+ All Animal Cruelty Essays:
- The Horror that is Animal Testing
- Against Animal Testing
- Animal Rights
- Use of Animals for Research
- Animal Testing in Cosmetics
- No More Hunting Animals
- Humans And Animals Relationships
- Symbolism in Animal Farm
- Owning Exotic Animals, Is It Ethical?
- Animal Hoarding
- Animal Testing Is Wrong
- Animals and Its Beneficial Uses to Man
- Animals Take Over in Animal Farm by George Orwell
- No-Kill Shelters Rehabilitation for Animals
- Animal Dilemma
- Using Animals in Research is Bad!
- Horrors of Animal Research, Testing, and Experimentation
- Poor Treatment of Circus Animals
- Animal Farm by George Orwell
- Relationship between Animals and Humans
- The Lowest Animal by Mark Twain
- Animal Liberation
- Cruelty of Society in Frankenstein, Master Harold, and An Enemy of the People
- Animal Farm, 1984
- Animal Testing is Wrong
- Animal Testing Persuasive Essay
- Animal Rights
- Adoption of Animals
- Comparing the Digestive Systems of Animals
- Hero Of Animal Farm
- The Necessities of Animal Experimentation
- Animal Farm by George Orwell
- Should Animals Be Kept in the Zoo?
- The Cons of Animal Testing
- An Inside Look at Animal Experimentation
- Argument for Stopping Animal Abuse
- Does Investing in Advertising Imply Returns for Animal Protecting Non-Profit Organizations
- George Orwell's Animal Farm
- Animal Rights
- Animal Farm by George Orwell
- For Animal Rights
- Animals Have Rights Too
- Animal Testing
- Negative Aspects of Animal Testing
- Animal Testing Ethics
- Animal Testing is Wrong!
- Is Animal Testing Wrong or Right?
- Cosmetics Testing on Animals, Is It Necessary?
- Killing an Animal for Clothing
- Spay And Neuter your Animals
- Marine Animals: The Manatee
- Animal Rights
- Limitation on Animal Testing
- Animals vs. Humans in Medical Experimentation
- Animal Shelters and the No Kill Movement
- Animal Testing Should Be Banned
- Do Animals Have A Say?: Comparative Analysis of Animal Rights, Human Wrongs and Proud to be Speciecist
- Do Animals Have Language?
- Animals and Humans Are Not Equal
- Animal Rights across the World
- Animal Rights and Laws
- Animal Abuse
- Analysis of Animal Treatment in Circus
- Love, Hate and Cruelty in Wuthering Heights
- Peter Singer's Views on the Killing of Animals
- Effect of Climate Change on Animals
- Animal Farm And The Russian Revolution
- The Ethics of Experimenting with Animals
- The Ethics of Animal Use in Biomedical Research
- The Ethical Treatment of Animals
- The Controversy of Testing on Animals
- Book Report on George Orwell's Animal Farm
- Animal Testing and Researching
- Animal Experimentation
- Animal Testing
- Animal Farm by George Orwell
- Animal Farm by George Orwell
- The Unethical Treatment of Animals
- Animal Farm Research Paper
- Plant And Animal Cells
- We Must Stop Animal Abuse
- The Use Of Animal Imagery In Othello
- Serving the Public and the Animals
- Animal Testing: a Cruel and Inhumane Way
- Animal Testing: Pros and Cons
- Should Animals Be Kept in Zoos?
- The Mistreatment of Circus Animals
- Animals In Our Society
- Are Zoos Good or Bad for Animals?
- Animal Experimentation
- Animal Farm
- Animal Testing
- Should Animals Be Used for Research?
- Symbolism in Animal Farm
- Animal Adoption, the Price of Love
For other uses, see Animal rights (disambiguation).
Animal rights is the idea in which some, or all, non-humananimals are entitled to the possession of their own lives and that their most basic interests—such as the need to avoid suffering—should be afforded the same consideration as similar interests of human beings.
Advocates oppose the assignment of moral value and fundamental protections on the basis of species membership alone—an idea known since 1970 as speciesism, when the term was coined by Richard D. Ryder—arguing that it is a prejudice as irrational as any other. They maintain that animals should no longer be viewed as property or used as food, clothing, research subjects, entertainment, or beasts of burden. Multiple cultural traditions around the world—such as Animism, Taoism, Hinduism, Buddhism, and Jainism—also espouse some forms of animal rights.
In parallel to the debate about moral rights, animal law is now widely taught in law schools in North America, and several prominent legal scholars[who?] support the extension of basic legal rights and personhood to at least some animals. The animals most often considered in arguments for personhood are bonobos and chimpanzees. This is supported by some animal rights academics because it would break through the species barrier, but opposed by others because it predicates moral value on mental complexity, rather than on sentience alone.
Critics of animal rights argue that nonhuman animals are unable to enter into a social contract, and thus cannot be possessors of rights, a view summed up by the philosopher Roger Scruton, who writes that only humans have duties, and therefore only humans have rights. Another argument, associated with the utilitarian tradition, is that animals may be used as resources so long as there is no unnecessary suffering; they may have some moral standing, but they are inferior in status to human beings, and any interests they have may be overridden, though what counts as "necessary" suffering or a legitimate sacrifice of interests varies considerably. Certain forms of animal rights activism, such as the destruction of fur farms and animal laboratories by the Animal Liberation Front, have also attracted criticism, including from within the animal rights movement itself, as well as prompted reaction from the U.S. Congress with the enactment of laws allowing these activities to be prosecuted as terrorism, including the Animal Enterprise Terrorism Act.
Historical development in the West
Moral status and animals in the ancient world
Main article: Moral status of animals in the ancient world
Aristotle argued that animals lacked reason (logos), and placed humans at the top of the natural world, yet the respect for animals in ancient Greece was very high. Some animals were considered divine, e.g. dolphins. The 21st-century debates about animals can be traced back to the ancient world, and the idea of a divine hierarchy. In the Book of Genesis 1:26 (5th or 6th century BCE), Adam is given "dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over the cattle, and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that creepeth upon the earth." Dominion need not entail property rights, but it has been interpreted, by some, over the centuries to imply ownership.
Contemporary philosopher Bernard Rollin writes that "dominion does not entail or allow abuse any more than does dominion a parent enjoys over a child." Rollin further states that the Biblical Sabbath requirement promulgated in the Ten Commandments "required that animals be granted a day of rest along with humans. Correlatively, the Bible forbids 'plowing with an ox and an ass together' (Deut. 22:10–11). According to the rabbinical tradition, this prohibition stems from the hardship that an ass would suffer by being compelled to keep up with an ox, which is, of course, far more powerful. Similarly, one finds the prohibition against 'muzzling an ox when it treads out the grain' (Deut. 25:4–5), and even an environmental prohibition against destroying trees when besieging a city (Deut. 20:19–20). These ancient regulations, virtually forgotten, bespeak of an eloquent awareness of the status of animals as ends in themselves", a point also corroborated by Norm Phelps.
The philosopher and mathematician, Pythagoras (c. 580–c. 500 BCE), urged respect for animals, believing that human and nonhuman souls were reincarnated from human to animal, and vice versa. Against this, Aristotle (384–322 BCE), student to the philosopher Plato, argued that nonhuman animals had no interests of their own, ranking them far below humans in the Great Chain of Being. He was the first to create a taxonomy of animals; he perceived some similarities between humans and other species, but argued for the most part that animals lacked reason (logos), reasoning (logismos), thought (dianoia, nous), and belief (doxa).
Theophrastus (c. 371 – c. 287 BCE), one of Aristotle's pupils, argued that animals also had reasoning (logismos) and opposed eating meat on the grounds that it robbed them of life and was therefore unjust. Theophrastus did not prevail; Richard Sorabji writes that current attitudes to animals can be traced to the heirs of the Western Christian tradition selecting the hierarchy that Aristotle sought to preserve.
Plutarch (1 C. A.D.) in his Life of Cato the Elder comments that while law and justice are applicable strictly to men only, beneficence and charity towards beasts is characteristic of a gentle heart. This is intended as a correction and advance over the merely utilitarian treatment of animals and slaves by Cato himself.
Tom Beauchamp (2011) writes that the most extensive account in antiquity of how animals should be treated was written by the Neoplatonist philosopher Porphyry (234–c. 305 CE), in his On Abstinence from Animal Food, and On Abstinence from Killing Animals.
17th century: Animals as automata
Early animal protection laws in Europe
According to Richard D. Ryder, the first known animal protection legislation in Europe was passed in Ireland in 1635. It prohibited pulling wool off sheep, and the attaching of ploughs to horses' tails, referring to "the cruelty used to beasts." In 1641 the first legal code to protect domestic animals in North America was passed by the Massachusetts Bay Colony. The colony's constitution was based on The Body of Liberties by the Reverend Nathaniel Ward (1578–1652), an English lawyer, Puritan clergyman, and University of Cambridge graduate. Ward's list of "rites" included rite 92: "No man shall exercise any Tirrany or Crueltie toward any brute Creature which are usually kept for man's use." Historian Roderick Nash (1989) writes that, at the height of René Descartes' influence in Europe—and his view that animals were simply automata—it is significant that the New Englanders created a law that implied animals were not unfeeling machines.
The Puritans passed animal protection legislation in England too. Kathleen Kete writes that animal welfare laws were passed in 1654 as part of the ordinances of the Protectorate—the government under Oliver Cromwell (1599–1658), which lasted from 1653 to 1659, following the English Civil War. Cromwell disliked blood sports, which included cockfighting, cock throwing, dog fighting, bull baiting and bull running, said to tenderize the meat. These could be seen in villages and fairgrounds, and became associated with idleness, drunkenness, and gambling. Kete writes that the Puritans interpreted the biblical dominion of man over animals to mean responsible stewardship, rather than ownership. The opposition to blood sports became part of what was seen as Puritan interference in people's lives, and the animal protection laws were overturned during the Restoration, when Charles II was returned to the throne in 1660.
|“||[Animals] eat without pleasure, cry without pain, grow without knowing it; they desire nothing, fear nothing, know nothing. — Nicolas Malebranche (1638–1715)||”|
The great influence of the 17th century was the French philosopher, René Descartes (1596–1650), whose Meditations (1641) informed attitudes about animals well into the 20th century. Writing during the scientific revolution, Descartes proposed a mechanistic theory of the universe, the aim of which was to show that the world could be mapped out without allusion to subjective experience.
|“||Hold then the same view of the dog which has lost his master, which has sought him in all the thoroughfares with cries of sorrow, which comes into the house troubled and restless, goes downstairs, goes upstairs; goes from room to room, finds at last in his study the master he loves, and betokens his gladness by soft whimpers, frisks, and caresses. |
There are barbarians who seize this dog, who so greatly surpasses man in fidelity and friendship, and nail him down to a table and dissect him alive, to show you the mesaraic veins! You discover in him all the same organs of feeling as in yourself. Answer me, mechanist, has Nature arranged all the springs of feeling in this animal to the end that he might not feel? — Voltaire (1694–1778)
His mechanistic approach was extended to the issue of animal consciousness. Mind, for Descartes, was a thing apart from the physical universe, a separate substance, linking human beings to the mind of God. The nonhuman, on the other hand, were for Descartes nothing but complex automata, with no souls, minds, or reason.
Treatment of animals as man's duty towards himself
John Locke, Immanuel Kant
Against Descartes, the British philosopher John Locke (1632–1704) argued, in Some Thoughts Concerning Education (1693), that animals did have feelings, and that unnecessary cruelty toward them was morally wrong, but that the right not to be harmed adhered either to the animal's owner, or to the human being who was being damaged by being cruel. Discussing the importance of preventing children from tormenting animals, he wrote: "For the custom of tormenting and killing of beasts will, by degrees, harden their minds even towards men."
Locke's position echoed that of Thomas Aquinas (1225–1274). Paul Waldau writes that the argument can be found at 1 Corinthians (9:9–10), when Paul asks: "Is it for oxen that God is concerned? Does he not speak entirely for our sake? It was written for our sake." Christian philosophers interpreted this to mean that humans had no direct duty to nonhuman animals, but had a duty only to protect them from the effects of engaging in cruelty.
The German philosopher Immanuel Kant (1724–1804), following Aquinas, opposed the idea that humans have direct duties toward nonhumans. For Kant, cruelty to animals was wrong only because it was bad for humankind. He argued in 1785 that "cruelty to animals is contrary to man's duty to himself, because it deadens in him the feeling of sympathy for their sufferings, and thus a natural tendency that is very useful to morality in relation to other human beings is weakened."
18th century: Centrality of sentience
Jean-Jacques Rousseau (1712–1778) argued in Discourse on Inequality (1754) for the inclusion of animals in natural law on the grounds of sentience: "By this method also we put an end to the time-honored disputes concerning the participation of animals in natural law: for it is clear that, being destitute of intelligence and liberty, they cannot recognize that law; as they partake, however, in some measure of our nature, in consequence of the sensibility with which they are endowed, they ought to partake of natural right; so that mankind is subjected to a kind of obligation even toward the brutes. It appears, in fact, that if I am bound to do no injury to my fellow-creatures, this is less because they are rational than because they are sentient beings: and this quality, being common both to men and beasts, ought to entitle the latter at least to the privilege of not being wantonly ill-treated by the former."
In his treatise on education, Emile, or On Education (1762), he encouraged parents to raise their children on a vegetarian diet. He believed that the food of the culture a child was raised eating, played an important role in the character and disposition they would develop as adults. "For however one tries to explain the practice, it is certain that great meat-eaters are usually more cruel and ferocious than other men. This has been recognized at all times and in all places. The English are noted for their cruelty while the Gaures are the gentlest of men. All savages are cruel, and it is not their customs that tend in this direction; their cruelty is the result of their food."
Four years later, one of the founders of modern utilitarianism, the English philosopher Jeremy Bentham (1748–1832), although opposed to the concept of natural rights, argued that it was the ability to suffer that should be the benchmark of how we treat other beings. Bentham claims that the capacity for suffering gives the right to equal consideration, equal consideration is that the interest of any being affected by an action are to be considered and have the equal interest of any other being <Singer,1985> . If rationality were the criterion, he argued, many humans, including infants and the disabled, would also have to be treated as though they were things. He did not conclude that humans and nonhumans had equal moral significance, but argued that the latter's interests should be taken into account. He wrote in 1789, just as African slaves were being freed by the French:
The French have already discovered that the blackness of the skin is no reason a human being should be abandoned without redress to the caprice of a tormentor. It may one day come to be recognized that the number of the legs, the villosity of the skin, or the termination of the os sacrum are reasons equally insufficient for abandoning a sensitive being to the same fate. What else is it that should trace the insuperable line? Is it the faculty of reason or perhaps the faculty of discourse? But a full-grown horse or dog, is beyond comparison a more rational, as well as a more conversable animal, than an infant of a day or a week or even a month, old. But suppose the case were otherwise, what would it avail? the question is not, Can they reason?, nor Can they talk? but, Can they suffer?
19th century: Emergence of jus animalium
Further information: Badger baiting, Bull baiting, and Cockfighting
The 19th century saw an explosion of interest in animal protection, particularly in England. Debbie Legge and Simon Brooman write that the educated classes became concerned about attitudes toward the old, the needy, children, and the insane, and that this concern was extended to nonhumans. Before the 19th century, there had been prosecutions for poor treatment of animals, but only because of the damage to the animal as property. In 1793, for example, John Cornish was found not guilty of maiming a horse after pulling the animal's tongue out; the judge ruled that Cornish could be found guilty only if there was evidence of malice toward the owner.
From 1800 onwards, there were several attempts in England to introduce animal protection legislation. The first was a bill against bull baiting, introduced in April 1800 by a Scottish MP, Sir William Pulteney (1729–1805). It was opposed inter alia on the grounds that it was anti-working class, and was defeated by two votes. Another attempt was made in 1802, this time opposed by the Secretary at War, William Windham (1750–1810), who said the Bill was supported by Methodists and Jacobins who wished to "destroy the Old English character, by the abolition of all rural sports."
In 1809, Lord Erskine (1750-1823) introduced a bill to protect cattle and horses from malicious wounding, wanton cruelty, and beating. He told the House of Lords that animals had protection only as property: "The animals themselves are without protection--the law regards them not substantively--they have no rights!" Erskine in his parliamentary speech combined the vocabulary of animal rights and trusteeship with a theological appeal included in the Bill's preamble to opposing cruelty. The Bill was passed by the Lords, but was opposed in the Commons by Windham, who said it would be used against the "lower orders" when the real culprits would be their employers.
|“||If I had a donkey wot wouldn't go,|
D' ye think I'd wollop him? No, no, no!
Further information: wikisource:Martin's Act 1822
In 1821, the Treatment of Horses bill was introduced by Colonel Richard Martin (1754–1834), MP for Galway in Ireland, but it was lost among laughter in the House of Commons that the next thing would be rights for asses, dogs, and cats. Nicknamed "Humanity Dick" by George IV, Martin finally succeeded in 1822 with his "Ill Treatment of Horses and Cattle Bill"—or "Martin's Act", as it became known—which was the world's first major piece of animal protection legislation. It was given royal assent on June 22 that year as An Act to prevent the cruel and improper Treatment of Cattle, and made it an offence, punishable by fines up to five pounds or two months imprisonment, to "beat, abuse, or ill-treat any horse, mare, gelding, mule, ass, ox, cow, heifer, steer, sheep or other cattle."
Legge and Brooman argue that the success of the Bill lay in the personality of "Humanity Dick", who was able to shrug off the ridicule from the House of Commons, and whose sense of humour managed to capture the House's attention. It was Martin himself who brought the first prosecution under the Act, when he had Bill Burns, a costermonger—a street seller of fruit—arrested for beating a donkey, and paraded the animal's injuries before a reportedly astonished court. Burns was fined, and newspapers and music halls were full of jokes about how Martin had relied on the testimony of a donkey.
Other countries followed suit in passing legislation or making decisions that favoured animals. In 1822, the courts in New York ruled that wanton cruelty to animals was a misdemeanor at common law. In France in 1850, Jacques Philippe Delmas de Grammont succeeded in having the Loi Grammont passed, outlawing cruelty against domestic animals, and leading to years of arguments about whether bulls could be classed as domestic in order to ban bullfighting. The state of Washington followed in 1859, New York in 1866, California in 1868, and Florida in 1889. In England, a series of amendments extended the reach of the 1822 Act, which became the Cruelty to Animals Act 1835, outlawing cockfighting, baiting, and dog fighting, followed by another amendment in 1849, and again in 1876.
Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals
|“||At a meeting of the Society instituted for the purpose of preventing cruelty to animals, on the 16th day of June 1824, at Old Slaughter's Coffee House, St. Martin's Lane: T F Buxton Esqr, MP, in the Chair, |
It was resolved:
That a committee be appointed to superintend the Publication of Tracts, Sermons, and similar modes of influencing public opinion, to consist of the following Gentlemen:
Sir Jas. Mackintosh MP, A Warre Esqr. MP, Wm. Wilberforce Esqr. MP, Basil Montagu Esqr., Revd. A Broome, Revd. G Bonner, Revd G A Hatch, A E Kendal Esqr., Lewis Gompertz Esqr., Wm. Mudford Esqr., Dr. Henderson.
That a Committee be appointed to adopt measures for Inspecting the Markets and Streets of the Metropolis, the Slaughter Houses, the conduct of Coachmen, etc.- etc, consisting of the following Gentlemen:
T F Buxton Esqr. MP, Richard Martin Esqr., MP, Sir James Graham, L B Allen Esqr., C C Wilson Esqr., Jno. Brogden Esqr., Alderman Brydges, A E Kendal Esqr., E Lodge Esqr., J Martin Esqr. T G Meymott Esqr.
Further information: Royal Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals
Richard Martin soon realized that magistrates did not take the Martin Act seriously, and that it was not being reliably enforced. Martin's Act was supported by various social reformers who were not parliamentarians and an informal network had gathered around the efforts of Reverend Arthur Broome (1779-1837) to create a voluntary organisation that would promote kindness toward animals. Broome canvassed opinions in letters that were published or summarised in various periodicals in 1821. After the passage of Richard Martin's anti-cruelty to cattle bill in 1822, Broome attempted to form a Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals that would bring together the patronage of persons who were of social rank and committed to social reforms. Broome did organise and chair a meeting of sympathisers in November 1822 where it was agreed that a Society should be created and at which Broome was named its Secretary but the attempt was short-lived. In 1824 Broome arranged a new meeting in Old Slaughter's Coffee House in St. Martin's Lane, a London café frequented by artists and actors. The group met on June 16, 1824, and included a number of MPs: Richard Martin, Sir James Mackintosh (1765–1832), Sir Thomas Buxton (1786–1845), William Wilberforce (1759–1833), and Sir James Graham (1792–1861), who had been an MP, and who became one again in 1826.
They decided to form a "Society instituted for the purpose of preventing cruelty to animals"; the Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, as it became known. It determined to send men to inspect slaughterhouses, Smithfield Market, where livestock had been sold since the 10th century, and to look into the treatment of horses by coachmen. The Society became the Royal Society in 1840, when it was granted a royal charter by Queen Victoria, herself strongly opposed to vivisection.
From 1824 onwards, several books were published, analyzing animal rights issues, rather than protection alone. Lewis Gompertz (1783/4–1865), one of the men who attended the first meeting of the SPCA, published Moral Inquiries on the Situation of Man and of Brutes (1824), arguing that every living creature, human and nonhuman, has more right to the use of its own body than anyone else has to use it, and that our duty to promote happiness applies equally to all beings. Edward Nicholson (1849–1912), head of the Bodleian Library at the University of Oxford, argued in Rights of an Animal (1879) that animals have the same natural right to life and liberty that human beings do, disregarding Descartes' mechanistic view—or what he called the "Neo-Cartesian snake"—that they lack consciousness. Other writers of the time who explored whether animals might have natural (or moral) rights were Edward Payson Evans (1831–1917), John Muir (1838–1914), and J. Howard Moore (1862–1916), an American zoologist and author of The Universal Kinship (1906) and The New Ethics (1907).
The development in England of the concept of animal rights was strongly supported by the German philosopher, Arthur Schopenhauer (1788–1860). He wrote that Europeans were "awakening more and more to a sense that beasts have rights, in proportion as the strange notion is being gradually overcome and outgrown, that the animal kingdom came into existence solely for the benefit and pleasure of man."
He stopped short of advocating vegetarianism, arguing that, so long as an animal's death was quick, men would suffer more by not eating meat than animals would suffer by being eaten. He applauded the animal protection movement in England—"To the honor, then, of the English, be it said that they are the first people who have, in downright earnest, extended the protecting arm of the law to animals." He also argued against the dominant Kantian idea that animal cruelty is wrong only insofar as it brutalizes humans:
Thus, because Christian morality leaves animals out of account ... they are at once outlawed in philosophical morals; they are mere "things," mere means to any ends whatsoever. They can therefore be used for vivisection, hunting, coursing, bullfights, and horse racing, and can be whipped to death as they struggle along with heavy carts of stone. Shame on such a morality that is worthy of pariahs, chandalas, and mlechchhas, and that fails to recognize the eternal essence that exists in every living thing ...
Percy Bysshe Shelley
The English poet and dramatist Percy Bysshe Shelley (1792–1822) wrote two essays advocating a vegetarian diet, for ethical and health reasons: A Vindication of Natural Diet (1813) and On the Vegetable System of Diet (1929, posth.).
John Stuart Mill
John Stuart Mill (1806–1873), the English philosopher, also argued that utilitarianism must take animals into account, writing in 1864:[year verification needed] "Nothing is more natural to human beings, nor, up to a certain point in cultivation, more universal, than to estimate the pleasures and pains of others as deserving of regard exactly in proportion to their likeness to ourselves. ... Granted that any practice causes more pain to animals than it gives pleasure to man; is that practice moral or immoral? And if, exactly in proportion as human beings raise their heads out of the slough of selfishness, they do not with one voice answer 'immoral,' let the morality of the principle of utility be for ever condemned."
James Rachels writes that Charles Darwin's (1809–1882) On the Origin of Species (1859)—which presented the theory of evolution by natural selection—revolutionized the way humans viewed their relationship with other species. Not only did human beings have a direct kinship with other animals, but the latter had social, mental and moral lives too, Darwin argued. He wrote in his Notebooks (1837): "Animals – whom we have made our slaves we do not like to consider our equals. – Do not slave holders wish to make the black man other kind?" Later, in The Descent of Man (1871), he argued that "There is no fundamental difference between man and the higher mammals in their mental faculties", attributing to animals the power of reason, decision making, memory, sympathy, and imagination.
Rachels writes that Darwin noted the moral implications of the cognitive similarities, arguing that "humanity to the lower animals" was one of the "noblest virtues with which man is endowed." He was strongly opposed to any kind of cruelty to animals, including setting traps. He wrote in a letter that he supported vivisection for "real investigations on physiology; but not for mere damnable and detestable curiosity. It is a subject which makes me sick with horror ..." In 1875, he testified before a Royal Commission on Vivisection, lobbying for a bill to protect both the animals used in vivisection, and the study of physiology. Rachels writes that the animal rights advocates of the day, such as Frances Power Cobbe, did not see Darwin as an ally.
American SPCA, Frances Power Cobbe, Anna Kingsford
An early proposal for legal rights for animals came from a group of citizens in Ashtabula County, Ohio. Around 1844, the group proposed an amendment to the U.S. Constitution stating that if slaves from slave states were receiving representation as 3/5 of a person on the basis that they were animal property, all the animal property of the free states should receive representation also.
The first animal protection group in the United States, the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA), was founded by Henry Bergh in April 1866. Bergh had been appointed by President Abraham Lincoln to a diplomatic post in Russia, and had been disturbed by the mistreatment of animals he witnessed there. He consulted with the president of the RSPCA in London, and returned to the United States to speak out against bullfights, cockfights, and the beating of horses. He created a "Declaration of the Rights of Animals", and in 1866 persuaded the New York state legislature to pass anti-cruelty legislation and to grant the ASPCA the authority to enforce it.
In 1875, the Irish social reformer Frances Power Cobbe (1822–1904) founded the Society for the Protection of Animals Liable to Vivisection, the world's first organization opposed to animal research, which became the National Anti-Vivisection Society. In 1880, the English feminist Anna Kingsford (1846–1888) became one of the first English women to graduate in medicine, after studying for her degree in Paris, and the only student at the time to do so without having experimented on animals. She published The Perfect Way in Diet (1881), advocating vegetarianism, and in the same year founded the Food Reform Society. She was also vocal in her opposition to experimentation on animals. In 1898, Cobbe set up the British Union for the Abolition of Vivisection, with which she campaigned against the use of dogs in research, coming close to success with the 1919 Dogs (Protection) Bill, which almost became law.
Ryder writes that, as the interest in animal protection grew in the late 1890s, attitudes toward animals among scientists began to harden. They embraced the idea that what they saw as anthropomorphism—the attribution of human qualities to nonhumans—was unscientific. Animals had to be approached as physiological entities only, as Ivan Pavlov wrote in 1927, "without any need to resort to fantastic speculations as to the existence of any possible subjective states." It was a position that hearkened back to Descartes in the 17th century, that nonhumans were purely mechanical, with no rationality and perhaps even no consciousness.
Avoiding utilitarianism, Friedrich Nietzsche (1844–1900) found other reasons to defend animals. He argued that "The sight of blind suffering is the spring of the deepest emotion." He once wrote: "For man is the cruelest animal. At tragedies, bull-fights, and crucifixions hath he hitherto been happiest on earth; and when he invented his hell, behold, that was his heaven on earth." Throughout his writings, he speaks of the human being as an animal.
In 1894, Henry Salt (1851–1939), a former master at Eton, who had set up the Humanitarian League to lobby for a ban on hunting the year before, published Animals' Rights: Considered in Relation to Social Progress. He wrote that the object of the essay was to "set the principle of animals' rights on a consistent and intelligible footing." Concessions to the demands for jus animalium had been made grudgingly to date, he wrote, with an eye on the interests of animals qua property, rather than as rights bearers:
Even the leading advocates of animal rights seem to have shrunk from basing their claim on the only argument which can ultimately be held to be a really sufficient one—the assertion that animals, as well as men, though, of course, to a far less extent than men, are possessed of a distinctive individuality, and, therefore, are in justice entitled to live their lives with a due measure of that "restricted freedom" to which Herbert Spencer alludes.
He argued that there was no point in claiming rights for animals if those rights were subordinated to human desire, and took issue with the idea that the life of a human might have more moral worth. "[The] notion of the life of an animal having 'no moral purpose,' belongs to a class of ideas which cannot possibly be accepted by the advanced humanitarian thought of the present day—it is a purely arbitrary assumption, at variance with our best instincts, at variance with our best science, and absolutely fatal (if the subject be clearly thought out) to any full realization of animals' rights. If we are ever going to do justice to the lower races, we must get rid of the antiquated notion of a 'great gulf' fixed between them and mankind, and must recognize the common bond of humanity that unites all living beings in one universal brotherhood."
20th century: Animal rights movement
Brown Dog Affair, Lizzy Lind af Hageby
Main article: Brown Dog affair
In 1902, Lizzy Lind af Hageby (1878–1963), a Swedish feminist, and a friend, Lisa Shartau, traveled to England to study medicine at the London School of Medicine for Women, intending to learn enough to become authoritative anti-vivisection campaigners. In the course of their studies, they witnessed several animal experiments, and published the details as The Shambles of Science: Extracts from the Diary of Two Students of Physiology (1903). Their allegations included that they had seen a brown terrier dog dissected while conscious, which prompted angry denials from the researcher, William Bayliss, and his colleagues. After Stephen Coleridge of the National Anti-Vivisection Society accused Bayliss of having violated the Cruelty to Animals Act 1876, Bayliss sued and won, convincing a court that the animal had been anesthetized as required by the Act.
In response, anti-vivisection campaigners commissioned a statue of the dog to be erected in Battersea Park in 1906, with the plaque: "Men and Women of England, how long shall these Things be?" The statue caused uproar among medical students, leading to frequent vandalism of the statue and the need for a 24-hour police guard. The affair culminated in riots in 1907 when 1,000 medical students clashed with police, suffragettes and trade unionists in Trafalgar Square. Battersea Council removed the statue from the park under cover of darkness two years later.
Coral Lansbury (1985) and Hilda Kean (1998) write that the significance of the affair lay in the relationships that formed in support of the "Brown Dog Done to Death", which became a symbol of the oppression the women's suffrage movement felt at the hands of the male political and medical establishment. Kean argues that both sides saw themselves as heirs to the future. The students saw the women and trade unionists as representatives of anti-science sentimentality, while the women saw themselves as progressive, with the students and their teachers belonging to a previous age.
Development of veganism
Main article: Veganism
Members of the English Vegetarian Society who avoided the use of eggs and animal milk in the 19th and early 20th century were known as strict vegetarians. The International Vegetarian Union cites an article informing readers of alternatives to shoe leather in the Vegetarian Society's magazine in 1851 as evidence of the existence of a group that sought to avoid animal products entirely. There was increasing unease within the Society from the start of the 20th century onwards with regards to egg and milk consumption, and in 1923 its magazine wrote that the "ideal position for vegetarians is [complete] abstinence from animal products."
Mahatma Gandhi (1869–1948) argued in 1931 before a meeting of the Society in London that vegetarianism should be pursued in the interests of animals, and not only as a human health issue. He met both Henry Salt and Anna Kingsford, and read Salt's A Plea for Vegetarianism (1880). Salt wrote in the pamphlet that "a Vegetarian is still regarded, in ordinary society, as little better than a madman." In 1944, several members, led by Donald Watson (1910–2016), decided to break from the Vegetarian Society over the issue of egg and milk use. Watson coined the term "vegan" for those whose diet included no animal products, and they formed the British Vegan Society on November 1 that year.
Further information: Animal welfare in Nazi Germany
On coming to power in January 1933, the Nazi Party