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Do animals have rights? If they do, when animals kill and eat each other, do they violate each other's rights?

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Introduction

Do animals have rights? If they do, when animals kill and eat each other, do they violate each other's rights? The argument for animal rights assumes that animals posses their own lives and deserve to be assigned rights in order to protect their wellbeing. This view insists that animals are not merely goods utilised only to benefit mankind and they should be allowed to choose how they want to live their lives, free from the constraints of man. But if animals are given absolute rights, then surely they shouldn't be allowed to kill each other, as this would be a violation of these rights. Should murderous animals be administered prison sentences or even...capital punishment? One method of preventing animals killing each other would be to provide animals with a vegetarian environment which caters for their every need. However, in this fictional vegetarian world wouldn't the rights of the animal be suppressed as it is being held in captivity against its will? From an evolutionary point of view it is the natural right of a stronger animal to devour a weaker one. If this is acceptable then surely it is acceptable for us to eat meat too, as we humans are more evolved than the creatures we eat. ...read more.

Middle

Does this mean that animals are only assigned rights when they enter the affections of a human being? I believe that every animal has the potential to become valued by a human but those who are more practical to live with are given an unfair advantage due to their convenient size, their diet and their cuteness. Some animals are obviously far more intelligent than others, but do they deserve rights to a greater degree than the lesser intelligent non-human beings? Jeremy Bentham was one of the first philosophers to treat this subject seriously, claiming that "a horse or dog is beyond comparison a more rational, as well as a more conversable animal than an infant of a day, or a week, or even a month old." He strongly believed that animals should be free from the oppression of mankind and is known to have said: "The day may come when the rest of the animal creation may acquire those rights which never could have been witholden from them but by the hand of tyranny." Although this is proof that arguments for animal rights are not just the product of modern political correctness and have been a concern since the 17th century, Bentham only mentions dogs and horses, animals which are owned by many, and are therefore given rights and protection, and are useful to mankind. ...read more.

Conclusion

Could this be because of how cute and entertaining dolphins can be? Perhaps it's a matter of the intelligence of a dolphin. Maybe the best way to assign rights to animals is based upon the general intelligence of the species. As humans we are far more intelligent, as a species, than any other life form and therefore rights are most important to us. Our right to kill animals for food must be upheld in order to keep us strong and to feed our Olympic athletes and soldiers. There's no denying that a lot of people find meat to be delicious and it has become a very important part of their diet. Although one can argue that it isn't worth an animal dying for us to enjoy the taste of meat, I would argue that it isn't worth me being deprived of meat so that one sheep, in a field of identical drones, completely lacking in personality and individuality, can live. Therefore I can conclude that animals have a certain kind of right, the right not to suffer. This is the only right I see fit to give to an animal because clearly feel pain and show signs of irritation. Therefore, when animals kill each other they are not violating each others rights as they are simply and innocently carrying out a natural function. ...read more.

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