Social Question

Brian1946's avatar

Do you think that human beings have more of a right to life than any other animal?

Asked by Brian1946 (25331points) April 29th, 2010

If you don’t, are there any animals that humans have a right or a just cause to eliminate?

If you do, why do you think that humans are more entitled to this right?

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105 Answers

CMaz's avatar

Yes, it is ALWAYS about saving the human. Or it should be.

Blackberry's avatar

No, but it just ends up this way because of this thing called a food chain…........


no i think that all Creatures should be treated the samae

Coloma's avatar


Life is life, it has ALL originated from the same source of cosmic magic.

Thinking that one species has dominion over all others is called specieism, no different than racism.

Mans ego just loves to make up stories of why it is more special in the grand scheme of things.

Our species may have more brain power than many others, but, we’ve really used it to our disadvantage. Ridiculous creatures we are really.

netgrrl's avatar

As humans our instinct for survival as a species is strong.

Whether we have more rights, I’m not sure.

Would I save the life of a human being over an animal if I had to make the choice? Yes.

mammal's avatar

No, but we probably have a capacity for emotional suffering far and beyond most other creatures therefore that would be a factor when considering this question fully.

kenmc's avatar

What @netgrrl said. I’m sure a giraffe would choose to save the life of another giraffe over a human’s life. It’s animal instinct to keep one’s own species alive.

AstroChuck's avatar

No. Except for me, that is.

grumpyfish's avatar

I agree with @ANDREW_HARRIS—all creatures should be treated the same INTERSPECIES.

I do not believe it is right for a human to kill another human except in self defense. As for a lion killing another lion? I leave that to the lions.

However, it’s perfectly alright for a Lion to kill a Zebra. It’s perfectly alright for me to kill (or have killed) a steer because I want some tasty beef. If a bear breaks into my house and kills me, it’s perfectly alright. I’m not happy about it, but no morals were violated.

cockswain's avatar

I wouldn’t say more of a right to life, but we overpower the other species b/c we are smarter. Perhaps an interesting twist on this question would be to consider would we have more of a right to life than aliens of similar intelligence?

marinelife's avatar

No, I don’t think humans have a greater right to life than animals. I think humans should be able to terminate animals for food and in the case of self-defense, because that is the way the planet was designed.

Coloma's avatar

Actually we are NOT smarter.

Humans love to cling to their emotional suffering via their egoic stories of how wronged they have been, how unfair everything is!

Animals…they deal with whatever happens in the moment and move on instantly.

They do not get caught up in the story of why something shouldn’t be the way it IS! lol

A Duck on a pond encounters another Duck in it’s space, they have a moment of squabbling, then they move on and the Duck instantly regains it’s peace and presence.


They carry on for days, weeks, months about ’ how DARE he invade my space, how RUDE, I can’t BELIEVE he did that to ME!’

Everything is personalized through ego, and clung to far beyond the moment and resolution of a situation.

The humans story can last FORVER!

Ya call this SMART? hahahaha

Snarp's avatar

Yes, because we are the only species capable of asking this question. There is no question for other species, only eat what you are capable of eating.

Blackberry's avatar

@Coloma Well I don’t know, Coloma…...we do have string cheese…........

Coloma's avatar


True…our food choices do have their amenities! lol

Snarp's avatar

@Coloma Ducks also use rape as a standard reproductive technique and are incapable of making any kind of moral judgment about this.

Coloma's avatar


I don’t think that Ducks have the word rape in their vocabulary. Thats a human definition, and morality has nothing to do with it.

‘Morals’ are of human invention, nature makes no mistakes.

CMaz's avatar

SAVE THE AstroChuck!

netgrrl's avatar

@Snarp For people, rape has a moral as well as legal meaning. I’m not convinced you can call forced copulation among ducks rape any more than you can call a lion killing a deer murder.

Snarp's avatar

I fully agree that morals are a human distinction. That’s the whole point. That’s why a human life has more value.

Coloma's avatar


Yes, my point as well, that humans love to create stories, duck copulation becomes rape and spins into a morality issu and then we are debating the morality of duck copulation. lol

Coloma's avatar

I think saving a life, be it human or animal would be subject to discernment in the moment like many things.

Would I save a drowning child over a drowning dog, of course.

BUT…would I save a serial killer over a duck….hell no!

CMaz's avatar

“would be subject to discernment”

Ducks don’t see it that way.

Coloma's avatar

No a duck wouldn’t discern it’s ability to choose, but….it would act on it’s intrinsic intelligence without the fog of mind fuck stuff that humans cope with, so it would be making the right ‘choice’ from a place of pure duck consciousness. It would act from it’s duckness not ego or mind, which would be a perfect right action for said duck. ;-)

DominicX's avatar

For the people who say “life is life”, to what extent is that really true? Obviously, I doubt you are care about insects or protozoa even though they are life too. How smart or sentient does the animal have to be before you care about it or see it as being equal to a human?

CMaz's avatar

Bottom line…

There is a choice, you the human or the duck must die. What choice do you make?

wonderingwhy's avatar

It’s all about balance. Why kill an animal or slaughter a species to extinction when it’s not necessary.

CMaz's avatar

“when it’s not necessary”

That is the tricky part to figure out.

nikipedia's avatar

Yes, I think humans have more of a right to life.

That does not mean, however, that other animals have no right to life.

We should treat anything capable of suffering with as much compassion as we possibly are able to.

Brian1946's avatar


“For the people who say “life is life”, to what extent is that really true?”

Good point, which is the reason for my first detail question.

wonderingwhy's avatar

@Snarp if morals are the distinction, does that mean an amoral persons life is worth less than a moralistic persons?

@ChazMaz tricky, yes; but it get’s a little easier when we stop confusing convenience with necessity.

wundayatta's avatar

Nothing has more of a right to life than anything else. It’s evolution, baby. A constant competition. If you can’t adapt, you die. Some creatures ran into humans and thrived. Others couldn’t hack it and died off. Humans are just a force of nature like any other. They hold no privileged position in terms of moral authority.

Coloma's avatar


Well obviously we have no control over the dust mites we inadvertantly squish when we rub our eyes or the germs that we kill when we wash our hands.

If you can’t see it, touch it, then it’s fate is beyond ones control.

Not the same as those creatures that are visible in our everyday lives.

Just bevcause humans choose to expolit many species for their own personel gain does not mean they are without value.

I believe everything has a right to life regardless of mankinds defended sense of superiority.

Natural selection and extinction is not the same as wanton discrimination and decimation.

I have made a difference in the lives of many animals that otherwise might have come to a sad end. This is how I choose to utilize my ‘intelligence’.

Sophief's avatar

Animals should have the same right to life as we do.

Snarp's avatar

@wonderingwhy I for one will not get into the business of choosing one person’s life over another. The point is that what truly differentiates humans from animals is that we have morals, ethics, and the ability to consider the impact of our actions on others, absent any personal reward to us. It is an attribute of our species, not a tool for deciding who among our species should live and die.

Brian1946's avatar


Do you believe that humans have a right to defend themselves against other animals? My guess is that you do, but I’m usually reluctant to make assumptions.

If you do, do you think that human attempts to eradicate species such as the anopheles mosquito could be considered self-defense?

netgrrl's avatar

For whatever instinctual reason, an animal will often protect its young or even another animal in its pack (almost always a relative) but not defend another animal of the same species. So even for them their instinct is for the survival of their gene pool, but not their species as a whole.

cockswain's avatar

For the sake of this argument, where are we drawing the line for “animal”? Do insects have the same “rights” as mice? Single-celled organism are technically life, as are viruses.

CMaz's avatar

If it can be grilled, I will eat it.

Have to keep the gene pool healthy.

grumpyfish's avatar

@ChazMaz “Duck vs. Human”—I’d kill the duck without a second of thought.

Pandora's avatar

Usually I think yes but not today. I feel so bumbed out today to think that human greed for oil is causing the gulf to be covered in slime and it looks like by the time anything is really accomplished we will have killed off hundreds of species in the gulf. Ultimately we will be our own destruction. :(

Coloma's avatar

@Brian1946 of course, some self defense might be in order under certain circumstance.

Mosquitos exist, they evolved to feed on blood, ours of something else, it’s nothing ‘personal.’

Of course we humans always make things personal. lol

If Mosquito populations become infected and are spreading disease some measures need to be employed in those areas effected. But…as always…often the ‘cure’ ends up being more detrimental than the cause. lol

Perhaps Mosquitos evolved as a population regulatory species, so what do we humans do?

We wipe out the mosquitos by spraying 50 gazillion gallons of Malathion…no more Malaria, now we just have poisoned humans, tainted ground water and a ‘host’ of other problems, but hey…no Malaria! lolololol

How often has mans interventions set the stage for a whole new problem?

I live in mountain lion country, have seen them, once very up close and personal.

If I was attacked I would fight back, but doesn’t mean I advocate hunting them to the verge of exstinction either.

I moved into to their space and if they attack my animals or myself, again, nothing personal, I chose to live in their habitat, it is what it is.

Quite frankly I’d rather be taken out by a cougar than have some psycho human animal poke a stick up my yoo hoo and torture me to death, or be reduced to a bucket of bloody sludge on the side of a highway. lol

A lion attack would be a much more natural and dignified death IMO.

RedPowerLady's avatar

This is a really good question.

I suppose it depends on the situation. I want to say that first I believe all animals deserve to be treated with respect.

To answer the question if it came down to saving an animal vs. a human, I would advocate for the life of the human. But I’m not sure these sentiments cross the board to prevention such as animal testing to save humans.

Awhile ago there was a thread. It asked if a human stranger and your dog were both about to be hit by a car who would you save. Many people chose their dog. Then we made that human stranger a small toddler. They still decided to save their dog. This completely baffles me to this day and yes I think it is very wrong.

CMaz's avatar

I would eat my dog.

netgrrl's avatar

@RedPowerLady I can’t imagine not saving the person. And I really, really love my dog.

RedPowerLady's avatar

@netgrrl That is very refreshing! Can you imagine having a toddler who runs into the street and your neighbor decides to save their dog? I have not been able to forget this thread, it bothers me to this day. It’s not that I don’t value the life of the dog. I really do very much.

Snarp's avatar

@RedPowerLady I remember that thread, and I felt the same way. How absurd to save a dog over a child.

netgrrl's avatar

@RedPowerLady I can’t imagine not choosing the life of any person over my dog. My grief over my dog later on would be huge. I have more pictures of my dog of my iPhone than I do my children. (My defense is they are grown now and not nearly as cute.)

That’s just sad.

TexasDude's avatar

Let me put it this way…

If I see a human and a dog, cat, polar bear, bush baby, etc. side by side on the brink of certain and painful death, I’ll save the human almost every time.

Coloma's avatar

I can admit, that while I love all creatures great & small that just last week when I lost 2 chickens to a predator, while sad, I was also aware of the subliminal thoughts of relief that it was the chickens and not my geese or cat.

Bummer for the chicks, but good for the rest of the micro farm inhabitants. lol

Of course I would prefer that everyone was still alive, but, preferences do exist, not on a level of ‘better than’ or ‘more worthy than’, but on a ‘personal’ level, yeah…unavoidable.

RedPowerLady's avatar

@Snarp Phew! Glad I’m not the only one that remembers that.
@netgrrl LOL about the pics :)

cockswain's avatar

I think I see a theme in that the more advanced the organism is, the more attached upset we’d be by its death. If we sanitize our kitchen counter, who cares about the bacteria. If we swat a mosquito, no problem. People go fishing and most could care less. If we see someone stomp on a mouse, that could be gross. If someone shoots a raccoon or opossum, maybe more concern. Many animal rights activists really don’t like people shooting wolves, bears, and moose. If a household pet, like a cat or dog is killed, we get pretty upset. A human dying is the worst.

Does this mean the more capable the creature is of forming an apparent emotional bond with us, the more upset we’d be? The more intelligent the creature is, the more tragic its death?

I wish someone would have addressed my comment about if we encountered more advanced aliens. What if those aliens were far more brilliant than us, perhaps even appeared more beautiful somehow? Do you think any of us would push such an alien out of the way of a bus over a human because our instinct would want to preserve the “greater” creature?

Brian1946's avatar


“I wish someone would have addressed my comment about if we encountered more advanced aliens.”

Perhaps that’s a question that deserves its own thread.

CMaz's avatar

And its own duck.

cockswain's avatar

But it ties in to the question “why do you think humans are more entitled to this right.” It probes why we behave in the manner we do.

OpryLeigh's avatar

@grumpyfish said exactly what I wanted to say but didn’t know how to.

Berserker's avatar

I denno…I do what I can to live, whether that’s buying slaughtered cow or doing it myself in the jungle lol jungle cows but deciding, amidst opinions, views and whatnot who, or what should die ain’t my cup of tea. I’d feel pretty arrogant deciding that kinda thing, no matter that no noticeable result comes from my personal views. Let God sort that shit out, and if he don’t exist, well fuck it lol.

I don’t think much of it is right, but I’m also not sure what right would be. :/

tinyfaery's avatar

No. And most animals have more of a right to life than many humans.

OpryLeigh's avatar

@RedPowerLady I think I remember that thread too. I have a slight dilemma because whilst I would save the human over the dog if it ever came to it. I think I would want to save the dog (especially if it was my own) but would save the human because it would be the “right thing to do”. It would be a case of head over heart for me in this situation. My head would save the human (and I am 99% sure that I would go with what my head said) but my heart would save the dog. Now, I can’t justify this, I am not going to attempt to claim to think I am right in feeling this way because I know that morally, saving the dog (or even wanting to) over the human would be wrong but I’m also not going to deny that in general, I have more compassion for dogs than for humans.

DominicX's avatar


Just curious, how do you determine “right to life”?

tinyfaery's avatar

I guess if someone/something is more of a detriment to all of existence then they are an asset then they have less of a right to life. But that is all based on my personal definitions. I happen to think that the human animal is the most moronic and ridiculous creature in existence.

DominicX's avatar

Then why do you continue to live? Obviously you place some intrinsic value on human life.

tinyfaery's avatar

Because I don’t have the guts to kill myself and I don’t want to hurt the people I love by doing so. You don’t want to get into this with me.

DominicX's avatar

I’m just saying I find misanthropes to often be self-contradicting. I may ask a question about it.

Draconess25's avatar

Unless they’re a loved one of mine, a small child, a mentally disabled person, or someone who is particularly hot, I’d say animals have more of a right.

evandad's avatar

Yes, especially me and mine.

Draconess25's avatar

@Blackberry Don’t know. I don’t feel much compassion for many humans that don’t fit those categories. I would even give my own life for another animal.

Other animals were here first. It’s their Earth, not mankind’s.

Blackberry's avatar

@Draconess25 I see…....well, um….have a nice day :)

Draconess25's avatar

@Blackberry I mean, it’s mostly on an individual basis. There’s not many people I like.

But if most people were eliminated, then their loved ones would sufer. In that case, a mass extinction of humanity would be better, so no one would be left crying.

I’m glad you asked me why, instead of just shooting me down.

Brian1946's avatar


I strongly agree that the Earth doesn’t belong to humans, but in some ways it doesn’t belong to any organisms, such as when it blows major magma chunks and destroys 95% of all species.

I think humans must do a lot more to do to ensure that Earth can continue to support life, but sometimes our planet itself goes through major geologic upheavals that kill a vast majority of all living things.

Draconess25's avatar

@Brian1946 The Earth is a sentient being, so any animal owning it would be slavery in my opinion.

But most animals aren’t purposely killing the planet.

Brian1946's avatar


“But most animals aren’t purposely killing the planet.”

I strongly agree with that- I’m sure that humans are the only species at least knowingly destroying our planet’s ability to support life.

Blackberry's avatar

@Draconess25 Hey…no problem :) I don’t like shooting people, either.

Draconess25's avatar

@Brian1946 And as for the magma thing (which is lava when it hits the surface; everyone seems to get that wrong!), that’s how I wanna go, in a volcano!

@Blackberry Yeah, most people would be like “Oh, she’s evil, ‘cause she doesn’t like humans!”

DominicX's avatar


How is the earth a sentient being? The earth has no consciousness.

DrasticDreamer's avatar

More of a right to life? Um, no. Does that mean that I would save another animal over a human being? No. And feeling this way doesn’t mean that I think humans have more of a right to live. I think some people have had a hard time making that distinction so far.

Unless one believes in god, the universe created us all equally. Because humans evolved differently we somehow have more of a right to live and be alive? No, I don’t think so. That’s not even a logical argument.

That said, there are definitely certain situations where I can say that I would save an animal over a human being.

Draconess25's avatar

@DominicX And those are your beliefs.

DominicX's avatar


Thanks for that new bit of information there. That was enlightening.

Coloma's avatar


Who knows, maybe if advanced aliens find us we will then be the specimens in the zoo, the pets and the restaraunt menu.

They will have little human flaps so we can go outside to pee, and they will put talk collars on us if we yap too much.

We won’t be allowed on the furniture and will get blasted with a spray bottle and swatted with alien newspapers.

Veal babies and women raised for their breast meat and caponized men. lol

Oh the irony! haha

Zen_Again's avatar

I remember sitting with an ultra-orthodox religious man one evening, the place and setting are interesting, but unimportant. A scorpion was crawling along slowly towards us. I got up to kill it, but hesitated, and looked at him for a moment. The man said to go ahead and kill it. I wondered about that, saying I thought it was written not to kill any of God’s creatures. He said it was okay to kill scorpions. They don’t think; they just sting you instinctively.

Coloma's avatar

I found a Scorpion in a jacket in my closet, I shook it off outside.

Killing should never become involuntary no matter whats in question.

A few extra seconds and problem solved, nothings dead, I’m happy, scorpion moves on.

RedPowerLady's avatar

@cockswain I don’t think it has anything to do with advancement. I think it is more about likeness. The more like us a creature is the more painful it is to see them die. So in your circumstance via the aliens they would not have a right to kill us b/c advanced selves is not the criteria. We would still not want people like us to be hurt.

RedPowerLady's avatar

@Leanne1986 Well I am glad you would go with your head in this case and that you can be honest about it. I see what you mean about having more compassion for dogs than humans but more compassion for dogs than human toddlers? That I would find a bit odd. Still you are entitled to your heart. All I’m saying is if anyone chose to save their dog over a toddler I’d well… lets not go there.

Fred931's avatar

All organisms have equal rights to life, but humans generally ignore this and swat flies and hunt deer, etc.

Provlear's avatar

If the purpose of life is to avoid pain and discomfort, then absolutely humans have a much bigger right to life than other animals. Special consideration should be given to intelligent animals, apes, chimps, dogs, pigs, dolphins, whales, octopi, but they are all lesser to humans in terms of potential suffering and should be considered less important. For those who believe in the “sanctity of all life”, please stop washing your hands and cooking your food, because the helpless bacteria deserve life too.

CMaz's avatar

@Draconess25 – “Unless they’re a loved one of mine…”

You left yourself off that list. That always the #1 priority.

And people, there is no equal right to life. Life is a process. Period.
No question, we should always do our best to keep our environment healthy. That health benefits us. That reasoning coming fro our ability to reason.
Our environment is always changing, one species dies off another shows up. Maybe not in our lifetime, but it happens.
Do you think a lion thinks about conservation? It will eat itself to extinction.
Peel away your personal issues, your possessive desires, your selfish needs and see it for what it is.

Even the “corrupt” process of “greed” (rain forests and the whales) is still part of the great machine of life.

So the bottom line. Save the human, for as long as possible. Because one day we will also go extinct.

Brought to you by AT&T

mattbrowne's avatar

I totally agree with @marinelife who said that in general humans do not have a greater right to life than animals. But humans should be able to terminate animals for food and in the case of self-defense. I would add the following:

If a life-threatening situation means saving the human or the animal we should always save the human. For example when driving a car. Perhaps with your kids. Evading a small animal that suddenly appears on the road could mean killing your kids and yourself. In this case the animal might have to lose its life.

Strauss's avatar

I do not think that humans have any more right to life than any other species. And there are no animals which we have a right to eradicate “just because”.

Humans, like other species, have the right to self preservation. As omnivores, we have the same right as other predators to kill or slaughter for food. We do not have the right to kill for sport, nor do we have the right to hunt (or fish) a given species to extinction. I think factory farming is total exploitation; maximum production (and therefore profit) for minimum investment, with no regard for the individual animals unless it affects the bottom line.

Draconess25's avatar

@ChazMaz Not necessarily. The only reason I stay alive is my loved ones. Without them, I’d be nothing.

CMaz's avatar

Without them you would still be a solid individual that could, can and will make a difference in this world. :-)

Hey, I need you. To get me something to eat! ;-)

Draconess25's avatar

@ChazMaz Heh, outta luck there! Ask my Kitten, though. She’s my personal chef!

Coloma's avatar

I just came in from my morning chores and am still smiling at my silly goose who loves to turn the hose on and off and fills his own pool. lol

When it’s full he twists the nozzle to ‘off’’ and then flings it out of his pool. lol

He is the funniest guy ever and I’d eat dirt before I ever ate him.

Coloma's avatar

It has been proven that stimulation increases brain size and intelligence.

One could train a cockroach with the right motivations. haha

My goose, laugh if you will, would absolutely make the mensa grade for goose IQ if there was such a thing. lol

I rasied him from a 2 week old gosling with mirrors and a stuffed goose for comfort and association with his own kind. Spent vast amounts of time bonding with him and, of course, he naturally imprinted on me as his flock mother.

This bird knows over 20 words and commands and hand signals, such as ‘wait’/stay’ ‘in/out’ ‘up/down’ ‘hurry’ ‘come on in’ and can climb stairs, knows exactly where the bread basket is and helps himself in the kitchen, loves to go in the hot tub ( well..the cold tub, wouldn’t want to cook my goose, lol ) loves to go to the lake and river and ride in the car. Some years ago ( he will be 12 this summer ) he was ’ therapy goose’ and visited patients upon request from a therapist I was seeing at the time during a crappy divorce situation.

He is beyond a doubt highly developed in his intelligence due to the stimulation and expereinces provided, and likewise, the best kept goose in america.

He has so enriched my life with an experience I never imagined.

tinyfaery's avatar


Draconess25's avatar

@Coloma….wait…...geese can talk? I thought only parrots could do that!

RedPowerLady's avatar

@Draconess25 Did you know that crows can talk? Seriously. Like a parrot.

Fred931's avatar

My dog can talk. And so can the cows across the street.

Draconess25's avatar

@RedPowerLady That’s just kinda….creepy!

RedPowerLady's avatar

@Draconess25 I think so too, haha. My husband used to volunteer at the local raptor center. And I’m sorry but it is a Raven not a Crow. And it can say “hello” and it can also laugh. Haha. I guess the “hello” voice sounds like a kid (they have lots of kids come over to look at the raptors for educational purposes).

Draconess25's avatar

@RedPowerLady That makes it even creepier!

tragiclikebowie's avatar

Everything has an equal right to live – after all, it is already alive, and just by being alive it has gained the right to be able to live it’s life in relative peace and comfort. I do not eat animals, I do not kill bugs, (at least on purpose – there’s always the inevitable accidentally stepping on some tiny ant – but I try to keep an eye out) and hell I don’t even use disinfectant in my home.

No one life is more important than any other by default, I don’t care what kind of animal of amoeba you are.

Too often we as humans feel we are more entitled to live and survive over anything else. We forget everything, big and small, has it’s place, purpose and part in this world.

Nature works together to make some pretty amazing things happen, and we just sit around and muck it up most of the time.

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