AR-FAQ - #26

#26 Surely there are more pressing practical problems than AR, such as homelessness; haven't you got better things to do?

Inherent in this question is an assumption that it is more important to help humans than to help nonhumans. Some would dismiss this as a speciesist position (see question #01). It is possible, however, to invoke the scale-of-life notion and argue that there is greater suffering and loss associated with cruelty and neglect of humans than with animals. This might appear to constitute a prima-facie case for expending one's energies for humans rather than nonhumans. However, even if we accept the scale-of-life notion, there are sound reasons for expending time and energy on the issue of rights for nonhuman animals. Many of the consequences of carrying out the AR agenda are highly beneficial to humans. For example, stopping the production and consumption of animal products would result in a significant improvement of the general health of the human population, and destruction of the environment would be greatly reduced. Fostering compassion for animals is likely to pay dividends in terms of a general increase of compassion in human affairs. Tom Regan puts it this way:

...the animal rights movement is a part of, not antagonistic to, the human rights movement. The theory that rationally grounds the rights of animals also grounds the rights of humans. Thus those involved in the animal rights movement are partners in the struggle to secure respect for human rights--the rights of women, for example, or minorities, or workers. The animal rights movement is cut from the same moral cloth as these.

Finally, the behavior asked for by the AR agenda involves little expenditure of energy. We are asking people to NOT do things: don't eat meat, don't exploit animals for entertainment, don't wear furs. These negative actions don't interfere with our ability to care for humans. In some cases, they may actually make more time available for doing so (e.g., time spent hunting or visiting zoos and circuses). DG

Living cruelty-free is not a full-time job; rather, it's a way of life. When I shop, I check ingredients and I consider if the product is tested on animals. These things only consume a few minutes of the day. There is ample time left for helping both humans and nonhumans. JLS

I am in favor of animal rights as well as human rights. That is the way of a whole human being. Abraham Lincoln (16th U.S. President)

To my mind, the life of a lamb is no less precious than that of a human being. Mahatma Gandhi (statesman and philosopher)

Our task must be to free widening our circle of compassion to embrace all living creatures and the whole of nature and its beauty. Albert Einstein (physicist, Nobel 1921)

SEE ALSO: #01, #87, #95