Animal Rights

The position that animals have certain moral and legal rights, including the right not to be harmed. Rightists believe that it is wrong to cause animals any pain and suffering, and that animals should not be eaten, used for clothing, held captive in zoos, subjected to painful experiments or used in most or any research.

From Bekoff, Marc (2007), Animals Matter, Boston: Shambala Publications

Other animal philosophies include: Animal Ethics, Conservation and Deep Ecology.

Differences in animal philosophies can often lead to miscommunications and misunderstandings in the animal welfare community. As can a misperceived association of violence with animal rights campaigners (in fact the percentage of violent campaigners is very, very small). Perhaps disputes could be minimised if everyone interpreted animal rights the way Marc Gold described the notion in 1995 (quoted in Waldau, 2011):

“The term animal rights is nothing more than a useful kind of shorthand for a movement based on the recognition that non-human animals live purposeful emotional lives and are as capable of suffering as humans … kindness and tolerance for those different and weaker than ourselves are amongst the highest possible human aspirations.”


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