Presentation on theme: "Many have concluded that they can no longer support activities that take away rights: factory farming, vivisection, animal testing, and the exploitation."— Presentation transcript:
Many have concluded that they can no longer support activities that take away rights: factory farming, vivisection, animal testing, and the exploitation of animals for clothing and entertainment. How do AR supporters give rights to other species?
Since everyone causes some animal suffering without knowing it, whats the point? Although we cant stop all suffering, that doesnt mean we shouldnt stop any. The goal is to minimize the harm one causes. In todays world of many choices, there are usually "kinder, gentler" ways for most of us to feed, clothe, entertain, and educate ourselves than by killing animals. A great deal of suffering can be prevented with a little effort. Since each and every life is important, helping just one sentient being should be all the reason that a compassionate person needs to make an effort. When you go to sleep, think of the beings who you helped, dont dwell on missed opportunities.
No. The criteria is the ability to feel pain and pleasurephysical or mental (e.g. happiness, loneliness,) and be subject to a life. We rely on science to provide data for this. To start with, sentient beings with a central nervous system are deemed more worthy than beings with a ganglionic nervous system. Is every life-form equally worthy of having rights?
Ingrid Newkirk said When it comes to having a central nervous system, and the ability to feel pain, hunger, and thirst: a rat is a pig is a dog is a boy. "Life is life--whether in a cat, or dog or man. There is no difference there between a cat or man. The idea of difference is a human conception for man's own advantage..." Sri Aurobindo, 1872-1950, poet & philosopher Often misquoted,
AR philosophy asserts that rights are to be accorded to creatures that have the capacity to experience pain, to suffer, and to be a "subject of a life". Such a capacity is definitely not found in bacteria. It is definitely found in mammals. There is debate about such animals as mollusks and arthropods (including insects). One should decide, based upon available evidence and consistent logic, where the line should be drawn. Where should one draw the line: animals, insects, bacteria?
The difficulty of drawing a line means that from an ethical point of view, the line should be drawn (a) carefully, and (b) conservatively. If there were no automobile speed limit, and people were arguing about a proposed limit while other people were dieing, compassionate folks would draw a line immediately. Because the speciesist line violates moral precepts held as critical for the viability of any ethical system, and because some mature nonhumans possess morally relevant characteristics comparable to some human rights-bearers, one must come to the conclusion that the status quo fails on both counts, and that the arrow of progress points toward a moral outlook that encompasses nonhuman as well as human creatures. I cant draw a line, nature is a continuum
Some people suggest the following criteria for deciding if an organism has the capacity to suffer: 1) there are behavioral indications, 2) there is an appropriate nervous system, and 3) there is an evolutionary usefulness for the experience of pain. These criteria seem to be satisfied for insects in primitive way. Some would draw a line at some level of complexity of the nervous system, e.g., only animals capable of operant conditioning need be enfranchised. Others place the line above insects and the lower invertebrates. Some postulate a scale of life with an ascending capacity to suffer. People who strive to live without cruelty will attempt to push the line back as far as possible, giving the benefit of the doubt where there is doubt. Drawing a line at insects
The renowned humanitarian Albert Schweitzer, who accomplished so much for both humans and animals in his lifetime, would take time to stoop and move a worm from hot pavement to cool earth. Aware of the problems and responsibilities an expanded ethic brings with it, he said we each must "live daily from judgment to judgment, deciding each case as it arises, as wisely and mercifully as we can." Albert Schweitzers line
Yes (e.g. if any research that harms animals is justified, and on what occasions civil disobedience may be appropriate, etc.). Are there topics of debate among AR supporters? However, these areas of debate do not negate the principles that join us: compassion and concern for the pain and suffering of nonhumans.
From the basic tenets of the AR philosophy there are an unlimited number of corollaries. Corollaries and actions Situations will occur that make it difficult to predict all the effects, short term and long term, of an action. For any planned action, all the AR philosophy asks is that, in your analysis, you consider the suffering of animals as having weight consistent with a sound moral code.
Some AR critics would like you to believe that, since its impossible to eliminate all pain and suffering, this fact should somehow curtail your support of AR. This is absurd, just as it would be absurd to suggest that someone should not support human rights because they cant stop to help every human they encounter. The AR philosophy strives to eliminate unnecessary pain and suffering. It doesnt fold its tent when suffering is unavoidable. And it doesnt look away from it, either. AR critics
AR critics dream up hundreds of hypothetical questions such as: Would you oppose killing 1 animal to save 1000 humans? AR critics Its easy to deflate their puffed chests by substituting the word animals with humans, e.g. Would you oppose killing 1 human to save 1000 humans? Somehow they feel they have made a salient point, regardless of your answer.
Frequently Asked Questions Some of the following FAQs are topics of continued debate among AR supporters. Some FAQs are merely attempts by AR critics to justify their desire to applaud themselves for never helping anyone. The logic of AR critics is frequently a variation of Man is superior, nah-nah- nah, I can be a selfish pig if I want.
Arent there more pressing problems than AR, such as homelessness? The animal rights movement is a part of, not antagonistic to, the human rights movement. Many of the consequences of carrying out the AR agenda are highly beneficial to humans. Read excerpts from Tom Robbins Diet For A New America. Stopping the production and consumption of animal products would result in improvement of the general health of the human population, and greatly reduce destruction of the environment. Tom Robbins Diet For A New America. Furthermore, many AR activities, such as NOT buying fur, NOT eating meat, etc. dont take away time from human rights activities.
The two arguments have similarities: AR Supports grant rights to animals (and humans) based on their capacity to suffer and to be a subject-of-a-life. And late-term fetuses can suffer from the abortion procedure. However, two factors make the abortion argument different (but not necessarily invalid). 1. A fetus has only potential to become a subject-of-a-life, and exactly where this potential is realized is debatable. Most agree it doesnt include fertilized eggs. 2. The rights of the fetus are in conflict with the rights of the woman, and AR philosophy allows for the rights of the more sentient being to have greater consideration. So, while the arguments adduced show abortion is not irrelevant to AR, they do not show that abortion is necessarily wrong. Therefore, supporting abortion is not in conflict with AR philosophy. Is the AR movement against abortion? If not, isn't that hypocritical?
Is it okay if we choose for them a role that allows them to contribute; in return, we do not abuse them by eating them, etc? Yes. If this is done with true concern that their work conditions are appropriate and not of a sweat-shop nature, that they get enough rest and leisure time, etc., this would constitute a form of stewardship that is acceptable and beneficial to both sides, and one that is not at odds with AR philosophy. Is the use of service animals considered exploitative?
Whats wrong with having pets? AR supporters see nothing wrong with having pets as companion animals. As a matter of fact, the AR supporter may well provide homes for more unwanted companion animals than does the average person. Our objection is with folks who buy pets from pet stores or breeders--when so many worthy animals are being put to sleep. This is powerful: Fate Of A Shelter DogFate Of A Shelter Dog
Doesn't hunting control wildlife populations that would otherwise get out of hand? Starvation and disease are unfortunate, but they are nature's way of ensuring that the strong survive. Natural predators help keep prey species strong by killing primarily the sick and weak. Hunters, however, kill any animal they come across or any animal they think would look good mounted above the fireplace--often the large, healthy animals needed to keep the population strong. For every animal killed by a hunter, two are seriously injured and left to die a slow death. Finally, there is an ethical argument to consider. Thousands of human beings die from starvation every day. So is it ethical to thin the human herd?
Isn't hunting OK as long as we eat what we kill? Did the fact that Jeffrey Dahmer ate his victims justify his crimes? Furthermore, it is estimated that for every animal a hunter kills and recovers, at least two wounded but unrecovered animals die slowly and painfully of blood loss, infection, or starvation. Those who don't die outright often suffer disabling injuries. The stress that hunting inflicts on animals--the noise, the fear, and the constant chase--severely restricts their ability to eat adequately and store the fat and energy they need to survive the winter. Hunting also disrupts migration and hibernation. For animals like wolves who mate for life and have close-knit family units, hunting can severely harm entire communities.
Mother Nature is not the ideal place from which to draft our moral codes. Doing so could lead to the following logic: Animals steal food from each other; so why should it be wrong for humans to steal? Animals eat humans; so why should it be wrong for humans to eat humans? Human Nature is equally flawed. Thats why we pass lawsso that men dont follow their human instincts and drag women off into caves. Animals kill and eat each other; so why should it be wrong for humans?
Shouldnt you stop predators from killing other animals? Not typically. Since predators must kill to survive, to stop them from killing is, in effect, to kill them. Rarely can one predict all the consequences of an intervention on the local ecosystem. A common exception: discouraging a neighbors fat cat from killing a bird for sport.
Trapping is inhumane, but what about fur ranches? On fur "ranches" animals suffer a life of misery, frustration, and severe stress, deprived of their most basic needs. They are kept in wire-mesh cages that are tiny, overcrowded, and filthy. The animals are forced to forfeit their natural instincts. Beavers, who live in water in the wild, must exist on cement floors. Minks, by nature solitary animals, are forced to live in close contact with other animals. The methods used on these farms reflect not the interests and welfare of the animals but the furriers' profit. The end of the suffering comes only with death, which, in order to preserve the quality of the fur, is inflicted with extreme cruelty and brutality. The animals sometimes writhe in pain as they are skinned alive. Another common execution practice is anal electrocution. The farmers attach clamps to an animal's lips and insert metal rods into its anus. The animal is then electrocuted. Decompression chambers and neck snapping are also used.
Conditions on factory farms or fur farms are no worse than in the wild. At least the animals on factory farms are fed and protected. The same could also be said of people in prison, yet prison is considered one of society's harshest punishments. Animals on factory farms suffer so much that it is inconceivable that they could be worse off in the wild. The wild isnt "wild" to the animals who live there; its their home. There they have their freedom and can engage in their natural activities. The fact that they might suffer in the wild is no reason to ensure that they suffer in captivity.