Animal rights issues confined to western cultures

Published online: Feb 18, 2013
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The issue of animal rights - conferring on animals many of the rights enjoyed by humans - is not evident outside western cultures.

That's according to Wes Jamison, an expert on the issue. There are five precursors to be met before a society deals with animal rights, said Jamison

"The first is you have to be affluent enough," said Jamison, during an interview with Brownfield Ag News Thursday. "You're not really worried about animals too much if you're starving day to day. Number two; you have to live in an environment, for instance an urban or suburban environment, where your experience with animals comes as pets rather than farm animals; that changes people tremendously."

Two of the other precursors, according to Jamison, are society projecting human qualities on animals and people believing that animals are far more intelligent than what's commonly accepted. Finally, he said that when animals are elevated to equality with humans, culture is compelled to protect those similar to them.

"Our society has changed," said Jamison. "Along came a movement that uses very sophisticated and effective communications to basically help consumers think in a certain way, but they're already there; they're already viewing animals as members of the family, almost like little extensions of themselves. All the other side had to do was extend that to farm animals."