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#22270 - 07/18/07 05:10 AM THE “RIGHTS” OF ANIMALS
issodhos Offline
Pooh-Bah

Registered: 09/29/05
Posts: 12581
Do you think animals have Rights? The author makes a case against such an argument. Is he wrong?
Yours,
Issodhos

 Quote:

21. THE “RIGHTS” OF ANIMALS

IT HAS LATELY BECOME a growing fashion to extend the concept of rights from human beings to animals, and to assert that since animals have the full rights of humans, it is therefore impermissible—i.e., that no man has the right—to kill or eat them.

There are, of course, many difficulties with this position, including arriving at some criterion of which animals or living beings to include in the sphere of rights and which to leave out. (There are not many theorists, for example, who would go so far as Albert Schweitzer and deny the right of anyone to step on a cockroach. And, if the theory were extended further from conscious living beings to all living beings, such as bacteria or plants, the human race would rather quickly die out.)

But the fundamental flaw in the theory of animal rights is more basic and far-reaching.1 For the assertion of human rights is not properly a simple emotive one; individuals possess rights not because we “feel” that they should, but because of a rational inquiry into the nature of man and the universe. In short, man has rights because they are natural rights. They are grounded in the nature of man: the individual man’s capacity for conscious choice, the necessity for him to use his mind and energy to adopt goals and values, to find out about the world, to pursue his ends in order to survive and prosper, his capacity and need to communicate and interact with other human beings and to participate in the division of labor. In short, man is a rational and social animal. No other animals or beings possess this ability to reason, to make conscious choices, to transform their environment in order to prosper, or to collaborate consciously in society and the division of labor.

Thus, while natural rights, as we have been emphasizing, are absolute, there is one sense in which they are relative: they are relative to the species man. A rights-ethic for mankind is precisely that: for all men, regardless of race, creed, color or sex, but for the species man alone.

Continued here: http://www.mises.org/rothbard/ethics/twentyone.asp
_________________________
"When all has been said that can be said, and all has been done that can be done, there will be poetry";-) -- Issodhos

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#22283 - 07/18/07 10:37 AM Re: THE “RIGHTS” OF ANIMALS [Re: issodhos]
Greger Online   content

Carpal Tunnel

Registered: 11/24/06
Posts: 15504
Loc: Florida
DO animals have the same rights as humans? No. Do humans have the right to treat animals as cruelly as they wish, again, no. The murkiness of the animal rights question lies not in the actual rights of the animals but in the ethics of humanity in relation to the other species we must share this planet with. We are the most intelligent and the most destructive of beasts, the only beast who must put forth entirely unnatural laws to enforce the supposed god given rights we claim. Being at the top of the food chain earns a species certain rights but doesn't earn it the right to willfully abuse it's food sources and lesser competitors.
_________________________
"Be yourself; everyone else is already taken."— Oscar Wilde

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#22295 - 07/18/07 11:41 AM Re: THE “RIGHTS” OF ANIMALS [Re: issodhos]
Almost Naomi Offline
enthusiast

Registered: 01/02/06
Posts: 2378
Loc: Vermont
 Quote:
In short, man has rights because they are natural rights. They are grounded in the nature of man: the individual man’s capacity for conscious choice, the necessity for him to use his mind and energy to adopt goals and values, to find out about the world, to pursue his ends in order to survive and prosper, his capacity and need to communicate and interact with other human beings and to participate in the division of labor.
I believe our 'natural rights' as described above and our ability to make conscious decisions puts us a rung below animals. Animals live in the moment, act on instinct. They're naturally intuitive, generally consistent and predictable.

They don't hurt another living thing simply for the sake of hurting them. Or because they had a crummy childhood. Or because they're drunk or on drugs. Or someone paid them to. Or they want to collect life insurance. They don't start horrendous wars based on lies and profit motives.

I'm with Dr. Schweitzer. If a bug or snake or spider is simply living its life, why kill it? What's the rational motivation? I'm not talking about swarms of locusts. (Although, personally, that would be a signal for me to move somewhere else, not kill them in droves. But that's just me.) There is a Native American proverb: When we show respect for other living things, they respond with respect for us. I've found that to be consistently true.

As for not killing animals for food, the problem with that is, yes, humans could survive quite well as vegetarians, but what about our dogs and cats? They are, by nature, carnivores. Cats, in particular, need meat to survive. Do we kill our animal companions because we don't want to kill animals? Makes about as much sense as a right-to-lifer shooting an abortion doctor.

Personally, I believe animals are our teachers. If we can be humble enough to learn from them, we may not need to debate their rights.
_________________________
"Until he extends his circle of compassion to include all living things, man will not himself find peace." ...Albert Schweitzer

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#22296 - 07/18/07 11:56 AM Re: THE “RIGHTS” OF ANIMALS [Re: Almost Naomi]
2wins Offline
veteran

Registered: 07/29/04
Posts: 7626
Loc: Barely above Sea Level
I liked the way my Lakota friend described it to me. We share the planet with animals. We must respect their place on the earth. When we rely on them for our survival, as in food, we must respect them and go through the proper channels before taking their lives. In this case, on a hunt a prayer is said and man essentially asks the animal to allow him to take the animal's life. In that way, it was explained to me, the animal's soul — yes, many believe animals have souls — is sent back to the maker in peace.
_________________________
sure, you can talk to god, but if you don't listen then what's the use? so, onward through the fog!

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#22304 - 07/18/07 01:04 PM Re: THE “RIGHTS” OF ANIMALS [Re: 2wins]
stereoman Offline
Carpal Tunnel

Registered: 06/30/04
Posts: 15646
Loc: Asheville, NC
I think the author is wrong on several counts.

  • IT HAS LATELY BECOME a growing fashion . . . to assert that since animals have the full rights of humans, it is therefore impermissible—i.e., that no man has the right—to kill or eat them.

I have not observed that this is a "growing fashion". I know of only a tiny number of people who assert that animals have the full rights of humans, and they are considered nut-cases, even among my most radical acquaintances. The author has firmly established, from the very first sentence, that he is about to flog a straw man, err, animal.
  • In short, man has rights because they are natural rights. They are grounded in the nature of man . . .

The writer departs here from the most fundamental statement of the origin of rights in our American heritage. The Founders did not declare that human rights are grounded in an examination of human nature. They stated that these rights were "endowed by the Creator".
  • No other animals or beings possess this ability to reason, to make conscious choices, to transform their environment in order to prosper, or to collaborate consciously in society and the division of labor.

The writer is completely and utterly mistaken in this assertion, showing an abject ignorance of the intelligence and resourcefulness of higher animals, particularly primates. His conclusion that "natural rights" are limited to humankind is thus based on fallacies.
  • Inter-species survival is a matter of tooth and claw. It would surely be absurd to say that the wolf is “evil” because he exists by devouring and “aggressing against” lambs, chickens, etc. The wolf is not an evil being who “aggresses against” other species; he is simply following the natural law of his own survival. Similarly for man.

Again, the author either demonstrates total ignorance or is being laughably disingenuous. He doesn't even bother to examine whether there is any difference between the jaw structure of wolf and man, nor whether the human digestive system more closely resembles that of a carnivorous canine or the herbivorous gorilla.

IMHO the rights of animals are defined in roughly the same way as our forefathers defined the rights of humans: they are "self evident". If you believe that some, most or all animals have been "endowed by their Creator with certain inalienable rights", you should show the respect you think they deserve for that. If not, you will be judged by your peers according to your actions. The consensus opinion in America today is that higher-order animals do have certain rights, although not the same ones as humans.

I have been a vegetarian for over thirty years. I would not even remotely entertain a rational thought of exercising cruelty on any higher order animal, but I still step on roaches whenever I see them. Spiders get carried outside. Being a gardener, I have a symbiotic relationship with insectivores.
_________________________
Steve
Give us the wisdom to teach our children to love,
to respect and be kind to one another,
so that we may grow with peace in mind.

(Native American prayer)


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#22305 - 07/18/07 01:06 PM Re: THE “RIGHTS” OF ANIMALS [Re: Almost Naomi]
stereoman Offline
Carpal Tunnel

Registered: 06/30/04
Posts: 15646
Loc: Asheville, NC
 Originally Posted By: Almost Naomi
Animals . . . don't hurt another living thing simply for the sake of hurting them. Or because they had a crummy childhood. Or because they're drunk or on drugs. Or someone paid them to. Or they want to collect life insurance. They don't start horrendous wars based on lies and profit motives.

<SNIP>

Personally, I believe animals are our teachers. If we can be humble enough to learn from them, we may not need to debate their rights.

_________________________
Steve
Give us the wisdom to teach our children to love,
to respect and be kind to one another,
so that we may grow with peace in mind.

(Native American prayer)


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#22318 - 07/18/07 03:12 PM Re: THE “RIGHTS” OF ANIMALS [Re: stereoman]
Tatuma Offline
old hand

Registered: 09/02/04
Posts: 4290
 Originally Posted By: stereoman


IT HAS LATELY BECOME a growing fashion . . . to assert that since animals have the full rights of humans, it is therefore impermissible—i.e., that no man has the right—to kill or eat them.


(Unless said animal has, for the good of society and a great personal sacrifice, signed off on the vingar-based BarBQ clause, which changes everything)
Ref: Animal bill of rights, signing statement


 Quote:

I have been a vegetarian for over thirty years. I would not even remotely entertain a rational thought of exercising cruelty on any higher order animal, but I still step on roaches whenever I see them. Spiders get carried outside. Being a gardener, I have a symbiotic relationship with insectivores.


Though sorely tempted of late, as it is the daddy long legs mating season, to kill an occasional arachnid, I always either evict them to the garden, or just toss them back over the sofa, amid shreaks of "Kill that thing"! I dont know if it is many DDLs or the same one that keeps walking up my leg with mistaken amorous intent. (They all look the same to me)

Similarly I ALWAYS quickly and gently evict mayflys, the ones that look like giant mosquitoes, because I read somewhere that they only live one day and have to find a soul-mate post haste. I wouldnt want to be the one who disrupted "The Plan". Kind of makes one think...

A great and wise friend reminded me, no doubt in a frantic moment, that I should be living every day and moment as if it was my last. This is quite possible when one is "in the moment" and aware that all out there in the world is illusion anyway, though it seems so real...

Beware the RUGUs that take us from light to darkness, they are everywhere!

TAT
_________________________
There's nothing wrong with thinking
Except that it's lonesome work
sevil regit

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#22328 - 07/18/07 04:20 PM Re: THE “RIGHTS” OF ANIMALS [Re: stereoman]
issodhos Offline
Pooh-Bah

Registered: 09/29/05
Posts: 12581
I think Rothbard is probably correct, animals probably do not have any Rights. But for just a few notes, no time now to respond at length.

 Originally Posted By: stereoman
I think the author is wrong on several counts.

I have not observed that this is a "growing fashion". I know of only a tiny number of people who assert that animals have the full rights of humans, and they are considered nut-cases, even among my most radical acquaintances. The author has firmly established, from the very first sentence, that he is about to flog a straw man, err, animal.


This is an excerpt from Rothbard's "Ethics of Liberty", published in 1982. At the time it was written there was indeed a growing interest in the question of "Animal Rights". That it has not caught on more than it has since then does not mean that Rothbard was attmepting to set up a straw man when he wrote this portion of his book.


 Quote:

  • In short, man has rights because they are natural rights. They are grounded in the nature of man . . .

The writer departs here from the most fundamental statement of the origin of rights in our American heritage. The Founders did not declare that human rights are grounded in an examination of human nature. They stated that these rights were "endowed by the Creator".


I think Rothbard was influenced by the thinking and writings of Lysander Spooner (1808 - 1887) who sought to keep natural Rights based on a more objective set of criteria than simple pronouncement -- as is done in the Declaration of Independence (obviously, for Rights to be recognized by a political document their existence must have predated the document, meaning there must or should be other more fundamental grounds for their existence).

 Quote:

  • No other animals or beings possess this ability to reason, to make conscious choices, to transform their environment in order to prosper, or to collaborate consciously in society and the division of labor.

The writer is completely and utterly mistaken in this assertion, showing an abject ignorance of the intelligence and resourcefulness of higher animals, particularly primates. His conclusion that "natural rights" are limited to humankind is thus based on fallacies.


I think he should have worded this a bit better and perhaps have made a distinction by degree in the "transforming of their environment in order to prosper" and "collaborating". Still, it does not seem to me to impact his conclusion.
Yours,
Issodhos
_________________________
"When all has been said that can be said, and all has been done that can be done, there will be poetry";-) -- Issodhos

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#22333 - 07/18/07 08:47 PM Re: THE “RIGHTS” OF ANIMALS [Re: issodhos]
Ken Condon Offline
enthusiast

Registered: 06/14/07
Posts: 3859
Loc: Eugene, OR
One also has this to contend with--from Genesis 1:28

God blessed them. God said to them, "Be fruitful, multiply, fill the earth, and subdue it. Have dominion over the fish of the sea, over the birds of the sky, and over every living thing that moves on the earth."

One can interpret this to mean man can do what he wants to with the animals on earth. God put them here as our plaything, and to eat.
_________________________
Get your facts first, then you can distort them as you please.

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#22334 - 07/18/07 10:36 PM Re: THE “RIGHTS” OF ANIMALS [Re: Ken Condon]
stereoman Offline
Carpal Tunnel

Registered: 06/30/04
Posts: 15646
Loc: Asheville, NC
 Originally Posted By: Ken Hill
One can interpret this to mean man can do what he wants to with the animals on earth. God put them here as our plaything, and to eat.


True. And once upon a time, powerful men used violence and repression to impose the opinion that they were endowed by their Creator with the right to have dominion over other, lesser men, to treat those below themselves in any way they chose, to own other human beings as property, to demean women solely as sex objects or as incubators for their male heirs. The principles of patriarchy and "Divine Right" were thoroughly justified by Biblical passages, these powerful men maintained.

As time went by, we humans came to understand that these beliefs were not in line with Divine Truth. Among the first nations on earth to embrace this understanding was the United States.

Would it be altogether surprising then to find that the US is taking a leadership role in dispelling the notion that humans have a "Divine Right" to treat other animals as they please, based on a single verse in the Bible?

US Christians are adopting a new paradigm
_________________________
Steve
Give us the wisdom to teach our children to love,
to respect and be kind to one another,
so that we may grow with peace in mind.

(Native American prayer)


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