Term Paper The Stand Against PETA “We love all animals, it’s just people we’re not too crazy about,” is a comment made by People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) (Fegan 1). This outrageous comment insinuates PETA puts animals’ rights before the rights and needs of humans, which is not the way nature intended. The PETA organization has been around since 1980 affectively with their hyped-up, illogical stories of how we need to treat animals as equals and grant them rights that only we, as humans, should enjoy.
These are assumptions and claims which are used to further their cause and are not founded in reality. Contradictory to PETA’s beliefs, animals should not have the same rights as humans, because that is the law of nature. According to Erasmus Darwin, who stated “Such is the condition of organic nature! whose first law might be expressed in the words ‘Eat or be eaten! “. (Science Quotes by Erasmus Darwin) I do not intend to condemn animal rights activists, since people are entitled to their own opinions, but rather discuss why this way of life may be harmful to themselves and others.
Animal rights debater Stephen R. L. Clark points out, “As humans, we are like the other animals and unlike them, tied to them and separate, in many ways,” (Golding). For example, humans are animals, our nature is an animal nature, our desires are, for the most part, animal desires, and our habit of hunting is like that of other animals. However, what sets us apart from other animals is the fact that we have legal rights (the right to vote) and moral rights (life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness).
The distinction must be made that animals obviously can’t have the same rights as humans, because their interests are not always the same as ours, and some rights would be irrelevant to animals. For instance, an animal such as a cat doesn’t have an interest in voting and, therefore, doesn’t have the right to vote because that right would be as meaningless to a dog as it is to a child. But it is unquestionable that it is in an animal’s interest to be free of suffering, have the freedom to move and interact with others of its species. It is only natural that humans have dominion over plants and animals.
In the hierarchy of life, plants live to provide food for animals, and animals live to supply humans with food, clothing, and tools. The belief that all life should have equal value can lead to absurdities such as allowing mosquitoes to spread malaria, pesky flies to remain alive inside one’s home, or a venomous snake such as a viper for instance, to run loose on one’s property. Most creatures in the wild die long before they have a chance to live out their natural lives because they are usually victims of a predator or human overpopulation.
However, the controversial process of how animals are treated has existed for many generations, up to now we have been unsuccessful in reaching an understanding. As also in religion people have different views “Jainism, which enjoins ahimsa (“noninjury”) toward all living things, and Buddhism, which forbids the needless killing of animals […]. traditional Judaism and Christianity taught that animals were created by God for human use. ” (Encyclopedia Britannica) There are many different opinions some say that “Animals […] lack this capacity for free moral judgment.
They are not beings of a kind capable of exercising or responding to moral claims. Animals therefore have no rights, and they can have none. ” (Cohen) Others like the organization of Animals Deserve Absolute Protection Today and Tomorrow (ADAPTT) “believes that all animals have an inherent right to be free and live completely unfettered by human dominance. ” Organizations like the ADAPTT want non-human animals to be protected by laws that would grant the animal the “rights to be free”(ADAPTT). If you had the choice to live or die which would you choose?
If you had the alternative to live in a cage or in a house which would you select? If you had the option to have experiments that caused you pain preformed on you would you? The truth is that most of use would rather live, reside in a house and would not be a part of an experiment that caused us pain. However, most people accept the elements of the above conditions for non-human animals. Non-human animals should not be a part of any destruction, pain, incarceration and underprivileged conditions that are caused by humans.
Jay Stuller, a free-lance writer whose articles have appeared in Audubon, Oceans, and Reader’s Digest, argues that food shortages justify human use of animals to meet their needs (Stuller 38). If farmers did not raise animals for food, the American society would greatly suffer. Our ancestors survived by hunting and eating animals; why should PETA make us change our natural way of life? Meat provides an abundance of high-quality protein as well as several minerals; however, eating it in moderation is the key to a healthy lifestyle.
A mixed diet that includes sufficient grains and cereals, a generous amount of vegetables, fresh fruit, milk, and a serving of meat consist of a sensible meal. According to Preeti Yogendra Jain, a modern anthropologist, it is believed that the diet of prehistoric man consisted of nuts, fruits, plants and probably some insects without the killing of animals and therefore lived without eating meat and they survived, so why should we not survive without meat as well. Scientists have established that early man originated in a warm climate where growing plants was easier than hunting.
In the Stone Age, man started eating meat, but he ate far less of it than many of today’s non-vegetarians do. It was during the last ice age when fruits, nuts and vegetables were unavailable that early humans had to start eating animal flesh in order to survive. (Vegetarianism In All Aspects) However, it is becoming more difficult for the farmers of the USA to survive in the food industry because of organizations like PETA, specifically because PETA has been targeting certain people such as laboratory researchers, factory farm workers, clothes designers, meat-eaters, and fur-wearers.
I was brought up in a small, farming community in Mercer County, Ohio, near Celina, in which agriculture is a big part of everyday life and most people make their living on farming. If mass amounts of animals were not used for the means of food production, farmers would not be able to make a living and support their families. For example, my friend’s father is a poultry farmer in Mercer County, and PETA has told him that he is to put one less chicken in every cage. Instead of raising 214,000 chickens, he is now only able to raise 207,000 birds.
That is a big cut in his egg production, which means that he will not make as much money as in previous years. As a result, PETA hurts me also, since I work for my friends father once and a while who may give me a pay cut. Because of PETA’s new regulations, small-community farmers may not make enough money to stay in the business; as a result, they may have to shut their operation down in the future. Research involving animals is absolutely essential to maintaining and improving the health of the American people. Dr.
Lewis Thomas, scholar-in-residence at Cornell University Medical College states, “Without animal research, medical science would come to a total standstill” (Day 73). Many discoveries and technological advances have been attributed to work with animals, such as vaccines, anesthetics, antibiotics, insulin, heart drugs, most surgical procedures, organ transplants, and the CAT scan. According to medical researcher Marna Owen, the increased survival rate among cancer patients can also be attributed to animal research.
In the 1930s, less than one in five people with cancer was still alive five years after diagnosis. Now almost half of all cancer patients live at least five years. This survival rate is due in part to more than thirty anticancer drugs that were tested thoroughly on animals before being used on humans (Owen 39). Animals as well as people benefit from medical research because the medicines developed for humans are also used to treat pets and farm animals. A common belief of animal rights activists is that slaughter is repulsive and degrading. According to Darla Erhardt, R. D. M.
P. H, practicing vegetarianism is a successful way in minimizing suffering, promoting compassion, improving health standards, protecting the environment, preserving wildlife, and promoting non-violence (Jarvis 97). Slaughter may seem repulsive and degrading to some people, but whether or not something is repulsive is highly individual. William T. Jarvis, a professor of public health and preventive medicine at Loma Linda University, explains that some Hindus, who will not eat animal foods because of their religion, readily drink their own urine for the sake of health (Jarvis 98).
Whether such activities are degrading is also a matter of opinion. The fact that most prey is eaten while they are still alive testifies to the heartlessness of nature compared to slaughterhouses, where death is generally quick and painless. Another PETA belief is that animal flesh is unhealthful because it contains too much cholesterol and saturated fat. According to Joe Haptas, an animal rights activist, the physical health of America would improve drastically, while rates of obesity, heart disease, stroke, and type II diabetes would plummet (Haptas 3A).
David Oderberg, a wildlife conservationist, argues, “Although many people today practice vegetarianism for the health benefits it promises, there is no medical proof that a totally meat-free diet will assure you of a long, vigorous and healthy life,” (Oderberg). Meat is part of my everyday diet, which includes many fruits, vegetables, and milk, and I am still a very healthy person and of average weight for a man of my size. Animal rights activists are wrong when they state that meat automatically makes people obese and heart disease targets.
According to an article by William Jarvis, a case reported recently emphasizes the dangers of a strict vegetarian diet, one that excludes all animal products. It involved a 33-year-old patient who had been a vegan since the age of 20. He did not eat meat, eggs, dairy products, or fish. He also had no history of alcohol abuse, did not smoke cigarettes, and was not taking any vitamin supplements. The patient was diagnosed with severe optic neuropathy in both eyes with poor vision of 20/400 in each eye.
There was no evidence for an infectious cause of this severe loss of vision but blood samples revealed deficiencies in B1, B12, A, C, D, E, zinc and selenium. The patient was treated with oral multivitamins until his blood levels normalized but his eyesight did not recover—the damage to the optic nerve from lack of nutrients was irreversible (Jarvis 98). However, there are some stipulations, in which some argue that studies have shown less heart attacks and lower blood pressure in vegetarians. This is actually true.
However, Holly Alley, a nutrition specialist, argues that this research does not rule out other lifestyle habits common among vegetarians that affect health; therefore the research is inconclusive and unreliable. The fact is the reason the health statistics are higher for vegetarians is that they choose to follow other healthy habits, such as not smoking or drinking, whereas most non-vegetarians do smoke and drink (Alley). Vegetarianism does not cause them to do this; their mindset does. A person could be non-vegetarian and follow healthy habits, causing them to be just as healthy.
So the question arises, is it even possible for vegans to avoid using and ingesting ALL animal by-products? Many vegans live by the rule that since they make up their own rules, they can make their own exceptions. However, almost all everyday products such as perfume from whales, jewelry from elephants and many others come from animals or animal by-products. According to an unauthored article at www. anti-peta. com, there are more animal by-products that are used everyday than one may think: White sugar is refined using animal bone charcoal as a filter.
Artificial red dyes are extracted from beetle chitin. All store-bought bread contains stearoyl-lactylate from cattle as a dough conditioner. Stearic acid, a fatty acid from cattle, is found in tires, cosmetics, candles, rubber, plastic, metallurgy, paper-making, printing and dyeing of textiles. Antifreeze, asphalt, hydraulic brake fluid, airplane fluid, various machine lubricants, steel ball bearings, car wax, and upholstery contain cattle by-products. Lip balm and hand lotion often contain lanolin from sheep and/or beeswax.
Anything made from plastic or using fossil fuels contains by-products from animals that died. Produce, particularly organic produce, may have been urinated on by animals or grown with animal dung fertilizer. Grain may contain eggs, larvae, pupae, or adults of various insect species, some too small to see. In fact, insect “residue” in grain was the only thing keeping a sect of South Indian vegans from dying of vitamin B-12 deficiency. When the group migrated to England, many died as a result of “cleaner” grain storage (“Animal Rights” 1).
However, it is possible to purchase products, which are made up of non-animal products. I do not agree with the PETA organization from any aspect. It is absurd for people to think that they can avoid using all animal by-products, because many common objects somehow come from animals. Despite PETA’s beliefs and protests, humans will always be on the top of the food chain. It is only natural for people to use animals for food, since that is how our ancestors survived. The animal rights movement goes too far.
It is one factor to call for the humane treatment and harvest of animals, but to say that animals and humans are equal, to say that we have no right seeking cures for disease is crossing the line from sane to the insane. PETA needs to let nature happen how it was meant. Animals should not be given the same rights as what we as humans have. It is not that I don’t care about animals, but there is a point when people have to decide if they should sacrifice themselves for the “rights” of animals. Works Cited Alley, Holly. Vegetarianism. 01 Jan. 1995 Animals Deserve Absolute Protection Today and Tomorrow. 9 August 2008 Britannica Concise Encyclopedia. 2008. Encyclopedia Britannica Premium Service 19 August 2008. Cohen Carl. “The Case for the Use of Animals in Biomedical Research” The New England Journal of Medicine 315, no. 14. October 2, 1986: 865-69. Jim Powlesland. Day, Nancy. Animal Experimentation. Hillside: Enslow Publishers, Inc. , 1994. Fegan, Dan. Vegan Diets are Unhealthy, as yet Another Study Reveals. 10 March 2003 Golding, Martin P. Ethics and Animals. 10 August 2008 Haptas, Joe. “Change Hamburg to Veggieburg. ” The Clarion 13 May 2003: A3. Jarvis, William T. Why I’m Not a Vegetarian. ” New England Journal of Medicine 342 (2000): 97-98. Oderberg, David S. The Illusions of Animal Rights. The Human Life Review, 2000. Owen, Marna. Animal Rights: Yes or No? Minneapolis: Lerner Publications Company, 1993. Jain, Preeti Yogendra. Vegetarianism In All Aspects: 19 August 19, 2008 “Science Quotes by Erasmus Darwin” 19 August 2008 ; http://www. todayinsci. com; Stuller, Jay. “Human Needs Are More Important Than Animal Rights. ” from Jay Stuller. “Do Animals Have Rights? ” Kiwanis Magazine Sept. 1988. Rpt in Opposing