Animal Rights is Not Animal Welfare


By Center for Consumer Freedom

Throughout most of history, human beings adopted more and more enlightened standards of animal "welfare" for their pets, livestock, and laboratory animals. Insisting on humane treatment for animals was an important economic decision. Farmers know that happy livestock animals produce more milk, better beef, and more valuable leather. Medical researchers know that their scientific work is meaningless without healthy lab animals. Animal welfare standards are just one way humans acknowledge the important bond between us and the animal world.

But beginning in the second half of the twentieth century, activists lost their way. Instead of striving to strengthen this relationship by improving the lives of animals in our care, an extremist movement began attempting to terminate that connection entirely. Today, we call it the animal "rights" movement.

Animal-rights activists believe that animals should be completely separate from humankind. Their goal is to guarantee that the human race has absolutely no access to animals, no matter how important they may be for our survival and progress.

Ingrid Newkirk, co-founder and president of People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA), summed up the goal of today's modern animal rights movement in a recent speech. "Our goal," Newkirk told the Animal Rights 2002 convention, "is total animal liberation."

For the uninitiated, "total animal liberation" means permanently eliminating much of what we take for granted-regardless of how responsibly farmers, scientists, or trainers treat their animals. It may be hard to imagine a world without meat, eggs, leather, milk, or circuses; but there's no denying that animal-rights activists are gradually shifting these ordinary things to society's margins.

How? By consciously, shamelessly, viciously attacking people and businesses that don't subscribe to their "four legs good, two legs bad" world-view. Since the animal rights movement began gathering strength, over $100 million in property damage has been cause by animal-rights activists. A medical research executive was beaten with baseball bats. Countless death threats have been issued. Scientists have been sent razor blades in the mail. Trucks and buildings have been firebombed. Boats have been sunk.

"People have died, and are going to die," said former Animal Liberation Front "spokesperson" and SHAC organizer Kevin Kjonaas at the "Animal Rights 2002" convention. "This isn't a joke. It's not a game."

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