In Part I, we promoted empathy towards the suffering of animals. In Part II, we presented a strong rational argument about why animals have rights that deserve legal protection. In this part, we aim to provide you with tools to be able to defend the interests of hundreds of millions of animals, through activism, donations, and veganism. We also provide resources, materials, and readings to dig deeper into the topic.
What can we do?
If you found this reflection on animal rights interesting or if it has helped change your mind, spread these ideas among your friends and family. You can use this Animal Ethics leaflet to spread the case for animal rights through the argument from marginal cases and sentiocentrism. You can also find other leaflets here. Billions of animals suffer every day, and they cannot fight for themselves. Help us spread the message!
For every dog or cat in an animal shelter, there are more than 3,000 animals confined to factory farms for life.
In Spain, for example, there are currently almost 4,000 pig and poultry fattening factory farms. According to data from the Spanish government, there are more than 63 million animals distributed among almost a million farms. Between 2007 and 2020, pig slaughter grew from 41 million to 56 million. In addition, methane is a serious pollutant, since each molecule of methane (CH4) emitted into the atmosphere pollutes between 25 and 35 times more than CO2.
However, pets receive the vast majority of aid that we provide to animals, while factory-farmed animals receive less than 1% of the aid. That is why the moral priority should be focused on factory farms.
The Animal Charity Evaluators organization is dedicated to conducting in-depth studies and using measurable criteria to decide which philanthropic organizations we can use to improve the lives of as many animals as possible. For every dollar donated, you can help 120 hens to live out of cages, or save the lives of 13 animals by reducing their consumption through media coverage.
Some of the top-rated organizations are Faunalytics and The Humane League. If you have doubts about where to donate, you can give it to the Animal Charity Evaluators Recommended Charity Fund and they will distribute your donation to make your impact as big as possible.
Veganism entails refraining from using animals and derivatives in products and services as far as possible. By going vegan, you can reduce the demand for animal products. As a result, fewer animals have to live in deplorable conditions.
Today, being a vegetarian or vegan is easier than ever. Every day there are more vegetarian and vegan products on the market, and it is possible to enjoy a very healthy diet. Take a look at pages like ChooseVeg or VegetarianosHoy for tips to have a nutritious, balanced, healthy, less polluting diet, that does not involve the sacrifice or suffering of animals.
There are also free programs where you can receive personalized advice, recipes, and tips about living a vegan lifestyle. Check out 10 Weeks to Vegan by Vegan Outreach, Challenge 22 by Animals Now, or VeggieChallenge by ProVeg International.
Also try to avoid those products that come from animals, although they are not food, such as leather clothing, as well as products that use animal testing, such as many brands of shampoo or makeup. There are labels that certify that certain products are suitable for vegans, which means that have been made without animal suffering. These labels make our lives easier. In these matters, paying a little attention can remedy a lot of unnecessary suffering.
Although we have not included all of the complexities of the debate in this article, we believe that the arguments presented here are essential for starting the discussion on the rights and welfare of animals.
We will continue to develop more information about the welfare of animals and other related issues, such as factory farm pollution, in the future. For now, we provide some links and books to help you learn more about the topic.
On animal rights and animal welfare
One of the best sources for information on issues related to animal rights and welfare, including topics such as speciesism and sentiocentrism, is the organization Animal Ethics. Their website has content in eight languages, making it easy to share information with people from many countries across the world.
You can read more about sentiocentrism on Wikipedia. Websites dedicated to sentiocentrism include Sentientism and the research institution Sentience Institute, which is dedicated to promoting the expansion of our moral circle to animals.
For those who wish to educate themselves and read more on the subject, there are books on the animal rights issue that make us realize why our current treatment is unacceptable. Our selected bibliography is as follows.
Joy, Melanie. (2013) Why We Love Dogs, Eat Pigs, and Dress in Cows: An Introduction to Carnism. Plaza and Valdes.
Singer, Peter. (2018 ) Animal Liberation. Taurus.
Safran Foer, Jonathan. (2011) Eating Animals. Planet Group.
Piazza et al. (2015). "Rationalizing Meat Consumption." Appetit Vol. 91 , 114-128.
Singer, Peter. Practical Ethics (2011 ). Cambridge University Press.
Regan, Tom. (1983). The Case for Animal Rights. University of California Press.
Reese, Jacy. (2018) The End of Animal Farming. BeaconPress.
Francione, Gary. (1996). Rain Without Thunder: The Ideology of the Animal Rights Movement. Temple University Press.
Sunstein, Cass & Nussbaum, Martha. (eds.), (2004) Animal Rights, Current Debates and New Directions. University of Oxford Press.
Rowlands, Mark. (1998). Animal Rights: A Philosophical Defence. St Martin's Press.
Korsgaard, Christine. (2018). Fellow Creatures: Our Obligations to the Other Animals. University of Oxford Press.
If you want to delve even deeper, an extensive bibliographic source are the Animal Ethics bibliographical lists.