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Animal Rights v/s Animal Welfare

Animal rights are distinguishable from animal welfare. In general, the term “animal rights” is the belief that humans do not have a right to use animals for our own purposes. “Animal welfare” is the belief that humans do have a right to use animals as long as the animals are treated humanely. The animal rights position on factory farming would be that we do not have a right to slaughter animals for food no matter how well the animals are treated while they are alive, while the animal welfare position might want to see certain cruel practices eliminated.


“Animal welfare” describes a broad spectrum of views, while animal rights are more absolute. For example, some animal welfare advocates might want a ban on fur, while others might believe that fur is morally acceptable if the animals are killed “humanely” and do not suffer for too long in a trap. “Animal welfare” may also be used to describe the speciesist view that certain animals (e.g. dogs, cats, horses) are more deserving of protection than others (e.g. fish, chickens, cows).