Animal rights are an extension of the rules of compassion, Newkirk says.
Question: Where do animal rights come from?
Ingrid Newkirk: Well where do human rights come from? You know you can say where do the rights of the comatose come from, or the babies come from. It’s the fact that within us we have a sense of moral purpose. And we know innately, most of us, whether something seems right or seems wrong. And we have the rules that we live our lives by which say, “Do not do such and such to some individual that may hurt.
Do not be disrespectful.” And I think that that has to extend beyond those we relate to most, because the true test of compassion is if you can be decent to those you relate to least. So I believe it comes from within us; from where we get kindness generally; and where we’re able to be altruistic to others. We should extend that to animals, too.
Recorded on: November 12, 2007