Sunday, April 14, 2013

Animal Welfare vs. Animal Rights

The Fundamental Difference Between Animal Welfare and Animal Rights

Animal welfare, as an ideology:
  • wishes to improve quality of life for animals;
  • believes that we should not cause animals harm and excess suffering;
  • does not necessarily prohibit the consumption of animal products like meat, milk, eggs, honey, leather, wool, etc., nor does it necessarily prohibit medical animal tests.
The belief of animal rights, however:
  • states that all animals are equal;
  • believes that we should not use animals for our purposes;
  • reminds us that all animals have the right to be free;
  • typically prohibits the consumption of any animal products, such as those listed above, and prohibits animal tests for medical purposes.
However, animal rights activists and animal welfare advocates should try to work together as much as possible. We needn`t lose valuable opportunities to make progress together. Some things, like meat-eating and medical animal tests, would likely cause disagreements between rights and welfare advocates, and so we would have to fight those battles separately. However, fighting for stricter punishments for ``pet`` abusers is something that we can all agree on, as is abolishing cosmetic animal tests. Work with animal welfarists on these issues-- it will give you a bigger audience and higher credibility (governments and large organizations have a bit of a prejudice against animal rights activists sometimes, but they have little against animal welfarists).

``United we stand, divided we fall.`` Aesop

Some people may be under the false impression that animal rights activists are the extremists, and animal welfarists are the ``normal`` ones. This is false. In the end, animal rights and animal welfare are two separate ideologies. Animal welfarists may, at times, be extreme in their actions, and animal rights activists may be mild and completely engaging in legal actions.

Of course, I believe in animal rights, as that is the title of this blog. Keep in mind, however, that you should always think for yourself-- don`t accept something as true just because all the other animal rights activists say it is. For example, most animal rights activists think that we should spay and neuter all our pets, even if they never are exposed to another animal. This is ridiculous. Why should I make my rabbit have a painful, personality-altering operation just to make the other animal rights activists happy?‎ It is not like she is going to have babies if I do not get her spayed. People sometimes say that you need to spay or neuter your pet so that they are more manageable pets. Again, ridiculous! That is not for the good of the animal-- it is just to make our human lives easier! How would you like to have one of those spay or neuter surgeries? (Annoyingly, my keyboard is replacing all those apostrophes with รจ, which is why I have suddenly stopped using contractions and quotation marks. Sorry.)
You do not have to agree with me, of course. My point is, though, that you must always think for yourself. You may even choose to not identify as an animal rights activist or an animal welfare advocate at all‎, but as something else entirely (animal liberationist, perhaps?‎).

Next week, I will be talking about different philosophical approaches you can take to animal rights. See you then!

No comments:

Post a Comment