7.  If animals have rights, what about apples and cucumbers.

This often-sarcastic argument suggests that the killing of plants is synonymous to the killing of animals.  Fruits and vegetables lack a brain or central nervous system. Therefore, they are not considered to be psychological beings.  Whether plants feel pain is debatable, but if plants do feel pain, that is not a reason to deny rights to animals. If plants were sentient, that would put humans in the same position as lions. Since we cannot live without consuming plants, we would be morally justified in eating them.cucumber

Eating plants and eating animals are not morally equivalent because it takes many more plants to feed an omnivore compared to a vegan.  Feeding grains and other plant foods to animals so that we can eat these animals destroys many more plants than if we followed a plant-based diet.

8.  Where do you draw the line? If mammals and birds have rights, so do ladybugs, and flowers.

A 5000 square foot house is a big house. A 500 square foot apartment is a small apartment.  A person with assets of 5 million dollars is wealthy.  A homeless person is poor.  An adult weighing 90 pounds is underweight.  An adult weighing 300 pounds is overweight.  We can at least start by making distinctions on scientific grounds; mammals, birds, and invertebrates like the octopus are on one side of the psychological /sentient spectrum, whereas snails, insects, and plants are on the other side. Their rights would differ depending on their scientific rank.  We have a moral obligation to all living things, depending on their nature.  This can be clearly established in law and.

-ladybugs-

“In the relations of humans with the animals, with the flowers, with all the objects of creation, there is a whole great ethic scarcely seen as yet.” – Victor Hugo

9.  Animal rights are extreme.

Extreme compared to what? The word “extreme” is defined as “of a character or kind farthest removed from the ordinary or average”.  Circus animals suffer from lives of confinement, social deprivation, and violent training methods. For almost their entire life, pregnant pigs (sows) are housed in gestation crates measuring 6.6 ft. X 2ft with metal bars and concrete floors.  They cannot turnaround. Animals raised for fur are anally electrocuted [industry practice].  Rodeo horses are subjected to painful constriction of their genital region with leather straps to liven up the show. Many tigers, classified as an endangered species, are poached for their body parts (used in traditional Chinese medicine), and their skins.

If Animal Rights is extreme, it pales in comparison to the extreme suffering of animals.

10.  Even if other animals do have rights, there are more important things that need our attention such as the slave trade, the homeless, child abuse.                                                

Are Mothers Against Drunk Drivers (MADD) attacked because their cause is not directed at battered women or abused children or some other issue?  Choosing a particular issue does not mean that one is indifferent to other concerns.   Additionally, animal abuse, like child abuse and spouse abuse, is a human problem. The quality of life of animals impacts humans in many ways.

There is no choice to make between helping humans and helping animals. One can do both simply by making lifestyle changes.  People do not need to go to the rodeo or to a bullfight to help the homeless.  They do not need to use animal –tested cosmetics to help find a cure for cancer.  You can advance the cause for animals just by not eating meat, not buying fur, not going to the circus, not hunting, etc.

11.  The way we consider and treat animals is a personal choice.dog and little girl 1Many anti-animal rights proponents view animal rights as a personal choice or decision, rather than a question of law or what is undeniably morally right.  The argument is that those who support animal rights and those against, should agree to disagree, respect one another’s viewpoints and not pursue it any further.  Animal advocates will argue that animal rights are, by default, grounded in morality and social justice, rather than personal preference.  We are not justified to commit or permit injustices to others for our benefit.  Most forms of social injustice such as slavery and child labor allow this.  No one has the right to benefit personally, financially or otherwise, by violating another’s rights, both human and non-human.

12.  Animals eat each other, so we can eat them.

Certain animals need to eat meat to survive, while humans do not.  These animals do not have a choice, while people do.  We can decide not to eat meat.  Countless studies show that the human consumption of animal products is bad for our health. For example, “It is the position of the American Dietetic Association that appropriately planned vegetarian diets, including total vegetarian or vegan diets, are healthful, nutritionally adequate, and may provide health benefits in the prevention and treatment of certain diseases.”[1]

13.  If we respect the rights of animals, and do not eat or use them in other ways, there will be a surplus of these animals.

Approximately 4 to 5 billion animals are raised and slaughtered for food every year, just in the United States.  In Canada, over 696 million animals are slaughtered for food every year.  The reason is a healthy consumer demand for meat.  Farm animals are  artificially inseminated, forced to reproduce in aberrantly  large numbers.

The supply of animals meets the demand of buyers.    Once the financial incentive for raising these animals begins to decline, animal production will decline and eventually be discontinued.

This inflated population will fade as people stop eating animal products.  Farm animals would be left to fend for themselves; some would perish, others would survive.

raw meat

“The worst sin toward our fellow creatures is not to hate them, but to be indifferent to them.  That is the essence of inhumanity”- George Bernard Shaw

[1] http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/19562864