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 Deborah Jones - 25 Sep 2006

Dear Frank and Mary,

I have some problems with the 12 Step Program - not that that should stop you from going ahead, of course!

1. I do not like the disparagement of animal welfare - a lot of people do a lot of work for animals and will be hurt by this - besides, until these rights are 'up and running', is welfare work not to continue?

2. The claim for rights has to be reasoned, not just declared. It is not enough to say 'they have moral rights' - it has to be proved. Most people use rights language in terms of reciprocal duties, 'rights & responsibilities', etc, so they have to be presented with an equalling compelling new rights basis.

3. There is no distinction here about what the term 'animal' refers to - is there no cut-off point, or do insects too have rights? I do not think it right to kill even insects without due cause, but if it is a malerial mosquito or me, I'm afraid I'll give it a whack.

4. The actual rights themselves are not spelled out - right to life and then what? There are various lists of Freedoms - these perhaps need to be mentioned.

5. I am not keen on using a Marxist analysis of capitalism in connection with animals - there are other ways of critiquing a materialist and profit-driven society.

6. I do not think that it is self-evident to all that various human rights are beneficial. There are some men who still chafe at women taking their jobs, for example; and there are some dominant groups who resent the rights won by minorities, etc - I'm not saying they're right - i just do not think it is convincing.

In fact, on the whole, I do not like these - there is no Christian basis given or argued from, and the tone is hectoring and off-putting.

Sorry to be so negative, but you did ask!

Best wishes,


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