Animal rights pros and cons – brief overview

I can’t show the photograph of this injured goat because some advertisers won’t like it. It is here simply to illustrate the page. You can click on the link to see the photograph if you wish. Clearly it does not illustrate the page any more ? but that is because the policy regarding putting pictures like this on this website has changed over the years and this page was written many years ago.

Goat bleeding profusely having lost its right horn – Photo by Farm Sanctuary

Before we discuss the topic of animal rights pros and cons, I think we need to look at human rights. Human rights affect animal rights, one impinges on the other, or so it seems. We all know about human rights. The world is still developing. We are not yet at what the vast majority of people would consider a desirable state of affairs, namely a world in which everyone is protected by firmly enforced human rights. There are substantial areas of the world where human rights are very limited or non-existent. A very poor state of affairs. You would think that we could do better but, no, we can’t.

Animal rights are clearly absent in this instance
Animal rights are clearly absent in this instance
Two useful tags. Click either to see the articles: Toxic to cats | Dangers to cats

So, should we get our human rights right before we tackle animal rights? No, because if we do that there will be little in the way of wildlife left by the time we establish human rights throughout the world. Plus, there would be immeasurable suffering for no good reason.

The wording of animal rights is based on human rights and why not? Darwinism says that humans are no different from animals at a fundamental level. And Darwinism is in the ascendancy. But we are the top predator and lesser animals are not in a position to demand animal rights. We have to bestow them and it is in human nature to bestow things on others when there is something in it for us! So, one of the pros for animal rights is that, collectively, we will benefit if we grant them. This must be the ultimate reason for being pro animal rights, surely? Of course, it is really about the welfare of animals but the best way to motivate humans to do something is to find a reward. But it has to be a collective reward and that is the problem, getting the world to work together is all but impossible.

Can you think how unimaginably dull life on this planet would be without animals? And without animal rights there would ultimately be no animals. Let us remind ourselves that we already (at least on an individual-by-individual level) grant animals rights all over the world. For, example, I would protect my cat from anyone or anything. I feed and love her. She is treated as an equal. She has all the rights she needs and more. That happens millions of times in the world in respect of companion animals. It is animal rights in action without statute or governmental interference.

I am more concerned with animals rights pros and cons of the wild animals, including domestic cats that are feral (effectively a wild domestic cat). These animals have very little in the way of rights. Let’s look at the pros and cons of granting rights to them, as an example:

Let’s say we grant the most fundamental animal right to all feral cats: The Right to Life. That would mean stopping all euthanasia of feral cats (somewhere between 2.2 and 14 million per year in the USA, I am told). If we did that there would be an outcry. There would be real problems eventually in terms of the feral cat population on the streets. It would certainly result in laws being enacted that changed the whole set up in the West (and this example is concerned, for the sake of manageability, with the United States) of cat “ownership”. If feral cats could not be killed by the millions, they would have to be looked after and managed. In short it would mean a nationwide and concerted program of the only known method to succeed namely trap, neuter, medicate, rehome where appropriate and return were appropriate. This would lead to an actual resolution of the problem, something that should have been achieved many years ago but has not, due to a lack of commitment and funding. And any business that is dependent on dead feral cats (cat food business?) would have to start behaving more morally. It would also lead to a totally committed approach to unethical breeding practices, more control would be in place.

Animal rights are clearly absent in this instance.
Animal rights are clearly absent in this instance.

The public expense in providing this most fundamental of animal rights to feral cats would be enormous and some other areas of public funding would suffer. But, at a fundamental level, it would force people to begin to behave more ethically and that general process would filter through to other areas such as banking if this had been in place. If the bankers had not acted so unethically the US would have saved billions of dollars of tax payers money, representing a very, very, small percentage of what would be needed to completely solve the feral cat problem in a humane way. I am not saying that the granting of animal rights would have prevented the banking crisis. I am saying that the morality that goes with granting animal rights would have prevented the waste of the financial crisis. The granting of animal rights would be a symptom of a better world. And arguably if we treat the symptoms, we can improve ourselves. This is, in one way, how criminal law works. It gradually alters behavior by restricting anti-social actions.

My argument is that the imposition of human or animal rights would improve morality and ethics which translates in the long term to benefits for all. And we are talking very long term and this is the root of all mankind’s problems. We struggle and cannot cope with the idea of long-term gain and reward. We are not at that stage in our evolution yet. Currently everything has to be “instant”.

The granting of animals rights might initially seem like a reduction in human rights and some people will suffer financial loss but globally and measured as a sum total of contentment, the granting of animal rights would be beneficial to humans in the long term. The cons are short term and concerned with individuals and businesses that we can afford to upset.

These are my initial and instinctive arguments. There are more of course – perhaps next time. If you have some personal thoughts, it would be nice if you left a comment.

Michael Avatar

From Animal Rights Pros and Cons to Cats and the Law

The photos on this page are reproduced under a creative commons license for which I thank the creator/copyright holder.

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Animal Rights Pros and Cons

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Dec 18, 2010
To Anonymous
by: Ruth

Thank you for posting that video. It makes horrific watching for those of us who care about all animals and are vegetarian or vegan.
Every single person in the world should be made to watch it and only those as cold hearted as the low life who treat animals that way would ever eat meat or poultry again.
But as with most things ‘What the eye doesn’t see the heart doesn’t grieve over’ and most people would rather not know the truth.
The caption says ‘Go veggie for a month’ that’s not enough, but maybe once people stop eating flesh for a month, hopefully they may never go back to it.

Kattaddorra signature Ruth


Dec 18, 2010
Animal rights
by: Ruth

People who think humans are superior to animals and feel they are bestowing favours by treating them well, really have no idea about the beauty and sanctity of life.
They think animals are lucky if they are treated well but that is wrong, each and every animal has a right to be treated well !
Like you Michael, our cats are equal to us and we feel bad that we have the power to rule their lives, but because we are responsible for their welfare we have no choice.
It makes me angry when people think a cat should be so grateful for being given a home that he should be glad to pay for that ‘privelege’ by sacrificing his toe ends.
One person I tried to reason with that his cat had rights was very adamant that ‘It’s lucky to be allowed to share MY home, MY furniture and My food and as I don’t want MY home ruined it’s getting declawed whether it hurts it or not’
Those sort of people should not have pets !
Animals are NOT our possessions, we are merely their caretakers. Their lives are so very short in comparison with ours so surely we should ensure that short life is as happy as we can make it.
Sadly,the way this world is evolving with animals being used, abused, and eaten, I think it will be a long long time until they have equal rights to people.
If they ever do !

Kattaddorra signature Ruth


Dec 16, 2010
Divided World
by: Michael

The world is divided into the those of us who think of humans as distinct from animals and animals as creatures that are there to serve humans. These people abuse, use and persecute animals. For them animals do not have rights. These people are disconnected from nature. They are the kind people who declaw their cats.

Then there are those of us (and you can count me in this group) who see people as animals (which we are) and simply part of the animal kingdom. In other words we see people as part of nature and not separated from it.

These people see animals as equals or near equals and treat animals with compassion and grant them rights. They would never declaw their cat as they see that process as a gross abuse of a cat and of their natural rights as a sentient being.

Michael Avatar


Mar 23, 2009
by: Anonymous

Here is an interesting video on the subject:

Pledge to Be Veg for 30 Days!

Please search using the search box at the top of the site. You are bound to find what you are looking for.

Useful tag. Click to see the articles: Cat behavior

2 thoughts on “Animal rights pros and cons – brief overview”

  1. I am only 14 and have saved numerous animals from their death. A rabbit called pepper who was abandoned with their partner in a park (unfortunately the other rabbit was found dead in a bush in the week myself and my sister spent catching the other rabbit who has now been rehomed thanks to the RSPCA.) We care for the animals our cats bring in while they recover as well.
    Despite me being able to see no wrong in what i or any of my family do, i still get people coming up to me saying its just a mouse or a rabbit or a bee or even an ant, why do you care?

    is far as i am concerned there is only one animal on this planet (if humans can still be counted as animals) that does not need to be here and we all know what it is.

    1. Yeh….:) love your comment Charlotte. Indeed we do know what that horrible animal is that should not be here. And one day I don’t think the human will be on the planet. And the planet will be returned to the animals who will look after the it better than us.

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