Answering Arguments Against Animal Rights
Part IX -- Argument Six: Animal rights advocates put animals ahead of people (conclusion)
Argument Six: Animal rightists hate people

Another variant of this argument against animals is that those who advocate animal rights hate people. Obviously this is the statement of a bigot since it stereotypes a vast group of people with a negative characteristic.

Some animal advocates hate people. So do some advocates of any other cause you care to name. This is unfortunate, if understandable.

The crimes people have committed against each other, against the environment, and against other animals, can make one ashamed of our species. But it's important not to lose sight of the fact that people are also capable of great acts of selflessness. Though we may hate the cruel actions of some of our fellow humans, we must not hate people who commit moral outrages. This is often hard to do, and it's not surprising given the human record, that some cannot make this distinction.

But to state that the movement as a whole is anti-people is to deliberately ignore the facts. If I did not believe that people were basically good hearted, I would not devote so much of my time to bringing animal abuse to light. The fact that I'm here on your TV set shows that I don't hate people, but that I believe in their basic goodness. It is my hope that once I show you that certain actions -- which you may be doing in all innocence -- cause animal suffering, you will stop those practices.

To determine if animal advocates hate people as a rule, we only have to look at the lives of some of the prominent individuals in the movement.

John Kolem, the secretary for the Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, helped found the Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children.

Jeremy Betham

Jeremy Bentham, who spoke out against animal abuse, was also a slavery abolitionist.

Count Leo Tolstoy, who developed such a strong feeling of empathy with the peasants of Russia that he left the upper classes to live with them, and who wrote eloquently against the slavery of his time, was a vegetarian on ethical grounds.
Mark Twain and George Bernard Shaw

Mark Twain and George Bernard Shaw both attacked the cruel senselessness of war in their writings. Few are aware, however, that both of these creative geniuses also wrote against the cruelty of animal experimentation.
Albert Schwietzer with a deer

Albert Schwietzer, the missionary world renowned for his love of people, also found time to demonstrate a concern for the welfare of non-human animals.
Mahatma Gandhi

And, of course, Mahatma Gandhi, whose love of people was so great that he took on the British empire in order to improve his people's lot. He was a vegetarian on ethical grounds.
A doctor

Also, we know that at least a thousand doctors in our day have gone on record against animal experimentation.
A doctor

These are men and women who have taken an oath to save human lives: they are not "people haters."
Inherent Rights

Our philosophy is based on inherent rights. And, of course, this applies to humans too. We say: anyone who has interests -- anyone who can experience pain -- deserves not to have pain inflicted upon them.

Sex, abilities, race, or species don't enter into it.

The animal rights movement, then, is very pro-human. It encompasses non-human animals because not to do so would be inconsistent.

People have an inherent right not to be abused because they can suffer. Animals have this same right because they too can suffer. That is what is relevant: the capacity to suffer, not what species you belong to.

Respecting the rights of animals does not hurt us; it is actually good for us. There are great health benefits from a vegetarian diet.
Chart showing chances of heart attacks for meat-eaters, vegetarians, and vegans

As many studies have shown: vegetarians live longer healthier lives. Many people who care nothing about animal rights have adopted this diet just for the health benefits.
Three earths

Also, we know that it would take three times the land mass available on this planet for farming to provide everyone with a meat-centered diet. Those of us who are concerned with world famine and the destruction of the environment have no business eating meat: as it contributes to both of these problems.

Only vegetarianism can feed a starving world, and ease the erosion of our land and destruction of our rain forests caused by raising cattle.

So, even if the lives of non-human animals were not at stake, I would not eat meat. Because I know it's a luxury food that can never be available to the majority of people on earth. And which carries a heavy price-tag for the environment and cuts down on total food production in a world of starving people.
Animal rightist do not hate people

Obviously then, animal advocates do not hate people. But even if we did, it would not be relevant to the issue of whether or not non-human animals have a right not to be tortured or murdered. Once again, this argument against animals misses the point. The point is not whether animals activists are good people. The point is whether non-human animals have a right to live their lives and have a right not to be tortured by us.
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