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Animals' Right To Life Essay

1116 words - 4 pages

For decades, animal rights activists have attempted to advocate the notion that animals, as with humans, have an implicit right to life. Such premise is reasonable and often easy to accept, especially where everyone that owns a pet knows the great sensation it is to get home after a stressful day at work and be received by your playing dog or cat. For many, it is easy to recognize that dogs and cats for example, are living and sustainable animals, and therefore, that all animals have the right to live. Unfortunately animals continue to be viewed in many circles as inferior creatures, and are often used in medical research where they are not granted any right including the right to live and their only destiny is to suffer to death. The purpose of this short-essay, is to evaluate, analyze, and assess whether or not animals have a recognized right to life, specifically within the context of biomedical research and testing.
According to many scientists and academics, any living organism can fall into the broad definition of animal, and any living organism has “a basic moral right to respectful treatment” (Dunnuck,para.2), therefore all animals have the basic moral right to a respectful treatment. For instance, the definition of animal comes from the Latin word animalis, meaning “having breath” so humans also fall into the category of animals (Cresswell). Animals that are used in research are not given any type of respectful treatment, so their most basic right is violated from the start. If humans have a right to choose to live a life without pain the same choice should be given to the animals that are used in research. Even though in the text it mentions that animals “cannot vocalize their own preferences and choices”(para.2). This is supported by the fact that Dogs and cats can bark or scream when they are hurting. Animals also can demonstrate their expressions with actions like running away and when they feel danger. In other words, there is no question that animals can vocalize their feelings.
Contrast this with proponents of using animals for biomedical research and testing, whom argue that animals “are not beings of a kind capable of exercising or responding to moral claims. Animals therefore have no rights, and they can have none. This is the core of the argument about the alleged rights of animals.” (Cohen,95). Cohen’s argument is misguided and in many respects false, where just because animals cannot respond or claim their right does not mean they are not entitled to the basic right of life. According to Cohen, “animals do not have such moral capacities. They are not morally self-legislative, cannot possibly be members of a truly moral community, and therefore cannot possess rights.” (Cohen, Page 95). Again, Cohen fails to recognize well accepted scientific principals of biology, ecology, and animal behavior, including those animals can also create their own communities and a lot of them function in a government type of...

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