IT IS sad that while the media sensationalises a tiny number of aggressive actions by a small minority of animal rights activists, there is little coverage of what really lies behind one of the biggest movements of modern times.

Respect for animals is the scientific and fair-minded extension of the idea of human rights.

December 10 marks the anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights of the United Nations in 1948. Now, this date has been designated "International Animal Rights Day" by animal protection group Uncaged, with the support of animal rights and welfare organisations across the United Kingdom and all over the world - from Australia to Austria.

The basic reasons why human beings deserve rights, basic moral rights to life, liberty and natural enjoyment apply equally to animals.

All animals are individual in their own right, and vulnerable to emotional and physical pain.

Our species' potential to distinguish right from wrong imposes a unique burden on us to act ethically towards fellow sentient beings.

There are laws designed to protect us, yet our society approves the systematic infliction of severe cruelty to animals on a gargantuan scale.

This year is the ninth annual International Animal Rights Day, and there will be candlelit vigils across the world at places where the rights of defenceless animals are systematically abused, such as vivisection labs, abattoirs and factory farms, and campaigners will also be hitting the streets with information events about animal rights.

ANGELA, Somerset Road, Rishton.