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nichodemus
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nichodemus
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"Auschwitz begins wherever someone looks at a slaughterhouse and thinks: theyâre only animals."
â Theodor W. Adorno

I haven't really waded into the discussion on animal rights, but from what I believe so far, yes blah blah, animals have to have their modicum of rights as well. But what really grinds my gears are animal activists who go on and on about pictures of safari hunting, etc. There's a certain extent that I would care about animals and cruelty (experimentation, pet abuse, etc), but until we stop eating battery farmed animals, I don't think much moral high ground can be taken.

So yes, your opinion?

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Devoidless
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"Auschwitz begins wherever someone looks at a slaughterhouse and thinks: theyâre only animals."
â Theodor W. Adorno


But people are animals I thought?
FishPreferred
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FishPreferred
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But people are animals I thought?


Yes. It should be specified that this is about non-human members of the animal kingdom.
nichodemus
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nichodemus
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I broke Godwin's Law on the first post. :<

But people are animals I thought?


Yep....but what would be the implications of such a statement? I think it'll also be fruitful if we discuss how we differentiate from animals, and how that would translate to different legal actions.
nichodemus
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nichodemus
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Oh dear, my post got eaten up again.

I broke Godwin's Law on the first post.

But people are animals I thought?


Yup, I think it would be fruitful as well to discuss how we differentiate from the rest of the animal kingdom, and how that would translate to different legal treatment.

That would be PETA. I do not like PETA. I like the ASPCA, though. They're much less...volatile, and they funded a shelter that we adopted kittens from.


My Twitter feed has been bubbling over with animal rights activists chanting and howling, especially when pictures of rich corporate fat cats pose with dead lions and when news of the King of Spain's hunting trips came out in the past. I wonder if it's a growing trend or not? Anyway, should hunting for sport be restricted further?
nichodemus
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Maybe you should just stop following those people?


Nawww, they're my Arsenal fan Community friends.

So, I guess what I'm saying is that hunting for sport would only be productive if a species was over-populated, especially a carnivorous species, as it wouldn't be hunted by other animals. If a species starts to decline to the point of extinction, hunting of that species should be banned. How would we measure that? I don't know. But I've never thought about it much.


Well, I don't see the point too in killing in a safari or a game forest just for the thrill and enjoyment, solely based on pragmatic terms. Now, what about the ethical side of hunting animals for sports? Are we violating their ''rights" if they have any?
nichodemus
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People like guns and adrenaline. Combine them by placing your life at risk with a much faster, stronger being armed with an extremely powerful rifle. I guess? I dunno I get that by target shooting plastic bottles and riding a dirtbike. Not as efficient but still fun.


Well, I did get a rush when I did my shooting training in the army with my bull-pulp, but I wouldn't say I would find it fun shooting actual living things, and I'm glad many do.

I do agree with most of what you said. But, assigning rights as it is today, seems at times almost arbitrary. We didn't give rights to minority races because of misguided prejudices. Same with gays. Same with women. So where does the line end with this?

We already have pet laws and some animal cruelty laws that protect certain animals, giving them a semblance of rights. I'm wondering if more will be done for them; certainly not to the extent of rights for people though. Maybe it's just me, because I dislike suffering of any kind. Also, it seems that there are strains of people who care about animal rights, but tend to focus their efforts on house pet animals. Dog rights, cat rights, blah blah, but you hardly hear about it for animals that we have use for, or vermin. It's still rather arbitrary for me.

So that brings up the point in your second post; I'm guessing that people are often sad in such situations because we treat them almost like family at times. The family cat, the family dog, etc. They seem almost human.
EmperorPalpatine
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I like the ASPCA, though. They're much less...volatile, and they funded a shelter that we adopted kittens from.

I've seen stats from 1-5% of their funds actually helping animals (or helping them along). Most of it goes to lawyers as they try to lobby congress to ban stuff. Oh, and their CEO takes $500K/yr.

People assign rights to each other (for example, the right to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness), but this applied to mankind.

And that was in a time when "mankind" meant "white wealthy educated land-owning straight males". We have since broadened it to include others. Why not just extend it to "sentient beings"?

Why is that? Could it be that people see animals as lessers that don't deserve to die? Or is it just because dogs are freakin' awesome and way more adorable that the humans in the movie?

I think it's #2. When I was in elementary school, there was a huge charity drive to give eye surgery to an abused dog that was blind. A few hundred thousand dollars were raised, easily enough to help at least one blind person who would actually be able to contribute to the world. When I pointed that out, the simple answer was that people like dogs. (As a follow-up, the surgery was successful, but the dog died within a year of it, so it was kind of a waste)
DrElmer
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Animal rights are a human-engineered concept. There has not been one documented case of an animal walking up to a human being and demanding equal rights. Even the gorilla they somehow taught sign language to didn't sign anything about rights. Why? Because rights don't exist in the animal kingdom. A gazelle doesn't have the right to not be eaten by a lion. A shark doesn't get the right to a fair trial after gobbling up a mouthwatering seal. The animal kingdom has been getting along just fine for millions of years this way. It wasn't until we came along that this concept of rights existed, and for sophisticated beings who can understand this concept, it works very well, but then people started convincing themselves that animals had roughly the same feelings and emotions as humans, so somehow that led to people applying the famous golden rule to these animals, and now people debate over what is and isn't okay treatment of these creatures.

The big subject these days, and bloody hell am I sick of hearing about it, is animal cruelty. I respect vegetarianism for health reasons, or even if you just don't like meat, but not because you're against cruelty to animals. Cruelty is, of course, another subjective human-engineered concept, and I will not argue that there are many cruel things you can do to an animal, but using them for food is not one of them. "Killing animals for food is wrong" is the single dumbest argument for animal rights in existence. Idiot, some other animal is just going to eat it! Seriously, if animals did care, I'd think any one of them would rather get its head chopped off and die almost instantly than get eaten alive by another animal higher on the food chain.

It wasn't animals who demanded to be given rights in the first place; it was over-empathetic humans who started making all these choices for them and deciding what was right for them. We're egotistical enough as a species to believe that we're doing them a favor by letting them roam free instead of keeping them locked up in a cage, but the only reason they're roaming free in the first place is because they don't know their fate. Countries that have the death penalty don't let death row inmates roam free, and not only do those people know they're going to die, but they actually care. You could hold a meat cleaver up to any animal and say "I'm going to kill you with this meat cleaver" 100 times, and they won't know what the devil is going on. Why are people suddenly defending creatures that we've been domesticating and eating for most of our modern history?

TL;DR: You missed a hell of a rant.

HahiHa
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DrElmer, you answered your first point with your last rant. Animals don't know what's going on, so how could they ask us for better treatment?

We are animals, so why would we have human rights and not animal rights? After all there's strictly no difference. We may perceive the world in a different way than other animals, but it is a fact that many animals, like most vertebrates (even fish, as recent investigations have shown), feel pain. It is common sense, and usually quite apparent, that animals can experience stress, and suffer from it. Also, the predation you mention among animals is usually just hunt and eat, not keep them locked in their own poo and eat it. So can you give me one good reason why we should not make an effort to keep animals, even for food, under relatively natural and "humane" conditions?

On the matter of hunting, usually hunting is done to regulate the population of forest dwelling herbivores so as to prevent their number to explode and damage the flora. The game is eaten, of course.
I don't think hunting for sports is a bad thing, if it respects the animals population (don't overhunt it) and if the animal is eaten afterwards. If you simply want to go around and shoot things for fun, go to a shooting range or play paintball with your friends.

DrElmer
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Animals don't know what's going on, so how could they ask us for better treatment?


That's exactly my point. They cannot ask for better treatment, because they don't know what's going on. They don't know what "better treatment" is. They aren't sitting around and thinking "Open grass fields were so much better than metal cages. I sure do miss that life, boy oh boy". They can't make comparisons. Animals don't know whether they're being mistreated, and they don't hate for treating them the way we do.

We may perceive the world in a different way than other animals, but it is a fact that many animals, like most vertebrates (even fish, as recent investigations have shown), feel pain.


Of course they do. An animal feels pain when you chop off its head, and it feels pain when it gets its neck bitten into by an animal higher on the food chain. How did we become the bad guys all of a sudden just because we do the same things and inflict the same amount of pain on the same animals in different ways than other animals do?

Also, the predation you mention among animals is usually just hunt and eat, not keep them locked in their own poo and eat it.


Again, this is something humans have deemed unfit for animals simply because it's not fit for humans, but I don't have any reason to believe that animals have the same negative relationship with their excrement that humans do. Cows aren't careful to avoid stepping in cow patties. Pigs roll around in their own poo in their own free time. Some dogs eat their own poo, while some monkeys throw it around. Humans are clearly disgusted by fecal matter, but there is little evidence that other species feel the same way.

So can you give me one good reason why we should not make an effort to keep animals, even for food, under relatively natural and "humane" conditions?


"Humane" is yet another concept thought up by humans, and is entirely based on the actions of other humans. At one point, we decided what was and was not humane, and at some point people decided that locking animals up in cages was morally wrong because it wasn't natural. Then you have to think about the concept of nature, and how we've excluded ourselves entirely from it as a species. Human beings associate everything that occurs without the aid of humankind as being natural, but as you yourself mentioned, we ourselves are animals, and if there truly is "strictly no difference", the way we treat animals lower on the food chain should not be viewed any differently than the way any other animal treats those animals.
nichodemus
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Of course they do. An animal feels pain when you chop off its head, and it feels pain when it gets its neck bitten into by an animal higher on the food chain. How did we become the bad guys all of a sudden just because we do the same things and inflict the same amount of pain on the same animals in different ways than other animals do?


I think it's because some people intentionally do harm just for fun; most of the time when an animal kills, it's for food or self-defense. Granted, there are cases of purposeful violence as well, such as dolphins ganging up upon porpoises, but they're in the tiny minority, correct me if I'm wrong though.
HahiHa
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That's exactly my point. They cannot ask for better treatment, because they don't know what's going on. They don't know what "better treatment" is. They aren't sitting around and thinking "Open grass fields were so much better than metal cages. I sure do miss that life, boy oh boy". They can't make comparisons. Animals don't know whether they're being mistreated, and they don't hate for treating them the way we do.

You make a lot of assumptions. And no, your point was that it was ok to mistreat animals just because they didn't object. They can't obejct.

Of course they do. An animal feels pain when you chop off its head, and it feels pain when it gets its neck bitten into by an animal higher on the food chain. How did we become the bad guys all of a sudden just because we do the same things and inflict the same amount of pain on the same animals in different ways than other animals do?

I never said it is not ok to kill animals for food. But we have no reason to put cows or pigs in spaces where they can barely move, where they get sick and probably crazy. That's torture, in a way no animal does gratuitiously. Why is it ok if we do it just because they're different species?

Again, this is something humans have deemed unfit for animals simply because it's not fit for humans, but I don't have any reason to believe that animals have the same negative relationship with their excrement that humans do. Cows aren't careful to avoid stepping in cow patties. Pigs roll around in their own poo in their own free time. Some dogs eat their own poo, while some monkeys throw it around. Humans are clearly disgusted by fecal matter, but there is little evidence that other species feel the same way.

Animals are cleaner than you might think. Pigs like to roll in mud; not their own excrement. Bird spiders throw their poop away so that it won't mould in their burrow.

And I'll tell you something more. It's not only a moral aspect. It's also in our own interest. Why do you think do we have such a problem with bacterias getting resistent to antibiotics? All those animal farms are profit oriented, maximising meat production is their only goal. By stating that animals have no right to be treated with a basic respect, we encourage big farms to enclose even more animal per square meter, use more antibiotics to keep them healthy despite their miserable conditions, use more hormones to make them grow faster, etc. etc. And all the stuff they feed the animals with, we find them on our plates.
What is more, farms consume an incredible amount of water and energy, and the shipping of the meat all across the world is also severly reprehensible.

Now, I might seem like a PETA activist to you after what I said; I'm not. It's ok to eat meat, it's ok to keep farm animals, it's ok to kill and hunt for food. All I'm saying is, let's be reasonable and responsible about it, and treat living beings with a basic amount of respect.
nichodemus
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Hmmm...guys, what do you think separates us from animals? Does such a dichotomy invest in us a higher status?

FishPreferred
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I don't believe animals have rights, or at least the same rights humans have. If we were all placed in the wild, an animal would have no problem killing a human as a source of food. I think that goes both ways.


This part makes a lot of sense. Giving all animals the right to life would make every carnivore alive a serial killer.

If the African lion population is so large that they're moving into cities and villages, you may want to shoot a few more.


This reasoning is flawed. It's the cities/villages that are encroaching upon the wilderness. Killing more just opens the way for more land development, and thus more cities.

Dog rights, cat rights, blah blah, but you hardly hear about it for animals that we have use for, or vermin. It's still rather arbitrary for me.


It isn't arbitrary, but it is exceedingly biased. Very few people would lose sleep over the mistreatment of something they're conditioned to regard as an inanimate food product, or something they would themselves kill on sight (if not too squeamish).

There has not been one documented case of an animal walking up to a human being and demanding equal rights. Even the gorilla they somehow taught sign language to didn't sign anything about rights. Why? Because rights don't exist in the animal kingdom.


No. Researchers were too busy testing its communication skills to fully inform it. Do you think they would have given it an animal rights petition to support? Or a position as a government lobbyist for animal welfare? If you raised a human being from birth in the same laboratory setting, do you think he/she would be declaring equal rights for humans?

We're egotistical enough as a species to believe that we're doing them a favor by letting them roam free instead of keeping them locked up in a cage, but the only reason they're roaming free in the first place is because they don't know their fate. Countries that have the death penalty don't let death row inmates roam free, and not only do those people know they're going to die, but they actually care. You could hold a meat cleaver up to any animal and say "I'm going to kill you with this meat cleaver" 100 times, and they won't know what the devil is going on.


This is so overladen with nonsensical pseudo-reasoning I had to break it into parts:

to believe that we're doing them a favor by letting them roam free instead of keeping them locked up in a cage, but the only reason they're roaming free in the first place is because they don't know their fate.


This makes no sense. They are not biologically designed for the purpose of being caged, nor would they cage themselves if they "knew their fate". Not doing them an injustice is not the same as "doing them a favour".

Countries that have the death penalty don't let death row inmates roam free, and not only do those people know they're going to die, but they actually care.


From your preceeding dialogue, I could have sworn you understood what this discussion was about, but now I'm having doubts.

You could hold a meat cleaver up to any animal and say "I'm going to kill you with this meat cleaver" 100 times, and they won't know what the devil is going on.


Strangely, you could do the same with a baby, or a fully blind and deaf adult, or a member of an isolated island tribe who has been told that this is a common ceremony of some kind, or anyone who is a heavy sleeper or under anaesthetic. Obviously, these people don't deserve any rights, either.
FishPreferred
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(part 2)

They can't make comparisons. Animals don't know whether they're being mistreated, and they don't hate for treating them the way we do.


Clearly they can compare. Obviously they do know. Even mollusks know the difference between pain and not pain. If they aren't aware of any better life, whose to blame for that?

Again, this is something humans have deemed unfit for animals simply because it's not fit for humans,


No, it's deemed unfit for them when their immune systems are compromised and they undergo toxic shock due to their constant forced proximity to fecal matter. Cows only have a problem if they're forced to stand in feces or restricted to heavily used pastures (id est, when domesticated). Pigs do not roll in feces unless they have no other source of damp soil-like matter to prevent them from overheating (which is a big problem for creatures that cannot perspire). Dogs only eat feces if they are (or seem to be) suffering from nutrient deficiencies, which also puts the blame on humans. Monkeys are shown to display a variety of unusual stress-related behaviours in captivity, especially poorly equipped zoos.

Human beings associate everything that occurs without the aid of humankind as being natural, but as you yourself mentioned, we ourselves are animals, and if there truly is "strictly no difference", the way we treat animals lower on the food chain should not be viewed any differently than the way any other animal treats those animals.


A principle which is equally valid when applied to our treatment of human beings. If torture, slavery, homicide, rape, theft, and acts of terrorism are all natural processes, why are they outlawed? Obviously, the bill of human rights is in serious need of reform.
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