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Animal Rights Resources
Maintained by Derek Coons

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Introduction to 
Animal Rights

Animal Rights Organizations

Essays

Vegan Recipes

Vegan Nutrition and Health Information

Animal Experimentation

 

Related Issues

 

The Rationalization of Animal Exploitation

Humans--who enslave, castrate, experiment on, and fillet other animals--have had an understandable penchant for pretending animals do not feel pain. A sharp distinction between humans and "animals" is essential if we are to bend them to our will, make them work for us, wear them, eat them--without any disquieting tinges of guilt or regret. It is unseemly of us, who often behave so unfeeling toward other animals, to contend that only humans can suffer. The behavior of other animals renders such pretensions specious.They are just too much like us.

Dr. Carl Sagan & Dr. Ann Druyan
SHADOWS OF FORGOTTEN ANCESTORS, 1992
 

What does Animal Rights mean?

Animal rights means recognizing that animals are living sentient creatures with interests of their own, not objects to be exploited by humans. It means that animals' interests should be respected, and that the enslaving, eating, wearing, and torturing of animals by humans is wrong. For more info see the Animal Rights FAQ.

Factory Farming

Factory Farming is a world-wide trend toward replacing small family farms with huge corporate factory farms--large warehouses where animals are severely confined in crowded pens, stalls, and cages. Profit drives the agribusiness, not concern for the animals', the workers', or the public's well being. This results in hellish lives for animals who have to deal with severe confinement, mutilations done with no anesthesia (such as debeaking, castration, and tail docking), horrible living conditions, disease, shipping in extreme temperatures, and finally their own execution at the slaughterhouse.  Workers suffer too. According to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), meat-, poultry-, and fish-processing jobs are among the most hazardous in America. Massive institutionalized violence in the slaughterhouse no doubt has psychological effects on workers as well. Diseased food, massive pollution, and inefficient use of resources affect everyone.

Veganism

To stop the suffering of animals and to truly respect them requires us to stop exploiting them in the use of food, clothing, and entertainment. Vegans are individuals who strive to do no harm towards animals. This means that they try not to use, eat, or wear any animal products such as meat, eggs, dairy, wool or leather. Few individuals can make this drastic of a lifestyle change overnight, so many start off giving up meat first, then eggs, then dairy, etc. It is important to remember that all steps towards veganism are positive, no matter how small.

Speciesism

Speciesism is a prejudice or attitude of bias in favor of the interests of members of one’s own species and against those of members of other species. Speciesism is wrong for the same reason racism and sexism are wrong--because all beings interests should count equally. Peter Singer refers to this as “the principle of equality”. “All the arguments to prove human superiority cannot shatter this hard fact: in suffering, the animals are our equals”. For any individual who can suffer, the degree of suffering, not the species of the sufferer is what should count.