Before I begin, let me just give you the traditional Ryuuvian disclaimer (yeah, I do sometimes have trouble with attacks...). The opinions in this post are my own. If you don't agree with me that's fine. You're entitled to your own opinions. I'm not trying to influence you in anyway, and I am not trying to tell you that any beliefs that you have are wrong. If you want to post your opposing views in response to this thread, we can debate them seriously and respectfully. If you just want to rant and tell me that I'm an idiot, please keep your opinions to yourself.
Anyway, with that out of the way...
Firstly, I should admit that I'm not a die hard animal activists. I don't like PETA at all - the message that they give out and the way that they go about presenting that message is all wrong. I also am not a vegetarian. I love meat. I've always maintained that, if nobody did the killing for me and made meat available in the stores, I would be happy to go out and hunt for it myself. I also have a very low iron count, and so eating meat is one of the best ways to prevent me from developing full-blown anemia.
Excuses aside, I still believe in animal rights. Some people may call me hypocritical, as I do eat meat, but I have nothing but respect for the animal kingdom. Animals make good companions. Often, they are very intelligent and lovable. The can't speak for themselves, so we deem them inferior, but I often think that animals are a lot more intelligent than most humans - especially creatures like dogs and pigs.
Some people think that animals belong to us. Humans are the 'dominant species' and thus can do what they please. You always hear terrible stories about people who abuse their pets, merely because they like having someone weaker than themselves to pick on. I think that abusing a dog is equally as bad as abusing a child. In both cases, you're taking out your aggression on something you deem to be 'lower' than yourself - something that loves you unconditionally.
I also hate that, in our greed, we destroy so many species in the name of our comfort. At the wildlife park near where I grew up, I saw a heart wrenching presentation of how Amur Tigers are poached for their fur. It was so sad that such rare and beautiful beasts are slaughtered in such painful ways - left bleeding to death in a bear trap for hours just so we can have their fur. This presentation was the factor that caused me to join the World Wildlife Fund three years ago.
Animals may not be able to voice these injustices, but they still feel pain. If we are really superior too them, we should take heed of this and take better care of them. If they can't speak out, someone really needs to speak out for them.