idea that the needs of non-human animals should be afforded the same consideration as those of human beings
Animal rights is the idea in which some, or all, animals are entitled to the possession of their own existence and that their most basic interests—such as the need to avoid suffering—should be afforded the same consideration as similar interests of human beings. That is, some species of animals have the right to be treated as individuals, with their own desires and needs, rather than as an unfeeling property.Its advocates oppose the assignment of moral value and fundamental protections on the basis of species membership alone—an idea known since 1970 as speciesism, when the term was coined by Richard D. Ryder—arguing that it is a prejudice as irrational as any other. They maintain that animals should no longer be viewed as property or used as food, clothing, research subjects, entertainment, or beasts of burden. Multiple cultural traditions around the world such as Jainism, Taoism, Hinduism, Buddhism, Shintoism and Animism also espouse some forms of animal rights.
In parallel to the debate about moral rights, animal law is now widely taught in law schools in North America, and several legal scholars, such as Steven M. Wise and Gary L. Francione, support the extension of basic legal rights and personhood to non-human animals. The animals most often considered in arguments for personhood are hominids. This is supported by some animal rights academics because it would break through the species barrier, but opposed by others because it predicates moral value on mental complexity, rather than on sentience alone. As of November 2019, 29 countries have currently enacted bans on hominoid experimentation, and Argentina has granted a captive orangutan basic human rights since 2014.Critics of animal rights argue that nonhuman animals are unable to enter into a social contract, and thus cannot be possessors of rights, a view summed up by the philosopher Roger Scruton, who writes that only humans have duties, and therefore only humans have rights. Another argument, associated with the utilitarian tradition, is that animals may be used as resources so long as there is no unnecessary suffering; they may have some moral standing, but they are inferior in status to human beings, and any interests they have may be overridden, though what counts as "necessary" suffering or a legitimate sacrifice of interests varies considerably. Certain forms of animal rights activism, such as the destruction of fur farms and animal laboratories by the Animal Liberation Front, have also attracted criticism, including from within the animal rights movement itself, as well as prompted reaction from the U.S. Congress with the enactment of laws allowing these activities to be prosecuted as terrorism, including the Animal Enterprise Terrorism Act.
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main subject: animal rights14
1819 book on vegetarianism and animal rights
author: George Nicholson