Animals Deserve Rights
It is the notion of our time that non-human animals exist for the advancement of the human species. In whatever field -- cookery, fashion, blood-sports -- it is held that we can only be concerned with animals as far as human interests exist. There may be some sympathy for those animals, as to limit practices which cause excruciating suffering, but those may only be limited if they are brought to public light, and if legislators receive enough pressure from the public to change.
However, it is the purpose of this essay to convince the reader otherwise. The question at hand is: do animals deserve rights? It must certainly be true. Humans deserve rights and this claim is made on numerous appeals. Of one of the pertinent pleas is made on the claim that humans can feel emotions. More importantly, that humans are capable of suffering, and that to inflict such pain is unethical. Those who observe the tortures of the Nazi Concentration Camp are instilled with a humane creed held for all humans. But if there is no significant gulf between humans, that is to say there is no gulf based on skin color, creed, or gender that will make one human more or less valuable than any other, then by what right can a gulf be drawn out between humans and our fellow creatures? The suffering of humans is why we sympathize with each other. Since animals suffer, they deserve our sympathy.
There is no real gulf separating the species. We all can feel suffering in the same manner. A racist's reasoning is flawed because he claims that one race is undeserving of sympathy, despite that it may be capable of suffering. Similarly, to claim that an animal deserves no rights or sympathy is faulty on the same reasoning. It creates a gulf between two different classes, claiming that one's suffering should be unaccompanied by sympathy. Simply put: the reason we give rights to human is because they are capable of suffering. Since this is true, we must grant our fellow creatures the same sympathy, as they are capable of the same suffering as humans. There is no gulf that can be conjured from the minds of philosophers that will erase that one fact: animals can suffer like humans. It is for this reason they deserve rights and sympathy.
There may be those who oppose the rights of animals based...