Help Me Peta2: Should Animals Have Rights?

Hi! Rachel from peta2 here—your animal rights expert! peta2 and gURL have partnered up to answer some of your questions about animal rights … but before we get into the nitty gritty, let’s discuss the basic idea. So …”Should animals have rights?”

Your dog doesn’t want to vote in the presidential election, does he? And my cat, she couldn’t care less about driving a car … so what’s with this animal rights talk? Do animals really need rights? I mean … they’re just so much different than us.

The fight for animal rights isn’t the fight to give your dog the right to vote, or my cat the right to drive a car—it’s about basic rights. Things like the right to live free, the right to be free from suffering, and the right to their own interests and desires. Makes sense, right?

|Whether it woofs, meow, swims, or just pees on the floor, show off your pet on the Shout Out Boards!|

Animals are definitely different from us in some ways—they sure do look different. But they’re the same as us in other, more important ways. Did you know elephants mourn the death of someone in their close group of friends? Or that chicken moms “sing” to their young? Did you know that pigs are actually smarter than 3-year-old kids? Animals—whether dog, cat, pig, sheep, or fish—all desire freedom, want to spend time with their friends and family, feel pain and fear, and most importantly, do not want to die.

Differences (and likenesses) aside, isn’t judging whether someone should live, die, or be tortured to death on how they look a little … I don’t know, wrong? Although we may want to, we don’t subject our worst enemies to the kinds of things that animals go through (like being thrown into grinders while still alive, being kept in crates so small they can never even lie down, or having their bodies hacked apart while they’re still struggling) … so why do we think it’s OK to do this to animals?

If the argument is because “they’re just … different” or “they can’t talk!” or “I don’t think they feel pain”, then our logic is flawed. Babies can’t express themselves, and neither can people with certain disabilities, but we wouldn’t torture, kill, and eat them.

If our logic is that eating animals, testing on them, or using them for our entertainment is legal, so it must be right, then you should think back to a day when slavery, sexism and child labor were all considered legal and morally just. The point here is that just because someone tells you it’s OK—whether it’s the law or your parents—it doesn’t always mean that it’s right. Our real reasons for eating and exploiting animals sound a little more like this: “They can’t fight back!” or “They’re small and I’m stronger!” and that just isn’t OK.

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Throughout the month of April, I’ll be hanging out here on the gURL.com blog to answer your questions about animal rights, going vegan, helping animals at your school, and more! Leave your comments and questions below!

See you next week!

Rachel from peta2

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Posted in: Being Different, Beliefs, Help Me Heather, peta2 Answering Your Questions
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  • heartnsoul92

    I really wanna become a vegetarian, but it's so difficult since I've been the biggest meat eater my entire life! 🙁

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  • Lilamedusa

    Hi, Rachel. I need to say I really admire you and your way of speaking. You are and inspiration for me, and I tend to use some of your arguments when discussing veganism – or vegetarianism – with my friends. However, there is one argument that is really hard for me to find a comeback for and that is the short-term memory of fishes. While I do think that any pain influcted to an animal is wrong – even if they do not remember it – must people do not, and argue that, if the fish can not remember it, the pain was never really there.

    What would you say to that people?

  • Jackie

    Check out http://breakshearts.peta2.com/ to learn how to help animals being tortured and killed in laboratories!

  • Savannah

    There is absolutly no reason for an animal to be eaten! Cows don't eat humans and it's only fair that humans don't eat cows. I am a vergetarian and have been since the third grade (im in eighth grafe now) and I know it's hard but if you really love animals you will get over. You have to realize what is more important. Be vegetarian has no health risks, it only make you healthier! You can find protein in lots of different foods and not have all the fat that meat has. When I first went vegetarian, I started eat alot of junk food in place of the meat but now I have started geting soy chicken and veggie burgers. I also was vegan for two months and that possibly has heath risks. I had to go back to being vegetarian though because it was wayyyyyyy to hard since all of my family eats meat and I have no vegetarian or vegan people in my life. I also got super hungry all the time and that still hasnt gone away so I really don't kow what happened. I lost about 15 pounds from being vegan and it felt really good. I would like to go vegan again (my cousin went vegan last week because of me and she loves it). Also, never wear leather!! It is so gross and unnessesary! I know that can also be hard and there are times I find an outfit i really love but i find out that it has wool or something in it and i put it back. Please go vegetarian! For the earth, for the animals, for you!!

  • Mikaela

    Personally I am not a vegetarian, pescetarian, or vegan. I think that's all the wrong lifestyle choice, because if we didn't kill cows, pigs, etc. they would have no predators and go extinct fairly soon. Or possibly take over, but that's another story.

    What I DON'T agree with is the fact that scientists use animals like rabbits in cosmetic testing. Why do we have to torture innocent animals when science is so developed that we can create skin samples by way of cloning or other ideas. And don't start telling me that "it's against the will of God", because in my eyes, and most scientists' eyes, he does not exist.

    • Jackie

      It’s unrealistic to expect that everyone will stop eating animals overnight. As the demand for meat decreases, the number of animals bred will decrease. Farmers will stop breeding so many animals and will turn to other types of agriculture. When there are fewer of these animals, they will be able to live more natural lives.

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  • lalala

    Honestly here's what i have to ay about animal rights. Like they shouldnt be abused because that's just disgusting and wrong. Like they should be loved but God put all these animals on Earth for a reason. One of those resaons being for food. Now im not saying Go ahead and kill all the animals and eat them. No. I think it's fine I mean animals do it all the time to each other in nature when you think about it. They kill and eat each other. So i think its fine to be eat meat (in moderation like we should with all foods) and I don't have anything agaisnt vegetarians either.

  • Samantha

    God doesn't exsist.

    • Dee

      true dat

    • Sally

      Yeah He is.

      • Sally

        *Yeah He is real

    • Lola

      Everyone has their own beliefs. I don’t know WHY this chick put this on here but I guess she felt the need to put her religion on an animal rights post. Whatever, don’t fight about it.

  • Sydney

    I hate when people do that "god made blah blah blah"

    No. I respect your opinions, I personally have nothing against meat eaters, but if anything, they should get meat that are not slaughtered like that (if there are any!)

    I am a vegetarian, and I love it, it has opened up a whole new variety of food. If anything I would strongly suggest cage free eggs, and they taste so much better, and aren't injected with all of that shizz when I drink milk (never I drink soy) I buy the organic, I have showed my mom a few vegetarian food (gardien) and she (picky) loves it, and actually cooks it about every other week, and when she asks me to get a recipe for sauces, I give her the vegan kind, she don't even notice it, and I make homemade vegan cakes, no one notices it.

    Its not that hard when you know how to do it.

    (oh and I get plenty of vitamins, from veggies, fruit, and take DEVA™ vegan vitamins, 7.00)

    where do you get your protein? fried animal carcass?

    • Hey Sydney!

      Thanks for much for commenting! That's awesome that you're vegetarian and that you've shown your mom the way :).

      Since it seems like you care about animals a lot and want to help them, I had to suggest that you read a bit more about what "organic" and "cage free" means for animals, because most likely it's not what you think. "Cage free," "organic," and "free-range" mean little to nothing about how animals on farms are treated.

      "Cage free" just means that instead of being in cages, hundreds of thousands of birds are stuffed into long, factory farm style sheds. Still having their beaks seared off, and still being ground up alive if they happen to be male. You can read more about the misleading labels here: http://blog.peta2.com/2010/10/still-eating-organi

      And I agree, veganism is super easy and I have friends who love my vegan mac and cheese more than the one they make with dairy! I think it's so great that your friends and family are supportive 🙂 Isn't Gardein awesome?! Have you tried Field Roast? 🙂

      -Rachel

    • Ann

      actually… I get my protein how animals all over the world do. i eat them naturally instead of taking them in a pill.

    • Ann

      actually… I get my protein how animals all over the world do. i eat them naturally instead of taking them in a pill.

      • Ann

        sorry, i clicked the wrong button. i ment to reply to Sydney

  • Dee

    Alright I understand what everyones saying but you do need to realize that animals eat animals too. We are considered animals are we not? Yes they should have rights, I think testing and fur and all that stuff is wrong. But I do believe you tend to cross the line in this comment:

    "If our logic is that eating animals, testing on them, or using them for our entertainment is legal, so it must be right, then you should think back to a day when slavery, sexism and child labor were all considered legal and morally just."

    I understand the testing and entertainment part but eating an animal is not wrong. Fast food that slaughters animals in disgusting ways that totally wrong and other things like that. But that comparison in the quote is a little dramatic about eating them. You may find this disgusting but around the world some tribes even eat people.

    • Hey Dee!

      Thanks so much for commenting!

      You're right when you say that we're all animals, but the difference between us is that true carnivores hunt to SURVIVE–they don't do it because they can, or because "it tastes good." We eat certain animals because they're easy to kill, won't fight back, and because we can manipulate them to grow bigger and faster–and it's that simple. We don't NEED to eat meat to survive, like say a bear or lion would. In fact, our bodies do better without meat–meat and dairy products are linked to colon cancer, osteoporosis, breast cancer, heart disease, stroke, and many other diseases, whereas a healthy vegan diet has been proven to help REVERSE heart disease and diabetes. Coincidence?

      Humans are not natural carnivores (those teeth in your mouth are an herbivore's, unless your mouth looks like a lion). And your statement that "even some tribes eat people" has little bearing on the decisions you make every day–like the one to support this kind of cruelty (http://www.meat.org) or to not. If you wouldn't slit your dog or cat's throat while she was fully conscious and struggling to be free, cook her, and eat her, then you shouldn't eat any other animal, either.

      When it comes to slavery, child labor, and sexism, the comparison is fair. The victims of all of these atrocities were looked at as inferior, some claimed people of another race "didn't feel pain" or had no reason to live, and people actually thought that women were born to serve men, or that blacks were born to serve whites. Now we believe that animals are born to end up on our plates. All of the victims here, whether human or non-human, all desire freedom, did want to live, felt pain, were scared of death, and were took advantage of by those who held more power. It is the same situation here, with a different victim. Just because animals can't speak doesn't mean they don't want to live. Just because they look different, doesn't mean we should use and abuse them. If a cow could open her mouth and beg you to let her live, or maybe if she could snuggle with you at night or go for walks, would you still pay for her to be killed? Probably not.

      I'm glad you're against fur, using animals in circuses, and in testing, but I'm confused as to what you think is the difference with animals killed for food? 97-99% of animals who make up the products we eat (meat, dairy, eggs), come from conditions where they never see or feel sunshine, never get to move freely, never get to make friends or be with their families, and in most cases are mutilated beyond believe. Why pay for this to happen when delicious, humane, and affordable options exist?

      -Rachel

      • Dee

        Your not really grasping what I'm saying. We may not fully need meat but theres certain vitamins you get out of meat that veggies can't substitute. And yes meat and dairy lead to problems but eating and drinking to much of anything can be threatening. I think the real problem we're running into is that theres an over consumtion of meat. And NO I do not eat meat just because it tastes good. It fills you up faster and longer and has certain vitamins. Yes your videos are very compelling. But I want to hear every side on the situtation.

        • Hey Dee,

          I am getting what you're saying–but meat doesn't contain anything you can't get from a healthy vegan diet. The point I'm making is that it's unnatural for us to consume meat, and physiologically, it's better for us to have a plant based diet. Check out all of the differences between true carnivores or omnivores, and us: http://www.peta.org/living/vegetarian-living/The-….

          I also have to disagree with the idea that meat "fills you up faster." Have you ever eaten vegan sausage, vegan bacon, or any other vegan foods? I would argue that they're just about the same in terms of "filling you up."

          This day in age, there's just no reason to continue supporting an industry that thinks it's OK to scald animals alive, mutilate them and torture them until they can barely move, and eat them. It's just not right, plain and simple.

          -Rachel

          • Serena

            I'm with Dee, here. I've gone Vegetarian before, tried the meat-free substitutes, but honestly? The feeling of satiation lasted longer with genuine meats, I would finish one MorningStar Chik'n pattie, and be hungry again in 30 minutes; And honestly some nutrients simply CANNOT be obtained by a meat-free diet. it's cool that people live that way, but don't make the rest of us feel like Dahmer or Gein for wanting a piece of meat, that in and of itself is unfair.

  • Bernadette

    I absolutely think animals should have rights, but I don't feel that everyone should be a vegetarian because that just isn't everyone's thing. Animals shouldn't be locked up in cages, tortured, etc. but instead I feel that they should be allowed to live a long and healthy life and then they could get killed but in a way that doesn't make them feel pain or get tortured. Almost every animal out there on the food chain either kills or gets killed but the way we are killing and treating animals is just inhumane.

  • Sophia

    Okay, so i watched this video about animal cruelty and how they make meat.. totally changed my mind about what i eat. But there's only one thing that's getting in the way of me becoming a vegetarian. And that's my mother. she doesn't know that i don't eat what she makes me yet because i i don't tell her "/ but when she finds out that i'm refusing to eat meat i know she's gonna go ape.. How do i explain to her what i want to do?? x

    • Ragan

      hey. im a vegetarian, and im so gl;ad ur trying to b 1 too. u should tell ur mom slowly, and don't get defensive. You have the right not to eat meat, and your mom should be able to respect that. Bring it up when ur in the car or doing something alone together. Don't spring it on her in front of everyone. Hope this helps!

    • Imani

      Sophia, I think it's awesome that you're thinking about going vegetarian! My parents supported me when I went vegetarian, but there are a lot of other parents who don't really. I suggest telling your parents you are a vegetarian. It is pretty hard to secretly be a vegetarian and sooner or later, they will probably find out (like if you're picking the chicken out of the pasta, for instance). What most parents don't know is how EASY it is! You can say something like "I know this might sound crazy, but I actually want to go vegetarian" and though like you said, it will probably be pretty awkard explaining your reasons, you could still state a few facts. They will probably shoot out lots of questions, but don't worry – you can tackle the questions like this…

      1 – Where will you get your protein?) "Actually there are tons of other ways to get protein, because protein is in just about everything; espcially nuts, beans, meatless "hot dogs" and "hamburgers," soy milk & cheese, tofu, dark-green veggies and whole grains all have protein in them! The key is to eat various foods."

      2 – What will you eat?) "There is so much to eat. I can eat just about anything, minus the meat. So that includes chesse pizza, chili without meat, pretezels, mac & cheese, etc. And there are products like Bocca and Morning Star that only sell vegetarian food. " [You would be surprised at how many times you have actually had a vegetarian meal without actually knowing it! ^_^]

      3 – Certain animals were made to be eaten) "Yes, maybe there were certain animals that were made to be eaten, but now-a-days the system that enables us to eat meat is unhealthy and cruel."

      4 – Being a vegetarian is unhealthy) "Going vegetarian is the healthest thing you can do for your body! Meat is packed with lots of calories, cholestrol, sodium, and fat. There are studies that show vegetarians live longer than people who eat meat."

      Or you could print pages of different facts (check out the websites below) and hand them to your parents after you told them you're a vegetarian.

      You could also have them read the book “Veggie Revolution: Smart Choices for a Healthy Body and a Healthy Planet” by Sally & Sara Kneidel (it is the BEST vegetarian book on the planet! 😀 ) and check out the websites http://www.vegcooking.com, http://www.vrg.org & http://www.goveg.com/theissues.asp

      Hopefully, your parents will become comfortable with you being a vegetarian, but don't give up!

      Sorry this was sooo long!! 🙂

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  • Okay, first of all I'd like to say that I am completely against the use of animals for cosmetic and drug testing purposes, and I do not approve of animal cruelty or death without cause. However, this whole veganism thing seems like a bit of an extreme and unreasonable reaction to it all. Human beings were born to eat both plants and animals; that is why we have omnivorously-shaped teeth and our bodies require nutrients from both sources. I don't see how eating other animals is such a cruel thing for humans to do, as many other earth species must consume others for survival as well. So, it certainly isn't a barbaric, human-invented practice. It is simply the way of nature, the circle of life, the way things have always been. And, although there are benefits of reducing meat consumption in one's diet, there are also a number of health issues that arise from a complete elimination of animal products. I have quoted the following from a health website concerning a VEGETARIAN diet:

    "Risks of Vegetarianism:

    Balancing vegetarian food and nutrition is vital to maintaining a healthy vegetarian diet. Strict vegetarians may be at risk of several nutrition deficiencies such as vitamin B-12, riboflavin, zinc, calcium, iron, and essential amino acids such as lysine and methionine. Vegans and vegetarians are also at risk of energy deficiency in the form of calories, particularly in children.

    Long-term deficiencies in an inadequate vegetarian diet may lead to the following complications:

    •Osteoporosis as a result of a lack of calcium causing bone demineralization

    •Rickets in children due to a lack of vitamin D

    •Iron-Deficiency Anemia due to low iron storage. One study found that 27% of women and 5% of men who were lacto-ovo-vegetarians had low serum ferritin levels (iron storage)

    •Macrocytic Anemia due to vitamin B-12 deficiency. This has been observed in infants breast-fed by mothers who are strict vegetarians

    •Emaciation or Slow Growth in vegetarian infants and children"

    This being said, I have no issues with someone who chooses to become a vegan or a vegetarian; it is purely a personal choice. However, I do have issues with PROMOTING veganism and trying to popularize it among teens, as this is not the most healthy lifestyle in my opinion.

    I hope you take my thoughts into consideration.

    With all due respect, Anonymous Girl

    • Pork

      So why god gave them feelings? Why are animals living things if God created them for food? Theres no nutrients in animals that can't be replaced. It also depends on your body. Vegans and vegetarians must buy some kind of vitamins.

      Meat contains all kinds of bacteries that cause cancers. Chance to get cancer for vegetarians and vegans decreases by 70%. Also cholesterol is found only in animal products.

    • Pork

      and by the way ,why do you think that you are more important than animals. They are living creatures who have EXACTLY the same feelings you do.

      They can even fall in love and make friendships. Do we have the right to kill someone?

      We are not wild and eating meat is not neccesary for survival. We have SO much other foods to eat and it is even healthier!

      • Mikaela

        "Pork",

        "Anonymous" is not saying she has a problem with people becoming vegetarians, she is saying not to promote it. Yes, it is an unhealthy lifestyle; where will you get your protein from? And if God is so amazing, why did he make humans to have a basic survival instinct to eat meat? And another thing, in some primitive countries, people become cannibals, so in fact, we are eating other human beings. Furthermore, other animals (e.g. tigers) hunt down their prey and eat it, so why can't we?

        • Hey Mikaela,

          I just wanted to clear some things up.

          Veganism is actually extremely healthy and natural. It's eating animals that kills us–literally. Eating meat is linked to cancer, osteoporosis, stroke, heart disease, diabetes, obesity, and lots of other diseases. The protein you get when eating animals actually works against our bodies, not with it, like the protein from veggies. You can get more than enough protein from beans, tofu, greens, and more.

          Humans don't have the "instinct" to eat meat. When you see a dead deer on the side of the road, do you go and take a bite out of her? No. If you were a true carnivore, the instinct would be there. If you put a live bunny and a carrot next to a baby in a crib, which one would he eat? Humans are naturally compassionate, and are conditioned to eat meat through advertising, misinformation, and outright lies. This is what you're eating when you eat meat, and it's something the meat industry doesn't want you to know: http://www.meat.org. Do you agree with that?

        • Lilamedusa

          You can get your proteins from beans, soy, tofu, lentils or nuts. You can get your B12 from cereals and soy mil, and you can also buy vitamins. You get your iron from soy milk, beans, tomato, cashews, raisins.

          I don't know about god, but eating meat is not our natural instict. In fact, our ancestor did not eat meat but once or twice a month.

          Other animals eat animals because they need to. We do not. We can get all our vitamins from veggies and fruits, and not only we do not NEED to eat meat, we are not made to eat meat. The acids in our stomachs are not nearly strong enough to dissolve meat – therefore, that heavy feeling after eating it – our canines are a joke and our digestive tract is longer compared to that of carnivores.

          Besides there are animals that do not eat meat. Why not follor their example instead of that of carnivores?

          Black people used to be slaves and women were nothing but baby-maker machines. Was that ok? No it wasn't. Just because things such as cannibolism happen, it does not make them okay.

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  • MARIMA

    animals are god creation they have the right to be love respected and cared for thank you