AQA RS - Religion and Life Issues - Animal Rights

Complete overview of the first unit.

- Animals and Humans
- Animal Rights
- Religous Beliefs about animals
- Wild Animals//Religous Views
- Uses of Animals and views on their treatement
- Animals as food
- Animals in Sport 
- Fur and Ivory Trade
- Animal Experimentation 

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Animals and Humans

  • In a sense humans are animals. So we are the same in essence (evolutionary terms, use as an alternative view?)
  • Many people believe we are on a higher level than animals
  • Religions support this idea, and generally teach that God made us specially over animals.
  • However Buddhism has the idea that animals are here to support humans
  • Furthermore, the idea of reincarnation supports the view that humans are higher than animals. (Buddhism)

Human intelligence sets us apart from animal instinct. We can form opinions, and believe in higher gods. 

The difference between, our complex technology to improve our lifestyle, and the complex structures that some species make eg. bees. 

Many people believe that humans should care for animals as we need them to live, and they are part of the natural world (which god created)

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Animal Rights

Animal Rights Groups 

Animal right groups have had some success in changing public opinion. 
Some groups take violent action. 
Animal Welfare Groups - WWF, RSPCA.  monitor treatment of animals


British laws protects against abuse. And there are restrictions on some pet types, due to endangerment. There are also laws against experimentation, and it constantly monitored to protect against abuse. 

Religious Attitudes 

  • Sanctity of life 
  • Responsible use of power over the world 
  • Most religious believers would support an animal welfare group.
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Religious Views About Animals


  • All living things are connected
  • First Moral Precept - Not to harm any living thing


  • Sanctity of all life -> Part of god
  • Cycle of Reincarnation -> something which could be once human 


  • God created the world
  • Put humans in charge
  • Everything is valuable 

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Wild Animals

Zoo's and Religious Ideas 

Support: educational, enjoyable, profitable, and some zoo's pay for research. 
Opposition: not a suitable environment, animals can suffer stress, and some animals can't cope without natural environments, such as polar bears in New York heat. 
Religious Views: Most religions accept zoo's if the animals are kept in reasonable conditions. Also the environment much be as similar to the nature one as possible. Religious people recognize that zoo's can help through breeding programs and research. 

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Uses of Animals and views on their treatment


  • Work -> Farms
  • Pets

Views on Treatment 

  • Working -> Don't object, however they must be cared for. Islam teaches must no be overworked. Hindus regard cow as sacred. The cow gives life by providing food. Agree with therapeutic uses, as it spreads god's love. 
  • Pets -> Accepted mostly, however Islam animals must not be confined. Must be kept as natural as possible. Must require humane treatment for all religious. 
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Animals for Food

Some people may say that killing animals for our own food isn't right to deprive life.

Factory Farming 

A method of raising animals intensively. This produces much more food for a growing population. However it has much condemnation in the religious and moral world. This is due to the appalling conditions which lead to questions on the animal rights. This could be viewed as restricting what god wanted to be free. 


Britain - Useally stunned first, and then killed. 
Halal - Cut animals neck. Halal is a set of rules of how Muslims eat. 

Free Range

Living a natural life -> what god intended? More expensive to buy. 

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The Fur and Ivory Trade


  • Inhumane - Skin animal while still conscious. 
  • Fur trade in Britain still exists. 
  • Religious views that its not using animals to a purpose which god would want.


  • Growing in Central Africa 
  • Increasing number of laws
  • Religious Views that its not using animals to a good purpose, and it's destroying life for our own greed.  
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Animals in Sport



  • love and kindness should be extended to all living things. It's not in keeping with the Eight fold Path
  • It would be abusing living things.


  • Hunting might be justified as it brings animals under their control.
  • Stewardship


  • Hunting is cruel and unnecessary. All creatures are part of god. NON- VIOLENCE
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Animal Experiments

Drug testing -> Medical research is mostly supported however it can be claimed to be harmful and so against Ahimsa in some situations. 

Cosmetics -> Mostly banned. Seen as unnecessary. Government inspections to regulate the industry.  

Playing god? Has benefits in human lifestyle and understanding.

playing god? 

Buddhism -> OPPOSE, life is precious, it is abusive. All are Dependant on each other.
Christianity -> Life is valuable to god  
Hinduism ->  Animals are deities in the faith. They are sacred. 

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Key Terms

Ahimsa - Non-violence, in the Hindu and Buddhist relgion.

Stewardship - Caring for the Earth, in the Christian religion.

Sacred of Life - Life is valuable and should be cared for, all religions. 

Life is given by god - Makes life a part of god in some religions.

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Joel Culver


Good PhilMoze

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