Beauty without Cruelty celebrates 35 years of work defending animal rights in South Africa and acknowledges that much work remains in the fields of vivisection, animals as entertainment, factory farming, cosmetic testing and the exploitation of our wildlife.
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The oppression both of humans and of other species of animals is inextricably tangled within the structure of social arrangements. There is an assertion that human use and mistreatment of other animals are not natural and do little to further the human condition. Historically grounded, oppression is primarily underpinned by economic gain and supported by state ideology.
The exploitation of other animals and the justification of their mistreatment not only closely resemble human oppression but are inextricably tied to it. Such oppression is motivated primarily by economic interests and, what is more, that it is profoundly and permanently entwined with human oppression of other humans.
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What is Animal Rights?
Animal rights is the philosophy of allowing non-human animals to have the most basic rights that all sentient beings desire: the freedom to live a natural life free from human exploitation, pain and suffering, and premature death. This is what the animal rights movement is about; it is not about working for equality between human and non-human animals.
How is Animal Rights Different from Animal Welfare?
Proponents of animal welfare seek to alleviate the suffering of animals while they are being exploited -- without attempting to question the fundamental basis of whether it is acceptable to exploit animals in the first place. Animal rights beliefs reject the idea that animals need to have a value to the human species in order to be deserving of rights.
In other words, Welfarists work with what is, while Rightists work toward what should be!
In order to help ourselves, we must learn to protect both other humans and non-human animals. How does humanity intend to solve differences among its own species when it cannot learn to make peace with the other animals on earth? Humans need to start thinking and living in terms of co-existence, as opposed to dominance. You certainly do not have to love your neighbours, but you should be able to get along with them. Peace begins with the individuals who make a conscious effort to go through life making the least negative impact possible.
It is a mistake to see issues of human and animal exploitation as mutually exclusive. On the contrary, all exploitation is inextricably intertwined. All exploitation is a manifestation of violence. All discrimination is a manifestation of violence. As long as we tolerate violence of any sort, there will be violence of every sort.