On what basis have we arbitrarily decreed that only humans can have rights and other animals cannot? Is it because most members of the human species possess a higher level of intelligence than most animals? Then why do we protect mentally defective humans? Isn?t this a personal, or rather, an anthropomorphic prejudice?\n\nIn his book, Christianity and the Rights of Animals, the Reverend Andrew Linzey, an Anglican priest, writes:\n\n"It does seem somewhat disingenuous for Christians to speak so solidly for human rights and then query the appropriateness of rights language when it comes to animals. The most consistent position is that of Raymond Frey, who opposes all claims for rights from a philosophical perspective, or that of Christians who consistently refrain from all such language."\n\nAccording to Reverend Linzey:\n\n"Raymond Frey, that dedicated opponent of rights theory, has sadly to conclude that ?we cannot, without the appeal to benefit, justify (painful) animal experiments without justifying (painful) human experiments.?\n\n"Frey accepts this even though he justifies experimentation on animals. Again, ?The case for anti-vivisectionism, I think, is far stronger than most people allow,? he writes. Alas, Frey does not seem to regard it as sufficiently strong to oppose experiments on animals or humans."\n\n"Although I may disagree with some of its underlying principles," writes pro-life activist Karen Swallow Prior, "there is much for me, an anti-abortion activist, to respect in the animal rights movement. Animal rights activists, like me, have risked personal safety and reputation for the sake of other living beings. Animal rights activists, like me, are viewed by many in the mainstream as fanatical wackos, ironically exhorted by irritated passerby to ?Get a life!?\n\n"Animal rights activists, like me, place a higher value on life than on personal comfort and convenience and, in balancing the sometimes competing interests of rights and responsibilities, choose to err on the side of compassion and non-violence."\n\nKathleen Marquardt, founded Putting People First, an anti-animal rights group. In her 1993 book, Animal Scam: The Beastly Abuse of Human Rights, she says:\n\n"The real agenda of this movement is not to give rights to animals, but to take rights from people?to dictate our food, clothing, work, recreation, and whether we will discover new medications or die." Identical assertions could have been made about the abolition of human slavery, the crusade to end child labor, the liberation of concentration camp prisoners from Nazi physicians or an end to the experimentation upon black humans by white humans.\n\nMarquardt writes that the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA) "now encourages vegetarianism, the banning of fur, and the eventual end to all animal research, not just ?cruel? animal research." Marquardt writes that the Humane Society now supports vegetarianism.\n\nAccording to Marquardt, "The typical animal rights activist is a white woman making about $30,000 a year. She is most likely a schoolteacher, nurse, or government worker. She usually has a college degree or even an advanced degree, is in her thirties or forties, and lives in a city."\n\nMarquardt cites studies indicating that animal rights activists tend to identify with liberal causes such as feminism and environmentalism. "Every year," writes the Reverend Andrew Linzey, "I receive hundreds of anguished letters from Christians who are so distressed by the insensitivity to animals shown by mainstream churches that they have left them or are on the verge of doing so." It is not surprising, therefore, that Marquardt reports that "Most activists share a bias against Western civilization and its Judeo-Christian foundations."\n\nAccording to Marquardt, the "political clout" of the animal rights movement "is surprisingly bipartisan. But most of the leading politicians working with the animal rights movement are liberal Democrats." Marquardt makes mention of Senator Barbara Boxer of California, Nevada Congressman Jim Bilbray, Charlie Rose of North Carolina, Tom Lantos and Gerry Studds.\n\nMarquardt admits, however, that "some Republicans are animal rightists, too. Senate Minority Leader Bob Dole of Kansas often supports animal rights causes?except, of course, those pertaining to cattle, a major business in Kansas. Senator Robert Smith of New Hampshire was a founder of the Congressional Friends of Animals. Bob Dornan of California, one of the most conservative House members, is an animal rights advocate?he cosponsored legislation banning the use of animals in testing cosmetics and received a PETA award. And Manhattan Congressman Bill Green promoted legislation that would have shut down over 90 million acres of federal land to hunting, fishing, and trapping."\n\nMarquardt states further that "Although he?s not an elected official, a conservative political figure who, surprisingly, is on the other side is G. Gordon Liddy, author Will and a key figure in the 1972 Watergate uproar. When I went on Liddy?s radio show, he and PETA?s Ingrid Newkirk greeted each other with hugs and kisses and lots of warm words.\n\n"With allies in both political parties and across the ideological spectrum," concludes Marquardt, "the animal rights movement has been able to score some great successes, regardless of which party controls the White House or Capitol Hill."\n\nAccording to Kathleen Marquardt, "We value the life of any human being?let alone that of a loved one?more than that of a dog, pig, or baboon." Isn?t this merely an anthropomorphic prejudice? Membership in the human species as a criterion for personhood is comparable to racism or sexism?discrimination.\n\nKathleen Marquardt unsuccessfully tries to equate animal rights with Nazism in Animal Scam. She claims that Adolf Hitler was a vegetarian, and that he suffered from depression, mood swings, irritability, and agitation, all of which are symptoms of a vitamin B-12 deficiency, and that animal products are the only dietary source of vitamin B-12.\n\nAccording to Carol Orsag, in Irving Wallace and David Wallechinsky?s The People?s Almanac (1975), however, Adolf Hitler consumed animal products in the form of eggs and dairy products, and enjoyed eggs "prepared 101 different ways by the best chef in Germany." He "became vegetarian because of stomach problems" rather than out of compassion for animals, and "was criticized for eating pig?s knuckles."\n\nIn a 1996 article, "Nazis and Animals: Debunking the Myths," Roberta Kalechofsky of Jews for Animal Rights states that Hitler "had a special fondness for sausages and caviar, and sometimes ham," as well as "liver dumplings." Kalechofsky states further that the Nazis experimented on animals as well as humans in the concentration camps:\n\n"The evidence of Nazi experiments on animals is overwhelming. In The Dark Face of Science, author John Vyvyan summed it up correctly: ?The experiments made on prisoners were many and diverse, but they had one thing in common: all were in continuation of, or complementary to, experiments on animals. In every instance, this antecedent scientific literature is mentioned in the evidence, and at Buchenwald and Auschwitz concentration camps, human and animal experiments were carried out simultaneously as parts of a single programme.?"\n\nAccording to Marquardt: "Having equated animals with man, the Nazis proceeded to treat men as animals." Marquardt wants to have it both ways. She wants to show that the Nazis? "respect for life" somehow led to a devaluation of human life. But would not a genuine reverence for life?elevating animal rights to the level of human rights?have had the opposite effect? Compassion for every living creature? There is no evidence that vegetarianism (for health or ethics) will make people saints or give them Gandhian compassion, but neither is there any evidence that it will make people Nazis.\n\nIsaac Bashevis Singer, who won the Nobel Prize in Literature, became a vegetarian in 1962. He once asked, "How can we pray to God for mercy if we ourselves have no mercy? How can we speak of rights and justice if we take an innocent creature and shed its blood?"\n\nHitler?s so-called "vegetarianism" did not prevent Isaac Bashevis Singer from comparing humanity?s mass killing of 50 billion animals every year to the Nazi Holocaust. In 1987 he wrote, "This is my protest against the conduct of the world. To be a vegetarian is to disagree?to disagree with the course of things today. Nuclear power, starvation, cruelty?we must make a statement against these things. Vegetarianism is my statement. And I think it?s a strong one."\n\nIsaac Bashevis Singer has also expressed the view that unnecessary violence against animals by human beings will only lead to further violence in human society: "I personally believe that as long as human beings will go on shedding the blood of animals, there will never be any peace. There is only one little step from killing animals to creating gas chambers a? la Hitler and concentration camps a? la Stalin?all such deeds are done in the name of ?social justice.? There will be no justice as long as man will stand with a knife or with a gun and destroy those who are weaker than he is."\n\nProfessor Henry Bigelow observed: "There will come a time when the world will look back to modern vivisection in the name of science as they do now to burning at the stake in the name of religion."\n\nAnimal rights, as a secular, moral philosophy, may appear to be at odds with traditional religious thinking (e.g., human "dominion" over other animals), but this is equally true of democracy and representative government in place of the divine right of kings, the separation of church and state, the abolition of human slavery, the emancipation of women, birth control, the sexual revolution, lesbian and gay rights, and perhaps every kind of social progress since the end of the Dark Ages and the beginning of the Age of Enlightenment.\n\nSome of the greatest figures in human history have been in favor of ethical vegetarianism and animal rights. These include: Albert Einstein, Leonardo da Vinci, Leo Tolstoy, Mohandas Gandhi, Alice Walker, George Bernard Shaw, Robert Browning, Percy Shelley, Voltaire, Thomas Hardy, Rachel Carson, Harriet Beecher Stowe, Victor Hugo, John Stuart Mill, Jean-Jacques Rousseau, Pythagoras, Susan B. Anthony, Albert Schweitzer, Isaac Bashevis Singer, Gertrude Stein, Frederick Douglass, Francis Bacon, William Wordsworth, the Buddha, Mark Twain, and Henry David Thoreau.\n\nAbraham Lincoln once said: "I care not for a man?s religion whose dog or cat are not the better for it." Some of the most distinguished figures in the history of Christianity have also been vegetarian. A partial list includes: St. James, St. Matthew, Clemens Prudentius, Origen, Tertullian, Clement of Alexandria, St. Basil, St. John Chrysostom, St. Jerome, Aegidius, St. Benedict, Boniface, St. Richard of Wyche, St. Thomas More, St. Filippo Neri, St. Columba, John Wray, Thomas Tryon, John Wesley, Joshua Evans, William Metcalfe, General William Booth, Ellen White, Dr. John Harvey Kellogg, and Reverend V.A. Holmes-Gore.\n\nThe number of animals killed for food in the United States is 70 times larger than the number of animals killed in laboratories, 30 times larger than the number killed by hunters and trappers, and 500 times larger than the number of animals killed in animal pounds.\n\nDebates over euthanasia, spaying and neutering, animal welfare versus rights, using sex to sell nonviolence, etc. seem trivial in comparison to the number of animals killed for food. Friends Of Animals, an animal rights organization, based in Darien, CT, sells buttons stating "Veganism is Direct Action."\n\nI think everyone in the animal rights movement would agree on that point.