Animal Rights vs Animal Welfare: Where Humans Cross the Line

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I believe that animals deserve to be treated on a similar level to humans. Like humans, animals have rights as well, but it isn’t seen as important or equal to rights of humans. To most, human beings are more important compared to animals. The topic of animal rights vs animal welfare will be discussed in this essay as well as examples of human cruelty towards animals. According to Peta’s official website, animal rights means that animals deserve certain kinds of consideration—consideration of what is in their best interests, regardless of whether they are “cute,” useful to humans, or an endangered species and regardless of whether any human cares about them at all. It means recognizing that animals are not ours to use—for food, clothing, entertainment, or experimentation.

What is the Difference Between Animal Rights VS Animal Welfare?

People are often confused between animal rights and animal welfare. As described by, animal rights advocate that animals are not meant for food, clothing, testing, nor entertainment. Animal welfare allows all those actions, as said above, as long it is within the necessary humane guidelines. According to the official United Nations, human rights are inherent right to life and liberty, freedom from slavery and torture, and many more. The international human rights law states that Governments are obliged to act in certain ways or to refrain from certain acts, in order to promote and protect human rights and fundamental freedoms of individuals or groups. Humans are also able to have the freedom of movement, and are not made to be held captive in cages nor treated in an inhumane way. Humans enacted laws to protect our right to life, without discrimination. Sadly, as animals are unable to communicate in a way for humans to understand them thoroughly, which leads to the inability to fight for their freedom of life.

So then, what do animal rights actually have in common with human rights? Some may argue that animals shouldn’t be treated equal to humans, who are at the top of the food chain, just because they do not act nor think similarly to humans. Due to this belief, many people think it is fine to consume animals but yet, eating another human is inhumane and seen as an act of cannibalism even though both animals and humans are living organisms. When there is a forest fire, people worry about the animals which can’t protect themselves, but when it comes to having a meal, people don’t think much of the fact that they are consuming other animals.

Harmful Examples of Animal Rights Abuse

Humans have a tendency to treat animals as if they do not have feelings nor emotions. In fact, many animals are able to express feelings towards their owners or care takers. One prime example of this are dogs, which tend to wag their tail when their owner is nearby and jump around in joy. Dogs can also feel sad when their owner leaves by laying around. Peter Tatchell, a human rights campaigner from the ecologist, believes that we should recognise and accept our similarities to our animal nature and that cruelty is barbarism, whether inflicted on humans or other species.

Bullfighting is an example of a selfish act by humans that was made for personal gain. Around 250,000 bulls are killed annually during the bullfight. There are still 8 countries which legally holds bullfighting, with 6 other countries having banned the entertainment of bullfighting by law. According to the official Humane Society International (HIS) website, in Spain bull fiestas and bullfighting are not supported by Spanish citizens, with 74% opposing the Toro de la Vega bull fiesta; only 29% support bullfighting. Another 76% oppose the use of public funds to support the bullfighting industry. HSI believes that bullfights are not “fair fights” but highly staged forms of government-subsidized animal cruelty that perpetuate the idea that torturing and killing animals for amusement is acceptable. People are often deceived by the fact of when the bull and the matador are together, it’s a fair match. However, these speculations are false, as the bull is actually under a lot stress and they are mentally and physically weakened before each match.

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In Thailand, the pig-tailed macaque, is expected to collect coconuts. Originally these macaques twist the coconuts off the trees, it then drops onto the ground for their young to feast on. What is worse is that they are trained and made to comply, to prevent the macaques’ from attacking the trainers, their two blade-like fangs are pulled out by the trainers; those fangs are the macaques only form of self-defence. A video footage uploaded by Peta show how the macaques are chained and act out of the norm. Peta had decided to show the public about the process of obtaining coconuts in Thailand, and coax the people to boycott Thailand coconut products, including coconut milk, oil, water or yogurt. This is to ensure that people do not continue to supports this way of obtaining coconuts, which is a selfish act for the benefit of humans and for profit.

This course of action has worked throughout the years, where many stores around the world, especially in the western world, had stopped the sale of any Thai product that included any source of coconut. A research conducted by Wiek, a conservationist who has been a resident in Thailand since the late 1980’s, has found that the use of macaque has been in a steep decline in the last decade.

Making animals do excessive work is a form of forced labour. When humans are made to do excessive work in an office, the worker would get extra pay, commonly known as overtime. Animals are also made to do excessive work but do not get any reward or benefit from it.

Animals such as monkeys or gorillas are just like humans, with similar features, behaviour and even emotions. Yet most of us fail to recognise it. Animal testing is not only on monkeys but also on rats, mice, frogs, dogs, cats, rabbits, hamsters, guinea pigs, fist and birds. According to PETA, more than 100 million animals are killed in U.S. labs for biological studies, medical training, curiosity-driven experiments, and chemical, drug, food, and cosmetics testing. The testing done on these animals are inhumane. If the scientist does not obtain the expected results, the failed experimented animals are often left to die or cast aside. These testings are not 100% accurate as they are conducted on animals, which may adapt the same way human organs do. This could lead to the fact that it may work on animals but not on humans, whose bodies could react differently to the medication. Some examples of these are the tests conducted on animals for a cure for cancer, amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), traumatic brain injury (TBI), Alzheimer’s disease (AD), and inflammatory conditions. These test that were conducted on animals were successful, but it has not had the same effect for humans.

Only around 10% of testing’s done on animals are successful and yet countries such as America still continue. According to a blog, petpedia, it is said that in 2018, 90% of the new drugs that were found didn’t make it to patients. The reason for these failed trials is that 55% aren’t effective in treating the condition, while 30% have shown signs that they’re toxic to humans, which couldn’t be confirmed in the animal tests.

The Way Zoos Do Not Support Animal Welfare

This method of testing is rather selfish. We conduct painful and brutal tests on animals just so that we can find a cure to benefit the human health. The animals that are involved in the testings’ go through a painful process when getting tested on. Most people who protest that human testing is unethical yet animal testing is acceptable, clearly attaches more value to human lives compared to animals. There are two different perspectives on zoos. Some say that zoos like prisons, where caged animals are forcibly taken away from their natural habitats. Others opt that animals are kept in zoos where they are fed and kept healthy.

During the pandemic of 2020, most people around the world, have complained of being held captive in their homes prevent spread of the virus. In fact, many people around the world, mainly in America, protested against the lockdown, as it was deemed to violate their rights to freedom. However, these same people fail to realize that animals in zoos have been held captive against their will and are in permanent lockdown. They only see zoos as a place to visit for entertainment. Malaysia has the highest forest percentage loss between the year 2000 and 2012, with 14.4%. This then causes many wildlife habitats to be destroyed. The main animals that are affected are the Bornean Orang-utans. In 2010, around 40% of the forest in Borneo was sustainable for the orang-utans. Industrialization and building oil palms, are the main reasons for deforestation, a selfish act by humans. In 2016 the International Union for Conservation of Nature classified the orang-utans as an endangered species. According to the World Wildlife Foundation, their course of action to put the orang-utans back into their natural habitat is it rebuild it, and restore it back to what it once was by planting trees and plants. In an article written by Jennifer O’Connor, a senior writer with PETA, in a Malaysian newspaper the STAR published on the 12th of July 2020, she advocated for us to understand whatit would feel like for those who have been in lockdown without a choice. Jennifer highlighted that when our lives are back to normal, we should still remember those animals which are in permanent lockdown and show our support by opposing the want to see any sort of entertainment that uses animals.


In conclusion, I believe that animals deserve better treatment and that we should respect their lives. In many different perspectives of people, animals are to be seen as another form of human life, they just look and act differently. Animals have the very similar to humans in many ways, yet we see and treat them differently. We cherish them, are concerned over their well-being, consume them as sources of protein, but there are still people who treat them with the littlest of respect without understanding what the animals have gone through. Many reports and documentaries that I have read and watched have really led me to understand and cherish the animal life and what rights they should have but are unable to get. I strongly believe that animals do deserve better and more rights. Those rights would never be equal to human rights, but they should be looked at more thoroughly and be understood more as they are important as well, since animals are unable to practice their rights themselves. Society sees animals in different ways, scientist see animals as test subjects as a method of finding new types of bacteria or cures or how animals react to certain substances, normal people see them as pets who need care, zoo owners see them as a way to earn profit, and chefs see them as ingredients. Hunters see animals as a hobby where they can learn how to kill without getting arrested or show off as a trophy. A simple course of action I believe should be done, is that we should boycott zoos, any products that use animals as a source of labour, or any entertainment sources that use animals their main source.


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