should always look for alternatives to harmful animal use like the mentioned use of simulators in medical laboratories. Before using an animal in a given way, we should always consider the impact our actions have on the animals. For instance, before stripping an animal its fur, one should consider the suffering the animal will go through without the fur.
With the current exponential decreases in animal population and the extinction of some animal species, it is clear that there is need for a serious course of action in animal preservation. Animal rights activists should fight for sufficient legislation protecting animals from mistreatment and also help in monitoring the treatment of animals. The society holds the key to a world in which animal mistreatment will be history. It is therefore the responsibility of each one of us to examine how we use our animals and how we relate with them.