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Animal rights?

September 9, 2005 Leave a comment Go to comments

As long as I’m in the mood for philosophical thought, let’s look at animal rights. Why shouldn’t animals have some kind of rights? An obvious answer is that they do not have the ability to accept responsibility for their actions, so they can’t be given rights. Another possible reason could be a lack of moral reasoning abilities.

There are problems, though. Small children are lacking in those areas, yet we give them a few very basic rights, like the right to life. You could say that the parents are taking responsibility, but that would mean it’s ok for parents to kill their own children, since they’re quite obviously abdicating their responsibility when taking that action. Should animals then have a basic right to life? Certainly it’s not necessary for us to eat them; we can survive as vegetarians. Obviously, restricting their rights is fine, but the basic idea of killing them, even humanely, is still up in the air.

In any case, I’m open to suggestions. Christianity almost deals with this better, but Genesis only appoints man as having “dominion” (RSV) over animals, which leaves a lot of room for animal cruelty. But really, who’s satisfied with arbitrary decrees?

Categories: Social issues
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