Posts Tagged ‘animal rights

The Neverending Story: Our Treatment of Animals

leave a comment »

60196881 229612543

(copyright Mark Cox; source)

I am not hypocrite. I do not hold that it is ok to kill pigs for food, but it is not ok to kill dogs or dolphins with the same aim. “Superior” flesh-eating animals (humans included) always kill in order to feed themselves. This is nature’s food chain. Moreover, what we eat is determined by nature in case of non-human animals, and by culture in case of humans. So probably an Indian is equally outraged by the thought that I eat cow, as I am outraged by the idea that Chinese people eat dogs.

The problem is not so much the fact that we kill for food – the problem is rather what we eat and how we treat those animals before eating them. I hold it is immoral to kill animals from endangered species for food; and it is immoral to treat animals with cruelty before or in the course of killing them. Moreover, to mistreat and kill animals just for fun (as toreros do in Spanish bullfighting) reveals (at least for me) something very ugly about human being as such.

But toreros are not the only mean exponents of human nature. There are also the inhabitants from the Faroe Islands. They kill every year hundreds of whales and dolphins, and they really seem to find a lot of fun in this show. Indeed, everything looks like a popular festival. What kind of festival? You can read the story and watch some pictures (don’t look if your heart is weak!) here. You can find out more about the history of whaling in the Faroe Islands here. And the proof that they also kill dolphins is to be found here.

Of course, they defend their practice by saying that this is their tradition. But tradition alone, tradition in itself can never be a good argument. The human being must adapt itself and change its habits, if these habits have disastrous physical and moral consequences. But probably I’m too naïve.

[By the way: aren’t whales and dolphins endangered species?]

Written by Andrei Stavilă

noiembrie 17, 2008 at 9:14 pm

Rousseau and Bentham on animal rights

with 3 comments

„By this means, an end can also be made to the ancient disputes regarding the participation of animals in the natural law. For it is clear that, lacking intelligence and liberty, they cannot recognize this law; but since they share to some extent in our nature by virtue of the sentient quality with which they are endowed, one will judge that they should also participate in natural right, and that man is subject to sme sort of duties toward them. It seems, in effect, that if I am obliged not to do any harm to my fellow man, it is less because he is a rational being than because he is a sentient being: a quality that, since it is common to both animals and men, sjhould at least give the former the right not to be needlessy mistreated by the latter” [Jean-Jacques Rousseau (1712-1778), Discourse on the Origin of Inequality]

„Other animals, which, on account of their interests having been neglected by the insensibility of the ancient jurists, stand degraded into the class of things. … The day has been, I grieve it to say in many places it is not yet past, in which the greater part of the species, under the denomination of slaves, have been treated … upon the same footing as … animals are still. The day may come, when the rest of the animal creation may acquire those rights which never could have been withholden from them but by the hand of tyranny. The French have already discovered that the blackness of skin is no reason why a human being should be abandoned without redress to the caprice of a tormentor. It may come one day to be recognized, that the number of legs, the villosity of the skin, or the termination of the os sacrum, are reasons equally insufficient for abandoning a sensitive being to the same fate. What else is it that should trace the insuperable line? Is it the faculty of reason, or perhaps, the faculty for discourse?…the question is not, Can they reason? nor, Can they talk? but, Can they suffer? Why should the law refuse its protection to any sensitive being?… The time will come when humanity will extend its mantle over everything which breathes…” [Jeremy Bentham (1748 – 1832), Introduction to the Principles of Morals and Legislation]