Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Shocking but True: Animals Don't Have Rights

And we think we should grant anti-slavery
rights to this?
How many readers did I just lose with that smug statement?  I'm hoping not many, and that you all will at least hear me out before you start throwing paint on me or something.  There's some PETA loonies claiming that some whales at Sea World should be set free, because their "slavery" violates the 13th Amendment.  Correct me if I'm wrong, but I'm fairly certain the 13th amendment only pertains to humans . . .

What is a right?  A right is a moral power to claim some value in yourself.  Because we are human beings, because we have aspirations and can make claims on this world, human beings have rights.  We're sentient like animals, but unlike animals we are able to do things that are beyond our biological imperatives.  We do not simply hunt, eat, and fuck.  We create art and institutions.  We have creativity and the capacity to make decisions based on past experience and future hopes.

Can an animal do any of that?  An animal cannot make art (arguably, many humans who claim to be artists can't either) because art requires more than just random flashes of color.  Although many animals have a herd or pack mentality, they do not have institutions.  Animals have no sense of the past, and they have no hope for the future.  The only thing they are able to care about is fulfilling their present needs.

"But why do they protect their young if they don't care about the future, Jack?"  Because biology compels them to do so, HTNS.  "Predators mark their territory, so isn't that making a claim on the world?"  Nope.  Making a claim on the world means that you understand something about the world, and you articulate something about how the world works.  What do animals understand of the world?

Animals have no rights.  They're not human, so how could they?  What's more, they don't recognize anything that has to do with rights.  "Well of course they don't Jack, because they don't have the brain function."  Well, if they don't have the brain function to recognize a concept like rights, then why should we impose that concept upon them?

Animals don't care about you or any other animals.  A lion would slaughter any of us in a heart beat if it was hungry.  Hell, male lions slaughter the cubs of rival prides.  (When people say that humans are the only things on this planet that kills its own species, I can't help but laugh.)

Animals may not have rights, but that doesn't mean we should completely shit on the cause of Animal Rights.  Animal Rights, as misguided as 99.9% of the advocates for it may be, is not about the animals and their little made-up rights.  It's about humans.  Just because some sentient creature doesn't have rights doesn't mean we have the right to treat it inhumanely.  A person who is able to be cruel to another sentient thing, someone who is able to torture it or not give it the proper care, is a vile person.

As custodians of this planet, as beings of higher cognitive capacity, we should treat living things with the respect that life deserves.  Does that mean we shouldn't eat other animals?  Hell no.  But if we're going to eat the flesh of a once living creature, we should be respectful enough to make its death quick and painless.

So these PETA idiots are retarded.  If the Sea World whales should be set free from their "slavery," then all animals should be set free.  Milk cows, oxen, goats, sheep, whatever.  Who cares if there are people who live off the land and off the back of their livestock.  Fuck 'em, right?


Silverfiddle said...

Well said. Saying animals have no rights is not writ to treat them horribly.

As higher-functioning beings, we have a duty to treat these creatures humanely not just for their sake, but more importantly for our own sense of morality.

When I see a chimpanzee in a suit walk into court and argue animal rights I will be open to changing my mind. Al Franken becoming a Senator is close, but not quite there...

Jersey McJones said...

There should be some rights afforded to animals. I don't know about you guys, but when I've dealt with a cat, or a dog, or a horse, or a cow, or even a little hamster, I see the same stream of consciousness I see in all of us.

We are not better than them, just smarter - in some ways.

It reminds me of a great argument I heard from a libertarian-ish/atheist some years ago (regrettably, I forgot who, though I think it might have been Sam Harris) - Are we so civilized? Do "primitive" people kill other people by the millions? We do.

Think of animals as just more primitive. Is that so bad? That should alter your attitude.


Harrison said...

I have always owned cats. They are not people, but they have emotions and form relationships with each other and with their owner and they do their own thing.

But I eat and wear other animals.

A squirrel is cute because it has a fluffy tail so we feed them but rats we kill even though they are intelligent.

I don't think animals have rights but being cruel to them is wrong. I guess shooting a bolt into a cow's head and turning it into steak is cruel.

If I really wanted to be consistent, I'd be a vegetarian.

I don't know what to make of my reactions this article but I guess if you're an animal lucky enough to be in the protected class bully for you.

Jack Camwell said...

It's not that I am callous towards animals. I would never torture an animal, or otherwise treat it in any manner that's going to cause it undue harm.

Animals are sentient beings and should be treated with the same base respect for life that all sentient beings deserve. But a right is something that you can actively assert. Animals cannot assert any rights.

You might be right. When I think about it, killing something in order to eat it's flesh does sound fairly cruel. But cow flesh tastes so very good, so that's one of those things that I'll turn a blind eye to.

So long as the cow isn't being tortured, and feels as little pain as possible (I'd imagine a bolt to the brain is probably fairly painless) then I can accept the fact that my hands are bloodied with the lives of many, many cows.

I can't help it; flesh is delicious =)

Karen Howes said...

Again, well said. Animals do not have rights.

That said, I also agree that humans have an obligation to treat animals humanely and kindly; if killed for food, they should be slaughtered in a way that is as humane as possible.