this is the only post i expect will be less popular than the military posts. that's unpopular! the subject is animal rights. you may be able to guess already that the idea of animal rights will be diminished here, but i urge the reader to check emotion at the door and hear the argument through based on logical merit.
more disclaimers: i'm an animal lover. i've done many things for animals that not only will others never do, but are unlikely to know anyone who's done them. i rescued a crane with a broken wing, treated two dogs (that weren't mine) in my home, for parvo, raised two squirrels (one of whom is still with me after nearly 3 years), moved multiple turtles out of the road, rescued and released a bat who was suffering from an unknown issue and so on. i always grew up with and was very close to the family dogs. no one can rightfully say that i'm not sensitive to the well-being of other species.
there are no such things as inter-species rights. much of the confusion on this issue is due to the fact that very few people understand what "rights" are in the first place. another major issue is that animals are expert at pulling heartstrings. people love them and want to treat them as equals. hell, i want this! the fact is that nature didn't intend it. if animals have rights then shouldn't lions and tigers be held accountable as murderers? should cats, who toy with mice before killing them and then leaving them to rot, be accused of vicious torture? do bears have the obligation to recognize the rights of humans? the violation of life and limb is a fact of nature. no animal has an obligation to respect the rights of any other animal.
the only rights that exist are those between two or more individuals of the same species based on property. respect for property is a common occurrence in the animal kingdom, not just among humans. we have to be careful not to confuse ideas out of our passion for the issues. while we all want animals to be treated well, their is no logical basis for arguing in favor of "animal rights". often, animals can be considered to be property themselves in the fact that nature has designed animals to eat one another.
all animals have different levels of natural property. some are individualists, like squirrels. some are communists, like bees or ants. the fact that animals are different, genetically, practically insures that they will not have the same natural property propensity as any other. therefore, they will never be able to agree on the exact definition of what rights are and what they aren't, even if they have a thorough understanding of the concept of property. bees, who have no recognition of property, are incompatible on the basis of rights with squirrels, who have a strong proclivity for property. because animals can never know what the "level of property proclivity" is for any other species, there can never be an inter-species standard of rights.
animal rights activists will use the idea that animals have rights to use force through government dictate to stop people from "abusing" animals. animal abuse is, in my opinion, abhorrent, but it is also a vague term, likely to be defined differently by any observer. allowing government to initiate force upon people for animal abuse is wrong in two ways: 1) animals are the legitimate property of others and they have right to treat them as they see fit. 2) once laws are enacted against animal abuse, they can be manipulated to the most ridiculous extremes without recourse.
the proper way to deal with animal abuse is to alert the public to such abuse and seek to have abusers ostracized for their actions. because animal abuse is almost universally loathed, those committing such acts can be easily marginalized. their reputations and businesses or employment may suffer, making it difficult for them to interact with society and provide for themselves (see michael vick).
please, speak out about animal abuse and demonize abusers. don't seek to become a criminal by using aggression against them and their property in the form of government animal rights law enactment and law enforcement. as usual, the state is not an answer and there are much more effective and ethically responsible ways to deal with socially unacceptable behavior.