Relgion & Animal Rights

revision cards for the AQA specification B Relgious Studies, on religion and life issues.

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  • Created by: ritika
  • Created on: 06-04-13 16:37

Status of Animals

Are animals and humans equal?

  • In one sense humans are animals (we have evolved from tiny single celled creatures)
  • Most people believe humans are on a higher level han animals
  • All religion (except bhuddism) believe God created animals for a purpose, to be of value and support for humans
  • No religion says animals are equal to humans


  • Humans are self concious & autonomous: make decisions, opinions, morals, give reason, humans protect, religion
  • Animals: behave according to instinct to survive, eat and reproduce. Many abandon weakest member of 'herd', no moral code
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Rights & The Law

animal rights - belief that animals have dignity just as humans do & should be given care & protection

Animal rights adovactes e.g. League Against Cruel Sports

  • morally wrong to exploit animals + animals have dignity 
  • doing wrong things humanely DOES NOT make them less wrong
  • if humanity must suffer from respecting animals, so be it e.g. humans cannot use animals for medical usage, even if it will help end death of many humans

Animal Welfarists e.g. RSPCA, WWF

  • can be morally acceptable for humans to use/ expolit animals as long as suffering is minimum
  • Animal welfare act came into force in England in 2007, introducing tougher penalties - fines up to £20,000, max. jail 51 weeks, lifetime ban on pets
  • raise awareness and monitor the treatment of the animals
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  • cruelty and neglect are criminal offences
  • researching cosmetics is banned and legal experiments for medicine are inspected
  • fox hunting and dog fighting are illegal and strict rules on exports + transport

Sancitity of life: life is sacred because it is God given

Responsibility: duty, the idea that we are in charge of our own actions

Religious Views - ISLAM (on animal rights)

  • Qu'ran supports treating animals with compassion & kindness
  • Allah created the world and therefore it deserves respect
  • Humans do not own the planet, but are stewards of it (khalifa)
  • The idea of the sanctity of life (including animals) influences their views
  • Most accept non-violent, lawful protest for animal rights (no riots)
  • guidelines on how to treat animals are given in the shari'ah law
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  • visitors can see animals close up and understand their ecosystem
  • enables humans to learn more about animals (educational benefits)
  • rare animals can be seen, that do not come from UK
  • breeding programmes to save rare species from extinction, zoos provide sancutries away from predators, well balanced diet, constant shelter
  • some zoos pay for research into animals


  • some zoos don't provide a suitable environment
  • some animals are kept in small cages, causing stress
  • climate and habitat is too different, finding it hard to adjust
  • depriving animal of natural freedom
  • using animals for profit and amusement
  • transporting of animal can cause distress
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Religious Responses to Zoos

Assisi Declareations

  • leaders of all major world religions met in assisi making statements about how people should act responsibly for the welfare of the Earth, including animals

Ohito Declaration - 1995 conference religious leaders issued

  • religions recognice the need to treat animals with care
  • sustaining environmental life is a religious responsibility
  • nature needs to be treated with care and compassion

Practical Action

  • RSPCA started in 1824
  • Islamic foundation for ecology and environmental sciences
  • Quaker concern for animals
  • anglician society for the welfare of animals
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Useful Animals


  • A pet can provide companionship and a way for expressing affection
  • Dogs bring many benefits to their owners, including exercise and social contact with other dog walkers
  • Guide dogs help blind and partially sighted people lead more independant lives

Muslim View: must not be kept in confined spaces or trained to perform tricks. Therefore most muslims don't have pets. However, they can keep working dogs for hunting or guarding their home. They must not be beaten or overworked

Transport & Work

  • dokeys, mules, camels, horses can be ridden or harnessed to pull goods
  • elephants in india can be used for logging
  • horses and dogs are used on the farm, oxen and buffalo pull ploughs
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Transport & Work


  • Helps humans get around to places
  • "can use animals for our hearts desires" therefore we can use animals to our advantage


  • animals shouldn't be excessively laboured or put under pressure or pain
  • forceful and putting pressure on the animal to carry out a task
  • animals should be treated respectfully - "akrah" (we will be judged on how responsible we have been)
  • "fitrah" animals used for work is disrupting the natural order and pattern of the universe


Muslims have food laws that tell them which animals they may eat and *********** them. Muslims eat only halal meat, killed in a humane way 'in the name of Allah, the merciful, the compassionate'. Muslims do not eat pigs. The Qur'an teaches that carrion, blood and pork are forbidden.

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Animals For Food

  • Some people object to killing animals for meat
  • Others accept that domesticated animals bred specifically for meat product can be used for food. As long as they are treated well during their lives and killed humanely.

Free-range Farming: farming that allows the animals to roam freely and behave naturally

  • animals live a more natural life, but the food produced is more expensive to buy

Factory farming: method of raising animals intensively, when animals are used for meat or dairy production, but are kept indoors in very small space

  • high output of food is produced and a large profit is made
  • crowded living conditions, kept in the dark, movements are restricted and they cannot mate or graze
  • may be given growth hormone to grow faster or yield more milk and eggs
  • waste from such farms can go into human water supplies and rivers, killing fish
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Eating Meat

halal slaughter: muslims must pronounce the name of allah whilst slaughtering, and the blood is allowed to drain

In Britian, animals are usually stunned first and then slaughtered. Muslim methods of halal involves cutting the animal's neck with a sharp knife. Some animals are sent to be slaughtered many miles away from where they were produced. Animals are transported over long distances in cramped, overcrowded conditions without enough food or water. Many die in transit.

vegetarain: doesn't eat meat, poultry and fish

vegan: a person who will not use any animal product

Why might someone be vegetarian?

  • religion, animal rights, don't want to harm animal
  • doesn't like the taste of meat, has a specific diet plan
  • may object to the way meat is produced or transported
  • vegetables are safer and more organic to eat
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Animals in Sport

  • greyhound racing, bull fighting, horse racing, polo, showjumping


  • Animals feel pain and fear. It is wrong to use them for our entertainment.
  • animals obtain physical excercise
  • entertainment for humans
  • animals recieve care, food and shelter        


  • Sometimes animals get hurt and may feel exhausted / over worked
  • put under pressure, may get badly beaten by owners
  • deserve respect, not be used as entertainment
  • Using them for sport is no worse than killing them for food

ISLAM VIEW: animals have feelings and a reason for living. They may be hunted for food but not for sport. Allah will hold a person accountable if they kill an animal for no useful purpose

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once food became easier to get, hunting became a sport rather than a necessity


  • Necessary for human survival e.g. amazon tribes, arctic
  • helps the countryside remove pests like foxes who attack hens
  • hunting with dogs causes less suffering as it will be quick and fast
  • being hunted by other animals is a natural way of life for the wild 
  • helps control wild animal population


  • Unneccesary - animals suffer fear and pain
  • Parliament made a law 2004 banning hare coursing & hunting with dogs
  • animal rights: morally wrong to hunt animals for pleasure
  • animals that escape will be injured
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Fur & Ivory Trade

fur trade: the business of farming or hunting wild animals for their fur to be made into clothing

Ivory trade: the sale of ivory from elephant's tusks often illegally

  • fur farming became illegal in england and wales in 2000


  • Brought £500 million for the UK economy
  • fur is a natural renewable source and no endangered species are used


  • fur farms keep lots of animals in small individual cages to save their fur from damage, preventing them from natural life
  • methods of slaughter - sometimes electrocution, leaves the animal unconcious while they're being skinned
  • allowing some legal sales of ivory, encourages supporters
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Animal Experiments

animal experiments: testing on animals, either for medical or cosmetic purposes, to ensure that the product is safe to use by humans

genetic modification: plants & animals that have had their genetic make up altered 

cloning: animals & plants can be created which have exactly the same genetic make up as the original, because the DNA of the original is used

  • may go for a good cause like medicine, so it's not done with a bad intention
  • suffering is kept to minimal
  • enable us to learn about the world creations
  • advances in medicine
  • mostly experimenting on mice, which aren't endangered or running out
  • discomfort to animal, animal has no say, animals should be respected
  • there are other solutions e.g. cells and cultures
  • khalifa and fitrah
  • expensive and many embroys are destroyed in the process
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