Humans today are elevating animal rights. The Right of an animal has been described as the idea that the most basic interests of animals should be given similar consideration as the interests of humans.
Though there are many philosophical approaches to this conclusion, they all agree that animals should be viewed as legal persons and members of the moral community not property.
Some go to the extreme of believing that animals should not be used as food, clothing, and research subjects or for entertainment.
This only emphasises Immanuel Kant’s argument that- “Animals exist merely as a means to an end. That end is man.” Kant was a German philosopher who lived in the 18th Century.
Kant believed that humans had no duties toward non-humans. For him, cruelty to animals was wrong solely on the grounds that it was bad for humankind, in that it deadened in him the feelings of sympathy, which was a useful natural tendency as regards to his relations with other humans.
Félicien Twagirinshuti who owns a butchery in Kacyiru, went from surprise to indifference, when asked about the ethics of his job.
He said that, “man owns all domestic animals and can do whatever he wishes with them.”
Twagirinshuti, has no special sympathy when he slaughters cows for meat. For him, the cow is merely his source of protein and his source of livelihood, nothing more.
He acknowledges that most Westerners have different values as compared to most Africans when it comes to how animals should be treated.
“I believe that animals have their own thoughts and spirits but are never higher than those of humans. But humans, have ultimate responsibility over them,” he said.
Other animal rights critics seem to agree. They put up the argument that animals are unable to enter into a social contract and make moral choices and therefore cannot be regarded as possessors of rights. So one can treat or use them as they wish.
There is also the idea that animals are inferior, because they lack rationality, language and the capacity to make self-restricting moral judgments and as such are worthy of less consideration than humans, or even none.
For instance, a pig is simply an example of the class of pigs, and it is to the class, not to the individual, that human responsibility or stewardship applies.
This explanation is also their conclusion of the meaning of the Bible teaching about dominion found in Genesis 1, where God gave Adam dominion over all animals.
Animal rights critics conclude that what should be debated about is the welfare of animals but not their rights.