How far does one go to protect an animal at all costs

How far does one go to protect an animal at all costs? Should someone be labeled as a “hypocrite” for standing by animal rights but not wanting to transition into veganism? What about harboring a strong dislike towards animal cruelty but continuing to conduct research using animal test subjects? There should always be a limit, but how far is enough? There is much controversy surrounding the topic of whether animals deserve to recieve their own Bill of Rights such as those of humans. However by presenting all species of the animal kingdom with individual rights, society will soon come to endure both short and long term costs that could greatly affect the future of many generations.
Many problems and challenges arise when addressing the differences between animals and humans and why one species is more superior than the other in being able to recieve rights to freedom and protection. Much analysis has been conducted by behaviorists, scientists, and researchers who are shedding light on how animals are more like humans that we could’ve ever imagined. According to a study by Purdue University, “pigs crave affection and are easily depressed if isolated or denied playtime with eachother. The lack of mental and physical stimuli can result in deterioration of health” (Rifkin 59). Animals biological complexity are known to be quite similar to those of humans by being able to express pain, suffering, pleasure, and empathy. This idea of sentience has become a certification for many pro-activists who declare that because animals are concious of their status and choices, they should be given the rights that they deserve. Although, the proper basis of individual rights should not be based solely on emotions and self-awareness, but reason and dignity. The Week Magazine states that animal rights advocates, “convincingly highlight the tendency of humans and animals to avoid pain and bodily harm, but they can’t explain a man’s “willingness to face certain death on the battlefield when called upon to do so by his country” (Linker). This virtue of human dignity is what sets us apart and defines the difference between animals and people.
With great power comes great responsibility, power in this case, being guaranteed an abundance of rights that cannot be broken without disciplinary action. Throughout the years animal activists, advocates, and protestors have demanded that all species of the animal pool be treated with the respect, reverence, and worthiness of a human being. What animal activists fail to realize, is that with rights comes responsibility and accountability. “The denial of the right to life of another requires that the guilty party be held accountable” (Morris). Take for example, the natural survival instincts of a lion to kill a gazelle because it decided that it was time for its next meal. Without a second of hesitation, that lion would crouch down low and stalk its prey waiting unti for the right time to attack. In moments like this, how will animals then be held accountable for committing murder or a crime deserving of punishment? Does it seem fit to gift animals with rights knowning that they have little to no self control?
Research is responsible for virtually all the medical breakthroughs being developed today in medicines, vaccines, cures, and treatments, but an important factor to the development of medical advances is the inclusion of animals in research. For years, scientists have depended on animal experimentation “…because they are a lot like people when it comes to basic body functions like breathing, eating, hearing, and seeing” (“Medical Research with Animals”). These experiments have provided many positive outcomes in medical advancements that have helped to save human and animal lives alike. However not all parties feel the same way. Animal activitsts have pointed out their concerns on the inhumanity and slavery that animals are subjected to for the benefit of the human race. They understand that animals could never be given all the rights that humans have, but they do believe that experimentation is unethical and selfish, especially when we carry out tests for our benefit alone. For decades, animal experimentaton has been depended on in order to discover treatments and medications that can heal generations of people, young and old, from life threatening viruses and diseases. According to the National Institutes of Health, “Congress and the Public Health Service have set up laws, regulations, and policies to ensure humane treatment of all animals in research” (2). Animals are made sure to be kept under careful observation and maintenance as to ensure that they feel safe, happy, and healthy. Without the opportunity to conduct these studies through continuous research, our knowlege of proper medical treatment and care would be limited and possibly even non-existent.
Animals have roamed this world far before humans existed. These species have become the generating source of our economic, industrial, medical, educational, and agricultural successes. With the help of behavioral and scientific studies, we were able to identify how similar we are to our closest friends in the animal kingdom. Animals have, and continue to play a life changing role in our world today, and despite our differences, it is our responsibility to treat any and all species in a humane and cruel free manner. Yet we should not lose sight of the likely consequences that will take place if we decide to gift animals with the same rights that we hold for ourselves.