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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
What do you think of animal rights?<br><br>
Do non-human animals have rights?<br><br>
If so, why and how do the rights differ from humans, if at all?<br><br>
If not, what responsibilities do humans have towards animals, if any, and why?<br><br><br><br>
I'm curious about your thoughts/feelings on animal rights.<br><br><br><br>
Maybe there is a thread already like this, but I couldn't find it.
 

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<div class="quote-container"><span>Quote:</span>
<div class="quote-block">Originally Posted by <strong>nogardsram</strong> <a href="/forum/post/0"><img alt="View Post" class="inlineimg" src="/img/forum/go_quote.gif" style=""></a><br><br>
What do you think of animal rights?<br><br>
Do non-human animals have rights?<br><br>
If so, why and how do the rights differ from humans, if at all?<br><br>
If not, what responsibilities do humans have towards animals, if any, and why?<br><br><br><br>
I'm curious about your thoughts/feelings on animal rights.<br><br><br><br>
Maybe there is a thread already like this, but I couldn't find it.</div>
</div>
<br><br><br>
I imagine there're many posts and some threads discussing AR here, but I'll throw in.<br><br><br><br>
I believe non-human animals have the inalienable right to live freely as they wish and not to be treated as a means to our ends, just as we prefer.<br><br><br><br>
Owning humans is a form of oppression, and this is true of animals as well.
 

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I think animals are a part of society, and we have to work to find a way to make society acceptable for them. We would not have cities and everything if not for animals, and we can't just throw them out.<br><br>
Animals should have more protection than humans, a dog can not tell some one else that it is being harmed, and they will stick by an abusive owner, there should be some form of checks undertaken on the home, animal and owner, and not just when the animal first moves in.<br><br>
We have the ability to control these animals, but not the right, we should only work together with them. And we should always remeber that whilst everyone on this board cares for animals then we are still a minority.
 

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I think animals have the rights a) not to have the moral value of their interests affected by their species b) not to have at least their fundamental interests in life and physical, mental and social welfare violated (where violation includes depriving them of the satisfaction of these interests), whether or not that would benefit others (human or non-human).<br><br><br><br>
The criterion of rights should be sentience, and the argument for them is that an ethical theory entailing these rights is more satisfactory compared to ethical theories that don't, either because the latter are inconsistent or arbitrary/non-explanatory or cannot be accepted by most people supporting human rights.
 

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I think all animals have the right to be respected, protected from harm.<br><br><br><br>
Farm animals have the right to live in peace in a suitable environment and not be killed or exploited.<br><br><br><br>
Domestic animals have the right to fresh clean water, adequate healthy food, physical activity, mental stimulation (ie, playing with cats, free running and training and playing with dogs, exercising horses, providing toys and free flight to birds). They have the unquestionable right to immediate and quality medical care.<br><br><br><br>
They do not have the right to breed indiscriminately at will IMO (which is a contradiction to them having the right to be 'free' to do whatever they please), or to roam in traffic, or to endanger human beings or other animals.<br><br><br><br>
I find this to be a complicated issue. For example, I am quite against animal testing, but if it could cure the love of my life's illness, then I would be all for it. Is that fair to animals? No, but I am only human. And maybe this is wrong, too, but I'd feel worse about dogs being used in research than I would about mice, because I *love* dogs. But I love my partner more than I love any animal (except perhaps my *own* dogs). So... wow, interesting things to thing about.<br><br><br><br>
Just my opinion <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="/images/smilies/smiley.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title=":)">
 

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nogardsram: I believe in complete animal liberation. To me, this is synonymous with animal rights. Although, there are many facets to the animal rights and animal liberation philosophies. I've seen multiple definitions used for animal rights, and frankly, it's confusing to me.<br><br><br><br><div class="quote-container"><span>Quote:</span>
<div class="quote-block">Originally Posted by <strong>Sevenseas</strong> <a href="/forum/post/0"><img alt="View Post" class="inlineimg" src="/img/forum/go_quote.gif" style=""></a><br><br>
I think animals have the rights a) not to have the moral value of their interests affected by their species b) not to have at least their fundamental interests in life and physical, mental and social welfare violated (where violation includes depriving them of the satisfaction of these interests), whether or not that would benefit others (human or non-human).<br><br><br><br>
The criterion of rights should be sentience, and the argument for them is that an ethical theory entailing these rights is more satisfactory compared to ethical theories that don't, either because the latter are inconsistent or arbitrary/non-explanatory or cannot be accepted by most people supporting human rights.</div>
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Why are you always able to word things better than I can? <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="/images/smilies/smiley.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title=":)"> Everything is there in my brain, I just don't know how to say it eloquently.
 

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I'm not sure what rights animals should have because I think that beings can only be afforded rights which correspond to the responsibilities they can be realisitcally expected to hold. For example, dogs shouldn't be allowed the right to roam the streets at will because (some of them) cannot understand the responsibility to avoid causing traffic accidents or attacking small children.<br><br><br><br>
On the other hand, there's a good argument that all animals have the right to be free from exploitation and ownership, which implies that domestication is wrong.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Thanks for you comments.<br><br><br><br>
I guess I'm curious about what people think of animal rights on this board. I've read a few of the threads dealing with this on some level, for example the " Is it wrong. . . (to ride horses)." It appears that for every person who uses the word "animal rights," there's a new definition. I find people aren't clear and make false generalizations about people who believe in animal rights or claim to believe in animal rights, yet put all sorts of restrictions on them. Like it is okay to breed or use them for the blind, sterilize them, etc.<br><br><br><br>
Ultimately I'm confused by the very topic of animals rights.<br><br><br><br>
I've tried to sort out some reasonable description for myself, but alas I am unable.<br><br><br><br>
I agree with epski, but I think it might not go far enough for my tastes/feelings. I also agree with Sevenseas, although I'm not sure what you mean by "sentience." I thought usually sentience is associated with "consciousness" which always seems debatable about which animals this applies.<br><br><br><br>
I do have a few things with which I am still grappling. Non-human animal spaying and neutering for one. I used to support this, but now I'm not so sure. When I ask myself why is that important, the only answer I can come up with is to limit their population, I guess because of suffering, nuisance, ? I can see parallels with humans though, for we are seeing effects of overpopulation within ourselves.<br><br><br><br>
I guess I am against ownership of animals, and caging them whether in a zoo, a cage, a stall, a house, a fenced yard, etc, but I am not against symbiotic relationships. For example a cat who comes and goes as it pleases. Or any other animal who comes and goes as they see fit.<br><br><br><br>
I ultimately must reject any appeal to "minimization of suffering" or maximizing "benefits," etc, mostly because I think these arguments can only be applied to the past, and not the future. For when they are applied to the future, it is always short-sighted.<br><br><br><br>
So my real interest, is trying to cement some reasonable concept of animal rights, mostly by throwing ideas around.<br><br><br><br>
I do have a question for gas4, with equating rights corresponding to responsibilities whatever creature can realistically hold. Who would be the judge of this? Or how would this be determined? I don't think humans currently live up to this at all, so I see it as unfair that non-human animals should be limited by this. I've heard the "with rights come responsibilities," but what are the human rights and what responsibilities does that entail of us?
 

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<div class="quote-container"><span>Quote:</span>
<div class="quote-block">Originally Posted by <strong>nogardsram</strong> <a href="/forum/post/0"><img alt="View Post" class="inlineimg" src="/img/forum/go_quote.gif" style=""></a><br><br>
It appears that for every person who uses the word "animal rights," there's a new definition.</div>
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Yeah well for starters 'animal rights' is used to refer to<br><br>
a) a theory that recognizes non-human (natural) moral rights, and<br><br>
b) in a wider sense, a "radical" view about non-human moral status that wants to abolish exploitation. (This is the meaning used in the dichotomy of animal rights vs. animal welfare.)<br><br>
c) in an even wider sense, the moral approach of anyone who supports some changes to how we treat animals.<br><br><br><br>
In the third (very misleading and problematic) sense, we of course have a huge variety of moral views, some of which are welfarist and so opposed to animal rights in the sense of a) and b). Tom Regan's view is a paradigmatic example of the a) category (although it of course belongs to the latter two categories too - he wants to abolish animal exploitation and wants to change how animals are treated).<br><br><br><br>
As for b), many people who want to abolish animal exploitation do not support the concept of moral rights - they might feel that it's a relic from the era of the Enlightenment for example and politically problematic because of that association.<br><br><br><br>
It's somewhat debatable where Peter Singer's view - anti-speciesist utilitarianism - can be aligned. I tend to think it can belong neither in a) nor b) - utilitarianism should not be the philosophy of the animal rights movement. That's why my own categorization of animal rights in a previous post explicitly rejected the utilitarian idea of sacrificing interests for a greater good.<br><br><br><br><br><br>
So in short, the concept of animal rights certainly has very diverse meanings. The main way out of this is simply to specify your view. "Animal rights" by itself is like the word "feminist" that doesn't say whether you think women should have the right to vote or equal standing in society or whether you reject the whole dichotomy of two sexes and genders.<br><br>
-<br><br><br><br><div class="quote-container"><span>Quote:</span>
<div class="quote-block">I also agree with Sevenseas, although I'm not sure what you mean by "sentience." I thought usually sentience is associated with "consciousness" which always seems debatable about which animals this applies.</div>
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I mean the technical term "phenomenal consciousness", which means that <i>there is something that it is like to be a certain being</i>.<br><br><br><br><div class="quote-container"><span>Quote:</span>
<div class="quote-block">I do have a few things with which I am still grappling. Non-human animal spaying and neutering for one. I used to support this, but now I'm not so sure. When I ask myself why is that important, the only answer I can come up with is to limit their population, I guess because of suffering, nuisance, ? I can see parallels with humans though, for we are seeing effects of overpopulation within ourselves.</div>
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At least if you have indoor cats, it can reduce their sexual frustration, and spay/neuter also has health benefits.<br><br><br><br>
I strongly recommend everyone to spay/neuter, but I don't think it's ideal, and so it's one reason not to breed pets if they need to be spay/neutered.
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
I agree with you Sevenseas. I guess what bothers me is when someone says "I believe in animals rights, so riding horses is not okay." Or "I believe in animal rights, and I don't see anything wrong with riding horses." Just like with "feminicist" it doesn't explain much. It doesn't allow me to really understand where the person is coming from to even start a discourse. Perhaps I shouldn't even bother with statements or comments like that.<br><br><br><br>
So I'm interested in a more generalized discussion of animal rights, than specific to horses, dogs, cats, etc, which any one of those threads tends to lead to. I probably would have gotten more response if I named this something like "Is it wrong to walk a dog?" or "Is it wrong to have an indoor cat?"<br><br><br><br>
On spaying and neutering, I think I see the potential benefits, however it seems to violate your two rights a) and b) you listed above. Perhaps it is only a reaction to the current system, to somehow "make right" what is currently being done "wrong." By "wrong" I mean intentionally being breed. However I feel that if I think it is okay to spay and neuter non-human animals, it should also be okay for humans, for whatever reason I can come up with to spay and neuter an non-human animal, it equally applies to humans.<br><br><br><br>
My feelings about animal rights lie pretty close to your claim about animal rights. However things like indoor house cats, keeping dogs on a leash or in a yard, spaying and neutering, horse riding, rescue animals (for search and rescue and the like), etc I feel I must reject.
 

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I consider as a AR supporter that I am an advocate and voice for the voiceless. Just as I was as a childrens nurse.<br><br>
I fight for justice for the innocents.<br><br>
If that means taking direct action when necessary I would and have.
 

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<div class="quote-container"><span>Quote:</span>
<div class="quote-block">Originally Posted by <strong>nogardsram</strong> <a href="/forum/post/0"><img alt="View Post" class="inlineimg" src="/img/forum/go_quote.gif" style=""></a><br><br>
On spaying and neutering, I think I see the potential benefits, however it seems to violate your two rights a) and b) you listed above. Perhaps it is only a reaction to the current system, to somehow "make right" what is currently being done "wrong." By "wrong" I mean intentionally being breed. However I feel that if I think it is okay to spay and neuter non-human animals, it should also be okay for humans, for whatever reason I can come up with to spay and neuter an non-human animal, it equally applies to humans.</div>
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You're right, and I've thought about that. Like I said, I don't feel it's ideal or that spay/neuter is morally "in the clear", so to speak. But also the issue of feeding companion animals seems to violate at least b), and some would argue that it violates against a) too - that we feed chickens to cats and dogs because the former are "just chickens" and the latter are beloved species.<br><br><br><br>
As to spay/neuter and the a) part, the a) condition is not always straightforward and does not imply that a treatment done on non-humans should be done on humans or that the same reasons should be valid in both cases - it just states that the mere fact of someone's species should be of no concern. The effects of forcible castration on humans is different from its effects on non-humans, and this difference doesn't amount to simply the consideration that they're of different species. I'm not saying that there isn't a speciesist element in it, just that the condition is not straightforward.<br><br><br><br><div class="quote-container"><span>Quote:</span>
<div class="quote-block">However things like indoor house cats, keeping dogs on a leash or in a yard, spaying and neutering, horse riding, rescue animals (for search and rescue and the like), etc I feel I must reject.</div>
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Yeah well I accept indoor cats but am unsure about dogs on a leash (don't know more about it), am rather skeptical about horse riding, especially after people mentioned the "breaking a horse" aspect of it, and don't think we should breed animals to use as rescue animals although I'm not opposed to using them for that purpose currently.
 

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<div class="quote-container"><span>Quote:</span>
<div class="quote-block">Originally Posted by <strong>nogardsram</strong> <a href="/forum/post/0"><img alt="View Post" class="inlineimg" src="/img/forum/go_quote.gif" style=""></a><br><br>
I agree with epski, but I think it might not go far enough for my tastes/feelings.</div>
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I would have elaborated, but my time on message boards is limited these days. Always nice to find common ground, though. *tips hat*
 

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I think that animals should have the right to live freely, nurture their young, and follow their basic instincts. This includes their right to kill and eat other animals for their survival. In regard to humans, I suppose I believe that we share that same right -- however, that doesn't mean raising animals in confinement until we see fit to slaughter and eat them. To me that means that humans are within their rights to hunt animals in the wild when their survival depends on it. Whether or not humans have the basic instinct to hunt, kill, and eat animals for food is debatable.
 

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<div class="quote-container"><span>Quote:</span>
<div class="quote-block">Originally Posted by <strong>nogardsram</strong> <a href="/forum/post/0"><img alt="View Post" class="inlineimg" src="/img/forum/go_quote.gif" style=""></a><br><br>
What do you think of animal rights?<br><br>
Do non-human animals have rights?<br><br>
If so, why and how do the rights differ from humans, if at all?<br><br>
If not, what responsibilities do humans have towards animals, if any, and why?<br></div>
</div>
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I definitely lean toward a belief in animal rights because animal "welfare", as it's usually espoused, doesn't go far enough. I would argue that even a basic concern for animals would include a recognition of the inherent worth of their lives, apart from what use another may have for them.<br><br><br><br>
I personally can't see the reason for such different standards of treatment for "pets", "wildlife", and "food animals" under the usual animal welfare standards. Animal welfare appears to be based more on what's in the relationship for humans, rather than the animal's well-being.<br><br><br><br>
As some have touched on, animals who require animal flesh as food pose a dilemma for someone who believes in basically equal treatment for all animals, but in theory, this problem could be solved if enough were known about animal nutrition, and vegetable sources were used to make their food.
 

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<div class="quote-container"><span>Quote:</span>
<div class="quote-block">Originally Posted by <strong>Sevenseas</strong> <a href="/forum/post/0"><img alt="View Post" class="inlineimg" src="/img/forum/go_quote.gif" style=""></a><br><br>
Yeah well I accept indoor cats but am unsure about dogs on a leash (don't know more about it), am rather skeptical about horse riding, especially after <b>people mentioned the "breaking a horse" aspect of it,</b> and don't think we should breed animals to use as rescue animals although I'm not opposed to using them for that purpose currently.</div>
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Not that this will probably change your view of riding horses and such: I've heard of a man who "breaks" horses by using methods developed by horses. He watched horses in the wild and noted how the older members of the herd would discipline the younger horses. He would use the same methods to communicate with a never-before-ridden horse and he could "break" a horse much more quickly than those who use forceful methods.<br><br><br><br>
When I saw this happen on tv I thought about how people say that animals don't have language. I know they don't speak english but they do have language and this proves it. Often animals will use body language because it is advantageous to survival. The horses can make sounds but they won't normally use those sounds in the wild because that would attract predators. The predators will use body language when they are on the hunt because they don't want to tip off the prey.<br><br><br><br>
I believe fish have also developed body language to communicate with each other which is why they haven't developed the ability to scream when they are hooked or netted and pulled out of their environment.<br><br><br><br>
I would love to see all animals be freed from their cages. I'm against vivesection. I generally would like to see the end of the domestication of animals. I would also like to see people become more cognizant of all animals so as to reduce the amount of suffering we inflict through non-intentional actions such as tilling fields, highway collisions, poisoning of their environment etc. Buddha taught that life is suffering and he wasn't just talking about human suffering -- he had a great regard for animal life.<br><br><br><br>
I realize that we have a long way to go before we humans get back to a more paradise-like life so I tend to focus more on educating people about the inconsistency in being so concerned about a particular dog or cat and about dogs and cats in general while being so unconcerned about a nameless cow being slaughtered. If someone acknowledges that his/her dog wants to be well and happy then I ask why that cow doesn't want to also be well and happy. Since it is needless for people to eat meat (according to the ADA) then we should abstain from torturing, killing and mutilating animals to get meat.<br><br><br><br>
So I start with that and go from there.
 

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<div class="quote-container"><span>Quote:</span>
<div class="quote-block">Originally Posted by <strong>Sevenseas</strong> <a href="/forum/post/0"><img alt="View Post" class="inlineimg" src="/img/forum/go_quote.gif" style=""></a><br><br>
I think animals have the rights a) not to have the moral value of their interests affected by their species b) not to have at least their fundamental interests in life and physical, mental and social welfare violated (where violation includes depriving them of the satisfaction of these interests), whether or not that would benefit others (human or non-human).</div>
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How would this position be applied to people living in remote fishing villages or to the traditional Inuit people or those living in jungle areas where agriculture and transportation infastructure is not adequate?<br><br><br><br><div class="quote-container"><span>Quote:</span>
<div class="quote-block">The criterion of rights should be sentience, and the argument for them is that an ethical theory entailing these rights is more satisfactory compared to ethical theories that don't, either because the latter are inconsistent or arbitrary/non-explanatory or cannot be accepted by most people supporting human rights.</div>
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What is your position on the sentience of shell fish and of those who eat shell fish? How does that compare with your position early term abortions (are embryos comparable in sentience to shell fish?)? Are later term fetuses comparable in sentience to, say, fish or small mammals?<br><br><br><br>
I remember Peter Singer having trouble with deciding when sentience becomes a factor in human life and he was suggesting that up to 28 days after birth that one should be able to kill babies. But he said this would be an arbitrary number. How does one decide when sentience begins or what level it is at in the different animals? Wouldn't this need to be known when applying your theory? For instance, if a shell fish has a very low level of sentience would it be ok to eat them? If an ant has a very low level of sentience would it be ok to step on one? Where does intent come into your theory?<br><br><br><br><div class="quote-container"><span>Quote:</span>
<div class="quote-block">An internationally known Princeton "bioethicist" and animal-rights activist says he'd kill disabled babies if it were in the "best interests" of the family, because he sees no distinction in the child's life whether it is born or not, and the world already allows abortion.<br><br><br><br>
The comments come from Peter Singer, a controversial bioethics professor, who responded to a series of questions in the UK Independent this week.<br><br><br><br>
Earlier, WND reported Singer believes the next few decades will see a massive upheaval in the concept of life and rights, with only "a rump of hard-core, know-nothing religious fundamentalists" still protecting life as sacrosanct.<br><br><br><br>
To the rest, it will be a commodity to be re-evaluated regularly for its worth.</div>
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<br><br><br><a href="http://www.worldnetdaily.com/news/article.asp?ARTICLE_ID=51963" target="_blank">http://www.worldnetdaily.com/news/ar...TICLE_ID=51963</a>
 

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From Matthew Scully's book <i>Dominion</i>:<br><br><br><br><div class="quote-container"><span>Quote:</span>
<div class="quote-block">In <i>Rethinking Life and Death</i> Professor Singer lays it down "that a period of 28 days after birth might be allowed before an infant is accepted as having the same right to life as others." In a bizarre aside he then informs us that any such line-drawing will tend to be arbitrary. This arbitrariness alone, he writes, may "be enough to tilt the balance against a change in the law in this area. On that I remain unsure."</div>
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<div class="quote-container"><span>Quote:</span>
<div class="quote-block">Originally Posted by <strong>Mr. Sun</strong> <a href="/forum/post/0"><img alt="View Post" class="inlineimg" src="/img/forum/go_quote.gif" style=""></a><br><br>
Not that this will probably change your view of riding horses and such: I've heard of a man who "breaks" horses by using methods developed by horses. He watched horses in the wild and noted how the older members of the herd would discipline the younger horses. He would use the same methods to communicate with a never-before-ridden horse and he could "break" a horse much more quickly than those who use forceful methods.</div>
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Yeah well I'd probably see that differently from other forms of "breaking" (although I don't really even know what they consist in) but I still think the need to break the horse to make the animal accept riding tells something about the voluntariness of riding and emphasizes the aspect of making the animals serve us.<br><br><br><br><div class="quote-container"><span>Quote:</span>
<div class="quote-block">How would this position be applied to people living in remote fishing villages or to the traditional Inuit people or those living in jungle areas where agriculture and transportation infastructure is not adequate?</div>
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Well that's one of the difficult questions which goes beyond AR to the general issue of whether it's "cultural imperialism" to demand that others conform to our Western ethical values, etc.<br><br><br><br>
I can definitely say though that the anti-speciesist 'a)' condition should apply to considerations about those remote villages or other contexts. That is, whatever is our general take on the application of certain moral imperatives to different cultures, we should not make a speciesist distinction between human and non-human rights in this regard. Other things being equal, if I think it's fine to exploit non-humans in another cultural context, I cannot at the same time maintain that it would be wrong to exploit some humans (maybe infants etc.) for similar purposes (although I guess the human exploitation part will largely be hypothetical).<br><br><br><br>
Arguing that since it's necessary for the survival of some people in those villages etc. to exploit animals it's also okay will lead to problems, because there are some forms of exploitation in a Western context that may be necessary for survival but are still wrong. For example, killing an animal to get an organ to save a human, or vivisection (assuming for the sake of argument that it's a reliable and crucial method). Sticking to the anti-speciesist condition 'a)' we would not only justify these Western forms of <i>non-human</i> exploitation but would also say that it would be okay to kill other <i>humans</i> to get organs from them if that is necessary for someone's survival.<br><br><br><br>
If we are to see our Western values covering those remote villages in a straightforward way -- so that the morality of actions doesn't (at least essentially) depend on what kind of context you live in -- then we might have to say that those remote peoples don't have any real moral right to exploit animals. I think your comments about carnivore pets would imply this in connection with the anti-speciesist condition: if moral agents shouldn't kill animals to feed other animals, then surely they shouldn't kill animals to feed themselves.<br><br><br><br>
For me the real alternative here is a form of relativism (although that may not be the best word to use here) that says that because of cultural differences those other people cannot really be said to be moral agents in the sense that we could make our moral demands on them: maybe their view on morality is so different from ours that for them, there are no real ethically conceived alternative actions to choose from, and in that sense no moral responsibility or at least not the kind of moral responsibility that would be required for our values to apply to them. But this would sound patronizing. Denying their moral agency seems dismissive of their abilities, making them some kind of "noble savages".<br><br><br><br>
So we might be left with a traditional kind of relativism that says that values like animal rights only apply to the Western context. But I have various problems with this kind of relativism. So like I said, it's a difficult question.<br><br><br><br><div class="quote-container"><span>Quote:</span>
<div class="quote-block">What is your position on the sentience of shell fish and of those who eat shell fish? How does that compare with your position early term abortions (are embryos comparable in sentience to shell fish?)? Are later term fetuses comparable in sentience to, say, fish or small mammals?<br></div>
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Shell fish seems to be defined to include various "aquatic invertebrates". I cannot say for sure who's sentient and who's not, especially since I lack some basic biological knowledge about these species. I assume lobsters and crabs to be sentient and would give the benefit of a doubt to animals whose sentience I feel unsure of. I don't know about oysters and clams, other than that I wouldn't eat them even if I thought they tasted delicious. I don't know when fetuses are sentient, but there are various estimates, based on the developmental stages of the fetus. Wikipedia states: "Evidence conflicts, with some authorities holding that the fetus is capable of feeling pain from the first trimester, and others maintaining that the neuro-anatomical requirements for such experience do not exist until the second or third trimester."<br><br><br><br><div class="quote-container"><span>Quote:</span>
<div class="quote-block">I remember Peter Singer having trouble with deciding when sentience becomes a factor in human life and he was suggesting that up to 28 days after birth that one should be able to kill babies. But he said this would be an arbitrary number.</div>
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Well that 28 days after birth doesn't mean that the fetus would become sentient only after that, only that even though the fetus is sentient, he/she doesn't have future-oriented preferences(/desires) and so killing him/her won't be a harm comparable to killing adult humans. For similar reasons, he holds that killing an animal "humanely" in agriculture and replacing him/her with another animal won't necessarily be wrong. Needless to say, I disagree with his take on this. I don't require future-oriented preferences, only sentience.<br><br><br><br><div class="quote-container"><span>Quote:</span>
<div class="quote-block">How does one decide when sentience begins or what level it is at in the different animals? Wouldn't this need to be known when applying your theory?</div>
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Well we can only make estimations about sentience, based on a being's physiology, behaviour and evolutionary history. Because of the unclarities concerning some "simpler" lifeforms, we would need to remember the principle of benefit of a doubt. Despite these unclarities and our lack of knowledge, I feel sentience to be the only true criterion for direct moral consideration. Mere life is not sufficient, and mere categorization in the kingdom Animalia is completely arbitrary (there's no ethical explanation as to why that categorization is relevant).<br><br><br><br><div class="quote-container"><span>Quote:</span>
<div class="quote-block">For instance, if a shell fish has a very low level of sentience would it be ok to eat them? If an ant has a very low level of sentience would it be ok to step on one?</div>
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I think that, according to the definition I gave earlier, that of phenomenal consciousness -- the fact that it is "like something" to be a certain being -- if a being has that kind of sentience, whether it's considered a "weak" or "low" form of sentience, that being should deserve moral consideration. (Although it could be that I would make a difference between those beings who experience the world in some way but don't feel pain, and those beings who feel pain.)<br><br><br><br><div class="quote-container"><span>Quote:</span>
<div class="quote-block">Where does intent come into your theory?</div>
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I feel this question is too wide/general. Naturally, I view the intentional stepping on an ant as different from accidentally stepping on one.
 

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<div class="quote-container"><span>Quote:</span>
<div class="quote-block">Originally Posted by <strong>Sevenseas</strong> <a href="/forum/post/0"><img alt="View Post" class="inlineimg" src="/img/forum/go_quote.gif" style=""></a><br><br>
So like I said, it's a difficult question.<br></div>
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I like asking you difficult questions. You put so much thought into your answers and you answer very well. I probably won't offer any comment on your post here but I really did enjoy reading it. Someday I'll go to the library and see if I can find a book by "Sevenseas". <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="/images/smilies/smiley.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title=":)">
 
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