Do animals deserve rights the same as humans?
- they share the planet with us and deserve respect
- they feel pain, suffering and experience pleasure and happiness like us
- they're innocent and vulnerable so need protection
- they're not "self conscious" so cannot excerise their rights
- humans are more important than animals
- do all animals, like rats or wasps, deserve rights?
Christian Attitudes to Animals
"let them (humans) rule over the fish of the sea and the birds of the air, over the livestock, over all the earth" Genesis 1:26
There are a few interpretations of this:
- Some think "rule over" means to have "dominion". This means they can use animals any way they want.
- Others think "rule over" means to have "stewardship". This means they have a responsibility, given by God, to care for them.
- Christianity, Judaism, Islam
- God created the world, he gave humans dominion or stewardship over animals.
- "Sanctity of Life" - Life is God-given. Some say this should apply to animals as well as humans.
- Hinduism, Buddhism
- Life is connected and dependent on each other.
- Ahimsa: principle of not harming any living thing
- Karma: responsibility for your actions (links to reincarnation)
Use and Abuse of Animals
- Sport: Horse-racing, greyhound racing, bullfighting, hunting. Proud tradition or cruel pastime?
- Fur and Ivory Trade: 55 million animals are killed for fur and ivory. It's illegal in the UK and the UN.
- Experimentation, GM: Testing products on animals before humans. It has led to many medical advances however, there are alternatives to animal experimentation. Buddhists: Ahimsa: Experimentation causes suffering to animals therefore it's morally wrong.
- Wild Animals and Zoos: They educate people about animals, breeding programs help protect endangered animals, animals should be protected as God's Creation. However, animals are taken out of their natural habitat.
- Companions, Transport and Work: Pets, animals of burden (donkeys, horses, cows) are ridden or carry goods or carts. Dogs trained as guide dogs. Animals shouldn't be beaten or over-worked. Judaism: Sabbath, animals are given a day of rest.
Use of Animals: Food
- Food: Most people eat meat.
- Factory farming (poor, cramped conditions, cheap)
- Free-range farming (free to roam about, expensive). Slaughter - UK, animals are stunned before death.
Islam: Halal, cutting the neck with a sharp knife. Christianity/Islam/Judaism: accepts eating meat, animals must be treated and slaughtered humanely. Buddhists/Hindus:most are vegetarian, Ahimsa, cows are sacred to Hindus.
Should people eat meat? Vegetarians: eat no meat or fish. Vegans: do not eat or use animal products.
Arguments against meat consumption:
- Morally/religiously wrong to kill animals (like murder)
- Healthier diet
Arguments for meat consumption:
- Gives these animals a reason for life (pigs wouldn't be bred if no one ate meat)
- It is part of human diet