Excerpt from the book "The Breath of Empathy: Philosophy opf Animal Rights"
Autfor: Maja Vučković, 2017 (Forthcoming)
The difficulties in defining the animal rights exist because there is a common opinion that only rational beings have moral status. If so, then even babies and developmentally disabled persons should not have it, which is not the case. Because of this, many animal rights activists avoid this formulation (animal rights) and use the term „equal consideration of moral interests“ - a moral principle asserting that we should give equal importance to the evaluation of the moral welfare of every individual (animals as well as humans). However, this term is not precise enough and it don’t mean the same as animal rights or fighting for animal liberation. Nevertheless, it have been already included in the term of animal welfare, and from that animal rights activists trying to escape. Why? If we maintain that animals and humans have the same moral rights that forbid harm to them, then we cannot, for example, experiment on them. But if we maintain that animal and human interests are morally equal regarding experimentation then we can experiment equally on humans as on animals. Actually, if we are not prepared to experiment on one then we can’t experiment on the other.
By requiring animal rights it requires the provision which requesting the abolition of treating animals like a commodity, which recognizes animals as the legal capacity contained in the ability of natural law (lex naturalis): the right to live and have liberty, the basic rights of life. The first and fundamental step towards this is the law that abolishes to man the right to limit the will of others, non-human animals (one legal entity to limit the will of another legal entity).
Thus, an animal rights activist is an abolitionist and only such can be rightly called. He doesn’t requires some small changes, as animal welfarists- larger cages, so called humane killing, capturing animals in shelters-asylums, exploitation for food and clothing hidden behind organic/natural/free-range farms, thank to which the suffering of animals, their production and the mass killingn increase. Therefore, the abolitionist don’t want changes inside of the existing system in which animals are treated as property. The fight for the animal rights dosn’t preclude animal welfare. On the contrary, they are necessarily involve, what is not the opposite case – the welfare doesn’t includ animals rights.
The struggle for animal rights is at the same time a struggle for human rights, and veganism contributes not only to our personal but also to public health and wellbeing.