“Kindness and compassion towards all living things is a mark of
a civilized society. Conversely, cruelty, whether it is directed
against human beings or against animals, is not the exclusive
province of any one culture or community of people. ”
César Chávez
By Ann-Maree Vyvyan 8604284 and Melissa Watkins S00039373
What are Animal Rights?
• “Animals are not ours to eat, wear, experiment on, use for entertainment,
or abuse in any way” http://www.peta.org/issues/default.aspx
• Animals deserve consideration of their best interests.
• Every animal has rights themselves which must be respected.
• It is the right not to be someone else's property.
• Animals have an interest in living, avoiding pain and pursuing
happiness as do humans.
• “Animals have a life of their own that is of importance to them apart from their
utility to us. They are not only in the world, but aware of it. What happens to them
matters to them. Each has a life that fares better or worse for the ones whose life it
is” (Healy, 2004, p.1).
• “Animal rights must be fought for in the same way that people fight for women’s
rights, civil rights and all human rights” (Allison, 1986, p.5).
Questioning and Reflection
Do animals have the same rights as humans?
“I am in favour of animal rights as well as human rights. That is
the way of a whole human being” – Abraham Lincoln
• This has been a great debate for many years. It is important
that we as educators are aware of both arguments for and
against this question and present the students with both
perspective to allow them to make up their own mind on
where they stand on this topic.
• This table is a valuable resource to use when
discussing this topic.
Human beings are complex evolved creatures who are
accorded the rights on the basis that they are able to think and
feel pain. Many other animals are also able to think and are
certainly able to feel pain. Therefore, non-human animals
should also be accorded rights.
Human beings are infinitely more complex than any other living
creatures. Their abilities to think and talk, to form social systems with
rights with rights and responsibilities, and to feel emotions are
uniquely developed well beyond any other animals. It is reasonable
to try to prevent the most obvious cases of gratuitous suffering or
torture of animals, but beyond that, non-human animals do not
deserve to be given ‘rights’.
Ever since the publication of Charles Darwin’s Origin of Species
in 1859 we know that human beings are related to common
decent to all other animals. We owe a duty of care to our
animal cousins.
The fact that we are (distantly) related to other animals does not
mean that it makes sense to talk about them having ‘rights’. This sort
of thinking would have absurd consequences: e.g. saying that we
should respect the ‘right’ to life of bacteria, or the ‘right’ of the AIDS
virus to move freely and without restriction, and to associate freely
with other living organisms. We might wish to reduce unnecessary
animal suffering, but not because all creatures to which we are
distantly related have rights.
We should err on the side of caution in ascribing rights to
human or non-human creatures. If we place high standards
(such as the ability to think, speak, or even to enter into a
social contract) on the ascription of rights there is a danger
than not only animals, but also human infants and mentally
handicapped adults will be excluded from basic rights.
Only human being who are members of society have ‘rights’. Rights
are privileges that come with certain social duties and moral
responsibilities. Animals are not capable of entering into this sort of
‘social contract’ – They do not respect our ‘rights’, and they are
irrational and entirely instinctual. Amoral and irrational creatures
have neither rights nor duties – they are more like robots than
people. All human beings or potential human beings (e.g unborn
children) can potentially be given rights, but no non-human animals
fall into that category.
Cruelty to animals (e.g. bull fighting, fox hunting, battery hen
farming) is the sign of an uncivilised society – it encourages
violence and barbarianism in society more generally. A society
that respects animals and restrains base and violent instincts is
a more civilised one.
It is perfectly natural to use animals for our own nutrition and
pleasure – in the wild there is much suffering as animals struggle to
survive, are hunted by predators, and compete for food and
resources. Human beings have been successful in this struggle for
existence and do not need to feel ashamed of exploiting their
position as a successful species in the evolutionary process
Author: Thomas Dixon (UK). Dr. Thomas is researched fellow of Churchill College, Cambridge.
Database – the online debate topic database, www.database.org. Last modified: Friday 30 June 2000
Cited in: (Healy, 2004, p.9)
Further questions to reflect on…
• Are animals suffering unnecessarily at the
hand of pet owners, zookeepers, farmers,
scientists and hunters?
• Do we have the right to harm animals by using
them in ways we do?
(Take a few minutes to reflect upon these questions. Listen to some music while you
think about this!)
Click on the link below to hear ‘Lite a Flame’ (The animal
rights song)
Animal Cruelty or Abuse
What is it?
Any types of brutality, neglect or teasing by humans upon
non - human animals.
Do we need to harm animals?
• Humans need them less for protection and food gathering and more for
other reasons like testing drugs, comforting lonely people and providing
people with meat.
• People harm animals when they put human needs before animal needs.
• Animals, plants and humans all live in the same world and depend on each
other, therefore we need to respect animals needs for our own sake.
What is the difference between ‘animal rights’ and
‘animal welfare’?
It is important to know the difference between ‘animal rights’ and ‘animal welfare’
There are two approaches to the issue;
• Animal welfare refers that there is nothing wrong with using animals
for human purposes such as food, clothing and entertainment as long as it is done
in a humane way that minimizes unnecessary pain and suffering.
• Animal Rights refers that there is no humane way and that this can differ to
one’s own interpretation. The animals are not ours to eat, use for food, clothing,
entertainment or experimentation. Animals have rights, just like humans do.
Key Issues
It is important that people are aware of the many issues. Some
• Animal Experiments and Testing
• The Catholic Churches beliefs on Animal Rights
• Factory Farming
• Live Animal Exports
• Animals for Entertainment
• Products and Fashion
• Diet
• Neglect as Pet owners
Animal Testing Life Saving Medicines Or
Necessary Evil ???
Animal Experiments and Testing
5.5 Million animals used in Scientific Research in
Australia in 2010
What is it?
Animal testing is the subjecting of any animals to experimentation for
any of a wide range of objectives including medical research, product
development, space exploration. This places a great physical and
psychological burden on animals as they endure both tortuous
confinement and in many cases physical or chemical torture.
Not all of this research was the invasive laboratory stuff – some was
simply observation. Nonetheless, much animal testing involves
potential or actual harm to the animal.
While many people object to animal testing in superficial fields –
cosmetics, for example – the issue becomes more vexed when we’re
talking about searching for medical breakthroughs or testing
potentially life-saving vaccines for side-effects.
If testing on animals prevents deaths in humans, is
that for the greater good?
• Critics point out that animals differ from humans in
anatomy, metabolism, and genetics, and question
whether data can truly be extrapolated to humans with
sufficient accuracy.
• But that hasn’t stopped animal testing from leading to
such breakthroughs as the treatment of diabetes with
insulin, and vaccines for polio and leprosy.
• Medical researchers say they are obliged to ensure that
therapies provided to patients are the safest they can be.
Click here to watch the clip presented on 'The Project' about the
issue Animal Testing
(See 1 minute into news report)
Church Teachings
God entrusted animals to the stewardship of
those whom he created in his own image.
Hence it is legitimate to use animals for food
and clothing. They may be domesticated to help
man in his work and leisure. Medical and
scientific experimentation on animals is a
morally acceptable practice if it remains within
reasonable limits and contributes to caring for
or saving human lives.
The Catechism 2416
• "Certainly, a sort of industrial use of creatures, so that geese
are fed in such a way as to produce as large a liver as possible,
or hens live so packed together that they become just
caricatures of birds, this degrading of living creatures to a
commodity seems to me in fact to contradict the relationship
of mutuality that comes across in the Bible."
Pope Benedict XVI attacks Factory Farming – Affects 10 Billion
animals a year in the USA alone
Animals Possess a Soul
• Compassion for animals was also a prominent theme in the
late John Paul II's papacy. Pope John Paul II proclaimed that
"the animals possess a soul and men must love and feel
solidarity with our smaller brethren." He went on to say that
all animals are "fruit of the creative action of the Holy Spirit
and merit respect" and that they are "as near to God as men
• Pope John Paul II reminded people that all living beings,
including animals, came into being because of the "breath" of
God. Animals possess the divine spark of life—the living
quality that is the soul—and they are not inferior beings, as
factory farmers, fur farmers, and others who exploit animals
for profit would have us believe.
Pope John Paul II :
“As near to God as men are”
Factory Farming
What is it?
This is raising livestock in crowded indoor warehouses designed to
produce the highest number of animals in the least amount of space.
This is to maximise profits.
This can be quite cruel.
“Today’s main system of farming is intensive, based on keeping the largest possible
number of animals in the highest possible number of pens, stalls, crates and cages for
the biggest possible profit.” (p.21Let’s Discuss)
What are the effects?
Can increase the incidence of disease.
Responsible for the pollution of soil, rivers, and groundwater because of its high output of manure
and other waste.
The animals endure restrictions in their movement, space allowance and social contact.
Causes suffering and stress to animals.
Causes behavioural deprivation
Causes physical injury and deformities.
The Animals Liberation quotes that;
“Factory Farming denies animals any rights whatsoever. Battery hens are squashed into tiny cages.
Sows are shut up in crates hardly bigger than they are. Cattle are confined in feedlots where they are
forced to change their diet and have no access to grazing. Birds Bred for consumption endure fast
growth that their legs will not support them and they are slaughtered at 5-6 weeks. All of these
practices torture animals and deny them the right and the opportunity to enjoy life.” (Animals Liberation Brochure)
Factory Farming
What are the pros of Factory Farming?
Agricultural science and technology have progressed.
Research has led to more productive breeds of animals
Greater knowledge of animals needs
Advances in dealing with disease.
Buildings, lighting, temperature, ventilation, watering, feeding and waste removal are
controlled automatically.
Antibiotics are given regularly
Hormones are used for fast growth.
What can we do?
- Don’t support this industry
- Give up bacon and eggs as well as pig products
If you can’t…
- Buy free range products
Animals for Entertainment
There are many types of animal entertainment. These have been around for
years. We need to be aware of the many ways animals are used for
Horse Drawn carts
Zoos and Pseudo-sanctuaries
Exotic animals as pets
Animal Actors
Fairs, games and rides
Horse Racing – using whips
Cruel sports like cock fighting, bear baiting, bull fighting and rodeos
Dangerous Animal Incidents
Hunting animals for fun
Issues - Reflection questions
• Is it fair to keep a wild animal in prison for all it’s life?
• Is it right to deny an animal its natural behaviour?
• Is it civilized to encourage humans to find the slavery of
animals amusing?
"When children see animals in a circus, they learn that animals exist for our
amusement. Quite apart from the cruelty involved in training and confining
these animals, the whole idea that we should enjoy the humiliating spectacle of
an elephant or lion made to perform circus tricks shows a lack of respect for the
animals as individuals” — Peter Singer Author/Philosopher, Professor of
Bioethics at Princeton University
What is it?
Circuses that chain and cage animals to perform and entertain a crowd. Animals are often taken
from town to town which means the animals are always on the move and have no consistency.
What are the effects?
The animals is circuses spend up to 23 hours a day in cages or behind electric fences.
The animals have nothing to do, except when training or performing.
They have no freedom and no lives of their own.
Causes stress and suffering.
(Healy, 2004, p.37)
What can we do? - Alternatives
Animals should be in their natural environment. An animalfree circus is just as brilliant and amusing and these entire
solely on human skills.
Go and see these animal free circuses;
- Circus Oz
- Cirque du Soleil
- Circus Sunrise
- The Flying Fruit Circus
Live Exportation of Animals
What is it?
This is were live animals, mainly sheep and cattle, are being exported live
by sea to other countries.
Export Markets
Kuwait, Jordan, Bahrain, Oman, United Arab Emirates, Qatar, Israel, Lebanon,
Malaysia, Singapore and Brunei.
Breeder cattle
Indonesia, Malaysia, Philippines, Jordan, Japan, Israel and Brunei.
Dairy cattle
China, Mexico, Kuwait and the United Arab Emirates.
Malaysia, Singapore, Mauritius and Brunei.
Where do we send our
Australia is the world's leading supplier of high quality live cattle, sheep and goats to
countries around the world, in particular throughout the Middle East and South-East
Many countries across these regions do not have the resources or geography to
efficiently produce enough livestock to feed their population. Australia meets the
demand for essential red meat protein by exporting livestock for food production and
breeding, as well as chilled and frozen meat products.
In 2003, 73,300 died of sickness and stress during the 3 week journey. On arrival those
surviving are killed or trucked long distances without food or water and their throats
are cut without pre-stunning.
In 2006, Lyn white from Animal Australia, toured The Middle East and Egypt. The
finding were astonishing.
60 Minutes television exposed animals going into Basateen Abattoir in Egypt having
their tendons slashed and eyes poked with knives while about to be slaughted.
Last year, Animal’s Australia exposed the horrific cruelty inflicted on Australian cattle
in Indonesia causing a tidal wave of outrage and distress throughout the Australian
community. Faced with a public demanding that live export be banned, the Gillard
government suspended the trade the Indonesia and there was a collective sigh of
relief in the Australian community.
The decision to reopen the trade to Indonesia in July 2011, was greeted with
anger and disbelief. The Gillard government responded by promising
Australians that a new regulatory system would protect animals from cruelty
despite the flaws in this new system being obvious.
Despite government assurances that never again would the live trade ‘self
regulate’ it has been Animals Australia that has again provided evidence that
horrendous cruelty to cattle continues in Indonesia. What our Indonesian
based investigator documented at three abattoirs in Jakarta in late January
has again shocked Australians.
Bringing in Millions but is it Humane?
• Does the manner in which the animal is killed
• Does the extent of the animal’s suffering prior
to, or during their death matter?
• Do we have a particular moral duty towards
animals bred in Australia, animals we chose to
bring into this world?
Australia Suspends Live Cattle Export
• http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=irma-GJsBvk
ABC news Australia Bans Cattle export to
• A Bloody Business
The live export trade contributes $1.8 billion to the economy
but is it moral?
Should we wear clothing made from animals?
FUR and animal skins
In the past people wore animal fur as it was the only material to keep them warm.
Today, people wear fur because they think it looks beautiful.
Today, warm clothing can be made from plant-products or man-made substances instead.
e.g. polyester or nylon.
Majority of animal skins used in the fur trade come from farms.
Animals suffer
Pacing and weaving – animals try to get away
Deformed feet due to bad flooring
Humans try to preserve the pelt – in turn, death is by injections,
gassing, electrocution or neck breaking.
FUR FACTS – Taken from the Animal Liberation Brochure
Estimated 80-100 million animals are killed by the clothing and fur trades each year.
Over 323,000 trapped raccoon
- Over 40,000,000 farmed mink
Over 145,000 trapped sable
- Over 4,850,000 farmed fox
Over 5,000,000 wild fox (165,000 trapped red fox in Australia)
Over 4,000,000 kangaroos
All figures from International Pelt Auction sources 1988
Animals Liberation states in their brochure that;
“The leather industry is cruel and toxic for animals, the environment and human health”.
They also state that;
“leather is sometimes but not always a by product of the meat industry. It falls into two
categories – “farmed” and “exotic.” Farmed animals in intensive systems endure unrelenting
suffereing. Whether leather is a by-product or purpose grown there is a litany of physical
mutilation and behavioural deprivation.” (Animals Liberation Brochure, p.1)
Leather is a treated hazardous chemical. It needs to be treated so it does not rot.
Leather tanneries are bad for the environment as leather is a “energy-intensive industry”.
People near leather tanneries often have high levels of cancers caused by contamination.
Does leather really look good? When…
Cattle are mutilated and dehorned
Goats are slaughtered when young
Rabbits are poisoned
Emus and Ostriches have their ends of toes cut off with hot blade machines
Alligators and crocodiles are being hammered, chiseled, axed and pounded into
their spines
Kangaroos are hauled up by hooks in the legs
Snakes and lizards are skinned alive which increases the suppleness of the leather.
• People that are vegetarians (someone who does not eat meat) or vegans
(someone who does not eat or wear anything that is required using an
animal – they do not eat meat, milk or cheese, eggs or honey and they
avoid any products that have been tested on animals) believe that the
eating of meat and the killing of animals is wrong.
Milk is full of casien, which is the main ingredients of glue.
Dairy cattle are fed antibiotics
Milk contains hormones
People can get calcium from vegetables and other foods rather than milk
and meat.
Egg production involves cruelty – the males are
killed as they don’t lay eggs.
Hens are transported and slaughtered when
their egg laying declines.
(Taken from Animal Liberation Brochure)
Pet Owners
• Kept as companion animals because they give affection and depend on
human care.
• Animals such as;
- Dogs, cats, rabbits, horses and guinea pigs Etc
• Sometimes owners neglect their pets due to the owner’s lack of
commitment to the animal.
• Some pets are left to starve and a experience a lack of exercise.
• Lots of animals end up in animal shelters each year.
• Abandoned animals kept as pets can result in accidents, starvation,
disease or predators.
• The main aim is for owners to take responsibility for their animals in their
• Peter Singer
Click on the Image to watch Peter Singers view on Animal Rights
Tom Regan
“I regard myself as an advocate of animal rights-as a part of the animal rights
movement. That movement, as I conceive it, is committed to a number of
goals, including:
• The total abolition of the use of animals in science.
• The total number dissolution of commercial animal agriculture.
• The total elimination of commercial and sport hunting and trapping.”
Cited in;
Peter Singer (ed). (1985). Defense of Animals. New York: Basil Blackwell. pp.13-26.
For further information read ‘The Case for Animal Rights’ by Tom Regan.
Gary L. Francione
Go to You Tube: I’m Vegan: Gary Francione
Explore the website to find out more information on Francione’s
Where to from here?
What we can do as educators?
Be informed ourselves as teachers
Present a non-biased view
Inform our students of the many issues (pros and cons).
Encourage them to make up their own minds
For further information please see the resource word files.