Rights are privileges that we fight for. For centuries, the struggle for rights has been recorded. The rights ensure your security, your access to fulfilling basic needs and requirements, your role in a society, and so much more.
Women fought for their rights. Slaves fought for their freedom. And there are so many people who are fighting for animal's rights. Yes, you read it right, non-human animals (hereon, animals) deserve and have rights. They don’t come out and protest, like us, but being the rational creatures, it is our responsibility to fight for other sentient beings and end their misery.
In my previous post Why should we be concerned about animal welfare?, I discussed animal welfare, taking that a step forward, we need animal rights to ensure animal welfare.
What are animal rights?
Entitling all sentient (capable of experiencing pain and suffering) creatures to good life, which is without pain, suffering, torture, exploitation, confinement and killing. Briefly, not causing any sort of harm to any living creature, that can be done by giving them rights.
We can give rights to animals only when we realize that animals are an essential part of the environment and not a commodity or food meant to serve us. Only this realization is required. To realize this, one must be compassionate and kind, and passionate to act morally.
But, why do animals need rights?
Animals need rights just like us because they are being suppressed and oppressed at a massive level. Nearly 50 million animals live in confinement or factory farms, every year . The scene inside factory farms is horrible than one's worst nightmare.
This large scale exploitation needs termination. The life of domesticated animals is one sort of a hell, whereas wildlife is exploited in a terrible way, say, hunting, poaching, wildlife trade, and so on.
These evils need to be stopped, as soon as possible. Many organisations and activists are doing their bit to ensure animal rights, but we need action from the very grassroot level. We need common people’s help and support. We need a change in the lifestyle of those human beings, who are the cause behind this horror. Most of the individuals are paying for this torture, like, purchasing meat and eggs, clothes made from animal skin, watching animals in confinement, such as, zoos, sports (bull fight, horse riding and racing, etc.), and so much more.
What rights do animals should have?
Animals should have right to (in no specific order):
No hunting and killing for sports
No animal testing and experimentation
No confinement in zoos and farms
No use of animals for fashion and artifacts
No killing of animals for food
No animal smuggling and trafficking
Protection from bestiality
No use of animals in sports, rides, entertainments and labour
No exploitation (of any form)
No animal abuse
These are some necessary rights that should be given to animals to ensure their welfare (there will be many more, if you see some rights missing in the list above, let me know in the comments below).
Why should we give them rights?
Just like human beings, animals are capable of socializing that means they too are social animals. Biologically as well, animals are complex creatures. Furthermore, they are sentient, they can feel pain and other emotions. There are great similarities between functioning and workings of human beings and animals.
For instance, human beings and animals, both get hungry, thirsty, sleepy, etc. Both can feel love, anger, happiness, etc. Both show traits like, dominance, authority, affection, and so on. Moreover, both have nurturing instincts to take care of their family and offsprings.
There are way more similarities than mentioned here. But we are selfish and self-obsessed creatures. We want the world to look the way we want it to look. So, we used that one peculiar feature, that only we carry, that is, rationality. We use this particular trait to show our superiority over the rest of the world. And this is the point that leads to speciesism. This trait drew a differentiating line between higher and the lower species. We forget that nature created everything equal and gave equal importance to all things and beings.
To end this dichotomy, we need to bring animal kingdom closer, but not to exploit them rather to protect them from the bad deeds done to them. For protecting these creatures, we have to give them rights and we have to take care of it as well.
Today, on International Animal Rights Day, rise and take pledge that you'll make a moral choice to ensure animal rights. Your choice matters.
 “Ending Factory Farming: Animal cruelty”, Compassion in World Farming, https://www.ciwf.org.uk/factory-farming/animal-cruelty/#:~:text=Factory%20farming%20exploits%20animals%2C%20cramming,that's%20nearly%2050%20billion%20animals.