The animal rights movement (sometimes called the animal liberation movement) is a liberal philosophical movement which seeks to get animals the greater rights in society; some advocates even believe animals and humans should have equivalent rights. Most animal rights activists oppose the practice of using animals as commodities or property.Typically, animal rights activists oppose hunting, animal testing, wearing fur, and the consumption of meat. Many practice a vegetarian or vegan diet. Some activists (especially those who identify themselves as animal liberationists) even disagree with the practice of owning pets and seeing-eye dogs.
Detractors to the animal rights movement argue that since animals do not have the capacity to make moral decisions they can not be given the same rights as humans. Some opponents even argue that the goals of the movement are not animal liberation, but placing restrictions on the lives of other people.
However, philosophers such as Peter Singer have suggested that their goal is a diminishment of suffering by sentient animals. Their argument is that very few people believe animal cruelty should be allowed, and presumably in most cases this is because they believe that the pointless or arbitrary suffering of sentient creatures is wrong. Accordingly, Singer argues, it is similarly wrong to cause suffering in animals for the purposes of food or clothing when entirely viable alternatives exist. Thus, many advocates say that it is morally inexcusable to consume meat or leather and thereby encourage the suffering of animals, simply because it "feels good" or "tastes good," when there is no need to do so.
David Gelernter argues:
- the moral universe of Judaism and Christianity centers unequivocally on man. Human beings have rights and moral duties—kindness to animals being one. Animals have neither. The duty of kindness to animals is a duty owed not to nature but to God, a morally crucial distinction.