What do we Mean by Animal Rights?
When people talk about animals having rights, they generally mean that animals deserve consideration of what is in their own best interests, and not just to be thought of as useful to humans. Campaigners for animal rights believe that all animals deserve such consideration, regardless of whether the animals are endangered or not, whether they are considered attractive or not and whether or not they can be used by humans for food, work or clothing.
Historically, views about animal rights have varied based on people’s understanding of the way that animals feel pain as well as religious and ethical views about the correct relationship between animals and humans. Nowadays, it is understood that animals can experience pain and suffering. Animal rights campaigners work towards preventing this in different ways.
It is very easy to confuse the many animal rights, anti-hunting and anti-vivisection campaigns with issues of conservation and endangered species. This confusion is understandable, but it is important to be able to separate the main issues involved:
Animal rights - this covers preventing animals from being harmed due to mistreatment by humans. This may include issues such as the use of animals for hunting or vivisection, or even the ways that animals are farmed for food.
Conservation - this covers the protection of endangered species, wildlife, habitats and natural resources. For more information on this topic, see our factsheet on Conservation.
Read More: Using Animals for Vivisection