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
Ability to communicate
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
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?