Protecting Animals

July 13, 2018 • Volume 28, Issue 25
Should they have rights similar to those of humans?
By Reed Karaim


Irene Pepperberg, a research associate at Harvard University (Cover: Getty Images/The Christian Science Monitor/Melanie Stetson Freeman)
Irene Pepperberg, a research associate at Harvard University, works with two African grey parrots, Athena (left) and Griffin, in April 2018. Known for her work in avian cognition, Pepperberg studies how the parrots communicate. As scientists discover more about animal intelligence, animal-rights groups continue to push for greater protections for animals. (Cover: Getty Images/The Christian Science Monitor/Melanie Stetson Freeman)

The animal-rights movement, once considered a fringe political cause, has become a significant force in American culture, with advocacy groups claiming millions of members and public-opinion polls showing growing popular support for animal welfare. Activists argue that all creatures have a right to live free from pain and exploitation and that humans should give animals' needs greater consideration. Some believe animals should have legal rights similar to those accorded humans, and many oppose eating meat or using animal products of any kind. The issue pits animal-rights activists against modern, large-scale agricultural and livestock producers, biomedical researchers, hunters and the operators of some zoos and wildlife parks. Critics of the movement say it ignores meaningful differences between humans and animals, including the higher thought processes and ability to make moral choices that distinguish the human race from the animal kingdom. They reject the notions that animals should have rights and that people have no right to use animals for the benefit of humankind.

ISSUE TRACKER for Related Reports
Animal Rights
Jul. 13, 2018  Protecting Animals
Jul. 18, 2016  Animal Rights
Jun. 29, 2012  Whale Hunting
Oct. 22, 2010  Animal Intelligence
Jan. 08, 2010  Animal Rights
Jan. 12, 2007  Factory Farms
Aug. 02, 1996  Fighting Over Animal Rights
Aug. 08, 1980  Animal Rights
Jan. 12, 1966  Treatment of Animals in Medical Research
Congress Actions
Consumer Protection and Product Liability
Medical Research and Advocacy
Protest Movements
Regulation and Deregulation
Supreme Court History and Decisions