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Why Care About Animal Rights?

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Why Care About Animal Rights?

By Lee Hall, Friends of Animals (FOA) (originally posted on Gooseberry Productions)
May 2013

I think it gets us to ask questions about whether we want to live in a peaceful world or whether, on the other hand, we just want to tinker with rules that make war more humane or that make animal use more humane.

People should care about animal rights because people should care about living in a world that is not run by violence. People should want to live in a world where respect becomes the keynote. And as long as we've got a whole civilization built on the use of other animals, and war--well, you see, I think they're interchangeable. I think the idea that we can be at war with other species, or at war with other countries, is very much interwoven. I don't think you can separate these ideas, actually.

So we want to ask ask ourselves as a species--say we believe there's a species called Homo sapiens, and that category is fixed, and we're in it--the question becomes: What's our moral destiny? What's our ethical destiny? What are we going to evolve to be?

I would hope that we would evolve to be some characters who would be really decent, who would be open-minded, who would be thinking in terms of the Golden Rule of treating any other conscious being the way I personally would like to be treated. And there should really be no borders when we think in terms of ethics.

So I think there's something in it for everybody. I think it gets us to ask questions about whether we want to live in a peaceful world or whether, on the other hand, we just want to tinker with rules that make war more humane or that make animal use more humane, and we'll leave that to the legislators or to the corporations, and we won't worry about serious things like that because Oh! It's too much to deal with, and humans have always acted like this.

I think that's the question: Do humans always have to act like this? Do we always have to be aggressive? Do we always have to be bullies?

And as long as we're bullies to other animals, we'll be bullies to each other; and as long as we're bullies to each other, we'll be bullies to other animals; and there's really no difference between the two.

Who do I want to be? Do I want to be a bully? Do I want to be someone who causes others pain? Or do I want to be someone who respects others' interests in living on their own terms?

I want to be the second, and I think most people, when they really think about it, would like to at least consider that option.