Mike Renzulli
Animal "rights" are incompatible with liberty and a free society  

In a recent essay criminal attorney Marc Victor attempts to make the case for animal rights based on the non-aggression principle (THE IMMORALITY OF EATING STEAK AND WHY I ACKNOWLEDGE YOUR RIGHT TO EAT IT). Though, to his credit, he personally would not impose his views on others, however, Victor's endorsement of the idea indirectly gives credence to the concept of giving animals the same rights as humans as purported by groups like People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) and the Animal Liberation Front (ALF). Animal rights are incompatible with a free society and, consequently, Marc Victor contradicts himself when he says he is a lover of liberty but falls on the side of seeking to persuade others to treat animals the same as humans since (according to him) both are, essentially, the same. In one sentence, Victor surprisingly seems to allude to the notion that a caged animal is similar to the condition of  slavery.

As Aristotle observed, humans aren't just animals we are moral animals. There is one primary thing that separates humans from animals and why humans are nature's favored species. As Ayn Rand points out, rights are moral principles derived from reality that enable humans to be able to peacefully resolve disputes and trade among each other. The idea of animal rights borrows from French Enlightenment philosopher Rene Descartes' claim I feel pain, therefore I have rights. However, rights are not dependent on a being's ability to feel pain, but on a being's ability to think. This is what John Locke concluded when he essentially corrected Descartes in his writings on government. It is because of mankind's ability to think and reason that seperates humans from animals like dogs, cats or even cows. Predation, and not reason, is an animal's primary means of survival and that why animals cannot and should not have the same rights as humans. It is also morally just for humans to use animals for their betterment, be it for food, domestic use (such as pets or sport) or even medical experimentation (aka vivisection).

I have no doubt that Marc Victor does not subscribe to the same ethics as PETA or ALF and I do not condone abusing animals but do think that killing them is necessary in certain situations. But the reason why animal rights groups exist and further their morally bankrupt idea is that they subscribe to a mystical reverence for nature grounded in their hatred of human beings (other than themselves of course). Essentially, groups like PETA and ALF worship the savagery of the animal kingdom and simultaneously condemn the civilization of mankind because they themselves are savages. The philosophy of animal rights was not created out of any high minded cause of seeking to convince people that animals should be treated humanely but to give justification to the animalistic treatment of humans. The organizations based on this evil mantra and their activists are of the purest evil since killing off humans and destroying our civilization is their end goal.

A prime example of this are animal rights groups who want to outlaw using animals in medical experiments. Thanks to vivisection, medicines and even therapies have been produced that help save and even enhance human lives. But, as PETA head Ingrid Newkirk once said that even if medical experiments involving using animals are conducted to find a cure for AIDS her group would be against them. PETA has followed through by giving moral, legal and even monetary help to ALF activists who have conducted acts of vandalism and terrorism. This includes ransacking medical labs, releasing animals in lab custody and even conducting acts of harassment and violence against scientists. Other organizations have released videos of alleged animal abuse only to have found later they were skewed or edited to fit the claim put forth that a slaughter house, farm or medical lab that housed the animals were abusing them. If using animals for medical tests is halted or even banned, then humans who could benefit from medical research using animals would either live lives of pain and suffering or die prematurely. 

If you would like to read about this issue further, some great sources that explore the issue of animal rights in more detail are Tibor Machan's book Putting Humans First and there are lectures featuring him on YouTube. The Ayn Rand Institute's Dr. Edwin Locke has written about this in which you can read his essays on this subject online for free and the blog Green Jihad (http://greenjihad.net) documents activities of environmentalist groups such as PETA and ALF.  Marc Victor has a right to his conclusions, opinions and dietary choices, but when it comes to his essay, he has obviously decided to follow his feelings and not the facts. That includes not taking into account the long term implications of what he is advocating, as evidenced by his logical and ethical contradiction related to comparing animals to humans while seeking to persuade others to treat animals ethically.