1. News & Issues
Send to a Friend via Email

Animal Rights 101 - the Basics

At the heart of animal rights is the knowledge that animals are sentient beings, capable of suffering and feeling pain. What does this mean in a society where so many animals are treated as unfeeling objects?

Basic Tenets of Animal Rights
Animal rights is the belief that animals have an intrinsic value separate from any value they have to humans, and are worthy of moral consideration. They have a right to be free of oppression, confinement, use and abuse by humans. Here's why.

Animal Rights v. Animal Welfare
Although animal rights and animal welfare frequently fall on the same side of an issue, there is a fundamental difference between the two ideologies: the right of humans to use animals.

What are Animal Rights?
What are animal rights? Do animal rights activists want animals to have the same rights as people?

Why Should Animals Have Rights?
Giving animals rights may seem like a strange idea, and may even seem offensive or ridiculous. Why do animal rights activists want animals to have rights?

Top 10 Animal Rights Stories of 2009
The top animal rights news stories of 2009, from Travis the chimp to Bo the first dog, wolves to polar bears, and the U.S. Supreme Court to the European Union.

Top 8 Arguments Against Animal Rights
Below are eight of the most common arguments against animals rights, as well as responses to those arguments.

Top 10 Animal Rights Issues
The top 10 animals rights issues, based on effects on animals, the numbers of animals affected, and the numbers of people involved.

Veganism is Not a Sacrifice
Many consider veganism to be an exercise in self-denial and self-sacrifice, but it's not a sacrifice to give up something that wasn't ever rightfully yours.

How Can People Work for Animal Rights Instead of Human Rights?
This question is posed to animal rights activists at countless protests and outreach tables, but is based on a faulty assumption.

Animal Rights Myths and Facts
A number of myths stand in the way of the publics understanding of animal rights. Below are a dozen of the most popular animal rights myths, along with some facts about animal right

The Animal Rights Lifeboat Question
A question that animal rights activists often hear is the lifeboat question. At issue are the purpose of the question, the relevance of the question, and the answer to the question.

Top 10 Animal Rights Stories of 2013
Few documentaries about animal cruelty reach a mass audience, but that's what happened when Blackfish was shown on CNN several times in October of 2013.

Top 10 Animal Rights Stories of 2012

Top 10 Animal Rights Stories of 2010
The Year's Top Animal Rights Stories

Animal Rights and Veganism News and Views
Blog index of posts on veganism and general animal rights topics, 2008-2014.

Top 10 Animal Rights Stories of 2011

Introduction to Animal Rights
This page is a basic introduction to the animal rights movement, including philophy, history and issues.

What is Sentience, and What Does It Have to Do with Animal Rights?
What is sentience, and what does it have to do with animal rights?

Anthropomorphism and Animal Rights
What is anthropomorphism? What's wrong with anthropomorphism? Why are animal rights activists often accused to engaging in anthropomorphism?

How Many Animals are Killed Each Year?
How many animals are killed for human use every year in the United States? The numbers are in the billions, and these are just the ones we know...

What Will Happen to the Animals if Everyone Goes Vegan?
If everyone goes vegan, what would happen to the animals? Won't we have to kill them anyway? Will some of them be pets?

Neuroscientists Declare Animals Have Consciousness
On July 7, 2012, neuroscientists at the Francis Crick Memorial Conference on Consciousness in Human and non-Human Animals signed the Cambridge Declaration on Consciousness, which states that animals have consciousness and that humans are not unique in having consciousness.

What is Veganism?
Veganism is the abstention from all animal products, such as meat, fish, dairy, eggs, honey, gelatin, lanolin, wool, fur, silk, suede and leather.

No Such Thing as a Vegan?
Is it true that there is no such thing as a vegan? Is it possible to live completely free of animal products? What are some hidden animal products?

What is the Difference Between a Vegan and a Vegetarian?
A vegan is a kind of vegetarian, but not all vegetarians are vegans. Vegans do not eat milk, eggs or honey, but veganism goes beyond diet.

Racism, Sexism, Animal Rights and Intersectionality Blog Posts 2008 - 2014
Racism, Sexism, Animal Rights and Intersectionality Blog Posts 2008 - 2014

Timeline of the Modern Animal Rights Movement
Timeline of the modern animal rights movement, including major milestones, setbacks and accomplishments.

What is Welfarism?
What are welfarism and welfarists when it comes to animals, and what's wrong with welfarism?

If Lions Can Eat Meat, Why Can't People?
"If lions can eat meat, why can't we?" The lion question is a common question for animal rights advocates. But no one suggests that we base our morals on lions until someone talks about veganism.

Animal Rights and Racism
Racism should have no part in the animal protection movement, but since racism so thoroughly permeates our society, it does sometimes rear its ugly head. When is an animal protection campaign racist, and how can we avoid racism in animal rights campaigns?

Animal Friendly Legislators in the November 2010 Elections
A list of the most animal-friendly members of Congress in the November 2010 elections, including an explanation of how they were chosen.

The Ghosts In Our Machine Review - Film Review
The Ghosts In Our Machine is a documentary about animal exploitation and about Jo-Anne McArthur, a Canadian animal rights activist and professional photographer whose mission is to take her photographs and the animals' stories to the public, to expose animal cruelty and abuse.

Vegan Gift Guide
Whether it's a holiday, birthday, graduation or other occasion, choosing a gift for a vegan might seem like walking through a mine field. Here are some do's and don't's for vegan gift giving. Learn how to choose a gift for a vegan.

Least Animal-Friendly Legislators in the November 2010 Elections
Who are the least animal-friendly members of Congress up for re-election in November of 2010 in the mid-term elections?

Animal Rights Activists – Hypocrites, or Extremists?
Animal rights activists are frequently discredited as either hypocrites or extremists, but how accurate are those labels? Are all animal rights activists either hypocrites or extremists, and why do these labels keep popping up?

Weird Animal Rights Comments - What's the Weirdest Comment You've Hea…
The Weirdest, Silliest, Most Bizarre, Most Clueless Animal Rights Comments

The Obama Administration's Animal Protection Record
Where does President Barack Obama stand on animal rights issues, and what is his administration's animal rights record? This site will be updated continuously throughout Obama's administration.

What is Animal Abuse?
What is animal abuse, and how does it differ from animal cruelty?

What is Speciesism?
What is speciesism, and why is it important?

Vegan Cruelty-Free Gift Guide
For many people, choosing a gift for an ethical vegan can seem daunting – no wool sweaters, leather wallets or perfume from a company that tests on animals. This gift guide includes cruelty-free gifts for your favorite vegans and animal rights activists. You might even find something you want for yourself.

You've Never Hunted. Or Worked on a Farm. Or Been a Lion Tamer.
If you get into an argument with a hunter, a farmer or a lion tamer, they will sometimes tell you that you don't know what you're talking about because you've never done what they've done. But you don't have to do it to know that it's wrong.

Occupy This Book by Mickey Z - Book Review
Mickey Z.'s "Occupy This Book" is a call to action, but don't expect to be told what to do. Mickey gives you the ball and inspires you to run with it.

Humanity's Enslavement of Nonhuman Animals: Human Nature not Inherently Flawed
This piece addresses certain presupposed "flaws" in human nature from a Christian perspective, and how those flaws keep humanity from acting in a moral manner toward non-human and human animals.

Do Vegans Think They're Better Than Everyone Else?
Do vegans think they're better than everyone else? Do vegans think they're superior?

Mitt Romney Ties a Dog to the Roof of His Car in 1983
In 1983, Mitt Romney tied the family dog, Seamus the Irish Setter, to the roof of his car for a twelve-hour drive to Canada. After the dog suffered an attack of diarrhea, Romney hosed down his car and the dog, and kept driving with the dog on top of the car. What kind of person straps a dog to the roof of the car, keeps the dog there after he...

Obama Criticized for Eating Dog Meat
Romney strapped his dog Seamus to the roof of his car and Obama ate dog meat. What do these incidents mean in terms of animal rights?

Crunchy Mommas - Misogyny and the Marginalization of Animal Advocates
A misogynistic campaign by Nebraska rancher Trent Loos urgers fellow farmers and ranchers, "Stop letting ‘crunchy mommas’ tell your story."

Review of the Fur and Feathers Game
I played the Fur and Feathers board game with my husband, our 9 year old and our 3 year old. This review explains the pros and cons and answers the question, "About how many cats are there in the world?"

What is a Single-Issue Campaign?
In the animal rights movement, what is a single issue campaign? Why are they controversial, and how are they different from vegan education?

Why Being Anti-GMO is not Anti-Science
GMOs and Science, part 1

Mitt Romney's VP Pick, Paul Ryan is an Avid Bowhunter
Mitt Romney's running mate in the 2012 presidential election is Wisconsin Congressman Paul Ryan, an avid bowhunter.

'Earthlings' Review
Review of the documentary film 'Earthlings' on DVD. Two-thirds of the footage is undercover videos, taking the viewer to places where video cameras would probably never be allowed, including a circus elephant training facility, where an elephant trainer explains to a new employee how to dig the hook into an elephant’s flesh and twist it in order to teach the elephant to obey.

Elephant Abuse, Rene Descartes, and Immanuel Kant
Anthropocentrism, Rene Descartes and Immanuel Kant: How philosophical views of animals in the past continue to shape our views of animals and animal rights today. Part one of a four-part series on elephants in circuses.

What is Carmine or Cochineal?
Carmine, or cochineal, is a red coloring that comes from a beetle. Most vegans and vegetarians avoid products containing carmine.

Review of 'Arctic Tale', from About.com's Guide to Documentaries
Review of the 2007 documentary film, Arctic Tale, from About.com's Guide to Documentaries.

Where do Obama, McCain, Palin and Biden Stand on Animal Rights Issues?
Voting records as well as statements to the media and other actions, demonstrating the candidates' positions on animal issues such as horse slaughter, endangered species, hunting, and puppy mills.

What is Intersectionality
Intersectionality is the term for the multiple types of privileges and oppressions one person can experience, but what does that mean for the animal rights movement?

Vegan FAQ - Why Not Just Regulate Factory Farms
Vegan FAQ: "I'll never be vegan. You'll never make the whole world vegan. Why don't you just work to make factory farms more humane?"

Portrayals of Animal Exploitation
Portrayals of animal exploitation often depict the animals either as willing participants in their own exploitation, or encourage the viewer to laugh at the animals' plight. Either way, we are not supposed to consider their oppression, suffering and deaths seriously.

The Environmental and Animal Rights Movements
Animal rights groups and environmental groups often work together, but do not always have the same goals and sometimes find themselves on opposite sides of an issue.

Veganphobia - the Irrational Fear and Opposition to Veganism
Veganphobia is an irrational fear and opposition to veganism, caused by cultural conditioning, fear of the unknown and denial.

269 Vegan Campaign
Tattoos and Body Modification for the Animals - the 269 Life Campaign

What is Shellac and How is it Not Vegan?
Shellac is used in foods as well as paint, nail polish and other applications. Shellac is not vegan.

Neither Man Nor Beast: Patriarchy, Speciesism and Deconstructing Oppressions
On February 23, 2014 Animal Liberation Ontario held the online conference, Neither Man Nor Beast: Patriarchy, Speciesism and Deconstructing Oppressions

Policy arguments against GMOs
Policy arguments against GMOs, part 2

Animal Liberation, by Peter Singer
Animal Liberation by Peter Singer is one of the seminal books in the modern animal rights movement.

The Case for Animal Rights, by Tom Regan
In his book, The Case for Animal Rights, philosopher Tom Regan explains why animals have rights.

Animal Rights - The Abolitionist Approach
Professor Gary Francione, animal law professor at Rutgers University, advocates the abolition of animal exploitation.

Moving Beyond the Rhetoric of Apology in Animal Rights
This excellent essay by Karen Davis of United Poultry Concerns explains why animal rights activists do not need to apologize for the animals. If anything, we need to apologize to the animals.

Animal Rights National Conference
This long-running annual conference alternates between Washington DC and Los Angeles, CA.

©2014 About.com. All rights reserved.