2
   

Some animals are more equal than others?

 
 
dlowan
 
Reply Thu 10 Jan, 2008 11:27 pm
A discussion has broken out on Msolga's whaling threads about whether some animals are more deserving of protection from human hunting/exploitation/cruelty than others.


New whaling thread


Kinda sorta where the discussion developed on the previous whaling thread

It has been pointed out that a strong motivation for some in the anti-whaling movement seems to be based not so much on genuine conservation concerns (for SOME species) but on a strong feeling that whales are too special and wonderful to be killed. The Japanese counter that that is a culturally based bias, which they do not share, and that many anti-whaling folk do not turn a hair at the killing of other intelligent and lovely animals.


This is a thread for the discussion of whether there is a case to be made for treating different animals differently, and, if so, whether criteria for such differing treatment can be worked out, other than such subjective ones as "cuteness", beauty, cultural practices leading to "ick" factor for some cultures, whether we like to pet them, how secure our food supply is etc. that seem to operate now.


This will be a quick and dirty posting, as I am still at work, but I really recommend you read the discussion at least from the first link before posting.






I can see possible criteria being developed around such things as

Intelligence
Ability to communicate
Endangered status
Self-awareness
No reason to kill them (eg not necessary for food)
Cruelty of killing methods
Social bonds..eg other animals in the group highly distressed by a death
Capacity for suffering
Whether raised specifically for food or living in the wild
Environmental impact
Long-term beneficial and affectionate relationship with us (ie we betray them if we kill/hurt them.)


I note these criteria are often subjective, difficult to measure, and strongly anthropomorphic (ie most are basically about animals more like ourselves being rated highly.)


However.....can we find some sort of at least internally consistent rationale for treating some animals differently? Some of us clearly DO regard animals as having different rights...can we back this with reason, or is it a purely emotionally based thing?


Is the emotionally based thing wrong anyway? Are we using some criteria whether consciously, or unconsciously, that we can explain and defend? Or is it all "They're cute, and they're not"?




(I must note, that I find the eating of any animal subjected to great cruelty unconscionable...eg battery chickens, factory farmed beef or sheep, pigs raised other than free range, fish-farmed fish etc.......but heck, pigs are smarter than dogs...so I have almost stopped eating even free-range ones....and free fish suffocate when caught, which must be hell......I feel vegetarianism coming on again...)


So.......what do you think?
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Type: Discussion • Score: 2 • Views: 1,708 • Replies: 16
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ossobuco
 
  1  
Reply Thu 10 Jan, 2008 11:30 pm
I think I'll finally join in, but have reading up to do. Might not be done with the reading for a while.
0 Replies
 
Rockhead
 
  1  
Reply Thu 10 Jan, 2008 11:45 pm
Cool
0 Replies
 
hanno
 
  1  
Reply Fri 11 Jan, 2008 03:53 pm
Well, sure - I mean, if you're going to say they have rights since they're cuddly and capable of suffering and somewhat intelligent sensitive creatures and all that you might as well go subjective all the way.

I think PETA's got something against using silkworms for silk - so the conclusion might just be to make 'em all so damn sacred that I have to ask a hamster's permission to take a whiz.

The way I see it, humanity is the end-all be-all. Give up my 105 octane gas to decrease the communal cancer-risk, maybe - but why should I change my act for some awareness a whale may or may not be having? I mean, is the purpose of society to create a perfect world or to help it's members do their thing? If you went to Disney world when you were a kid you probably don't see the distinction - like wouldn't it be great if everybody's thing were to respect nature - like why can't everyone else just be a drone manifestation of my will since I'm an alright guy with a sense of civic duty.
0 Replies
 
dlowan
 
  1  
Reply Sat 12 Jan, 2008 03:10 am
hanno wrote:
Well, sure - I mean, if you're going to say they have rights since they're cuddly and capable of suffering and somewhat intelligent sensitive creatures and all that you might as well go subjective all the way.

I think PETA's got something against using silkworms for silk - so the conclusion might just be to make 'em all so damn sacred that I have to ask a hamster's permission to take a whiz.

The way I see it, humanity is the end-all be-all. Give up my 105 octane gas to decrease the communal cancer-risk, maybe - but why should I change my act for some awareness a whale may or may not be having? I mean, is the purpose of society to create a perfect world or to help it's members do their thing? If you went to Disney world when you were a kid you probably don't see the distinction - like wouldn't it be great if everybody's thing were to respect nature - like why can't everyone else just be a drone manifestation of my will since I'm an alright guy with a sense of civic duty.



Thank you, Hanno, but I think you represent one extreme, and not one that this thread is actually hoping to debate.


You appear to believe animals have no rights at all, and, while that is interesting, what this thread is hoping to be about is an attempt to see if we can find some sort of rational criteria for discriminating between, say, cockroaches and humbback whales or gorillas.

Animals are generally accorded rights under human law, and it is the basis for this which I am hoping might spark some reasoned debate here, (although I am fast giving up hope!)



Simply in the hope of igniting debate (and to make me feel good) I note that, in 1972, I challenged the demand that, in order to complete Psychology II at my university, I was told I must torture rats with electric shocks in "experiments" that had, shamefully, been repeated since Skinner in the 30's, and were done with NO belief that they would yield any new data. I refused, and made many arguments against it. I was excluded from the course.


I note that, now, the actions they insisted I perform are illegal and would be regarded as abhorrent. No ethics committee would pass such useless infliction of pain.

Therefore, it appears that western notions of the respect that should beaccorded to animals has changed over the last 35 years....why?


Do we accord the same rights to golden staph bacilli as we do to chimps, in the laboratory?


Do we accord the same rights to mosquitoes as we do to golden retrievers?

Does the SPCA react to calls re cruelty to cockroaches as it does to horses?


Do we agree with this? If so, why? If not, why?????
What changed? The animals? The world? How humans respond to the suffering of animals?


Here are some ethical guidelines, just as a matter of interest:


http://www.nhmrc.gov.au/ethics/animal/issues/index.htm

http://journals.cambridge.org/action/displayAbstract?fromPage=online&aid=46391

http://www.animalethics.org.au/reader/arrp

http://www.research.utas.edu.au/animal_ethics/news.htm

http://www.psych.unimelb.edu.au/resources/TL/testlibrary_codeofethics.pdf

http://www.uchsc.edu/animal/


http://www.apa.org/science/anguide.html

http://www.aalas.org/association/about.asp





http://www.animalliberation.org.au/law.php


http://www.apa.org/science/anguide.html


http://www.aalas.org/association/animal_research_faqs.asp


http://www.nabr.org/issues.htm
0 Replies
 
OmSigDAVID
 
  1  
Reply Mon 21 Jan, 2008 01:38 pm
Re: Some animals are more equal than others?
dlowan wrote:
A discussion has broken out on Msolga's whaling threads about whether some animals are more deserving of protection from human hunting/exploitation/cruelty than others.


New whaling thread


Kinda sorta where the discussion developed on the previous whaling thread

It has been pointed out that a strong motivation for some in the anti-whaling movement seems to be based not so much on genuine conservation concerns (for SOME species) but on a strong feeling that whales are too special and wonderful to be killed. The Japanese counter that that is a culturally based bias, which they do not share, and that many anti-whaling folk do not turn a hair at the killing of other intelligent and lovely animals.


This is a thread for the discussion of whether there is a case to be made for treating different animals differently, and, if so, whether criteria for such differing treatment can be worked out, other than such subjective ones as "cuteness", beauty, cultural practices leading to "ick" factor for some cultures, whether we like to pet them, how secure our food supply is etc. that seem to operate now.


This will be a quick and dirty posting, as I am still at work, but I really recommend you read the discussion at least from the first link before posting.






I can see possible criteria being developed around such things as

Intelligence
Ability to communicate
Endangered status
Self-awareness
No reason to kill them (eg not necessary for food)
Cruelty of killing methods
Social bonds..eg other animals in the group highly distressed by a death
Capacity for suffering
Whether raised specifically for food or living in the wild
Environmental impact
Long-term beneficial and affectionate relationship with us
(ie we betray them if we kill/hurt them.)


I note these criteria are often subjective, difficult to measure, and strongly anthropomorphic (ie most are basically about animals more like ourselves being rated highly.)


However.....can we find some sort of at least internally consistent rationale for treating some animals differently? Some of us clearly DO regard animals as having different rights...can we back this with reason, or is it a purely emotionally based thing?


Is the emotionally based thing wrong anyway? Are we using some criteria whether consciously, or unconsciously, that we can explain and defend? Or is it all "They're cute, and they're not"?




(I must note, that I find the eating of any animal subjected to great cruelty unconscionable...eg battery chickens, factory farmed beef or sheep, pigs raised other than free range, fish-farmed fish etc.......but heck, pigs are smarter than dogs...so I have almost stopped eating even free-range ones....and free fish suffocate when caught, which must be hell......I feel vegetarianism coming on again...)


So.......what do you think?

It disturbs me, in a big way, to adopt an " ick factor " in deciding on legislation.
The last time I encountered that argument
was concerning freedom to sell your blood, or any organ of your body
that u please. As a supporter of l'aissez faire free enterprize,
I denounced any subjective considerations and affirmed that everyone
has a natural right to sell any organ of his body,
regardless of any " ick factor " subjectivity.

Must I now contradict myself ?
I oppose legally hunting animals who have:
" Intelligence
Ability to communicate
Endangered status
Self-awareness
No reason to kill them (eg not necessary for food)
Cruelty of killing methods
Social bonds..eg other animals in the group highly distressed by a death
Capacity for suffering
Whether raised specifically for food or living in the wild
Environmental impact
Long-term beneficial and affectionate relationship with us
(ie we betray them if we kill/hurt them.) "

This has been posted by a carnivore
who is the founder of a fine dining group.
David
0 Replies
 
OGIONIK
 
  1  
Reply Sun 3 Feb, 2008 01:10 pm
now you have to ask yourself, does inability to communicate mean an animal isn't self-aware?

my dog grooms in the mirror, when i put stuff on her face she will use the mirror to get it off, is that self awareness?
0 Replies
 
OGIONIK
 
  1  
Reply Sun 3 Feb, 2008 01:11 pm
maybe she is just "copying" me, she also tries to sit like me at the keyboard. haha

damn.
0 Replies
 
farmerman
 
  1  
Reply Sun 3 Feb, 2008 01:53 pm
I am not in favor of this discussion of species prioritization, if that is what youre getting on about.

Theres one criterion that you did not present in your list of "why save this animal". That criterion is
Animal represents adaptive success to a specific environmental niche

ANimal is a "terminal species" for a particular genus (think about it, if the world would become suddenly unfriendly to H sapiens, we'd all be gone, there arent any other species of Homo around)
0 Replies
 
hanno
 
  1  
Reply Mon 4 Feb, 2008 12:16 am
Amen, farmerman. Like - if I'm reading you right - even the slimiest barnacle is representative of the pinnacle of slimy barnacle evolution. For that reason, I think we should vollect DNA and if possible cryonically preserve samples of any species we intend to eradicate. Obviously in cases wherein we desire only to torture a species without eradicating it or altering it's evolutionary path significantly this measure would be unnecessary.
0 Replies
 
dlowan
 
  1  
Reply Mon 4 Feb, 2008 03:27 pm
farmerman wrote:
I am not in favor of this discussion of species prioritization, if that is what youre getting on about.

Theres one criterion that you did not present in your list of "why save this animal". That criterion is
Animal represents adaptive success to a specific environmental niche

ANimal is a "terminal species" for a particular genus (think about it, if the world would become suddenly unfriendly to H sapiens, we'd all be gone, there arent any other species of Homo around)



I don't think that's what I'm "getting on about"...though perhaps it is part of it.

I am not sure what you mean by "species priorization"?
0 Replies
 
OmSigDAVID
 
  1  
Reply Mon 4 Feb, 2008 03:38 pm
Maybe ranking them in a hierarchy ?
0 Replies
 
farmerman
 
  1  
Reply Mon 4 Feb, 2008 04:07 pm
That is the way I understood your point deb. OOPS I meant prioritization. (Maybe my creative spelling got you flummoxed. See David didnt even bat an eye)
0 Replies
 
dadpad
 
  1  
Reply Mon 4 Feb, 2008 05:35 pm
I dont think some animals are mere equal than others.

I do think that there needs to be some animal (ie man) at the top of the food chain.

If man eats himself out of house and home species by species he will cease to exist, or end up eating insects.

We have made some mistakes in the past and hunted animals to extinction or near extinction. It behoves us to prtect our resources aloow them to rebuild if necessary and adjust our "take" accordingly.
certain traits ie size (whales) reletive domesticability (sheep cattle) make some animals more valuable for man to preserve but not more equal.
0 Replies
 
OmSigDAVID
 
  1  
Reply Mon 4 Feb, 2008 08:25 pm
dadpad wrote:
I dont think some animals are mere equal than others.

certain traits ie size (whales) reletive domesticability (sheep cattle)
make some animals more valuable for man to preserve but not more equal.

Platypusses r at least 3 times as equal as spiders r.
0 Replies
 
Chumly
 
  1  
Reply Mon 4 Feb, 2008 08:46 pm
Man cannot help but be biased more towards certain animals and less towrds others.

It's a sad state of affairs (but inevitable) that these lopsided irrational biases are going to promote the cockroach and pigeon at the expense of the whale and the polar bear.

Most people most of the time are more interested in maintaining the paint on their car, than they are on maintaining environmental balance.
0 Replies
 
dlowan
 
  1  
Reply Mon 4 Feb, 2008 11:57 pm
farmerman wrote:
That is the way I understood your point deb. OOPS I meant prioritization. (Maybe my creative spelling got you flummoxed. See David didnt even bat an eye)


Nah. That's not what I was talking about.


I'm too tired to clarify now......and, since this thread isn't sparking any of the debate I was hoping for, I mayn't bother.


The thread is dead!!!!!
0 Replies
 
 

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