What is all this Animal Rights stuff and why should it concern me?

The fundamental principle of the animal rights movement is that nonhuman animals deserve to live according to their own natures, free from harm, abuse, and exploitation. This goes further than just saying that we should treat animals well while we exploit them, or before we kill and eat them. It says animals have the RIGHT to be free from human cruelty and exploitation, just as humans possess this right. The withholding of this right from the nonhuman animals based on their species membership is referred to as "speciesism".

Animal rights activists try to extend the human circle of respect and compassion beyond our species to include other animals, who are also capable of feeling pain, fear, hunger, thirst, loneliness, and kinship. When we try to do this, many of us come to the conclusion that we can no longer support factory farming, vivisection, and the exploitation of animals for entertainment.
--Excerpted from Animal Rights Frequently Asked Questions.

In a world filled with human rights abuses and environmental destruction, is animal exploitation really a top-priority issue? Read these essays to learn why animal rights is an inseparable and vitally important part of both the environmental and social justice movement.

Animal Rights Philosophy

All Animals Are Equal

The Case for Animal Rights by Tom Regan

Serious Moral Concern Is Not Species-limited by Nedim C. Buyukmihci, V.M.D

On the Side of the Animals

Animals' Rights Considered in Relation to Social Progress

Animals and Ethics

Philosophy of Animal Rights

Ethics Update: The Moral Status of Animals

Root Causes of Animal, Human, and Enviromental Exploitation

An Unnatural Order: Why We are Destroying Our Planet and Each Other

Animal Rights/Human Rights Connections

The American Left Should Support Animal Rights: A Manifesto

Animal Liberation -- The Social Justice Connection

The Connections: Animal Liberation and Racism

Animal Abuse and Human Abuse

Animals as Holocaust Victims

The Connections: Animal Oppression and Sexism

Animal Rights and Conservation/Environmentalism

Rights and Environmental Ethics: An Aside

Appreciating Animals for Their Own Intrinsic Value

Factory Farming and the Environment

Animal Rights -- The Fierce Green Fire?

Think Like a Chicken (animal rights/ecofeminist critique of deep ecology)

Additional Background on Animal Rights

Animal Rights Frequently Asked Questions


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