Will there be a day when the rights of animals are taken as seriously as the rights of humans? Maybe. And if this is the case, what does this say about us?
Despite going very slowly, it seems undeniable that human kind is moving towards ever expanding concern for others. Yes, there are parts of the world where this isn’t the case, but it nonetheless seems that, on the whole, we are slowly moving forward.
Just in the short history of the U.S., there was a time when only white, property owning men were recognized as full citizens of the nation. People of color, women, and the disabled had to fight long and hard for legal recognition, and unfortunately, the struggle continues for these groups to secure full and equal freedom.
Only very recently has the gay community been widely accepted into general society, though the fight for equality continues.
Struggles for recognition are ongoing, but when we compare America today with America of 200 years ago, there is an obvious expansion of our concern for our fellow human beings.
It is not only people who we are beginning to be concerned with, though. Animal rights have made slow progress, and at this point it is uncontroversial to condemn the suffering of animals. We love our pets, support organizations like the ASPCA, and react violently when we see animal abuse (although legal punishments for such abuse are still usually mere slaps on the wrist).