Righting animal rights

Written by Tay Ang Chun, Thomas

Here are the links to the reference articles:

http://opinionator.blogs.nytimes.com/2011/03/15/some-animals-are-more-equal-than-others/

http://www.economist.com/node/21533451

One speaks of the difference between pets and animals; the other on animal testing. But underlying both of these articles is the question: Should we be arguing about animal rights?

I believe that it is futile to argue about animal rights since cruelty to fellow human beings will continue to exist. I define cruelty in this essay as exploitation, torture and unnecessary murder.

A lemma I have to prove before proving my argument is that arguing for human rights and arguing for animal rights are not mutually exclusive. Although some people would argue that the two stand independent of each other, I do not think so. There exist a lot of people in the world who donate money to charity to feel good. For example, assuming that only animal rights charities and human rights charities exist in the world, then those people would only donate funds to the charity which convinces them. If people did not argue for animal rights, then all those people would give money to the human rights groups. Therefore the two are not mutually exclusive as arguing for one limits the resources available to the other.

Humans are innately superior to animals. There is a reason why humans are the dominant species on the planet, simply because we are better than animals. Human beings have more potential than all animals combined. For example, in our entire history, human beings have invented cooking, mathematics, logic, art, language, writing, systems of governance, codes of laws, economics, electricity, nuclear physics, and computers. We even managed to invent flight and space travel; two accomplishments which really proved our extraordinary abilities, as humans were never even meant, physically, to leave the ground! Animal have not been able to devise a working language. The most scientists have been able to discover are that some species of monkeys have certain warning calls, which does not amount to a language. Nor have animals invented a number system, nor have they established a functioning government, nor have they done even a fraction of what the human race has accomplished. It seems logical to conclude that humans are superior to animals.

Therefore, as humans are superior to animals, it stands to reason that we deserve to receive more care and attention than animals. Furthermore, since it stands that arguing for animal rights and arguing for human rights are not mutually exclusive, human rights should be given a larger priority than animal rights; this leads to the conclusion that we should argue for human rights over animal rights.

Thus, as cruelty towards humans will continue to exist, it is futile to argue for animal rights.

However, some argue that cruelty towards human beings will continue to exist regardless of human intervention. They argue that human nature is innately selfish, and donating money to charities simply would not help the situation of cruelty towards human beings.

That is not true, as can be told quite evidently from the existence of constitutions. Constitutions grant citizens rights to liberty and property, and protect their lives from anyone who would want to claim it. This example shows us that a human invention can help to solve the problem of cruelty to human beings.

Even if human nature is unchangeable, we still should try to control it through whatever means we can. For example, since human nature is inherently short and brutish, why don’t we just let wars happen uncontrollably? Why have the Geneva Convention and the UN? The answer is that although changing human nature is beyond our control, we can put restraints on it, and eventually through civilising the later generations, we can eliminate it.

In conclusion, as human beings are superior to animals, we should focus our attention on arguing for human rights, and not waste time on arguing for animal rights.

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Categories: Science and Ethics | Leave a comment

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