This page is
meant for the somewhat older kids, youngsters.
Do we have the right to confine an animal?
Animal Freedom thinks that humans and animals are different, but have an equal right to freedom. Freedom is the most important thing there is. Throughout the history of nature, there's never been an animal species that gave other animals so little space as humans do today with the bio-industry. In the past, pets used to walk around the house freely. They ate scraps of food, which humans left over and were eaten themselves at a certain moment.
Animal Freedom believes that we shouldn't confine animals
in such small spaces (think for example of a goldfish
in a bowl), in order that they aren't able to express
their natural behaviour. We do think that putting a
fence around a pasture, to make sure that animals won't
escape, is all right. On the other hand, humans have
the right not to be bothered by animals living next
door. Freedom is bound by borders.
Do we need to eat animals to stay in a good health?
No, we don't need to eat animals to stay in a good
health. Nor need we drink milk or other dairy products.
Milk is for young animals. Just as calves, children
don't need to drink (mother) milk any longer once they
are growing up. It isn't unhealthy to eat dairy products,
but it neither is necessary.
Is one allowed to kill an animal?
In the Netherlands, you aren't allowed to just kill
an animal. We do however make a difference between animal
species. Killing an insect, like a mosquito, isn't prohibited.
For a pet it's necessary to have a good reason if you
want to have its life put to an end. You are not allowed
to do that yourself. This has to be done by a veterinarian.
Unless the animal's very sick or very old, the veterinarian
won't put it to sleep.
So what about hunters?
All hunters must have a hunting license to shoot animals and they only are allowed to shoot a few species. Hunting is prohibited during spring season when animals look after of their cubs.
But hey, don't animals kill each other in their natural environment?
Indeed, animals do kill one another in their natural
environment. It often happens quickly however and the
reason is almost always to obtain food and hardly ever
for fun or out of annoyance.
Do animals love humans?
You'd think this is true, when a cat rubs up against you. Cats do that to mark your clothes with their scents. Other kinds of behavior, that give you the idea they love humans, are often related to the wish of the animal to be fed. In addition, many pets are bored, so they are in need of some distraction, like a dog. Humans often make the animals artificially dependent on them in such a way that it seems as if the animal appreciates the given care. You could say that many animals want to live close to humans, because there is much food to be found near them. Animals will make sure though they want get caught, because they like their freedom even more.
What does "respect for animals" mean?
Parents often say that you must have respect for other people. Usually they mean people who stand out because they are different. For example, they are old and because of that slower or they're from abroad and speak the language badly. 'Respect for animals' actually implies that as well. Animals want humans to keep a little distance. That's precisely what the word "respect" means. It's a Latin word and means (freely translated) that you'll have to keep some distance and first consider if others want to have contact with you. Many animals don't want to be picked up or caressed. Respect also means that you consider the correctness of your judgment. Some animals like dogs and cats appreciate a lot of attention; other animals like birds and fish just want to eat and to be left alone. There is not a single animal that appreciates being locked away in a small hutch. Respecting animals thus involves that you won't do something like that.
Are humans of a greater value than animals?
The value of humans is as great as they please. But
what is the meaning of this word value? Values may be
expressed in money, or in the amount time and effort
one spends doing something. It's important to realize
that no one is of such a great value that this allows
him to do whatever he wants with animal and human lives.
Or the other way around: No human or animal is so worthless
that people can do with it whatever they want. In a
way, their lives than become of less value.
What is the objection against free mutual trade between countries?
From time to time all countries confer jointly about
the regulations that should apply for mutual trade.
These conferences are known as WTO-negotiations. What's
If the strongest can do what they want the weaker, liker elderly, children and animals become victims. Perhaps you don't feel sorry for grandparents and yourself, but just think about the circumstances of elderly and children in the Third World. They have nobody who looks after them. The pigs and chickens in the Netherlands (as in many western countries) are fed fodder grown in the Third World, on land whereupon people don't have the space any more to grow food for themselves. A part of the meat produced in our country is sold to the origin of the fodder. This means competition for cattlemen in the Third World. As a consequence some people over there don't make enough money to buy that meat or that there's not enough food supply from their own environment.
When each country in the world provides its own food, export shall only rarely be necessary, that would only seduce people into exploiting nature for that purpose. We are concerned with food made out of animals. For, if you want to make food from animals and you want to sell in other parts of the world, your selling price must be low. Otherwise, no one will buy it. The difference between the actual and the reasonably expected price is what the animals pay for. Therefore Animal Freedom thinks that meat (products) should not be exported to foreign countries and pleads that cattlemen in Holland will only keep cattle for internal market from now on. In exchange the farmer has the right to claim that consumers pay the costs involved.
Are zoo animals really happy?
Zoos were founded in the past by people who visited
all corners of the world. They brought the animals home
to show what kind of rare and beautiful species they
encountered during their journey. That way, zoo visitors
didn't have to travel themselves to see these animals.
Of course the zoos made a fine amount of money by charging
entry fee. But it became clear very soon that some animals
weren't happy in this artificial environment. Because
of the small space they had, many animals had to walk
in circles. This is where the expression 'walking in
circles' comes from. They were bored to death and eventually
many of them went mad. Nowadays the composition of animals
and their accommodation have changed. You hardly ever
see predatory animals anymore, because these don't feel
at home in small spaces, where they are incapable of
hunting. Animals that are still being kept get as much
free space as possible and their natural environment
is imitated as good as can be done.
May we teach animals tricks like in a circus?
In case you've read the answers to the pervious question,
you probably know the answer to this one. Before we
can make animals do tricks we first have to make them
depend upon us. If they were to choose they'd never
do tricks spontaneously. Why should they? Animals don't
want to earn money or receive applause. They have no
desire for such appreciation.