Establishing the Rights of Animals in Law and Human Consciousness

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Establishing the Rights of Animals in Law and Human Consciousness

Comments by Frank and Mary Hoffman - 17 Jul 2006

Dear David:

We’ve been contemplating your primary points/objectives to achieve legal rights for other animals. We tried to put it into more easily readable style, and rewrote the last part to reflect more accurately the way things work. We would very much appreciate your comments.

1. In order to give animals the rights they deserve and to eliminate their exploitation and suffering, humans must change their lifestyle and their way of looking at animals as property.

2. Insist on basic legal rights (not secondary rights without basic ones already in place) as the primary goal, with secondary rights and enforcement mechanisms to follow achievement of that goal.

3. In order to achieve these basic rights, we may have to use some of these secondary goals as stepping stones to the basic goal of legal rights.

4. Direct campaigns at publicly funded entities: U.S. Departments of Agriculture and Health & Human Services, federal school lunch and breakfast programs, public school curricula and activities, agricultural extensions (these are linked to the land-grant universities).

5. Eliminate these entities’ public-relations operations and private-property rights laws that ultimately put other animals beyond the movement's reach, because these entities’ activities are consistent with the existing human-supremacist and speciesist paradigm that many people want to perpetuate if they can rationalize doing so.

6. Public entities should be held to Constitutional, legal, and political principles such as equal consideration for equal interests, due process, open records, open meetings, and reliance on evidence for decision-making.

7. Do not promote "helping animals," "improving conditions" for exploited animals, or other welfarist measures as animal rights objectives or goals, since animal rights by definition means getting to where nonhuman animals don't need human help on a routine basis and no conditions will exist for exploited animals so they won't need improving.

8. Define as education meaningful interim results and achievable objectives as to what animal rights is and animal rights' enormous benefits to human beings.

9. Education must also debunk claims that animal rights is anti-human and demonstrate that animal rights is what humans need most, just as women's rights benefit men and civil rights benefit dominant as well as oppressed groups.

10. Explore and communicate that humans are deserving of animal rights that are not currently existing or enforced, and that animal exploitation, oppression and abuse are original sources of similar mistreatment of humans.

11. Explore and educate people about the way capitalism and politics work, to emphasize that animal rights is a matter of justice rather than personal traits such as compassion, caring, or empathy. This is not to dismiss those traits as unimportant -- they're crucial to all interactions among human beings and between humans and other sentient beings -- but to heighten understanding of the important difference between the personal and the political, the incidental and the systemic, feelings and principles.

12. Have faith that small numbers of people can begin to bring about fundamental change and to develop the public support necessary to pass legislation to grant other animals their basic rights.

Just our 12 step program to get people off their addiction to animal products…

In the Love of the Lord,

Frank and Mary

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