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History of Animal Rights

posted 24 Oct 2010, 06:15 by Mpelembe   [ updated 24 Oct 2010, 06:16 ]

Animals Rights has been a long debated issue because it is
difficult for either side to win so a middle ground is
usually sought out. A common argument for the side of the
people who believed in full rights for the animals was that
eating animals is wrong because it would take away an
animal's life and an animal can reason and sense just like
humans which would make eating them unfair. There has been a
religion called Jainism which forbids any animal eating and
it is so extreme that they have to cover their mouth to
prevent accidentally swallowing an insect and every night
before they sleep, they pray for forgiveness in case they
accidentally killed some living thing.

One of the most significant years for the idea of animal
rights was 1641 when a philosopher named Jean-Jacques
Rousseau who based his ideas for animal rights all on the
issue of animal consciousness. He said that animals are
sensitive to things and seek to participate in the natural
rights of the universe. Some people today argue about the
animal consciousness issue as well, which is basically, if
an animal is aware of its feelings then it shouldn't be
eaten or killed. The first law that prevented animal cruelty
was passed in 1635 which prohibited cutting wool off sheep
and attaching ploughs to horses. Other countries didn't do
that because wool and horse powered ploughs were big

The group of people that started making animal rights a big
issue were the puritans who managed to pass some animal
protection laws in England. For the US, the first animal
rights act was passed in 1641 in Massachusetts.  Although
all of know that killing animals is wrong, we still do it
because they give us so much conveniences.

Also in history, there are those people who are somewhat for
animal rights but not entirely for it. They don't mind eating
animals but are against the use of animals for experimental
use in medical research. They believe that animals don't
deserve all the rights, only a few.  There are people for
animal rights as well as people who are not for animal
rights and ever since it became an issue, when one side
wins, the other side would still continue to do as much as
possible to lessen the other side's victory. Like in 2007,
the U.S animal rights people managed to pass a legislation
that ended horse slaughter in the U.S. but live horses were
still exported to be slaughtered outside of the U.S. Then
the horse meat would get shipped back to the U.S.

There have also been animal rights extremists in the past
who would slash the tires of a hunter's vehicle and break a
lot of hunting equipment. One group of people in 1973, even
burned down a pharmaceutical research laboratory. Spain
became the first country to grant legal rights to animals,
which were the apes, and this happened less than a year ago
in June of 2008. That was a landmark event for animal right.
 One of the biggest factors in history of animal rights is
religion. Some religions absolutely prohibit the killing of
certain animals. But some religions used to sacrifice
animals. And then there are those religions where the topic
of animal rights is debatable.  People who aren't for animal
rights say that humans have dominion over everything which
means that they should be allowed to do what they want to
other species. The strong survive and the weak die out
(Natural Selection). Some people who are not for animal
rights can say that animals have been eating other animals
for millions of years, so why is so much more wrong when a
human eats another animal?

Why are animal rights activists spending so much effort to
stop us from eating/killing an animal and not spending any
effort on preventing something like a lion from eating a
deer? Animal rights activists probably blame humans more
because we have a choice to not eat animals, but we still do
it anyway.  Today when you ask someone if they are for animal
rights, they might say something like "I don't like the
killing of animals but I still like to eat them" and that's
where it stands for most people right now.

About the Author:

Brian Tse is a pet owner and would like to spread the message
to people who truly care about animals, about the origins of
animal rights. Hopefully this would provide more insight for
the animal lovers out there. He also dedicates some time to
helping people with math, you can visit his algebra 1
worksheets site at or visit