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An animal is a sentient being with needs, feelings and rights. It's right to freedom cannot be taken or granted. It can be limited, better is to acknowledge and to respect it.


Especially caged animals are deprived of their freedom in factory farms, on international transports, through irresponsible breeding of dogs, in ritual slaughter et cetera.

Our lifestyle and shopping behavior have consequences for animals indoor and outdoor. How can there be a optimum and a balance for freedom for humans and for animals? Is it o.k. to eat meat?


For their well-being all animals deserve adequate possibilities to live a natural live.
Freedom is of universal significance. It is a value and a right. Animal rights are based on the same principle as human rights: i.e. freedom.

Becoming aware of this value and to contribute to this right is fun. It liberates and connects us to other living beings.

And last, but not least, it can save you money too.

Animal rights and the theory behind it

What is the basis for granting rights to animals?


1 Is there a satisfactory basic principle?
2 Can freedom be maintained as a fundamental right if it is infringed?
3 Isn't being an owner of an animal in conflict with the right of freedom?
4 Advocating animal rights should be financially rewarded
5 Should all wrongful actions towards animals be prohibited?

Animals are only capable of expressing themselves indirectly in case of abuse. Therefore it is up to us to answer the question above.
Concepts that are eligible for forming the basis of animal rights are intrinsic value, welfare, respect, freedom, equality, compassion etc. Many of these concepts seem appropriate but are less suitable if we apply them in practical situations.

We examine the workability of each concept according to a number of important principles:

  1. The formulation of animal rights should be a workable and practical concept that can be legally reviewed.
  2. Animal rights are meant to benefit all individual animals including all species from wildlife and agriculture e.g. domestic animals, mammals, but also insects.
  3. Considering the diversity of those species we should take into account their specific nature.
  4. Animal rights apply to people and should be called upon by people.
  5. Death holds a distinct position in animal rights: the slaughter, hunting by experts for the purpose of wildlife management and professional fishing. Regulations should be enforced to ensure a fast and painless death, which must serve a purpose (in contrast with undesired extra fish to the catch). This also applies to killing off harmful vertebrae, which can otherwise not be stopped.
  6. Rights of the species outweigh the rights of the individual (if a plant or animal threatens to become extinct people should be forbidden to disturb its life). A certain species (e.g. sow or salmon) has the right not to be produced or caught in excessive numbers for export purposes. This mass production is unworthy of an animal and it is meant to satisfy more than only our basic needs.

Is it possible to conceive a satisfactory judicial basic principle that can be adequately employed?

A workable option is to apply the same principle for human rights as for animals rights, which is the right of freedom.

The Farm Animal Welfare Council, for example, has determined that animals in cattle farming have a right to "5 forms of "freedom" (freedom from hunger, thirst and malnutrition; freedom from fear and distress; freedom from physical and thermal discomfort; freedom from pain, injury and disease; and freedom to express normal patterns of behaviour).

Freedom is a paradoxical concept: freedom defined is freedom denied. Clear boundaries are to be formulated as to its beginning and its end; otherwise the concept is unworkable. In order to employ the concept of freedom in actual practice, the best thing is to describe all situations that frustrate an animal's ability to be free.
Setting limits applies to both humans and animals and it is therefore a powerful concept. We may consider the minimum standard of an animal's freedom but also physical boundaries (e.g. fences).

An important advantage of freedom is that it entails a limit to the obligation to be concerned with animal rights. By safeguarding these rights, the animal can be left to interpret freedom in its own way and be free to exercise behavior that is in accordance with its innate nature. How an animal exercises its freedom in terms of behavior has no bearings on the basic principle of animal rights.
For animals in the wild it is sufficient to be able to maintain a natural balance without disturbance by human beings. For domestic or agricultural animals the important thing is to ensure that they are able to exercise their natural behavior to a certain extent.
In addition to this, freedom also entails the right of physical integrity: no more bodily harm by interventions including cutting beaks, castration of piglets, genetic engineering (selection sustained) or extreme unhealthy forms of breeding (e.g. double-muscle calves delivered by caesarian operations).

Freedom is a basic right for animals

Why is freedom so important?


In the phrasing of our basic human rights in the constitutions of many countries, freedom is the first and the most important issue. A basic human right is a right that is indisputable.


The history of freedom as a basis for our laws dates back to the times long before the birth of Christ. In both religion and spirituality, freedom is the most important issue in rules that believers impose on themselves, at least it is if you agree with that the saying "do unto others as you would have done unto yourself" can be translated as "where the freedom of another person starts, mine ends". This is also known as the Golden Rule, the center of all human ethics.
Where people are concerned, it is necessary to enshrine this basic right in civil and religious law, because sometimes we have the tendency to cross other people's boundaries, or restrict other peoples freedom. This is not always done on purpose. Too often people only realize a border was crossed after the occurrence.


The importance of freedom is similar to the importance of health. Health is a form of freedom. We don't know for sure whether or not animals can suffer and become ill when they are robbed of their freedom, but we do know that animals will do anything to keep themselves from being locked up. That an animal suffers from a lack of freedom or the ability to exhibit natural behavior is often deduced from the behavior that animals in captivity typically display. A common example is the restless rhythmic swaying motion that polar bears exhibit when their freedom of movement is restricted.


In nature freedom is evident. The term "Free Nature" is testament to this. Lack of freedom among animals only exists due to illness or old age, but luckily death then quickly liberates the animal from suffering. None of the many species in nature takes another species' freedom away, except for a short period in which one eats the other. However, neither human meat eaters nor vegetarians have a problem when animals eat each other.
Finally, there is our instinct which tells us to stand up for a group that is forced to live in an unjust situation.

Ethics and responsibility

Freedom is a good basis of ethics: what enlarges freedom is right, what reduces freedom is wrong.
But freedom can't exist without drawing boundaries. bounderies aren't fixed and more freedom brings with it more responsibilities. Not everyone likes to carry responsibilities, so therefore some people consciously or unconsciously opt for less freedom, but feel freer in the process.
Everyone has the right to draw his own border where another person is concerned. It's not done (etiquette) to force others to draw a border against their will.

animals are objects of law

According to modern law, the rights of animals kept in factory farms are irrelevant, because animals are objects of law, not subjects of law. In the spirit of the constitution, however, owners of factory farms are committing criminal acts because the spirit of the constitution breathes freedom for all and everyone: freedom, equality and brotherhood.
According to the constitution there is no legal difference whether you put a piggy bank or a meat pig in a shed for a couple of months. It is unjust that there is no difference between an object and an animal.

moral obligation to protect

In order to draw bounderies for criminals we have the police and the department of justice. They have the means to protect our borders against people who cross them. The police and the department of justice are duty bound to deny criminals their freedom for only as long as is necessary. In our system of law, freedom is guaranteed to such an extent that even a criminal has the right to freedom.
When talking doesn't help, it can and may be necessary to force a person on moral and ethical grounds to respect another person's bounderies It is the duty of society to protect the weaker group, for example, handicapped people are protected against unfair exploitation. The animal is, compared to the exploiting owners of factory farms, the weaker group that cannot stand up for itself. In nature the law of the fittest, strongest, smartest or fastest prevails. By protecting the weaker group in combination with a guarantee for freedom we surpass nature.

factory farming methods should stop

We also have to conclude that in factory farming systems the constitutional rights of animals have been violated by the extreme confinement of freedom of movement and the lack of opportunity to display natural behavior. In factory farming systems and sometimes in politics the right to freedom is ignored and swept under the carpet. In a civilized society that respects basic rights and tries to uphold them, some animals will still be eaten, but before death an animal will have a life that is worthy of it. For the government, this all means that it has the moral duty to abolish all factory farms and create a form of farming where freedom is the basis for the well-being of animals.

eating meat from factory farms is wrong

For the consumer this doesn't mean that eating meat is wrong, but that eating 'contaminated' meat is wrong. You are (free to choose) what you eat, but if you choose to eat meat produced in factory farms then you too are responsible for the continuation of the violation of the constitutional rights of animals.

Types or arguments to defend animal abuse

Example of the type of argument
Type of deceptive argument
A campaign will not be effective, because no one will cooperate Circular reasoning
I hope you will never be in those circumstances Appeal to power
When you succeed, we will all pay for the consequences Appeal to consequences
It is pointless to act, because somewhere else things are being worse Appeal to figurative arguments
Of course it is allowed what people do with animals, because man is smarter Appeal to unknown arguments
I can give you examples of situations where animals were killed but many human lives were saved Pars pro toto
You say you are pro animals, but you take advantage of them too Getting personal
I study biology and I know why animal experimentation is necessary Appeal to authority
Animals don't mind being used, because you can't prove they do Appeal to ignorance
We have always used animals and that was very successful Appeal to supposed relation
Most people agree with the use of animals Appeal to supposed common sense
People lose their job when animals are no longer allowed to be used Appeal to compassion
Every sane human being knows there is nothing wrong in using animals Evasion of evidence
Granting rights to animals means treating them the same as humans Distortion of arguments

Why do people want pets?

Many people can see the use of keeping cattle: they serve as food for people. But what use are pets?

The most common reasons for keeping pets are:

they are beautiful, nice and interesting
something to do


Many people have pets to substitute relationships with partners, children or family members. Many elderly people for instance, like having a dog instead of being all alone at home. This is usually a lap dog, very affectionate and strokable.
The animal serves people's need to cherish, love and fight boredom. But this is really a distressing reason for keeping a pet. The animal is a replacement for normal human contact, something that apparently is too much to summon in our individualistic society. Their pet keeps them from pining. But of course, it has to be a type of dog that suits them and that has been bred especially for their needs.


Pets make socializing with others easier. People are more inclined to start a conversation when they can focus their attention on the animal in a moment of silence. Just like with any other hobby, it's nice to talk to people that have the same hobby.

Beautiful, nice and interesting

People find animals attractive. No matter what kind of animal it is, you can always find an interesting characteristic. Birds sing, dogs and cats are playful and funny, and there are animals that look uncommon.


Pets give status. When an animal looks dangerous, for instance, this reflects on its owner. Many people (sub) consciously pick animals that best suit them and most reflect their status.

Something to do

Preventing boredom is another important reason to keep pets. An animal needs attention. It can need a lot of attention, as dogs do, but there are also animals that don't need as much attention, such as fish or turtles. Besides, you can look at them. Animal-watching is a nice way to spend your time, just like people-watching.
But do these arguments put forward by people balance against the animal's arguments or the drawbacks for humans?

Labels (Animal rights aspects covered on this page)

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