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This I Believe
Can they talk? Can they reason? Can they feel? Can they suffer? How does it feel to be tortured when you have no method of verbally fighting back? The question of whether or not animals deserve rights is still being debated, but the answer quite simply should be yes. Which is why I believe in animal rights.
Animals surely deserve to live their lives free from suffering and exploitation, just as humans. The capacity for suffering is not just another characteristic like the capacity for complex language or higher mathematics. All animals have the ability to suffer in the same way and degree that humans do. They feel pain, pleasure, fear, frustration, loneliness, and motherly love. Every creature with a will to live has a right to live free from pain and suffering.
Animals are treated as property under our legal system for only economic interest. Over one billion people worldwide depend on animals as a profitable and efficient source of food or income. When humans are first exposed to what is happening inside factory farms, research facilities, laboratories, circuses, and other animal industry establishments, they are utterly appalled, leaving them with one significant question: how is this allowed? Unfortunately, many of these cruel practices are perfectly legal. For chicks to have the tips of their sensitive beaks seared off, for horrific chemical testing to be performed on helpless animals, and for animals to perform ridiculous tricks under the threat of physical punishment… These are all inhumane practices that favor economic interests over creatures’ lives.
I firmly believe there is more to animals than what people perceive. Animals are not worthless bits of flesh and bone walking the earth and consuming resources; they are responsive beings with a high degree of intelligence and emotional capacity. Anyone who has been in close contact and a loving relationship with an animal will know how capable they are of receiving love and loving back. If it is irrational and criminal to hurt a human being because they have the ability to feel, it is the same for animals as well.
But I believe there’s still much work to be done. As long as even one rabbit trembles in fear alone in a laboratory cage, as long as a heartbroken mother cow cries out for her calf who’s been torn away from her, and as long as one hungry dog lies chained and forgotten in a filthy backyard, we must never give up and never be silent. There are alternatives to these kinds of cruel practices, and it can never hurt to try and save the lives of these animals.

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