What would animal rights look like?
Category : Uncategorized
What if we were to grant rights to animals? All of them, not just chimpanzees or whales and dolphins….
Let’s say we grant the right to life and the right to freedom to the animals who share the planet with us. What would we be doing differently? How would this affect our everyday life?
I’ve been really curious about this question for some time. We spend a lot of time working to promote animal rights, but do we have a clear idea of what this would actually mean if fully implemented?
Well, right off the bat we’d all be vegan. No more stealing milk and eggs and flesh from animals. The grains and soy and water that are now used to raise animals would be used to grow food for humans, with much more efficiency. Animals would no longer get dumped in the trash because they are too small or “surplus.”
The land with soil that we can’t utilize for crops would be returned to wildlife. We would have to go to great lengths to ensure that our farming does not impact habitat or animal lives. This might mean enclosed farming or indoor farming.
In place of manure we would be utilizing green manure systems, composting, seaweed, etc. All methods would be veganic. These methods are currently being practiced by various farms around Europe and North America.
Quite likely most of the animals that we now raise for food would no longer exist, unless in sanctuary-type settings. They have been bred to a point that they will likely not be able to survive on their own. Some of them, chickens for example, don’t actually exist in the wild. During the transition period they would have to be cared for in sanctuaries until they all eventually die.
We would no longer use animals for entertainment – unless perhaps filmed from a distance. No more of Disney’s staged “wildlife” films. No more rodeos. We would not be taking our children to “learn” about animals at zoos or aquariums. Instead, children could learn about them via films or even by taking carefully planned trips to where the animals live.
Likely our architecture and transportation systems would be different. We would have to build to preserve habitat to the greatest extent possible, not just when it’s convenient or good public relations. This would mean keeping to the smallest footprint possible, and including animals and their habitat in our plans.
I picture buildings that are a part of the landscape, that allow for animals to migrate through our cities and towns. Instead of right lines scored against the earth, our building would follow natural patterns. We would have to observe and fully understand the impact of new construction on the lives of any inhabitants before building.
Highways or trains could be elevated or underground. I doubt that we would have cars as we know them now. Possibly electric cars, solar powered maybe. One thing that would be definite is that our environmental efforts would have to be real, because damaging the environment would be the same as dumping garbage in someone’s house. Real care would have to be used to ensure no harm is done.
Quite likely we would lead simpler lives, with fewer posessions, traveling less, consuming less. This would be no utopian system, but we would act with more consciousness of the impacts, and extended impacts, of our actions.
Scientific research would be different, and I would bet more efficient and quite improved. Instead of expending so much energy on ineffectual animal tests (and developing the animal models required for those tests), researchers would be have to develop working alternative systems for testing. Of course, we would never think of conducting any tests of consmetics or household cleaners on animals. We probably wouldn’t even be using a lot of those potentially toxic chemicals anyway, due to the risk of negative impact on the environment.
This is less of a concrete view of what the world would look like if animals had rights than I had wanted it to be. It is difficult to be that speculative, especially with the state of animal rights today.
What I think is quite clear is that we wouldn’t really have to give up much, except for our pointless pleasures, the things that used to be considered gluttony. We would actually have to take care of the world around us, instead of burning it out like we’re doing now. We are certainly capable of living more harmoniously with the other inhabitants of this planet than we are now.