SRSP 16-19 Topic 6 U1d – Animal Rights


The question of animal rights is as prevalent today as it has ever been. It needs to be considered in relation to human rights and responsibilities. There are underlying questions when looking at animal rights. What do we mean by rights and on what precepts are they based? Are humans different from other animals and if so, in what ways? These are controversial issues that arouse strong feelings.

Often these feelings are expressed in actions – sometimes violent – which can have political consequences. This unit will look at the ethical and religious thinking behind the debate, the questions that are raised, and the relationship of Christianity to Vegetarianism. It concludes with an examination of the questions surrounding research on animals.

This unit consists of 4 lessons and is suitable for students aged from 16 to 19 years


Key Questions

  • Are humans superior to animals?
  • Do animals experience the same kind of feelings that we do?
  • How can eating animals be justified?
  • If we allow experiments on primates should we also allow them on humans with mental illness, low IQ or those in a persistent vegetative state?
  • Should anyone with a conscience refuse any medical treatment that arises from experiments on primates?
  • Is the knowledge we get from experimenting on any animals worth more than the animals themselves?
  • Does the end justify the means – if we can cure diseases that affect millions worldwide, is the suffering of a few thousand primates justified?

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Unit Resources

Unit Overview (Word)


Lesson 1

Lesson Plan: Ethical and religious thinking for support of the status quo (Word)

Student Worksheet 1: Animal Rights (Word)

Student Worksheet 1[LA]: Animal Rights (Word)

Student Resource Sheet 2: Defending the idea of human spirituality (Word)

Student Resource Sheet 2[LA]: Defending the idea of human spirituality (Word)


Lesson 2

Lesson Plan: The Animal Rights Debate (Word)

Student Resource Sheet 3: Rights and Responsibilities (Word)

Student Resource Sheet 4: Animals and Human rights (Word)

Student Resource Sheet 5: A History of Human Rights (Word)


Lesson 3

Lesson Plan: Christianity and Vegetarianism (Word)

Student Resource Sheet 6: Arguments for vegetarianism (Word)

Student Resource Sheet 7: Responses to the 5 Arguments for Vegetarianism (Word)


Lesson 4

Lesson Plan: Research using primates (Word)

Student Resource Sheet 8: ‘Prisoner’s Dilemma’ Game (Word)

Student Resource Sheet 9: Background to the current dilemma (Word)

© 2011 LASAR (Learning about Science and Religion)