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Animals: Do they need rights?
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Posted 2/3/09
The Illogic of Animal Rights
by J. Neil Schulman


The so-called "animal rights" movement is relying upon a logical fallacy which is based on mutually exclusive premises.

"Animal rights" premise #1: Human beings are no different from other animals, with no divine or elevated nature which makes us distinct;

"Animal rights" premise #2: Human beings are ethically bound not to use other animals for their own selfish purposes.

If human beings are no different from other animals, then like all other animals it is our nature to kill any other animal which serves the purposes of our survival and well-being, for that is the way of all nature. Therefore, aside from economic concerns such as making sure we don't kill so quickly that we destroy a species and deprive our descendants of prey, human animals can kill members of other animal species for their usefulness to us.

It is only if we are not just another animal -- if our nature is distinctly superior to other animals -- that we become subject to ethics at all -- and then those ethics must take into account our nature as masters of the lower animals. We may seek a balance of nature; but "balance" is a concept that only a species as intelligent as humankind could even contemplate. We may choose to temper the purposes to which we put lower animals with empathy and wisdom; but by virtue of our superior nature, we decide ... and if those decisions include the consumption of animals for human utilitarian or recreational purposes, then the limits on the uses we put the lower beasts are ones we set according to our individual human consciences.

"Animal rights" do not exist in either case.

Even though I personally believe we were created by God, unlike advocates of the Judeo-Christian tradition I do not rely upon the question of whether humans have a "soul" to distinguish humans from animals. Like secular rationalists, I'm content to resolve the issue of the nature of human beings, and the nature of animals, by scientific means -- observation, experiment, and the debate of paradigms. Each of these criteria is simply a proof of intelligence and self-consciousness:

1) Being observed as producing or having produced technological artifacts unique to that species;

2) Being observed as able to communicate from one generation to the next by a recorded language unique to that species;

3) Being observed as basing action on abstract reasoning;

4) Being observed as engaging in inductive and deductive reasoning processes;

5) Being observed as engaging in non-utilitarian artistic activity unique to that species.

I'm sure there are other criteria we could use, but these are obvious ones that come to mind immediately. None of them speculates about the unobservable functioning of a neural network; all of them are based on observable effects of intelligence and self-consciousness.

Conclusively, we are of a different nature than other animals we know. Neither cetaceans nor other higher mammals, including the higher apes, qualify as "human" under these criteria. We do not observe these significations of intelligence and self-consciousness in any other species we know, such criteria being neither necessarily anthropocentric nor even terracentric.

By the "survival of the fittest" which is the law of raw nature, no animal has rights: only the tools to survive as best it can. The chicken has no right not to be eaten by the fox. The wildebeest has no ethical recourse against the lion. If we are merely animals, no other animal has any ethical standing to complain against the human animal for eating them or wearing their skins.

But, if we are superior to other animals -- if our nature is of a different kind than other animals -- then why should we grant rights to species who can not talk, or compose symphonies, or induce mathematical equations, or build satellites which send back television pictures of other planets? Why shouldn't we humans simply regard lower animals as things which may become our property? We may be kind to animals if it is pleasing to us to do so, but we should not grant animals an equal stature that nature has not given them. Respect for nature requires a respect for the nature of what things are ... and we are better, stronger, smarter, than the animals we hunt, ranch, farm, fish, trap, butcher, skin, bone, and eat.

They certainly have no ethics about us, for they are just animals.

Nor are any "animal rights" activists themselves merely animals. There is no organization called Porpoises for the Ethical Treatment of Animals. It is People who make those demands of other People.

Those who argue for animal rights argue that since animals are living and feel pain, that therefore nature gives them a right not to be treated cruelly. This is an argument that could only work on a being capable of empathy -- and that requires an elevated consciousness. It is true that animals can feel pain, and that esthetically requires that we not be cruel in our treatment of them. But what is cruelty? Beating a horse that won't pull a wagon? Making animals fight each other for sport?

That's no longer the issue, is it? The issue is ranching minks to skin them for fur; castrating and slaughtering steers to eat them; hunting and shooting deer, ducks, and elks; testing cosmetics on animals; doing medical experiments on animals to advance medical knowledge. Do we have a moral obligation not to use animals for human utilitarian purposes, which is another way of asking whether animals have the right not to be treated as objects to be exploited for their usefulness?

The idea of a right means that which has rights may not be treated as a utilitarian object for the fulfillment of the purposes of others. Animal rights would mean animals would be immune from being used to fulfill any human purpose.

PETA has it exactly correct. If animals have rights, then we may not ethically use them for our own selfish purposes, no matter how necessary we think that use or how humanely we assert we do it to them. This is, in fact, the logical conclusion of "animal rights."

If animals have rights then we need not make any distinction between an unnecessarily cruel use of animals (pick one: cock- fighting, animal testing for beauty products) or eating animals, because if animals have rights then we are not morally entitled to put them to utilitarian use, period.

Let me make it clear: I am not questioning the humaneness or cruelty of any particular practice. My point is that the interests of those who assert that the lower animals have rights is not to protect animals against cruel treatment. That can be done merely by an appeal to our consciences. Those who assert that animals or even "habitats" have rights do so to destroy individual human rights to control what I term the anthroposphere: the human habitat. It is the individual human right to control our private spheres of action -- our individual habitats -- which they oppose.

Some "animal rights" activists, basing their thinking on pantheism, equate humans with the rest of nature by saying that we are all share a divine consciousness. But equating humankind as no more divine than inanimate objects or other animals isn't raising nature but lowering humankind. Pantheists believe that everything is sacred, including the inanimate. Yet, I don't notice them picketing Mount St. Helen's volcano for spewing its lava, burning trees and killing wildlife. It's only human action to which animal rights activists object.

So where do we find ethics here? If we look to nature, we see only that the strong use the weak for their own purposes -- and we are obviously the master of all other animals by that standard. If we look to the center of all human ethics, the Golden Rule, we are told to treat others as we would wish to be treated. But what others? Animals can't treat us as we wish to be treated because they don't have the wit to entertain ethics at all.

Which leaves us esthetics, which exists only in individual humans. Since lower animals don't have rights, we humans need to make judgments on humane versus cruel treatment of lower animals not by treating animals as if they have rights but instead must rely on our esthetic values -- our consciences. But, after seeing tree-spikers, people throwing paint on fur coats, and Kentucky Fried Chicken being equated with Auschwitz, it's now apparent that the effect of trying to give animals the same ethical immunities as humans is that all esthetic distinction between cock-fighting and eating meat is lost. The effect of "all or nothing" in our uses of animals is to blunt our consciences, which makes us crueler to animals, not less cruel.

Those people among us who would give lower animals human rights do not do it because they love other animals. They do it because they hate humankind. They hate the fact that their own superior nature as intellectual beings gives them superior challenges which they shrink from by attempting to deny the superiority of their human nature.

"Animal rights" is just one more diabolic scheme for promoting government control over human lives by destroying our right to private property. It is the logical tactic of those who hate the individual creative ability and wish it replaced by the anti-human jackboots of collectivism.

"Animal rights" activists use the tools of rationality which are uniquely available to the human species in order to deny the distinct nature of their own rational faculties. They raise up animals in an attempt to lower humankind.

They may speak for themselves only, not for me. I know what I am. I know what animals are. And I will name what "animal rights" activists truly are: the Human Defamation League. And making us as oblivious to cruelty as are all other animals, if not the actual agenda of the Human Defamation League, is nonetheless the unintended consequence of their campaign.

http://www.pulpless.com/jneil/aniright.html
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things animals cannot do

1. Writing and reading.

2. Mathematical calculation.

3. Making and playing of musical instruments.

4. Creating and using a calendar.

5. Engaging in commerce.

6. The practice of law.

7. The practice of medicine and veterinary medicine.

8. Pyrotechnics.

9. Cooking food.

10. Studying.

11. Tracking the movements of celestial bodies.

12. Whale watching.

13. The use of graphic arts.

14. Provision of artificial light.

15. Provision of artificial heat.

16. Home decoration.

17. Modeling clothing.

18. Making jewelry.

19. Fashion design.

20. Plumbing.

21. Telegraphy.

22. Telephony.

23. Broadcasting.

24. Furniture design.

25. The practice of religion.

26. Storytelling.

27. Kindling fire.

28. Body decoration.

29. Printing.

30. Musical notation.

31. The presentation of argument.

32. Photography.

33. Inducing or utilizing abstract principles.

34. Going on a vacation.

35. Construction of wheels for transportation.

36. Construction of artificial wings for flying.

37. Planning for retirement.

38. Sailing.

39. Investment.

40. Farming and ranching.

41. Mechanical engineering.

42. Transportation and use of stored power.

43. Mailing or shipping.

44. Piloting craft.

45. Recording music.

46. Inventing games.

47. Distilling alcohol.

48. Shopping.

49. Avoiding or inhibiting the spread of natural diseases.

50. Sending me provocative email.

http://www.pulpless.com/jneil/fifty.html
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[

Well, sir, must I ask you to re-read what I wrote? Or shall I just consider you an imbecile?
You are comparing the animal brain to a human brain. True, the consciousness are not the same, but animals do have free will. Free will just means making a choice without regarding external influences.
Take sharks for example, their free will allows them to choose what animal is perfect to eat. Which is why you rarely see a human completely eaten by sharks; they realize right away that it is not worth the energy consumption they will be doing that they can just choose not to eat it. You might call it instinct; but, does not that also mean its free will? It is the animal's will to follow its instincts.
You seem to be pertaining mostly to animals that are trained. They had been trained, meaning, external influences are acting upon them. They do have the free will to follow orders. The same as how you have the free will to be a bigot or an idiot.
Besides, why would you even assume that a dog needs to go to court? Do you even know how courts work, sir? What is the relation of biting and a fair trial here? Dogs are not humans, sir. But before we go on, I must know what culture you are from, as cultures vary. Same goes for laws.

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76 / F / Tenochtitlan
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Posted 2/3/09
i say no they dont.
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29 / M / Saskatoon, Canada
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Posted 2/3/09
animals deserve to have their own rights!
Posted 2/3/09 , edited 2/3/09
Yes they do. Dog fighting is for fags. People wear fur to showoff how much money they make because they are shallow. But i'm not giving up meat.
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Posted 2/4/09 , edited 2/4/09

jewishplayer wrote:


willby wrote:


jewishplayer wrote:


willby wrote:


jewishplayer wrote:


Senta wrote:


jewishplayer wrote:

Humans are animals. So, animals have rights.


I knew someone was going to say that.

think of it this way; You > Chicken Wing. I mean imo .. yeah, I guess I would "feel bad" if I was slaughtered but.. >_> I'm not a chicken. I will never be a chicken. .. efiowehghh *hard to put in words*.


Animal rights can be comparable to Black slavery. They used to be properties but now they actually have equal rights. That is just in the U.S., though.
You can also compare them to your belongings; you normally do not want others to mess them up.
But yeah, animals just have as much right to life, liberty and property.


Animals don't even havea free will, then why the hell would we give theù the right to possess or liberty to go where they want?

And how in heaven's name can one compare black slavery to animal rights?


Blacks were properties. Just like how animals are. They have free will, if they dont, they would have died out. You are talking about humans's free will, which is totally different when you put it to a free will that is not biased to humans, as in freedom to do what they normally do.
Anyways, Blacks were treated just like animals. They were chattels. The only difference is that they are able to speak up, which of course, even animals can do in a slightly different way: killing humans when humans invade animals' territories.


Animals have free will?? So if a dog bites a child we have to put him in front of a freaggin' judge, in court??? Ridiculous, my friend


Well, sir, must I ask you to re-read what I wrote? Or shall I just consider you an imbecile?
You are comparing the animal brain to a human brain. True, the consciousness are not the same, but animals do have free will. Free will just means making a choice without regarding external influences.
Take sharks for example, their free will allows them to choose what animal is perfect to eat. Which is why you rarely see a human completely eaten by sharks; they realize right away that it is not worth the energy consumption they will be doing that they can just choose not to eat it. You might call it instinct; but, does not that also mean its free will? It is the animal's will to follow its instincts.
You seem to be pertaining mostly to animals that are trained. They had been trained, meaning, external influences are acting upon them. They do have the free will to follow orders. The same as how you have the free will to be a bigot or an idiot.
Besides, why would you even assume that a dog needs to go to court? Do you even know how courts work, sir? What is the relation of biting and a fair trial here? Dogs are not humans, sir. But before we go on, I must know what culture you are from, as cultures vary. Same goes for laws.



Cursing is a sign of ignorance my friend. Point is I study law, and everyone who does or did can tell you this: free will + mistake = court. Only humans have a free will. Animals don't and won't ever have a free will. What they do, where they go, there is nothing rational in that. Because animals don't think. Apart from some monkey exceptions (besides those monkeys are trained.)
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28 / M / Under The Golden...
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Posted 2/4/09
human are human they can think talk an do all sorts of things animals they are FOOD
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Posted 2/4/09
yah i believe that animals have rights too...
though we cant stop killing them for food..
but what i mean of rights is when they put to cages for human entertainment..

Posted 2/4/09
People emotionally separate animals a from humans,even if they agree both are biologically similar. Calling someone an animal for example means they are lacking human cultural values or behaving without morals. There is an easy way to show we are indeed animals by default and human is what we learn to be:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Feral_child









<><>http://s1.zetaboards.com/Neko_Forest/
Posted 2/4/09 , edited 2/4/09

willby wrote:
Cursing is a sign of ignorance my friend. Point is I study law, and everyone who does or did can tell you this: free will + mistake = court. Only humans have a free will. Animals don't and won't ever have a free will. What they do, where they go, there is nothing rational in that. Because animals don't think. Apart from some monkey exceptions (besides those monkeys are trained.)

In most European laws, and I guess most other western law systems, animals are considered as objects, and only do have a partial right such as getting decent treatment. That's why they don't get dragged to the courtyard, and not because they don't have free will. Another reason why animals don't get dragged to the courtyard is, because WE can't communicate with them in an intelligible manner which would allow us to get an insight in an animal's causations for its actions - this, seriously, has nothing to do with whether they have free will or not.
Also, your example, a dog biting a human being, such a dog gets put down if said human files out a complaint in court.

Laws are flawed, and don't get updated too often as it is too much of a hassle unless there is a serious issue concerning that matter. If' you're really studying law then you would know that it is full of flaws and gets accordingly abused and bent over by people.

Besides, just because you seem to be studying law doesn't mean that you have the right to presume about a life form on this planet in such an ignorant way where you'd go so far as to claim that animals do not have a free will. Especially if the field you're studying is not specialising in animal behaviourism.

My question for you: Are you studying behaviourism of animals? Are you studying biology, or psychology? Yes? No? Did you at least take a look at a few documents concerning this matter before spluttering out such..bullshit?

Look, unless you get me facts and proof, which are not religiously biased, about animals NOT having free will, I'll consider your words as the haute cuisine of shit and bile.
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ShroomInferno wrote:


willby wrote:
Cursing is a sign of ignorance my friend. Point is I study law, and everyone who does or did can tell you this: free will + mistake = court. Only humans have a free will. Animals don't and won't ever have a free will. What they do, where they go, there is nothing rational in that. Because animals don't think. Apart from some monkey exceptions (besides those monkeys are trained.)

In most European laws, and I guess most other western law systems, animals are considered as objects, and only do have a partial right such as getting decent treatment. That's why they don't get dragged to the courtyard, and not because they don't have free will. Another reason why animals don't get dragged to the courtyard is, because WE can't communicate with them in an intelligible manner which would allow us to get an insight in an animal's causations for its actions - this, seriously, has nothing to do with whether they have free will or not.
Also, your example, a dog biting a human being, such a dog gets put down if said human files out a complaint in court.

Laws are flawed, and don't get updated too often as it is too much of a hassle unless there is a serious issue concerning that matter. If' you're really studying law then you would know that it is full of flaws and gets accordingly abused and bent over by people.

Besides, just because you seem to be studying law doesn't mean that you have the right to presume about a life form on this planet in such an ignorant way where you'd go so far as to claim that animals do not have a free will. Especially if the field you're studying is not specialising in animal behaviourism.

My question for you: Are you studying behaviourism of animals? Are you studying biology, or psychology? Yes? No? Did you at least take a look at a few documents concerning this matter before spluttering out such..bullshit?

Look, unless you get me facts and proof, which are not religiously biased, about animals NOT having free will, I'll consider your words as the haute cuisine of shit and bile.


I really don't get why a few people think animals have a free will. You even know what "free will" means? Free will is a concept invented by sociologists in order to declare why rational people undertake actions, why they make decisions, and in a certain degree how they take them. I don't think I need to tell you that this concept is very useful in law, that it is in fact something we take for granted, because if there was no such thing as "free will", punishing someone for breaking the law would be very hard.

Free will is a priviledge of the rational, and like we all know, animals aren't rational. Therefore they don't have a free will.

So you want me to prove that animals don't think? That's easy. Thoughts require language. Animals don't have language. Before you jump on me, I would like to add that I am not saying that no animal can communicate.
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Cursing is a sign of ignorance my friend. Point is I study law, and everyone who does or did can tell you this: free will + mistake = court. Only humans have a free will. Animals don't and won't ever have a free will. What they do, where they go, there is nothing rational in that. Because animals don't think. Apart from some monkey exceptions (besides those monkeys are trained.)

It is actually funny how you said you study law, yet you assume that every free will with mistakes brings you to court. Narrow. Shallow.
Well, I hate to be the one to tell this to you since you study law but... animal rights are not really the rights of animals. They are human prohibitions. A typical law. A restriction to humans, not other animals. They are animal protection from humans.
And about animal rationality, we really do not know much about the brain (you can ask any neuroscientist that) to even claim about rationality. Some monkeys (not trained) that live in Japan(?). They wash their food with sea water to add flavor to it. It was a simple logical choice that was discovered by monkeys of that shore. Some monkeys rationalized that rinsing their food in salt water adds flavor to it. Simple logic, yet, a form of rationalizing.


Anyways, about what you considered cursing, guess we have a different definition of cursing. Though, that is way beyond this topic.
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Posted 2/4/09 , edited 2/4/09

jewishplayer wrote:


willby wrote:


jewishplayer wrote:


willby wrote:


jewishplayer wrote:


willby wrote:


jewishplayer wrote:


Senta wrote:


jewishplayer wrote:

Humans are animals. So, animals have rights.


I knew someone was going to say that.

think of it this way; You > Chicken Wing. I mean imo .. yeah, I guess I would "feel bad" if I was slaughtered but.. >_> I'm not a chicken. I will never be a chicken. .. efiowehghh *hard to put in words*.


Animal rights can be comparable to Black slavery. They used to be properties but now they actually have equal rights. That is just in the U.S., though.
You can also compare them to your belongings; you normally do not want others to mess them up.
But yeah, animals just have as much right to life, liberty and property.


Animals don't even havea free will, then why the hell would we give theù the right to possess or liberty to go where they want?

And how in heaven's name can one compare black slavery to animal rights?


Blacks were properties. Just like how animals are. They have free will, if they dont, they would have died out. You are talking about humans's free will, which is totally different when you put it to a free will that is not biased to humans, as in freedom to do what they normally do.
Anyways, Blacks were treated just like animals. They were chattels. The only difference is that they are able to speak up, which of course, even animals can do in a slightly different way: killing humans when humans invade animals' territories.


Animals have free will?? So if a dog bites a child we have to put him in front of a freaggin' judge, in court??? Ridiculous, my friend


Well, sir, must I ask you to re-read what I wrote? Or shall I just consider you an imbecile?
You are comparing the animal brain to a human brain. True, the consciousness are not the same, but animals do have free will. Free will just means making a choice without regarding external influences.
Take sharks for example, their free will allows them to choose what animal is perfect to eat. Which is why you rarely see a human completely eaten by sharks; they realize right away that it is not worth the energy consumption they will be doing that they can just choose not to eat it. You might call it instinct; but, does not that also mean its free will? It is the animal's will to follow its instincts.
You seem to be pertaining mostly to animals that are trained. They had been trained, meaning, external influences are acting upon them. They do have the free will to follow orders. The same as how you have the free will to be a bigot or an idiot.
Besides, why would you even assume that a dog needs to go to court? Do you even know how courts work, sir? What is the relation of biting and a fair trial here? Dogs are not humans, sir. But before we go on, I must know what culture you are from, as cultures vary. Same goes for laws.



Cursing is a sign of ignorance my friend. Point is I study law, and everyone who does or did can tell you this: free will + mistake = court. Only humans have a free will. Animals don't and won't ever have a free will. What they do, where they go, there is nothing rational in that. Because animals don't think. Apart from some monkey exceptions (besides those monkeys are trained.)

It is actually funny how you said you study law, yet you assume that every free will with mistakes brings you to court. Narrow. Shallow.
Well, I hate to be the one to tell this to you since you study law but... animal rights are not really the rights of animals. They are human prohibitions. A typical law. A restriction to humans, not other animals.
And about animal rationality, we really do not know much about the brain (you can ask any neuroscientist that) to even claim about rationality. Some monkeys (not trained) that live in Japan(?). They wash their food with sea water to add flavor to it. It was a simple logical choice that was discovered by monkeys of that shore. Some monkeys rationalized that rinsing their food in salt water adds flavor to it.



You don't quite understand it I am afraid. I am saying that mistakes, coming from free will, that lead to damage, can mean court. Of course you don't have to go to court if you, the victim, don't want to. At least if we are talking about civilt matters. I am trying to tell you about what free will is and it's importance when it comes to laws.

"Well, I hate to be the one to tell this to you since you study law but... animal rights are not really the rights of animals. They are human prohibitions. A typical law. A restriction to humans, not other animals."

wth have I been saying? Animals don't have rights. It's just that there are some laws to protect them, at least in my country. That's the whole point: there are laws to protect them somehow against excessive violence etc, but they don't have "rights". They don't and they won't.

edit: about animals being rational ... jeez. I don't think I need to convince other people that animals are not rational, so I'll leave it be
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Actually, with the fact that the laws prohibits humans from mistreating animals already give them their rights. True, it is indirect, but that is their right. It became their right not to be abused and the right of them to be protected. At the same time, it is a prohibition to the humans. Of course, that prohibition also implies indirectly that they have the right to live; just like how humans have an inalienable right to live. Well, at least based on my country's Constitution.
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