Exploring Ethical Considerations in Our Treatment of Animals

*This article was written by Ecrin Tekeş Imagine a world where a small cat wanders the dangerous streets with an empty stomach—wanders the dangerous streets. They are looking for food to fill her empty stomach. Instead she meets people who push her around, namely us. We said “introduce” at the beginning. But is this little […]

Exploring Ethical Considerations in Our Treatment of Animals
Exploring Ethical Considerations in Our Treatment of Animals
  • Yayınlanma23 October 2023 06:29
  • Güncelleme23 October 2023 06:30

*This article was written by Ecrin Tekeş

Imagine a world where a small cat wanders the dangerous streets with an empty stomach—wanders the dangerous streets. They are looking for food to fill her empty stomach. Instead she meets people who push her around, namely us. We said “introduce” at the beginning. But is this little cat’s story a product of imagination or a real and painful story that thousands of animals experience every day? I wish I could say that it is a product of imagination.

Humans make up only 0.01% of the world. It is a great irony that such a number causes the extinction of 83% of living things. (The Guardian, 2018) Despite these terrible numbers, it is terrifying that every day many living creatures, especially animals, are tortured and forced to disappear. This shows that we humans are still not wise and cannot understand the importance of animal rights. My motivation for this article is to explain more or less the meaning of animal rights. Let us take a look at the historical perspective, ethics, legal framework, and current problems of this issue.

Animal Rights was declared on October 15, 1978, in the Paris House UNESCO and consists of 14 articles. (Cumhuriyet Gazetesi, 2022) The fact that animals that existed in this world before us received their rights for the first time only 45 years ago shows that we did not care much or at all about animals and animal rights in the past. It cannot be said that we still care. As you read this article, while many animals are shown compassion, many others are also persecuted. It has always been like this throughout history. Now, why is October 4 Animal Rights Day? Thank you to the writer and animal rights activist Heinrich Zimmermann, World Animal Rights Day was celebrated in Berlin on March 24, 1925, and from 1931, October 4 was chosen as the date. The reason for choosing October 4 is the anniversary of the death of Francis of Assisi, founder of the Catholic Franciscan Order and patron saint of nature and animals. (Wikipedia, 2023) World Animal Day is celebrated every year on October 4. Much has improved for animals since the first serious steps toward animal rights in 1822, but there is still not enough progress to celebrate animal rights.

Animal rights are the idea that animals have certain basic rights, just like humans, and that they should be protected just like humans. Philosophers argue, “What is animal welfare?” (Oxford Academic, 2023) In my opinion, this question should not be discussed under the heading “What is the welfare of animals?“ but under the heading “What is the welfare of living beings?” Every living being should have the same rights. If we really want to protect the rights of animals, we cannot separate their rights from ours.

According to the Animal Welfare Law, every animal is born equal, and the purpose of this law is to ensure that animals have a comfortable life and are treated well. (Mevzuat, 2004) They say that every animal is born equal, is that true? Why, then, does much of the animal welfare law focus on animals that can be domesticated, such as farm animals, cats, and dogs? There may be fewer laws for exotic and less common animals. Enforcement of animal welfare laws may be inadequate in some areas, leading to controversial animal welfare issues. We all know that there are still not enough strict regulations on animal testing. One of the biggest problems is that some animal welfare laws contain exemptions because hunting and religious rituals. Would they do the same for human rights? And there are many shortcomings, such as the lack of deterrent penalties.

Of course, not only bad things happen. We should have fixed these shortcomings a long time ago, but the world is becoming a better place for animals day by day. All over the world, there are many people who stand up for the rights of animals. Animal rights activists raise awareness by organizing events and conferences.

Those who love animals love people. For a better and more peaceful world, we must love each other. We need to show compassion towards living creatures. People who stand up for the rights of animals achieve something good not only for the animals but also for the whole world. A more compassionate and peaceful world benefits people as well as animals, and the environment.

Just as there are opposing views on everything in this world, unfortunately, there are also opposing views on animal rights. Yes, even against animal rights! One of them is that animal rights activists and animal rights activists exaggerate this issue. They say they are “exaggerating.” The word “exaggerated” is used for things that are more than they should be. Are animal rights and animal rights activists really exaggerating when these rights are still inadequate and contradictory, even though we have been in the world for so many years and people have been fighting for animal rights for years? Others believe and argue that rights depend on the ability to think, not the ability to suffer. Do they believe that animals, despite all the things they can do, cannot think? Or do they expect them to think just like a normal human beings? Babies and mentally handicapped people should also have no rights because they cannot think like normal human beings. Would those who advocate this for animals also advocate for babies and the mentally challenged?

How much I advocate for the rights of animals is a matter of conscience for me. I have as much compassion for a human being as I do for an animal. In order for the world to become a more compassionate and peaceful place day by day, I will first pay attention to my own actions, and the first thing I will do is defend the rights of animals and show compassion toward them.

In short, animal welfare has been despised since the past, and despite many efforts, it still has many shortcomings in the 21st century. The world is developing in terms of animal rights, but slowly. Animal rights are not only important for animals but also for humans and the environment. It is in our hands to protect animals, love each other, protect the environment, and make the world a better place. Will you listen to your conscience and show compassion toward animals and make the world a better place, or will you be driven to extinction because of your selfishness, thinking that you will only focus on human rights and thus live in a better place?