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 James and Doreen Thompson - 1 Oct 2006

Dear Frank & Mary,

Have just got back from holiday and hope the following – in response to ANIMAL RIGHTS STRATEGY – is helpful

Yes, basic legal rights for animals appears on the surface to be a good thing, but then legal rights are possibly the bare minimum. I have rights to protect me as a human being but they do not include superior factors such as receiving love, compassion and care from others.

I question whether the imparting of rights to animals goes far enough. It certainly provides a minimum of animal protection from human exploitation. But as I see it we as Christians are called upon to exercise a caring stewardship, as members shall we say of the guardian species? Way back in Genesis Adam was the one to give a name to the other creatures and to know one’s name meant to have influence over them.

One cannot be sure over these matters, but to give animals the right to live their own lives without human interference may not always be good for the animals. The strong should be caring for the weak and, consequently, to leave it to other non human lives to care for the sick and maim of their kind could be to stand by and watch much appalling suffering due to the legal inability to intervene.

Women may now say that they have no need for the male species to step in and protect them. Such interference they may proudly oppose as if it were condescension from an assumed superior kind: men protecting women! The blacks could also oppose any white person intervening as being a most unwelcome intrusion. And the way things are regressing, youngsters will be telling parents more and more that they have no right to intervene in their life styles. But, of course, much of this modern trend for rights flows contrary to past biblical interpretation. We’ve got those advocating ‘gay’ rights; and now another termed ‘rights for bisexuals’. But such rights are being established when the right to live free of aids is being drastically curtailed.

Rights can also lead to refusal to charitably intervene for fear of reprisal or certainly rebuff. And when it comes to animals, rather then evolve towards exercising a caring stewardship over them, one could end up saying that animals do not need our intervention or, indeed, veterinary aid and can manage better without us. Yet the outcome could be utterly devastating. And as for companion animals, they could no longer manage without us! As for the ravenous beasts of the wild, pity help their timid counterparts as humans stood by and affirmed that the laws of the jungle had to be respected as such; that humans had, literally, no right to meddle but must now keep their noses out from where they were no longer wanted.

The varying species that exist under God’s creation are to a large extent dependent on each other, though humans are called to exercise a Godly dominion over the rest of creation. The good shepherds of Divine analogy sought out the lost sheep’ bandaged up the maimed, carried them close to the heart; and gently led the ewes that were pregnant. These are concepts that are foreign to so many animal rights activists who do not share our Judeo-Christian view of creation; it’s fall and eventual redemption. Consequently they are frequently inconsistent in the way they push forward their own opinions – be they Darwinian or far less thought out ones! – and they frequently do far more harm than good..

At least, such are my views for what they are worth, and dear Doreen shares them with me. She always wants me to know that she will obey me in all things providing I love her as Christ loved the church and gave Himself for it. Mind you, I question whether Doreen’s stipulation would have been acceptable to St Paul; but then things were different in those days. Hope these comments might help!

Every blessing,
James & Doreen

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