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Top 10 Animal Rights Issues

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

1. Human Overpopulation

Central, rush time at Des Voeux Road
Maremagnum/The Image Bank/Getty Images
Human overpopulation is the number one threat to wild and domestic animals worldwide. Whatever humans do to use, abuse, kill or displace animals, the effect is magnified by the number of people on the planet, which is now approaching seven billion. While third world countries are experiencing the most population growth, those of us in the first world, who consume the most, are the ones who have the most impact.

2. Property Status of Animals

Price Board for Cattle Futures
Scott Olson / Getty Images
Every animal use and abuse stems from the treatment of animals as human property - to be used and killed for human purposes, no matter how trivial. From a current, practical standpoint, changing the property status of animals would benefit both pets and their human guardians.

3. Veganism

Pasta & Vegetables
John Foxx / Stockbyte
Veganism is more than a diet. It's about abstaining from all animal use and animal products, whether it's meat, milk, leather, wool or silk.

4. Factory Farming

hens in battery cages
Photo courtesy of Farm Sanctuary
Although factory farming involves many cruel practices, it is not just those practices that are objectionable. The very use of animals and animal products for food is antithetical to animal rights.

5. Fish and Fishing

Sardines at a fish market.
David Silverman / Getty Images
Many people have a hard time understanding objections to eating fish, but fish do feel pain. Also, overfishing threatens the survival of the countless individuals who make up the entire marine ecosystem, in addition to the species targeted by commercial fisheries. And fish farms are not the answer.

6. Humane Meat

Free Range Cattle
David Silverman / Getty Images
While some animal protection organizations promote "humane" meat, others believe that the term is an oxymoron. Both sides argue that their position helps animals.

7. Animal Experimentation (Vivisection)

rat
China Photos
Some animal advocates argue that the results of experiments on animals are invalid when applied to humans, but regardless of whether the data applies to humans, performing experiments on them violates their rights. And don't expect the Animal Welfare Act to protect them.

8. Pets (Companion Animals)

Obama with dog
Robert Sebree
With millions of cats and dogs killed in shelters every year, just about all activists agree that people should spay and neuter their pets. Some activists do oppose keeping pets, but no one wants to take your dog away from you.

9. Hunting

deer trophy
Ichiro / Getty Images
Animal rights activists oppose any killing of an animal for meat whether it is done in a slaughterhouse or a forest, but there are arguments specifically against hunting that are important to understand.

10. Fur

seal pup
Joe Raedle / Getty Images
Whether captured in a trap, raised on a fur farm, or bludgeoned to death on an ice floe, animals suffer and die for fur. Although fur coats have fallen out of fashion, fur trim is still widely available and sometimes isn't even labeled as real fur.
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