Montreal Declaration on Animal Exploitation: Big Milestone in Animal Rights Movement
Animal exploitation is morally indefensible. That’s what over 400 researchers specialising in moral and political philosophy have stated in the Montreal Declaration on Animal Exploitation, initiated by researchers from the Centre de Recherche en Éthique in Montreal:
We condemn the practices that involve treating animals as objects or commodities. Insofar as it involves unnecessary violence and harm, we declare that animal exploitation is unjust and morally indefensible.
We Are Linked, Not Ranked
Over 400 academics from 39 countries, who have dedicated their lives and careers to ethical reflection, signed the declaration, agreeing that the most common arguments used to support animal exploitation are irrelevant. Here is what they say about “ranking” individuals based on their abilities:
A subject’s ability to compose symphonies, to make advanced mathematical calculations, or to project oneself into a distant future, however admirable, does not affect the consideration due to his or her interest to feel pleasure and not to suffer.
All animals – even the smallest ones – have inherent worth and intelligence not based on a human’s measure of the word. Chimpanzees can memorise numbers popping up on a screen far faster than humans. Bogong moths the size of a thumb nail fly over 1,000 kilometres in the dark to reach caves where they spend the summer. They use the Earth’s magnetic field to guide them on their way, as do pigeons. Some animals communicate at frequencies below and above our hearing range and see spectrums of colour that humans cannot perceive.
We cannot and should not compare our abilities or be ranking them.
A Change of Habits and Institutions Is Needed
The researchers agree with what PETA has been saying for decades: exploiting animals is not ethical, not just, and morally indefensible.
Other animals feel pleasure, pain, and emotions, just like humans. They have their own perspective on the world around them, and humans have no right to abuse or exploit them: “When we injure a dog or a pig, when we keep a chicken or a salmon in captivity, when we kill a calf for his meat or a mink for her skin, we seriously contravene their most fundamental interests.”
There is no justification for continuing to exploit animals: “From a political and institutional standpoint, it is possible to stop viewing animals merely as resources at our disposal.” The signatories advocate for adopting a plant-based system and moving away from speciesist habits and institutions: “It is … essential to work towards [animal exploitation’s] disappearance, especially by aiming at the closure of slaughterhouses, a ban on fishing, and the development of plant-based food systems.”
Join the Movement!
If you know that exploiting animals is wrong, take a stand against speciesism and align your lifestyle with your values right now. Learn more about speciesism and pledge to consider animals when you shop, eat, or go on holiday: