animal-rights movement

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animal-rights movement,

diverse individuals and groups concerned with protecting animals from perceived abuse or misuse. Supporters are specifically concerned with the use of animals for medical and cosmetics testing, the killing of animals for furs, hunting for pleasure, and the raising of livestock in restrictive or inhumane quarters, so-called factory farming. Concern for inhumane treatment of animals has led many supporters of the movement to advocate vegetarianism. Although the movement can trace its roots to the antivivisection campaigns (see vivisectionvivisection
, dissection of living animals for experimental purposes. The use of the term in recent years has been expanded to include all experimentation on living animals, rather than just dissection alone.
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) of the 19th cent., the modern movement is closely tied to environmental issues. In the early 1970s, environmental activist organizations, such as GreenpeaceGreenpeace,
international organization that promotes environmental awareness and addresses environmental abuse through direct, nonviolent confrontations with governments and companies. Founded in 1971 to oppose U.S.
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, began protesting against the annual slaughter of Canadian fur seals and against commercial whalingwhaling,
the hunting of whales for the oil that can be rendered from their flesh, for meat, and for baleen (whalebone). Historically, whale oil was economically the most important. Early Whaling

Whaling for subsistence dates to prehistoric times.
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. The movement gained support in the 1980s with increasing opposition to the commercial fur industry and objections to the indiscriminate or routine use of laboratory animals in research and testing. By the 1990s, membership in major national animal-rights organizations, such as People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals, had grown dramatically. Animal-rights campaigns have been responsible in large part for substantial tightening of regulation in the use of animals for research.


See P. Singer, Animal Liberation (1975); T. Reagan, The Case for Animal Rights (1983).

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