Is Use of Animals for Different Purposes an Abuse of their Rights?

Americans love keeping pets. Hundreds of millions of reptiles, mammals, fish, and birds are saved in American homes as exotic pets. Most owners of these animals purchase them because they love animals. However, it is sad that a wild animal’s basic needs and natural traits cannot be provided and met in our homes. Doke & Dhawale (2015) define an exotic pet as a pet that is wild and non-domesticated. Domestication refers to a selective breeding practice that occurs for an extended period. Parrots, snakes, iguanas, otters, and even tortoises are among wild animals enduring as pets worldwide. Domesticated species include cats, dogs, and farm animals such as chickens, horses, cows, goats, and pigs. Another common way animals are maltreated and abused is through sporting and entertainment, laboratory testing, food creation by slaughtering, and factory product production. Scanes (2018) notes that while there are both legal and illegal sides concerning the exotic pet business, the issue of legality has no basis since wild-caught or captive-bred – it is all cruel and abusive. Therefore, animals have rights. Their use to meet different human needs, such as conducting testing, their use in sporting and entertainment, and animal products, should not continue as it disregards their rights.

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            Just like human beings, animals too have rights and freedoms. Understanding the laws surrounding animal abuse is key to combating animal cruelty. Every jurisdiction has a series of set rules and regulations regarding animals’ rights. The science-centered power is at the heart of the American Humane Certified initiative, promoting common-sense and achievable, even though exhaustive, welfare measures to ensure humane exercises (Anomaly, 2015).  This criterion, which is ascertained by a self-governing scientific advisory body constituting leading experts in the agricultural fields’ ethics and species-particular behavior, is focused on the internally acknowledged five freedoms accorded to animals’ welfare. Such an advisory body ensures that certified animals have basic needs such as water, food, space, air quality, and lighting. Globally, these five animal freedoms are accepted as the gold measure in animals’ welfare, comprising both the physical and mental wellbeing of animals. These freedoms include freedom from injury, pain, and diseases, freedom from thirst and hunger; freedom from discomfort; freedom to portray natural and normal behavior such as accommodating a sheep’s instincts for a ram and freedom from distress and fear (Bailey et al. 2015).

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            However, regardless of the set rules and policies governing the animals’ welfare, people worldwide have continuously misused the animals. The main problem facing animal rights bodies and activists is that animal cruelty happens in plain view. Williams (2018) says that it takes place in factory farms and behind closed doors that the public or the mainstream media cannot access. When we do not see it happen, we can pretend that it does not exist. But for the affected animals, it exists. Animal abuse and cruelty is a systematic issue that usually gets promoted from culture to culture, parent to child, and boss to worker. This cruelty and abuse are encouraged through different animals such as sports and entertainment, conducting testing, and animal product production.

            Doke & Dhawale (2015) highlight that the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA) has a credible history of animal cruelty and dates back to several centuries. For instance, forcing dogs to fight for sports is drawn back to the 12th century, immediately after the war’s cessation that erupted when Romania attacked Britain. Even though the British were defeated in the battle, they were pleased with their dogs’ perseverance and tenacity. Consequentially, they started exporting the dogs for use in pit fights against giant animals such as bulls and wild boar. For a long time, these kinds of animal fights continued throughout Europe until 1835, when they were burned. Doke & Dhawale (2015) note that at this juncture, dog-on-dog fights emerged as the cheaper, legalized option and combating dogs, and the desire for the cruel blood sport was transferred to other nations like the United States of America.

            Deep in American history, a fight between two game roosters, commonly referred to as cockfighting, has its roots and culture. Many of America’s founding fathers were fond of blood sport, and they took full participation in seeing these cock’s fight. Cockfighting has been happening in the U.S. until mid-2007 when Louisiana was illegalized and became the last out of the 50 states to prohibit the activity. However, the ban did not become effective until late 2008. While cockfighting is illegal across the U.S at this moment, it still happens with distressful frequency across the nation, more so in the upcountry region to the south and locations with massive immigrant populations from countries where cockfighting still lies deep in the roots of their culture (McGuigan, 2017).

            Entertainment animals are among the misused. Studies coincide that some animals love entertainment (Scanes, 2018). For instance, horses can get massive enjoyment from barrel racing, jumping, dressage, and other activities similar to their human companions. Usually, dogs derive lots of physical and mental stimulation from events such as agility and frisbee. But this does not imply that all animals are fit to perform. Most animals are compelled into the events via animal cruelty, from cattle prods to whips to denial of quality food and water. Various pieces of literature review indicate that many trainers of aquatic animals have been found dead while working with orcas and dolphins. Research by Scanes (2018) shows that these marine animals are innately friendly. They have saved several human lives in the wilderness. But they dissent performing, and they do not live comfortably in captivity. This can be attributed to the fact that they are designed to roam thousands of square miles in the water bodies. When they are held captive and put in small tanks, they are subjected to depression, and the possibility of them growing aggression is high. The same case applies to wild animals used in the performance of tricks in circuses. For example, lions naturally have a phobia of fire. Unfortunately, these lions are pressured to jump through vast fire rings so that crowds can clap and have fun for themselves. Therefore, using animals for sports and entertainment is wrong as it deprives them of their natural surroundings, which defies the biological traits of animals. It also encourages animal exploitation for human benefit, which is cruel to animals.

            Animal testing or experimentation encompasses animals ranging from rats and rabbits to dogs and monkeys to examine products before releasing them into the market. Several companies and factories depend on animal experimentation to enhance their research, including food, pharmaceuticals, and beauty. Animal testing puts these animals into potential irritation, extreme pain, or even life-endangering substances. During animal experimentation, they are housed in confined cages to ensure there is zero cross-contamination. Through this caging, the animals are denied a life in their open and natural habitats. There is nothing unlawful about animal testing, so most people do not see it as a form of animal abuse. But witnessing what the animals go through should inform one that it is a severe form of animal abuse. There are several healthier, smarter, and cruelty-free approaches to test consumer goods.

            According to data gathered by Franks, B. in her article “What do animals want,” 60% of all animals used in experimentation are used in product safety testing and biomedical research. While people have various feelings and emotions for animals, the fact is that animals are being misused by cosmetic factories and research firms across the U.S and globally. The use of animals in research is a gross violation of their rights. Philosophy scholars hold that animals have a primary moral right to be treated with respect. But this inherent value is not obeyed when animals are treated as mere tools for use in scientific researches. In his study, Franks (2019) confirms that animals share many elements with human beings, including thinking, feeling, behaving, and going through pain. As such, animals must be treated with equal respect as human beings. However, animals’ rights are breached when they are used in experimentation since they have no choice. Animals get subjected to painful tests or cause irreversible damage or even death, and no one gives them the option of not taking part in the testing. Franks (2019) further demonstrates that animal testing is morally ill irrespective of the magnitude benefit humans get since the animals’ fundamental right has been interfered with. Animals do not go for testing willingly to advance human welfare and modern technology. The animals’ decisions are made on their behalf, as they cannot vocalize their choices and preferences. When people determine the fate of animals in research settings, the animals are deprived of their rights with no consideration to their wellbeing or the quality of their lives. As such, animal testing needs to be stopped as it inhibits the full enjoyment of animal rights.

            Dairy, beef, and fishing industries are leading precursors of animal extinction. The human being’s appetite for fish, dairy, and beef is wiping out wild animals and even threatening their survival. The world is in a moment where wildlife loss is in high measures, leading to mass extinctions. According to Franks (2019), biodiversity research shows that 60% of the earth’s wildlife has been eliminated in just five decades. Scholars warn that if this trend continues, several species’ lives are in danger, including that of human beings. It is unethical for the word “animal” and “factory” to be found in one sentence. The moment we see the word factory, we start to think of industrial products such as TVs, furniture, and refrigerators. These factories are producing diets rich in beef and other red meat. More than 58 billion animals are killed globally, without counting the fish. The animals we use for food suffer so much. We eat animals because they taste good. The multibillion-dollar business in wildlife and their parts and commodities is a critical challenge that animals are encountering in the world today. Animals are caught, killed, and traded live or in pieces for various reasons, such as clothing and ornaments, medicine, and food. The primary role of animals’ agricultural production is to supply their owners with products to take to the market and sell for profit. Some of these products include skin, eggs, meat, and milk. Wool production is the primary precursor to the growth of sheep factories. During the early months of the summer, the sheep get sheared often as they do not molt during the season. The sheep can be used for meat or wool. Similarly, dairy factories are growing due to the zero-farming industry. All these animals face numerous abuse and torture at the time of harvesting these products.

            According to Williams (2018), even though animal use for different purposes leads to their cruelty, torture, and abuse, human beings should have dominion over all animals on earth. Therefore, animal testing should be conducted as their physiological systems are similar to those of humans, enhancing the testing’s practicality, helping develop human treatments. In their article titled “Animals and the shaping of modern medicine: One Health and its histories,” Woods et al. confirmed that animal testing could be an appropriate tool to test the viability and safety of different medicines prior to human consumption. Moreover, people practice agricultural productions to sell their animals and earn a profit. This means that the animals’ owners should have the ultimate decision with what to do with their animals -whether to sell them alive or sell their products. Factory farming has been confirmed to be a source of sustainable food for human beings. Additionally, factory farming increases the corporate management of the food we consume. The number of meatpacking, egg, or milk processing has increased because people have realized the quality of food produced has incorporated ingredients necessary for the human body.         

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In conclusion, animals’ use for testing sports and entertainment and their products abuses their rights and should be prohibited. The illegalization of the use of animals for various purposes will reduce their abuse and torture. Scientists should use alternative means of testing the viability of medicines to reduce animal abuse. Cosmetics and pharmaceutical factories should use computer models to test the safety of their products for human use. The use of animals for sports and entertainment should be made strict to animals such as horses enthusiastic about such events. Adhering to full animal rights should begin by creating several good moral positions and prohibiting animals’ use in ways that are not for the affected animals’ interest. As seen from the research, animals should be treated in ways that are for the good of their lives, which may not be the way that pleases human life. But it is suitable for human beings to understand that it is wrong for them to use animals for clothing, entertainment, food, or anything else.

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