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Argument: Granting rights to animals would damage human rights

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Andrew Tyler. "Do Animals Have Rights? - pros and cons of animal rights movement in Britain". The Ecologist. March, 2001 - "The very attempt to grant "rights" to animals is an attempt to deny them to human beings. It is man alone to whom the very concept of rights applies--because it is only man whose survival requires them. It is only man for whom rights are possible and necessary. Man cannot survive by "instinct" and by brute force, as animals do. He survives by reason. He creates the values that sustain his life--from growing food to designing computers -- only by the free exercise of his mind. Rights leave each individual free to think and to act on the judgment of his mind, without being subject to force. Man's rights flow from the fact not merely that he is alive, but that he must live as a rational being.

Animals can neither grasp the concept "rights," nor live by it. It simply does not pertain to entities that survive by brutally devouring one another, rather than by production and trade. If animals have rights, then man's right to live is negated. For he is then unable to hunt or fish. He cannot clear land for planting, because he disturbs numerous bugs in the process. He cannot even rid his life of disease-causing germs because he is violating the rights of microorganisms. (According to Rutgers ecologist David Ehrenfeld, the world's remaining supply of smallpox virus should be conserved because it afflicts "only" human beings.)"

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