The concept of animal rights asserts that animals own their right to live and that animals’ primary interests should be assigned a degree of consideration similar to that of man. The import of this definition is that animals may not be arbitrarily killed or exposed to suffering.
Animal rights as a concept is sacrosanct because it holds economic, environmental and scientific and medical significance to man’s livelihood and should thus be safeguarded through legal and global efforts.
Historicity of Animal Rights as a Concept
Contrary to the misconception by the average mind, the idea of animal rights is not a modern idea, but it actually stretches back past the classical era. A renowned philosopher and mathematician, Pythagoras (c.580- 500 BC) called for the respect for animals and all nonhuman souls, on the account that both groups had incarnated from each other.
Importance of Animal Rights
Despite the misconception that animal rights is an issue that concerns animal rights activists, the idea permeates all areas of human existence.
Environmental Importance of Animal Rights
According to Buckmaster (1999) and Davis (1999), the significance of animal rights is far-reaching and touches on all spheres of man’s existence. In the first place, animal rights directly concerns environmental preservation and wellness. Particularly, animal rights have to do with protection and preservation of the lives and welfare of animals. This is significant to the environment as all animal species preserve the environment by forming their own niche and ensuring a favorable balance in the food chain and food web. If felines such as lions, cheetahs, leopards and cougars are uncontrollably hunted for their claws, hide and mane for instance, the population of herbivorous wild animals will rise and thereby leading to deforestation (Woolley, 1997).
Economic Importance of Animal Rights
Animal rights also directly touch on man’s economic interests. This is because animals are the center of tourist attractions and thus promote tourism. Developing economies such as Kenya, Tanzania and Zimbabwe benefit greatly from wildlife and tourism. Particularly, annually, Kenya and Tanzania accrue at least 10 billion Kenya shillings as tourists from the entire globe flock the Serengeti to witness the wildebeest migration from Kenya to Tanzania. This migration has been labeled the eighth wonder of the world (Coalgate and Coalgate, 1999 &. Staddon, 1999).
Medical and Scientific Importance of Animal Rights
Just as Shannon (1999) and Kemmerer (2007) posit, animal rights are also closely related to man’s quest in important fields such as science, biology, botany, pharmacy and medicine. Generally, animals are closer to Homo Sapiens Sapiens and are better suited for anthropocentric medical research studies than plants. More specifically, apes and guinea pigs have come to more accurately represent man in anthropocentric medical research studies than any other class of animals. Definitely, these animals cannot exist to dispense mankind with medical and scientific breakthroughs if they are hunted or mistreated into extinction (Cowley, Jr., Schafer &. Navar, 1997).
How to Foster Animal Rights
One of the most appropriate ways of upholding animal rights is legislation. Developed countries such ensure that bills that uphold animal rights are passed into law and existent laws are amended for higher effectiveness. It is also needful that these developed countries work with their developing counterparts to have animals’ rights legally protected. In the same vein, these developed countries can lobby members of the United Nations [UN] General Assembly to declare the universality of animal rights.
The foregoing clearly demonstrates that as an issue, animal rights is a very crucial since all spheres of man’s life [such as medicine, the economy and the environment] are deeply dependent upon and related to it. While the developed world [especially the West and the United States] has acknowledged this fact and made strides to safeguard animal rights, there is great need to respectfully conscientize and help developing counterparts to acknowledge animal rights as an indispensible reality. This underscores the need for the previously proposed global approach.
Buckmaster, C. A. (1999). Animal Rights. Science [NLM – MEDLINE], 283 (5400), 328.
Coalgate, B. and Coalgate, J. (1999). Animal Rights. Science, 283 (5400), 327.
Cowley, A. W., Jr., Schafer, J. A. &. Navar, L. G. (1997). Animal Rights. Science [NLM – MEDLINE], 278 (5338), 557.
Davis, L. L. (1999). Animal Rights. Science, 283 (5400), 327.
Kemmerer, L. (2007). Animal Rights. Journal of Human Rights, 6 (2), 273 – 277.
Shannon, T A. (1999). Animal Rights. Science, 283 (5400), 329.
Staddon J. E. (1999). Animal Rights. Science [NLM – MEDLINE], 283 (5400), 327.
Woolley, M. (1997). Animal Rights. Science, 278 (5338), 557.