The leaders at Green Mountain College have managed to blame the terroristic threats of “animal rights activists” for their choice to euthanize Lou. This tragic situation has cast a negative light on the animal rights movement, which people tend to believe consists of solely PETA and ALF. Yet, the truth is that neither PETA nor ALF are actually animal rights groups; they care no more about the intrinsic value of animals than leaders at GMC or other speciesists do.
A speciesist assumes that humans are superior to every other species on the planet, and this superiority gives humans the right to make arbitrary decisions concerning other animals. Individuals who support animal welfare are speciesists; they believe that as long as the animal has lived a “good life,” then it is morally justifiable to slaughter the animal. Their ultimate goal is neither to stop using the animals nor to sincerely help the animals; their only concern is to rationalize their stubbornness to use animals.
The real animal rights movement is centered on nonviolence, love and compassion. Genuine animal activists believe that the value of a being depends upon the interests that it has, and animals that share similar experiences to humans deserve certain rights. We believe that humans have the duty to treat all mammals just as we ought to treat other humans as ends in themselves, not as a means to an end. All mammals have the right to be free from being treated as disposable tools that lack inherent value, as well as the right to be free from oppression and exploitation by humans. The way to actualize these rights is not by means of animal welfare, humane slaughtering or vegan terrorism, but rather to stop using animal products altogether.
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