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Do animals have rights?

asked Sep 22 '10 at 19:09

Sandi%20Trixx's gravatar image

Sandi Trixx

edited Jan 26 '11 at 12:50

Greg%20Perkins's gravatar image

Greg Perkins ♦♦

No. Rights are an expression of morality and are therefore the exclusive domain of one type of being, those that are rational, volitional and sentient. That means they are (so far) exclusive to man.

Animal "rights" as they are intended (a prohibition against malicious acts committed against them by man) are not even a proper expression of what rights actually entail, namely a freedom to action and absence of compulsion. If "animal rights" were to be real rights, properly construed, then a Dog endowed with such rights could not legally be ordered to sit against its will, nor could it be chained, caged or led on a leash.

answered Sep 22 '10 at 20:16

Martin%20Gasser's gravatar image

Martin Gasser ♦

I would only add that I think torturing and killing animals can sometimes be wrong, depending on the context, and can reveal a very warped mentality that is psychologically unhealthy.

(Sep 22 '10 at 20:32) Justin O ♦ Justin%20O's gravatar image

Martin, if one person wants to torture a dog and another person wants to stop him, then the law says that one of the two people has a right to override the other's wishes. Since all rational principles and commonsense point in favor of the latter person, we have what amounts to a right at least to act on behalf of the dog. I'm not troubled by speaking of the dog's "rights" in this context, i.e., human rights to act on their behalf. For more, google up "rand holzer animal rights".

(Sep 22 '10 at 22:00) Chris Cathcart Chris%20Cathcart's gravatar image

That's an interesting quote. I swear I once read another person mention an offhand comment that she made approving of legal punishment for animal cruelty.

I certainly don't believe in animal rights, but I do think there's a rational basis for laws against animal cruelty. Equating a dog to a recliner oversimplifies things and animals are a different class of property. As such, they have a different level of responsibility, including care and freedom from cruelty. Though I readily admit I can't formulate a philosophical justification for this. Maybe someone here smarter than I can do it.

(Sep 23 '10 at 02:34) infallible ♦ infallible's gravatar image

I think the reason they are claimed to have rights is because they are alive and can feel pain just like us. For example yesterday in the news they showed a female duck who was attacked by a harpoon, with a bit of the harpoon stuck in the lower part of her body. I think the guy who did this would have been imprisoned for 12 months. Another example was the guy who microwaved his cat, and the guy who inserted 14 metal rods into his dog.

I think that a perfect explanation for relief of pain and suffering can be incorporated but that wouldn't fit under rights.

(Sep 23 '10 at 02:44) Michael Michael's gravatar image

I find one of the interesting elements of this is that there is a pretty strong correlation between those who later commit violent crimes, especially serious ones such as murder or serial murders, and the grotesque (to indicate the level of perversion) abuse or otherwise killing of animals when younger. In this respect at least, I do agree that such actions can be considered by the average person within our society as being psychologically unhealthy behavior, if not simply inappropriate.

(Jan 03 '11 at 19:30) capitalistswine ♦ capitalistswine's gravatar image
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Men have moral obligations in their dealings with animals, even if those obligations are not the sort to be recognized by governments.

answered Jan 03 '11 at 19:00

Mindy%20Newton's gravatar image

Mindy Newton ♦

I don't see how that line remains blurred. Morality - Legality. What's all the fuss? Why are all the examples exactly the animal western man has chosen as his pet of choice? To get a good perspective on the issue: should man be jailed for crucifying a frog?

(Jan 22 '13 at 17:44) trini trini's gravatar image

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Asked: Sep 22 '10 at 19:09

Seen: 2,073 times

Last updated: Jan 22 '13 at 22:28