"Animal rights" is a phrase that has been stolen by extremists who view farmers and ranchers as terrorists and who advocate for the complete abolition of meat, dairy and egg products in the American diet, as well as the end to livestock production. My definition of animal rights looks a lot different than that. I believe in using best animal handling practices to ensure the best welfare for my livestock. This means offering them the best life possible, providing them with adequate nutrition, health care, water, food and shelter. Of course, I also understand the circle of life. As Trent Loos always says, "Everything lives, everything dies, and death with a purpose gives full meaning to life."
I recently read an article on examiner.com entitled "Animal Rights Defined." The piece was written by Amanda Evrard, an animal rights examiner in San Antonio, TX. Read what she has to say about animal rights and then let me know what your definition of animal rights is.
Here is an excerpt from the article:
Basically, I believe that animals should have legal rights in the same way a human child has rights. Animals, like minors, are legally unable to give consent or make decisions, but they may have a legal guardian and there may be laws to protect them, since they are not able to protect themselves. There are many laws relating to animal rights in this country, and these legal rights will often be addressed in my articles.
Where is the confusion? As usual, the root of the problem is in politics. Many people and groups who are abolitionists have identified themselves as animal rights activists. Abolitionist is a term for someone who believes that animals should not be owned as pets or as livestock. They believe that any use of animals is exploitation, and that animals should not be used for clothing, food or companionship.
For the record, I am a proud pet owner, and I am not vegan or even vegetarian. In fact, I was raised on a beef cattle ranch in Southern Oregon with parents who gardened and often hunted for the food we ate. I feel strongly that people are omnivorous beings, and it is our duty to respect and care for the animals that give up their lives so that we may eat.