Animal Rights


Ever since The Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals in
England in 1824 was formed there has been long running debates on the topic of
animal rights. The first societies were formed to protect and maintain human
treatment of work animals, such as cattle, horses and house hold pets. Towards
the end of the 19th century more organizations were formed, this time to protest
the use of animals in scientific experimentation. In today’s society groups
such as People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) have continued these
traditional fights as well as adding new agendas. These new agendas include
hunting and fishing, and dissection of animals in science classes. This paper
will discuss the pros and cons of animal experimentation and research, animals
in the classroom, animal organizations and hunting. Along with these topics my
personal opinion will be stated, before and after researching the topic.
The rights of animals have always been important to me during my life.
This is due to the fact that I have had a dog for a pet for as long as I
remember. On this topic I feel as though having domesticated animals in the home
is fine as long as proper care is taken of them. As for more controversial issue
like animal research and experimentation my views vary. A few years ago I felt
that any research or experimentation on animals was inhumane and unjust. However
after maturing and becoming more aware of the world, I now feel as though there
are definite ‘goods’ that come from animal research that can not come from doing
tests on humans. This view is by no means one sided. I also feel that there are
some things being done to animals that just should not happen, such as the
testing of cosmetics. In other areas of animal rights like dissection in the
classroom I think that as long as the animals died naturally it is fine to use
them to further a students education along with human cadavers. Of course, I
hope that
animal dissection can become a thing of the past with the advent of new
technologies. On the topic of hunting I have had a first hand experience. The
deer population where I live grew out of control a few years ago and as a last
resort the town decided to have a hunt. It was very controlled safe and had a
limit as to how many deer were killed. This sort of animal control is extreme
and in my opinion should be avoided at all costs. However, the overpopulation of
deer was causing health risks to the town, like a spread of lymes disease, which
made hunting a necessity. The rights of animals are watched out for by
organizations dating back to the early 1800’s. This, I feel is an important step
in protecting animals as long as they protest within there legal rights. In
order to sum my opinion up animals do have certain rights but if experiments,
research, hunting and dissection provide positive increases in knowledge that
furthers the existence of the world it is a necessary thing that must be done.
Perhaps the biggest and most debated subject dealing with the rights of
animals is the use of them in research and experimentation. "Very few people
would object to the use of animals if human lives were saved as a consequence."
(Minkoff, 26) However the extremists who do object would do so on a few key
points. Firstly, animals which are used are subjected to in humane treatment.
This consists of tests such as the LD50, which entails giving an animal a lethal
dose of a chemical or drug until 50% of them die. Also, experimenters are
subjecting them to wound experiments, radiation experiments and studies on the
effects of chemical warfare.(PETA, 2) Organizations such as PETA are also
opposed to cosmetic testing on animals due to experimenters spraying, injecting,
and feeding cosmetics to animals which cause labored breathing, blindness and
death in some cases. These organizations argue that cosmetics have already been
tested on animals in the past why continue doing the same tests. Due to the
protests of The Center for Alternatives to Animal Testing in 1981, Avon and
Revlon have stopped using animals in their research.(Comptons, CD) Experiments
and research on animals such as the LD50 test and cosmetic tests are, according
to animal rights organizations cruel and inhumane towards animals. They believe
that animals have rights and they are just as important to society as humans are,
therefore if humans are not used for these experiments