The origin of animal rights (or sometimes called animal liberation) is unknown. Some claim that it started in ancient Buddhist and Hindu text promoting a vegetarian diet for ethical reasons. The first public footsteps into modern times was in 1975, when philosopher Peter Singer published the book Animal Liberation. One of the first organizations that served animal rights was the Animal Legal Defense Fund, where a group of attorneys gathered and filed lawsuits that were groundbreaking for animal rights. Several industries have been affected positively by the animal rights movement. From agriculture to fashion to pet care, each industry has taken steps to treat animals with a greater respect.
Agriculture is one of the most prevalent industries that involves animals. With dairy and meat production as its bread and butter, there were several adjustments that were made on the farms. In 1981 FARM (Farm Animal Rights Movement) has attempted to prevent people from consuming meat as a protein source. Accomplishments include various campaigns such as Great American Meatout, World Day for Farmed Animals; and Meatout Mondays. Through their educational efforts, over 30 million Americans have experimented with vegetarian diets, a lower percentage of beef and veal has been consumed, and many fast food restaurants now serve vegetarian dishes. In a polar opposite, the fashion industry has been affected by animal rights as well.
In the glamourous world of fashion, several steps have been made to make people more beautiful with less expense to the animals. In 1989, Avon stopped using animals for lab tests on their products. Following suit, Revlon did the same in 1990. This year, India banned the import of animals for use on cosmetic testing. On the clothing front, the celebration of Fur Free Friday has been a tradition upheld by activists since 1986. In 2004 clothing chain Forever 21 made a promise not to sell real fur products. This year, retailers worldwide have pulled angora sweaters from their shelves, due to the cruel deaths the rabbits endure during the process of obtaining their fur. From the glamourous world of fashion, the more domestic industry may be a bit lower on their yearly income, but they’ve made some strides as well.
Puppies and kittens litter the Internet, leaving warm places in our hearts. They couldn’t be receiving cruel treatment, right? Wrong. New measures have been taken to prevent undue cruelty towards house pets. There are no-kill animal shelters; shelters that will take various “unadoptable” animals and let them have a chance at finding a home or living their days out in the shelters until nature takes its course. There are animal rescues, which are similar to animal shelters, however in this case, they specialize in various breeds. For example, once a greyhound is too old to race, they could be taken to an animal rescue and adopted to a family as a pet. Pet foods such as Halo, Wellness and Blue Buffalo give pet owners the options of feeding their pets organic food.
This is just a small example of how animal rights has affected the treatment of animals. With help of activists, the prevention of animal cruelty can be spread by awareness, information, and action.