Human Rights Vs. Animal Rights

downloadWhen a topic about rights is brought up, we automatically think of human rights and more than likely, our own. Or maybe we think back to when the rights of humans were based on their skin color or appearance. And while that’s great that we acknowledge the rights that our species has as a whole, we are still missing the bigger picture. What about the rights of non-human animals? Don’t animals suffer in a similar way to the way slaves suffered back from the 1300s until the 1800s? Yet still forms of slavery exist today and they are not only enslaving humans but a majority of animals!

Taking a step back and looking at slavery as a whole, it seems that the main reason for this discrimination bottles down to race – the color of one’s skin. In simpler terms, the way one looks. Though this may seem silly, but whether you are white, black, brown, yellow, furry, scaly… your rights vary! Why? Because our society not only compares your opinions or beliefs to the rest of the world but something you can’t change – your appearance. 

At the end of the day, just because we are different, we are still equal. Would you eat the mentally ill, the weak, the young, or the abused? What makes animals that different that they don’t classify under these categories like humans do? Sure, animals can’t vote and don’t have jobs but neither should or do a majority of people so why value their lives any differently? In the end, no matter what part of the ecosystem we play a role in, our strength, or how others see us, each and every one of us has a heart, a mind, and a soul though used differently. How you choose to use these is up to you. But why not give others an equivalent opportunity to use theirs to their fullest potential, too? And even if you don’t believe animals have souls; aren’t you an animal, too?

Besides, there’s no denying that cats and dogs have souls so why do we put them into a separate box instead of putting all animals into the same one? Sure, we have our differences; between human to human, animal to animal or human to animal, being unique is something we should cherish and embrace, not destroy and shackleThere’s something beautiful about not being able to speak, that is, until you take out the beauty of being a different species, at all. Besides, do we shun the illiterate or the mute from abilities that either can’t control or are not yet capable of? Of course not and we certainly don’t take away their rights!It’s time we stop putting not only humans into boxes, but animals, as well. We’ve taken a step forward when it comes to race but what about species? We’ve liberated those in chains, those who were once viewed as our slaves. Yet, now, we sit here disgusted with the act of it all. One can’t help but wonder if the day will come for animals, too; one can only hope.

And though one can argue that animals don’t deserve the same rights as humans that’s under discretion. Then again, one can simply argue, why not?

If humans deserve to be liberated, why not liberate animals?

“Human beings are a part of the animal kingdom, not apart from it. The separation of “us” and “them” creates a false picture and is responsible for much suffering. It is part of the in-group/out-group mentality that leads to human oppression of the weak by the strong as in ethic, religious, political, and social conflicts.”

― Marc Bekoff