The world earlier was androcentric and the knowledge created was based on male lives, their ways of thinking and the problems faced by them. Women and other sexes were considered secondary. After a few feminist movements, androcentrism was challenged and women’s rights were taken into consideration. We must challenge anthropocentrism and consider animal rights because animals are a part of the society we live in. They are oppressed as well, just like other oppressed groups. The animal rights movement will only grow if more people fight for them. Property status has always been accorded to animals and their use is considered a personal choice. A personal choice can’t be considered a personal choice if it has a victim. Animals are not even considered as victims which is why their rights are not taken into consideration.
Animals have a right not to be bred and killed for food, fashion and entertainment. Cage-free eggs, grass-fed cow milk, humane meat and similar concepts like these do not exist. Animals and humans have similar levels of biological complexity. Animals are aware that they exist, they know what is happening to them, make conscious choices, prefer some things and dislike others.
While you read this, millions of animals are dying in the food, fashion and entertainment industries. The egg-laying hens are kept in battery cages, separated from their chicks and are made to undergo forced moulting, which involves starving them to shock their bodies into another egg-laying cycle. Male chicks are ground up alive since they can’t lay eggs and female chicks undergo a ‘debeaking’ process in which the tip of their beaks is removed to prevent them from pecking each other. In the dairy industry, cows are made pregnant through artificial insemination and male calves are separated from their mothers since they are of no use to the dairy industry. The female calves go through the same cycle of abuse just like their mothers. Dairy farms never let the calves drink their mothers’ milk. During the process of animal testing, animals are forced to eat or inhale substances or have them rubbed onto their skin or injected into their bodies. In the animal-derived clothing industry, animals have their skin and fur ripped off for obtaining the raw material. Silkworms are boiled alive so that the cocoon of silk surrounding them can be removed. Large honey producers cut off queen bees’ wings to have them artificially inseminated. The wings and legs of many bees get torn off because of transportation. Fish and lobsters feel pain too, there is as much evidence as there is for birds and mammals. As a result of catching and taking them out of the net, their bodies are damaged and they are eventually killed.
Social justice is not only for humans. It is for every sentient being on this planet. Selective social justice doesn’t help in achieving total liberation. Allyship is the key to animal liberation. We are privileged and we should use that privilege for a good cause and not for exploiting the less fortunate. Animal rights also intersect with environmental justice and human health so animal rights are as important as human rights!
- Peter Singer, “A Utilitarian Defense of Animal Liberation,” in Environmental Ethics, ed. Louis Pojman (Stamford, CT: Wadsworth, 2001)
- Scruton, Roger. “Animal Rights”, City Journal, summer 2000.
- Singer, Peter. “On Humans and Animals” Retrieved 11 December 2013.
- Singer, Peter (2001). “Animal Liberation: A Personal View”. Writings on an ethical life.
- Grenander, M. E. (1991). “Review of The Sexual Politics of Meat: A Feminist-Vegetarian Critical Theory”. NWSA Journal.