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#23263 - 07/28/07 04:53 AM Re: THE “RIGHTS” OF ANIMALS [Re: Greger]
issodhos Offline
Pooh-Bah

Registered: 09/29/05
Posts: 12581
Greger,
Sorry for the delay in responding, but I have been on the road with a laptop that developed a serious case of the “finicky keyboard”. It preferred to decide when and what to delete as I typed. After having gone through my entire vocabulary of profanities – and discovering that they became more ineffectual with repetition – I decided to confine myself to short posts, if any, until I returned to my home PC.

You suggested that it was through ethics where we would probably find the most solid foundation for a political philosophy addressing the relationship between man and animal. I think it is certainly the primary door through which we must pass on our way to such a political philosophy.

In the original post Rothbard has shown why natural Rights such as those that exist between men, and man in relation to the state cannot apply to animals. In some following posts I stated that animals could not have any Rights, and used as example the impossibility of lions exercising Rights or respecting the Rights of other lions. The example would show how even more ridiculous inter-species Rights would be if “lions” was replaced with “animals”. There is no escaping it, animals are incapable of having Rights as we commonly recognize the concept.

Yet, and this is where ethics may prove initially valuable, I would suggest that at least a majority of individuals in most cultures sense that animals should not be treated badly, tortured, or abused. It seems widespread enough to accept it as a recognized wrong (ethically speaking). Unfortunately, not all people are in agreement as to what constitutes abuse or torture or the degree to which either may be tolerated in the name of a ‘greater good’. Here we run into the problem of situational ethics that would leave us no closer to a goal of determining the fundamental philosophical “man – animal” relationship. In other words, if the animals were capable of demanding certain basic treatment they would still be left with no real philosophical basis for making their demand.

The natural Rights man recognizes and extends to others of his species are known as Negative Rights -- Rights that cannot be morally infringed upon by an external aggressor force. That is to say, one has the Right to life and no one else, including the state, can morally take that life if one is not acting as an aggressor. There is however, a second type of ‘rights’ that are referred to as positive rights. I, and others who adhere to the concept of natural Rights recognize that Positive rights are really just privileges bestowed and rescinded at the whim of others (government) and are destructive of the exercise of natural Rights. Indeed, they are not so much privileges as they are obligations on others. I mention this only because it takes me in the direction of the concept of a philosophy of man’s relationship to animal that would be more one-way and be more an obligation of a sort since there can be no demand of reciprocity from animals.

This still leaves us with the question of why man should have any obligation to treat animals differently from how other species of animals and other animals of the same species treat each other. After all, animals kill their own kind, predators of one species kill other species as prey, one group of animals will kill another animal or group of animals if they are perceived as a threat or encroach on their territory (larder), and they do not extend any sense of obligation to other animals. In short, it does not answer the question, why man should not treat domestic and wild animals as property or potential property and with the full Right to do with that property as he pleases.

I think a philosophical answer may lie in the thoughts of Thomas Paine. I refer specifically to his “Agrarian Justice”. While I am not fully on-board with the entire essay, I do appreciate and accept the fundamental distinction he makes concerning property and land. His point is that while one may own in totality a barn one has built or purchased from another who has built it, or one may own in totality a crop one has raised, and is thus free to use and dispose of both as he sees fit, he cannot own the land in totality because he did not create it and it is fundamental to life. Even today, ownership of land is recognized as actually owning a “bundle of rights” to which one can put the land to use, but one does not have the ownership prerogative or Right to unlimited use or disposal of it.

If we consider this distinction and apply it to the relationship between man and animal, we must find that whether domestic or wild, man did not and cannot create life – the most fundamental of all things.

I would suggest therefore that a political philosophy concerning the relationship between man and animal is not based on rights of any sort but on a unidirectional “Obligation” from man to animal. This Obligation is conditional in that man does not incur it unless or until he interacts with an animal (“interacts” being the taking of a wild animal for food or the raising of a domestic food animal for the same, or having an animal as a companion, or the ridding of an area of a ‘pest’ animal, etc.).

This takes us to the point where Conditional Obligations should be enumerated for a unidirectional, one-on-one relationship between individual humans and individual animals, with the intent being to address the acceptable treatment of animals by man.
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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#23298 - 07/28/07 01:59 PM Re: THE “RIGHTS” OF ANIMALS [Re: issodhos]
Fermi paradox Offline
old hand

Registered: 07/04/05
Posts: 6235
Loc: Miami
Issodhos: "This takes us to the point where Conditional Obligations should be enumerated for a unidirectional, one-on-one relationship between individual humans and individual animals, with the intent being to address the acceptable treatment of animals by man."

After considerable cogitation, I have concluded that for the tenderer cuts, the acceptable treatment is "Medium Rare", and for the tougher cuts, the acceptable treatment is slow cooked in a stew or braised in a wine sauce. This is not to say that there aren't alternatives, like curries from the East, mole from Mexico, etc. I'd draw the line somewhere, but would not impose my culinary prejudices on others.
_________________________
"I have studied. I have thought about it. I know I am correct." J. Coleman (Founder of the Weather Channel poo-poos Globwarm)

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#23303 - 07/28/07 02:30 PM Re: THE “RIGHTS” OF ANIMALS [Re: issodhos]
Greger Online   content


Carpal Tunnel

Registered: 11/24/06
Posts: 16971
Loc: Florida
Issodhos,
The philosophy is sound and largely inarguable. Rights of animals being replaced with mans obligation to animals works for me. The Rothbard quote left itself open to emotional and ethical questions which I'm sure you knew about before beginning this thread and I applaud the eventual conclusion you brought it to. All in all it was fun.
_________________________
Good coffee, good weed, and time on my hands...

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#59038 - 04/02/08 03:35 AM Re: THE “RIGHTS” OF ANIMALS [Re: issodhos]
issodhos Offline
Pooh-Bah

Registered: 09/29/05
Posts: 12581
Further thoughts?
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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#59042 - 04/02/08 03:47 AM Re: THE “RIGHTS” OF ANIMALS [Re: issodhos]
2wins Offline
veteran

Registered: 07/29/04
Posts: 7626
Loc: Barely above Sea Level
i will have to reserve my comments until after i have finished my wild bore steak and flossed with elk sinew. if that's all right with you.
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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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