Animal rights is the belief that animals have the similar rights as humans do, allowing them to have the right to become free of human usage and exploitation. It is also known to be the idea of some, or even all, non-human animals qualifying for the right of their own life and their basic interest, including the avoidance of suffering, being taken into consideration against humans. Communities and societies throughout the world have adapted laws articulating animals are preserved under property rights. This is said to be that the life of non-human animal is only dependent upon the demand on the market. For instance, if something were to happen to an animal, except for cruelty being involved, the outcome is to replace the ‘property’ instead of understanding the right of life. Due to this reason, people within the communities have taken action to these laws by protesting that the rights of animals should be discussed as if they were living beings instead of being known as property. Countries, such as Switzerland, Germany, and the United Kingdom, “have overhauled many of their laws to provide better protections for animals so their welfare can be guaranteed (“11 Pros and Cons of Animal Rights”)”. The debate of animal rights has created an issue that revolves around the examination of whether animals should obtain the same rights as humans or should not obtain the same rights as humans. Although this debate has been going on for centuries, a broader topic within animal rights that is brought up consistently and debated over is animal testing.
Animal testing are scientific experiments on live animals, forcing them to undergo torment, pain, and lasting damages to their physical and mental structure. Animal experiments include the following; “injection of force feeding animals with harmful substances, forcing animals to inhale toxic gases, (Cruelty Free International)” the exposure to high levels of radiation, and the removal of inside organs and/or tissues of an animal. Within the United States, rats, mice, fish and birds are not classified as animals under the animal experiment regulations. This allows “no legal permission to experiment” on such animals and means the outcomes of the experiments are not included into any statistics (Cruelty Free International). Many people have created protests and movements against the government and companies that use animals for their products. For example, People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) and the Animal Liberation Front (ALF) are groups that believe animals should obtain rights but oppose the usage of animals for testing, and have taken a more aggressive approach to get their voices heard.
With an average of 6,500,000 members, PETA is considered to be one of the largest animal rights organizations throughout the world. It has become “well known for stunts designed to raise awareness through shock value. (‘Animal Rights: Do Animals Have Rights Similar to Those of Humans?’)” Some of the protests they engaged in is “throwing red paint on women’s fur coats” to represent and symbolize the blood when animals are tortured for their coats (“Animal Rights”). On the other hand, several people believe that the life of a human is more valuable than the life of a hopeless rat or bird, and believe that “alternative testing methods do not yet compare to testing on a live animal (‘Animal Testing: Is Animal Testing Morally Justified?’)”. People who support animals being tested in laboratories argue that the rights accustomed to humans are given to them due to the fact that humans obey laws, in which, those laws can not be extended to animals.
According to procon.org, “an estimated 26 million animals are used every year in the United States for scientific and commercial testing. (‘Animal Testing – ProCon.org’)” Compared to the United Kingdom, there is a 10 million difference between the animals being tested within the U.S. and the UK. Animals used for the testing of certain projects or products are also used to “develop medical treatments, determine the toxicity of medications..and other biomedical, commercial, and health care uses. (“Animal Testing – ProCon.org”)” Throughout history, especially the 17th and 18th century, people began to question the experimentation on animals. Up until 1937, “animal testing and drug safety did not become major issues in the United States. (“Animal Testing: Is Animal Testing Morally Justified?”)” In 1937, a drug by the name of diethylene glycol was created and caused kidney failure. This drug killed millions of citizens, ranging from young children to adults, creating the passage of the Food, Drug and Cosmetic Act of 1938 by the Food and Drug Administration (the FDA). The FDA recommended companies to test their product on animals, creating the beginning of animal testing. Researchers often say that it is impossible to collect meaningful data without the use of an animal.