Animals fight for their rights in a human court
“Animals are my friends, and I don’t eat my friends“
George B. Shaw, Nobel prize winner
We usually hear animal rights activists speak on behalf of animals because animals cannot speak human languages, BUT … For the first time in history, animals themselves are fighting for their rights in a human court.
In the story, The Turtle Who Fights For Animal Rights, animals come up with firm arguments and very respectable witnesses to support them such as Nikola Tesla, Albert Einstein, Leonardo Da Vinci, Leo Tolstoy, Franz Kafka, and George Bernard Shaw (to name a few). All these domestic and wild animals talk about their current lives and how they would like to live. This story helps readers understand these victims because these animals explain their circumstances from their perspective and finally get a chance to share that in a human setting.
Some might say that it is inappropriate to compare humans with animals; that human rights are one thing and animal rights are something else entirely. So what rights do animals want? They do not wish the right to vote, they do not desire the right to pension insurance or the freedom to nominate themselves as a candidate for presidential elections; they have generously left that to people.
In other words, animals do not want human rights; they just want the same rights as animals such as cats and dogs. Let’s see what these domestic and wild animals say in their defense. There seem to be five main reasons for their dissatisfaction:
Animals don’t exist just to be captured.
The main character of the book is the turtle, which is a symbol of wisdom and longevity. This story is inspired by a close relative, the tortoise, who is captive in one of the beautiful gardens in Seychelles. People walk by her cage and marvel at her old age as she stands beside the bars as powerless and motionless as a plant. One would think that a tortoise does not need more for life except water and salad. What they fail to realize is that each of these animals would exchange that food and enclosure for a piece of freedom. There are many animal rights activists in the world because animals cannot fight on their own. The turtle in the story represents all those animals that are unhappy because they do not live in their natural environment, and that is one of the fundamental rights of animals; to freely live in their natural habitat with access to food sources.
Animals don’t exist to be food for humans.
“Animals are here for us to eat. What’s wrong with that?”
This is a question often asked by omnivores. If we turn this question into the sphere of human rights, slaveholders might say: “Slaves were born to serve us. What’s wrong with that?”
The laws that protect some animals (such as pets) from violence does not apply to other animals raised for food. When seeing someone beating a dog on the street, most people will immediately stand up for it, which is an expected human reaction. However, every day billions of animals are abused on farms and in the slaughterhouse, and this has become ‘normal’ and acceptable. In other words, a human’s desire for burgers, salami, and hot dogs is far more important than the lives and well-being of cows, pigs, and chickens. Like a dog, the pig in the story is intelligent, friendly, and emotional, yet people breed pigs for consumption. The pig complains about the speciesism that makes one animal species more valuable than another.
Animals don’t exist to be made into jackets, bags, shoes, and other items.
Most skins are by-products of slaughterhouses, while some animals are bred just for their fur and skin. By buying these products, we add to the profits of these industries and increase the demand for animal abuse and slaughter. Even if we exclude empathy for animals, environmentally speaking, the processing of raw leather intensely pollutes the environment and consumes a lot of energy. There are many other materials that make very comfortable vegan footwear and clothing so that there is no need to kill animals. Among the most expensive bags in the world are crocodile leather bags that can cost several hundred thousand dollars each. The only reason animals are harmed in this case is for human vanity and money. The characters in the book, like the elephant, crocodile, and cow, claim that large bank accounts are a hunter’s top priority.
Animals are not born to be tested in laboratories.
As a society, we generally believe in the golden moral rule of not doing to others what we do not want to be done to ourselves. However, we routinely inflict unnecessary suffering and death on innocent beings just for our pleasure, amusement, or convenience. Each year, more than 100 million animals – rabbits, rats, mice, frogs, dogs, cats, hamsters, guinea pigs, monkeys, fish, and birds – die in US laboratories for biology, medical training, curiosity experimentation, and chemical, pharmaceutical, food, and cosmetic testing. Animals are forced to inhale toxic gases and are immobilized with restrictions for hours; some have holes drilled in their skulls, and others have burned skin or crushed spinal cords. Studies have shown that animal testing is not applicable to humans due to anatomical, metabolic, and cellular differences between species. Actually, 92% of experimental drugs that are safe and effective in animals fail in clinical trials in humans or simply do not work.
Animals are not for entertainment and sport.
Most zoos do not give animals enough space. It has been observed that lions in zoos spend 48 percent of their time walking back and forth, which is recognized as a behavioral problem. The zoo lioness from the book complains of a lack of freedom and absence from the wilderness and reveals that day after day, she is desperately devising a plan for escape. She wonders how watching someone in a cage can be fun. However, it is not only the lack of space that hurts animals in zoos. Studies have shown that many animals in zoos suffer and die prematurely too. Entertaining performances that people watch at circuses are often preceded by a lot of animal torture and abuse, thus paying for a ticket to watch them is supporting this torture. Animals would never understand how killing could be a sport. They kill only to eat and to defend themselves or their young — not just for ‘fun’.