Animal rights is the idea in which some, or all, non-human animals are entitled to the possession of their own lives and that their most basic interests—such as the need to avoid suffering—should be afforded the same consideration as similar interests of human beings. Advocates oppose the assignment of moral value and fundamental protections on the basis of species membership alone—an idea known since 1970 as speciesism, when the term was coined by Richard D. Ryder—arguing that it is a prejudice as irrational as any other. In parallel to the debate about moral rights, animal law is now widely taught in law schools in North America, and several prominent legal scholars support the extension of basic legal rights and personhood to at least some animals. Critics of animal rights argue that nonhuman animals are unable to enter into a social contract, and thus cannot be possessors of rights, a view summed up by the philosopher Roger Scruton, who writes that only humans have duties, and therefore only humans have rights.
It has been suggested that this section be split out into another article titled Animal rights history in the west. Some animals were considered divine, e. The 21st-century debates about animals can be traced back to the savage stone age from horrible histories, and the idea of a divine hierarchy. Contemporary philosopher Bernard Rollin writes that “dominion does not entail or allow abuse any more than does dominion a parent enjoys over a child.
Life of Cato the Elder comments that while law and justice are applicable strictly to men only, beneficence and charity towards beasts is characteristic of a gentle heart. This is intended as a correction and advance over the merely utilitarian treatment of animals and slaves by Cato himself. On Abstinence from Animal Food, and On Abstinence from Killing Animals. Ryder, the first known animal protection legislation in Europe was passed in Ireland in 1635. It prohibited pulling wool off sheep, and the attaching of ploughs to horses’ tails, referring to “the cruelty used to beasts. The Puritans passed animal protection legislation in England too.
1653 to 1659, following the English Civil War. His mechanistic approach was extended to the issue of animal consciousness. Mind, for Descartes, was a thing apart from the physical universe, a separate substance, linking human beings to the mind of God. Paul asks: “Is it for oxen that God is concerned? Aquinas, opposed the idea that humans have direct duties toward nonhumans. For Kant, cruelty to animals was wrong only because it was bad for humankind. Jean-Jacques Rousseau argued for the inclusion of animals in natural law.
He believed that the food of the culture a child was raised eating, played an important role in the character and disposition they would develop as adults. Jeremy Bentham: “The time will come, when humanity will extend its mantle over every thing which breathes. The French have already discovered that the blackness of the skin is no reason a human being should be abandoned without redress to the caprice of a tormentor. It may one day come to be recognized that the number of the legs, the villosity of the skin, or the termination of the os sacrum are reasons equally insufficient for abandoning a sensitive being to the same fate. Badger baiting, one of the rural sports campaigners sought to ban from 1800 onwards.
The 19th century saw an explosion of interest in animal protection, particularly in England. Debbie Legge and Simon Brooman write that the educated classes became concerned about attitudes toward the old, the needy, children, and the insane, and that this concern was extended to nonhumans. Before the 19th century, there had been prosecutions for poor treatment of animals, but only because of the damage to the animal as property. From 1800 onwards, there were several attempts in England to introduce animal protection legislation.