To the Editor:
When some people hear the term, "animal rights," they think it means animals should have the same rights as humans, be allowed to run free and to vote.
Of course, that's ridiculous.
It simply means that all domesticated animals should have the right to food, shelter and water, should not be caged, chained or tied-up for long periods of time, should be protected from extreme heat and cold, should be provided medical care when necessary and should be not be abandoned or beaten.
Many states have laws that protect pets from some of these abuses, but exempt farmed animals. If people treated their pets the way factory farmers treat their animals, they would be fined and/or serve jail time.
The best way to describe this is -- if one person abuses an animal, it is considered cruelty, but if an industry abuses them, it is condoned and defended by otherwise intelligent people.
So, if farmed animals were afforded these "rights," what would it mean? No, it doesn't mean we would all have to become vegetarians. It just means that factory farms would need to change the way they operate. Their current practices are described on www.factoryfarming.com.
The clash over these animals is about economics. The farmers say that crowding pays, anesthetics are too expensive and how they handle their animals and the stress level on them is irrelevant. This was the same reasoning that plantation owners used to justify slavery.
However, Abraham Lincoln freed the slaves despite the economic impact.
Lincoln was quoted as saying, "I'm in favor of animals rights as well as human rights. That is the way of the whole human being."
There won't be a civil war to free these animals, but it is time for us to become "whole human beings," by supporting changes in the law to allow some relief for these animals.
Harold R. Wilson,