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 David Cantor - 19 Sep 2006

In a message dated 9/15/2006 7:01:14 P.M. Eastern Standard Time, [email protected] writes:

How about a title such as: A 12-Step Program To Recover from Animal Use, Abuse, and Exploitation?

Dear Frank & Mary,

Here's why I prefer "Exploitation and Destruction" -- but could also go with "Use and Destruction":

-- Focusing on "abuse" has been one of the reasons for confusion about the goal of the animal-rights movement and for the movement's failure so far to move beyond the welfare paradigm. By keep to "use," the movement can be clear that what's typically been called "abuse" isn't necessary for injustice to be occurring and that all use is abuse once one understands the problem. Plus there can be no un-abused animal as long as they can be used, owned, etc. "Abuse" has been defined too much as cruelty, whereas ownership itself should be understood as abuse, just as ownership of a human is.

-- Exploitation is use to the advantage of the user and to the disadvantage of the used, so use is broader and covers exploitation. Many forms of use aren't seen as exploitation by many people, so "use" keeps the bar high and therefore consistent with the goals of the animal-rights movement, avoiding rationalizations and loopholes.

-- I think "Destruction" is important to include because humans destroy so many animals without using them: by bulldozing land, cutting down trees, driving cars, generating electrical power, and through many other practices. Obviously, the movement doesn't "think it can abolish all of those practices" that people like so much. But animal rights offers more to human beings and to human rights the more it demonstrates that human overpopulation and the technologies that vastly multiply its impact are devastating to humans and nonhumans alike. Human rights are inevitably violated and animal rights (including humans' rights as animals) are violated to the extent that we continue to behave as if these practices are not harmful. We do a greater service to all sentient beings the more we have people understand that we must minimize these practices, whereas today they are maximized for economic growth, the stock market, etc.

There might still be other options, though. What do you think?

Best wishes,

[email protected]

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