What About Animal Rights?

By: David Swartz

In my discussions in the past I have touched mostly on the health and environmental benefits of eating a plant based diet however, in this blog I would like to touch on animal rights.

It is my firm belief that all animals should have rights and it is a matter of time until this happens. Some may have a hard time with this argument as it can be foreign to many people however, please keep in mind that if one looks at many of the past social movements there is a similar pattern. It is too easy to forget that not too long ago our country was discussing women’s rights such as the right to vote, civil rights for African Americans, and most recently marriage equality for the LGBT community.

To discuss women’s suffrage in the late 19th and early 20th century was a political loser and it wasn’t until 1920 when women’s right to vote was passed nationally. To think there are some people alive today that were born when women still could not vote is astounding. The same is true with civil rights for many in our country. It wasn’t until 1964 when the Civil Rights Act was passed ending state sanctioned discrimination based on race, color, religion, sex, or national origin in public facilities. Before and during that time there was public outrage and a large percentage of the population against the Civil Rights Act. Most recently the decision by the U.S. Supreme Court to allow same sex marriage in all 50 states passed with huge amounts of outrage that is still happening to this day.

What all of these movements have in common is that they were very unpopular when initially started however, eventually public opinion changed and what was once thought of as a fringe movement is now widely accepted in our country and many parts of the world.

The same will hold true for animal rights. Animal rights will be the next large social movement and the transition will most likely happen very similarly to the other movements. In what started as a fringe topic is only now being discussed in the mainstream.

The sheer numbers of animals used for clothing, experimentation, and of course food is astronomical. These animals suffer beyond anything we can imagine as humans. If our pets at home suffered like animals in the human consumption industry do, we would all be appalled. Remember in the past we enslaved humans because they were a different color and were thought of as subhuman. The same was true for Jews in Germany. One day our country will understand that the cow is not different than your pet dog, which is no different from the pig, which is no different from the hen, which is no different from fish, and down the line.

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       This past weekend I had the privilege of attending the Animal Rights Conference in Los Angeles California. I do say privilege as I was honored to be in the company of some of the brightest and most inspirational people on this planet. I saw firsthand the true heroes of the animal rights movement that are speaking out and devoting their lives to giving a voice to the voiceless. It was this past weekend when I quickly realized that the question is not if it will be illegal to exploit animals for food, entertainment, clothing, and experimentation, the question is when will it be illegal.

However, this won’t happen by itself. It will take a monumental effort just as it always has.

Be a voice for the voiceless. The universe will thank you.

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