In reaction to a Spanish Parliament environmental committee’s resolution consideration of ‘a resolution to grant certain human rights to "our nonhuman brothers’ – great apes, gorillas, bonobos, chimpanzees and orangutans,” Russell Paul La Valle, a freelance writer in New Paltz, New.York, argued forcibly Why animals shouldn't have human rights.
It’s a great article overall, especially this section:
Should animals have rights? The quick and only logical answer is no. A "right" is a moral principle that governs one's freedom of action in society. This concept is uniquely, and exclusively, human — man is the only being capable of grasping such an abstraction, understanding his actions within a principled framework and adjusting his behavior so as not to violate the rights of others. The source of rights is man himself, his nature and his capacity for rational thought. To give rights to creatures that are irrational, amoral and incapable of living in a rights-based environment makes a mockery of the very concept of rights and, ultimately, threatens man.
Unlike most mammals or other types of creatures, humans are not born with instinctual, inherited knowledge of how to survive. Rather, man's survival is achieved through reason, which allows him to integrate the facts of his surroundings and apply this knowledge to use and shape the natural world for his preservation and advancement.
This includes the use of animals, whether for food, shelter or other necessities.
I left these comments (no longer available):
There is a crucial difference between man and all other living species. As Mr. La Valle points out, man is the only species whose means of survival (reason) requires that he adapt his background to his needs.
The same dangerous logic that leads to “rights” for apes will be the precedent that leads to “rights” for all species. He is correct that this is a threat to man. If animals have “rights” equivalent to man, then man’s very means of survival is negated. It reduces man to existence on the same level as animals, depriving him of exploiting nature through reason and productive work, for that would violate the “rights” of other species.
That’s the real purpose of the animal rights movement, which recognizes the legitimacy of the means of survival of every living species but man. It’s not love of animals, but hatred of man, that motivates this movement. There’s no conflict between protecting animals from malicious cruelty and recognition of rights as the exclusive domain of man.
At the time I wrote those comments in 2008, I didn't envision "all species"—by which I meant animal species—could actually extend to all species, including plants. Yes, plants! But, in retrospect, it makes sense if you accept the premise that rights are not the exclusive domain of humans. A logical next step in the animal "rights" crusade is to ascribe "rights" to plants. That's exactly what's happening. Check out Rooting Out the Motive of “Plant Rights” Advocates in The Objective Standard. As Ross England writes:
Now, most readers of this argument will think that the idea of plant rights is silly—indeed, many responders to his article said so. But while Marder’s argument is ridiculous, his goal is serious, dangerous, and not to be ignored. Here we should take the advice of Ellsworth Toohey, villain of The Fountainhead: “Don’t bother to examine a folly—ask yourself only what it accomplishes.”
England observes that the not-so-veiled motive of plant "rights" advocates is to stop agricultural biotechnology, also known as genetically modified organisms, or GMOs. But he also recognizes that plant "rights" is part of a broader threat:
Though agricultural biotechnology companies such as Monsanto have enabled the vital production of greater yields of high-quality crops, allowing for cheaper and more widely available food, Marder seeks to curtail these life-promoting values through a sophistical argument for “plant rights.” In so doing, he reveals himself to be no different from scores of other environmentalists who, though they hide behind a veneer of concern for “the environment,” are actually anti-industry and, therefore, are anti-man.
Animal "rights" and Plant "rights" are tools for obfuscating the concept of rights for the purpose of obliterating human rights.
Man’s Rights—Ayn Rand