Social Question

jca's avatar

In your opinion, what rights do animals have?

Asked by jca (29281 points ) July 26th, 2012

The recent question about what to do with pets you can’t keep brought up this question.

What rights do you think animals have?

In your opinion, are the rights of animals we keep as pets any different from the rights of animals we eat? Why or why not?

How about the rights of animals used in laboratories? How about the rights of animals that are bred for the sole purpose of being sold as pets?

Are the rights of humans any different or should they be any different than the rights of animals (non-human)?

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11 Answers

mazingerz88's avatar

The right not to be hunted for sport first comes to mind.

KNOWITALL's avatar

This is a hard one for me because we hunt but do it humanely, clean kills. We owe that to our ‘meat’ providers.

Domestic animals to us are our friends, to them we owe as much as others do for their children, although perhaps some children don’t have food or their own clean rooms, etc… That makes me sad that my animals are treated better than children in some parts of our world.

josie's avatar

Rights are moral principles applied in a social context. In order to possess rights, there must be life, volition, the power of reason and an abstract consciousness that recognizes the nature of basic values that are unique to humans.

Animals do not fit the all the prerequisites and thus do not possess rights.

However, higher developed animals certainly deserve a particular level of respect and sensitivity different than a log or a rock and thus reasonable protection from cruelty, and in my opinion in some cases this should be directed by law.

Zyx's avatar

All life is precious. We consider ourselves different because we’re arguably smarter than other animals but if that were the case any AI we created would turn into SKYNET and should succeed in killing us, because it’s smarter. That’s not great but I don’t think we have to worry about that because the scientists among us know exactly how precious life is and they’re pretty damn smart. Why haven’t they decided to go on a rampage? Why should they? It’s not like destroying the system of biological and cultural evolution is going to improve things.

We can’t judge animals because of flaws that we have too, and those are the only flaws animals have. Animals have the same rights as humans because at the end of the day there is no law of nature that says humans can’t be senselessly tortured and murdered. There’s no force in nature that treats life as badly as we do and that’s completely on us. We should feel bad you guys.

*Feels bad

thorninmud's avatar

Rights get defined by human authorities. It’s an agreement by powerful people that defines an enforceable set of protections. Unless such an agreement is reached, there are no “rights”.

People having authority to grant rights can extend them to any being they want. They could give trees rights, if they so desired. But the fact is that people look out mostly for their own interests, so they’re unlikely to extend rights to beings that don’t have a political voice. They’re also unlikely to put in place rights for non-people that might conflict with stuff people like to do, or make money from. Doing so won’t garner any thanks from the non-people, and will certainly end up pissing off a whole lot of voting homo sapiens.

So animals are pretty much SOL in the rights department. They only get whatever minimal considerations are required to placate our consciences, but nothing that might actually inconvenience us or make us change our lifestyle.

YARNLADY's avatar

The right to humane treatment, in other words not to be harmed by humans. It’s hard to define, because in their own world it dog eat dog and no holds barred.

wonderingwhy's avatar

What rights do you think animals have?
At the core, the same as people.

In your opinion, are the rights of animals we keep as pets any different from the rights of animals we eat? Why or why not?
We keep them as pets (and/or eat them) but that also incurs a responsibility to care for them as we would for a person in the same circumstance. Why, because in taking ownership of them we’re accepting responsibility for their welfare. Plus, why shouldn’t we? Just because it’s not convenient? That doesn’t strike me as a particularly sensible attitude when applied on the whole.

How about the rights of animals used in laboratories? How about the rights of animals that are bred for the sole purpose of being sold as pets?
Lab animals, well, that’s a slightly different one in that we have established the clear benefit yet are unwilling to subject ourselves (in the sense of humanity on the whole) to the same treatment. Generally that strikes me as needlessly arrogant.

Bred for pets; breeding for a purpose necessitates the responsibility to care for, and ensure the care of, the subject(s) in a manner consistent with some, preferably high, moral standard in by book, (though I suppose it can be argued which standards are appropriate).

Are the rights of humans any different or should they be any different than the rights of animals (non-human)?
I have a tough time saying they should be different (at a basic level at least). However we eat them and being a predator doesn’t imply some moralistic hangover even when it’s a choice. However I believe that choice, and the cognizance of it, demands we treat our victims with respect that, at a minimum, should do away with needless and preventable suffering. (To me it’s the extent of the burden we choose to shoulder that is debatable and ultimately a social judgement more than the basic right which I feel is a default.)

ETpro's avatar

As a carnivore, I’d love to say none. But the truth is they have the right to break my heart. And it does break my heart to see any animal treated inhumanely. So I strive to treat animals humanely, and to protect them as best I can. And I support laws that ensure others do the same.

rojo's avatar

Dunno, lets ask the dolphins.

ucme's avatar

The right to shite, so long as responsible owners bag & bin their stools of course.

mazingerz88's avatar

This may provide some insights on a possible answer to the question.

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