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Why Advocates of Animal Rights Hate Animal Welfare

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Advocates of animal rights ideology seek to end all domestication of animals. Advocates of animal welfare, on the other hand, seek to create ever-improving standards of animal husbandry.

Animal rights sometimes hides behind appeals to animal welfare -- to gain funds and followers -- but a true animal rightist hates the idea of animal welfare. Why? Because it presumes that we have the right to domesticate what used to be called beasts.

Here is a great example: If one seeks to reduce the suffering of food animals -- particularly cattle -- Temple Grandin should be considered a heroine. Slightly autistic, she believes she can perceive the world visually in the way animals do, which has allowed her to help the cattle industry to create methods that allow the animals to go to slaughter without fear or pain.

Grandin was to speak at the University of Guelph, in Ontario. And a professor who is an animal rights zealot went apoplectic about that. From the story in the Guelph Mercury:

When Paul Bali first heard that animal behaviorist Temple Grandin was going to speak at the University of Guelph, he said he was seeing red...

When he heard that Grandin was scheduled to speak at the university in August, he said he lost it. Grandin is the guest speaker at a private third-party function at a building on campus Thursday evening.

When Bali learned of this, he said he went in a fit of rage to buy a can of spray paint and wrote the word "abattoir," with an arrow pointing to the university, on the stone sign at the intersection of College Avenue and Gordon Street...

Bali said the spray-painting, which was soon removed by U of G, was done to start a larger conversation. "A little bit of paint on stone is nothing, it comes off. But I was pointing at some actual blood," he said. "It's sad for me to see the University of Guelph so closely tied to this industry of murder."

Animals can't be "murdered" -- only humans can. Indeed, calling the slaughter of a steer "murder" diminishes the evil of the heinous crime -- unless one thinks a cow or squirrel and a human have equal moral value.

This tiny example demonstrates that "animal rights" isn't really about being nicer to animals. It is about creating a moral equality between us and them, and ending all domestication -- from food animals, to research, to zoos, to everything, eventually including pets.

You may think you are for animal rights when you are really for animal welfare. It is time to use the correct terminology so that "animal rights" becomes a scorned and shunned movement.

Image credit: Daniel Schwen [CC BY-SA 3.0 or GFDL], via Wikimedia Commons.

Cross-posted at Human Exceptionalism.