Animal Rights vs. Animal Welfare
The phrases ‘animal rights’ and ‘animal welfare’ are often used interchangeably, but in my opinion, there is actually a significant difference between the two.
It boils down to the difference between “bigger cages” and “empty cages.” Those who believe in animal welfare are satisfied with larger cages, but those who support animal rights want empty cages.
Those who believe in animal welfare feel it is acceptable to use animals as long as we do so “humanely.” This means it is OK for chickens to be confined to lay eggs as long as they are cage-free. They believe it is OK to test products on animals as long as they are given some pain medications. They also believe zoos and circuses are OK if the animals are treated “kindly.”
The challenge with this way of thinking is that it is impossible to confine an animal or use them in any capacity and truly be humane. Being confined in an enclosed barn may be more humane than being in a cage the size of a piece of paper, but the chickens are still robbed of sunlight and fresh air. Having shots of pain medication may make the experiments conducted on monkeys a bit more bearable, but they are still cut open, burned, and confined to cages with no interaction with other animals.
People who believe in animal rights fight against factory farming, animal experiments, fur farms, circuses, etc. They don’t believe we have the right to steal animals and confine them for our benefit.
I am a strong believer in animal rights. I have spent time with many animals, and I know they are intelligent and can suffer. One of my favorite animal rights quotes is:
The question is not, “Can they reason?” nor “Can they talk?”, but “Can they suffer?”
There is no doubt animals can suffer. If you don’t currently believe in animal rights, I hope this post will make you stop and think. By just making simple lifestyle choices, you can change the world for so many animals who suffer needlessly for our consumption and entertainment.