Animal Rights, By Tom Regan

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The Vancouver Aquarium uses dolphins and belugas to provide entertainment and utilizes the profit gained, to aid them in research. In The Case for Animal Rights, Tom Regan’s moral principles state that there should be total abolition of the use of animals in science as well as for entertainment purposes (337). Moreover, he claims that humans and animals have equal values and rights. Based on this principle, I argue that the practices of the Vancouver Aquarium of using belugas and dolphins for scientific and entertainment purposes is immoral and thus unjustified. The Vancouver Aquarium houses dolphins and belugas, animals that undoubtedly experience various elements of life. Belugas and dolphins are able to communicate, can experience pain, are conscious, can make connections and develop relationships. We can assume that the animals were forced to live in a small surrounding and in isolation, which in turn could affect their emotional, physical, and psychological state. They are removed from their natural habitat, separated from the rest of their species, exploited, and deprived of their freedom. Being in captivity, the belugas and dolphins are not allowed to breed naturally and thus have limited sexual activity (Vancouver Aquarium). We can also assume that the well being of an animal or a living thing should not be compromised for the sake of frivolous endeavours such as entertainment and generating financial gains. Tom Regan’s stance on animal rights is embodied in a
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