Evolution News and Views (ENV) provides original reporting and analysis about the debate over intelligent design and evolution, including breaking news about scientific research.

Evolution News and Views
Culture and Ethics NEWS

AP’s Pro-Animal Rights Bias Is Revealed in Stylebook Change


Animal rights and animal welfare are two different concepts. The former is an ideology that creates an explicit moral equivalence or equality between animals and humans. In this view, what is done to an animal must be judged in the same manner as if done to a human being, or one is a "speciesist." Hence, cattle ranching is an equivalent evil to slavery.

Animal welfare, on the other hand, deals with setting humane treatment standards and preventing abuse. Animal welfare is a duty imposed by humanity's exceptional status. Animal rights is opposed to human exceptionalism, explicitly and in implication. A lot of people -- me included -- support animal welfare but adamantly oppose animal rights.  

That is why a new change in the influential Associated Press stylebook is so revealing. From the newly amended standards: 

New entries have been added to the AP Stylebook Online. As an online subscriber, you can receive these updates whenever the Associated Press makes them. Every time you log into AP Stylebook Online, you can easily find recent updates by clicking on "New Entries" or "Recent Changes" in the left navigation bar...

Animal welfare activist. Use instead of animal rights activist.

But true animal rights activists oppose animal welfare because it accepts that humans may domesticate and use animals. Activists like Gary Francione are honest about this, PETA often hides its true ideology behind animal welfare-type advocacy.

Thus the AP's guidelines would not only hide the truth in specific circumstances, but permits animal rights activists to hide their true beliefs -- which is a big way in which they raise money.

When an animal rights activist makes an assertion -- such as PETA's Ingrid Newkirk saying, "A rat, is a pig, is a dog, is a boy" -- and she is called an animal welfare activist, that is like hiding the wolf in sheep's clothing. But she is still a wolf. 

Image by Metroskop / Benjamin Holler (Own work) [GFDL or CC BY 3.0], via Wikimedia Commons.

Cross-posted at Human Exceptionalism.