Human 'rights' are not Animal 'Rights'?

Jan 2015
15
Ireland
#1
I was always interested in the distinction between the two, I never fully grasped the term 'right', and with thta the animal 'right' movement.

I feel there are increasingly good moral reasons to not eat meat, but I do not think the word 'right' can be used. Apart from it being used in almost every political debate on the 'rights' of the individual, does it have any more grounding in at most 'universal assent'? I doubt it but maybe we don't need anymore than that.

In that view, are animals to be protected by law if we cannot grant them rights?
 
Oct 2013
4,564
Canada
#2
I was always interested in the distinction between the two, I never fully grasped the term 'right', and with thta the animal 'right' movement.

I feel there are increasingly good moral reasons to not eat meat, but I do not think the word 'right' can be used. Apart from it being used in almost every political debate on the 'rights' of the individual, does it have any more grounding in at most 'universal assent'? I doubt it but maybe we don't need anymore than that.

In that view, are animals to be protected by law if we cannot grant them rights?
I think Ellen Degeneres sums it up well:

She says animal "rights," but that does not mean they are going to get the right to vote. What she mean and I think what most people mean when they apply the words "animal rights" is their right to welfare and humane treatment under human captivity and domestication.
 
Jan 2015
15
Ireland
#3
That would be question begging though. You wouldn't be allowed to describe what you mean by 'rights' by claiming you don't mean what 'rights' actually mean.
 
Mar 2014
8,881
Canterbury
#4
Rights are basically glorified entitlements, so there's no semantic reason not to call both human and animal rights 'rights.' But the movement would do a lot better if it actually said 'entitlement' or even 'deserve,' i.e. animals deserve humane treatment, rather than animals have a right to humane treatment. Rights are seen as intrinsically human things. Putting animals on an equal peg with humans is a bridge much too far to most people, so activists should avoid being seen as doing that at all costs.
 

Lowell2

Ad Honorem
Jun 2014
6,541
California
#5
Sure animals can be protected without having rights. We protect monuments, we protect trees, we protect art. There's no reason why humans can't decide that treating any living thing (plant or animal) with respect and avoiding unnecessary damage, harm or destruction is a good thing to do. The issue is the fanatical insistence that because they share genes or are also living that they should be treated equivalently. Lions don't treat zebras as equals, and one would NOT want a free roaming chimpanzee in the middle of Trafalgar square. The fact is that humans are indeed part of the biological nature of the Earth, but it is also true that this doesn't preclude humans from reasonably and rationally using the resources of the Earth wisely -- including using animals wisely.
We probably wouldn't even be having this discussion if it hadn't been for the use of dogs, horses, sheep and cattle that enabled civilization to get a foothold rather than the human species simply meandering around like an unusually bipedal omnivore in the African veld along with the lions and jackals. I for one have no interest in living like a chimp in the Gombe (and chimps eat meat, use tools and conduct war anyway, so we are simply more sophisticated in how we do it).
 
Mar 2012
18,030
In the bag of ecstatic squirt
#6
The word animal right is a fiction of law to describe the treatment towards them as stated in the second post.
 
Mar 2014
8,881
Canterbury
#7
The issue is the fanatical insistence that because they share genes or are also living that they should be treated equivalently
Brilliant point. I never tire of directing people who think nature is peaceful and harmonious to parasitic wasps, army ants, or mind-control fungus.
 
Mar 2014
8,881
Canterbury
#9
There is a moral argument against eating meat. A very convincing one, actually. But it's not enough to stop me eating meat entirely because that isn't a wholly moral question: we are hunters and omnivores physiologically.
 
Sep 2013
7,435
Ireland
#10
I think there's a place for 'animal rights' in the world...it might just stop stronger humans farming and eating weaker humans in the future.