Is it time for legislators to adopt an Animal Bill of Rights in the United States?

Owatonna, MN Correspondent-Taken at face value, an animal bill of rights sounds like a good, humane, decent idea. Most of us like animals of one kind or another. Most American households have a pet. And if a bill of rights is good for people, shouldn’t it be good for animals too?

My primary reservation about implementing an animal bill of rights is whether all animals found in this country would be included. An animal is defined in simple terms as any living organism that is not a plant. Will this bill of rights include dust mites? Mosquitos? Protozoans? Jellyfish? Earthworms? Probably not, but where do we draw the line? Will society waste time and money with endless debates, lobbying, and lawsuits about which animals will be included in the bill of rights?

I realize an animal bill of rights is intended to reduce or stop inhumane and abusive experimenting and testing of animals for the sake of medical research and product development, but humans have a knack for passing laws and establishing policies that are well-intentioned but have unforeseen negative consequences. How many more people might die from a disease because the research didn’t proceed as fast without testing treatments on animals than it did when animals were used for testing? Shouldn’t the survival of the human species take priority over anything else?

Everything possible should be done to minimize pain and suffering for all test animals. Technology should be developed that mitigates the need for experimenting on animals or can reduce or eliminate their pain and suffering. Individuals and groups can influence public opinion and persuade businesses to reduce or eliminate the use of animals for testing and experimenting by protesting, lobbying, or boycotting businesses and research facilities that use animals. All those approaches should be tried before we legislate a document that may cause more problems than it solves.

Gastonia, NC Correspondent-I think it’s absolutely hilarious that we’re discussing an Animal Bill of Rights when we haven’t yet figured out how to fairly and equally treat the humans who live in this country. I picture the sponsor of this sort of frippery as a woman in her mid-30s who calls her cats “fur babies” and celebrates her bird’s birthday every year. Yes, I know that’s a sexist piggy thing to say, but it’s MY brain, and sometimes it does things that aren’t PC.

Seriously, though, we have perfectly adequate animal cruelty laws that prohibit just about every sort of mistreatment inflicted on our furry, feathered or finned friends. I wholeheartedly support full prosecution for animal abusers, and would like to see those who abuse dogs flogged in the public square. Every time I edit a story about puppies abandoned, cats thrown out of moving cars or any of the other myriad stories of man’s inhumanity to animal I see on a monthly basis, I start to think a system of summary justice enforced by pet lovers might be a good idea.

However, I’m not sure I want the same people who buy sweaters for their Chihuahuas making legislation, and I don’t want Fluffy’s “dad” making decisions for the public at large. Let’s just leave things the way they are, and spend a little more time working on treating our fellow humans as well as most of us treat our “fur babies.”

Sheffield, Jamaica Correspondent-I’m about to get religious here and that is because the posed question bears heavily on my religious beliefs and what the Bible explicitly states. If you’re an atheist or you don’t consider the Bible as authority, move along.

After Adam was created, he was told to have in subjection the animals. One of his role was to take care of them. In fact, Proverbs 12:10 says that a “righteous man takes care of his domestic animals”. (NWT) It’s the right thing to do. Animals aren’t intelligent creatures but operate based on instincts. However, they are living beings, just like you and I. They should be cared for.

Sadly, many people don’t see things that way, and as such, resort to animal abuse. Taking care of animals is our God-given responsibility and so I believe legislators should adopt an Animal Bill of Rights in America. I’m not assuming that these rights should equate to human rights, but they should be protected.

For example: It should be illegal to simply kill animals for sport or to showcase on a wall. Animals should only be used for food.

This Bill should definitely be looked into to ensure that our animals are safe and not mercilessly abused by monsters walking on two legs. Sometimes I have to wonder if we are the animals instead. Stop animal abuse. It’s not cute.

Cartwright-I wholeheartedly support an animal bill of rights to protect the interests of domesticated animals and wildlife. They are living creatures. They feel pain, fear, love, and they shouldn’t be allowed to be abused, tortured, exploited, put down for lack of a home, or used for experimentations. Yes, we do have laws in place that allow people to be prosecuted for animal abuse, but this is something that is rarely done by prosecutors. That’s the sad fact of the matter. Let’s strengthen the laws and begin protecting the interests of all animals and help put an end to the senseless killing of homeless animals in shelters. I’ve said it before: I think it’s repulsive that we will spend millions of dollars keeping convicted, cold blooded killers or violent criminals alive in prison for the rest of their lives but we destroy homeless animals by the thousands each week simply because we don’t fund no kill shelters. Is the better investment in the lifer who will never get out of prison and be a productive member of society or the innocent shelter pet who can bring something positive to someone’s life?

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