Animal Rights v Human Rights?

Can we just get one thing clear?

Believing in and fighting for animal rights is not the direct opposite of believing in and fighting for human rights. Animal rights and human rights are not conflicting values.  People can and do believe in and fight for both.

Ok, there are animal rights extremists but they are a minority.  And I know that there are some sticky issues in the area of animal testing for medical research but in general terms, animal rights advocates are usually compassionate towards humans too.  So someone needs to tell this blogger that some people have enough love and compassion for humans and animals.  In fact, some say that humans are animals.  Indeed, we are an Earth-dwelling species just like animals.

The blogger I refer to blogged here about PETA’s recent advertising campaign which is, for sure, a mournful sham of a publicity campaign and the blogger’s article started out brilliantly.  I couldn’t agree more with it.  Then she began an unnecessary and pretty mindless assault on animals and there it began  . . . the decline into the ridiculous.  Yes, for some odd reason she felt the need, in the midst of her justified tirade against the blatant sexism of the campaign, to express her, shall we say apathy, towards the animal kingdom.  Well that’s ok in itself.  We can’t all like animals but you know, it is a widely accepted theory that society can be judged by the way it treats animals but hey, the blogger did say that in spite of – whatever, she could never be cruel to an animal so that’s a relief.  I think.

. . . Sure, animal cruelty is bad, it probably shouldn’t happen . . .


She went on to say that she would rather kick a hundred kittens in the face than let a child die from Aids which made me kind of raise my eyebrows and squirm a bit . . . and I spent half the night trying to work out how there would ever be a situation whereby kicking one hundred kittens in the face would save a child from dying of Aids.  But of course it was just her dramatic way of expressing how she felt, so we’ll let it go. Some people just say things for effect – like Daily Mail journalists and stuff.

Anyway, I moved onto the comments section and again, there were more comparisons to human rights.  Someone wrote . . . that’s why I’m a member of Amnesty and not PETA. Argh!  It’s not an either/or thing.  Being a member of one doesn’t mean automatic disqualification from the other.  I know that most people can only dedicate themselves to one cause even though they care about many, but it’s the implication that people who fight for animal rights don’t give a toss about humans that I find so frustrating.

So I sighed with relief when I read the following paragraph written by a compassionate and enlightened brother:

All cruelty is bad whether inflicted human to human or human to animal. Cruelty demeans us as a species. Personally I would consider one Snow Leopard or Panda to be worth any number of fat, rich Americans and that the world is diminished by every extinction of any living thing from bacteria and slime moulds upward. In point of fact one of the most endangered species on the planet is man himself mostly because of ignorant anthropocentric attitudes like the ones you prate about and parade in public almost like some anti-heroic badge of (dis)honour.

Absolutely, good sir. And as a testament to my own compassion for all species, whether human, animal, vegetable or mineral, here’s something I wrote, oh my gosh, two years ago almost to the day . . .

I love this wonderful green Earth and all it’s inhabitants,

from the furry woodland creatures to the ugliest swamp-dwelling toads,

from the great big hairy spider to the slimy delights in the undergrowth,

from intimidating mountains to sweet little valleys,

from the ecosystems of the glorious Amazonian rainforests to the messy life that buzzes in the boggy marsh across the road from my house.

Plants, flowers, herbs, forests, woodlands, wild moors, rivers, brooks,

sunsets, sunrises, rainbows, silver moons, wind, rain, snow, sunshine, moonlight.

The confused tramp lady I sat next to other day,

the heroin addict I dealt with in hospital last week,

the wretched, self-abusing mental health patient I spoke to yesterday,

the elderly couple I know who just celebrated their 50th wedding anniversary,

my friends, my family.

My children.

Our World. Equally.


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