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*Time for an edit.*
So as the stamp clearly states, I support Animal Welfare and reject the concept of Animal Rights. The concept of giving animals human rights is absurd and is only really a concept that sounds nice on paper. It is impossible to implement. But before going more into the hows and whys, the first key things we must elaborate on is- What does right and welfare mean in this particular context? Why? Because numerous individuals have had various methods in defining what Animal Rights vs. Animal Welfare is, and from what I have examined the two are quite different both in this context and in their general terms outside of the issue.
Welfare vs. Rights
Welfare: Animal Welfare is defined as the wellbeing, safety and interest of the animals. It stops unnecessary violence or mistreatment, but within limitation such as not smacking around a farm animal that will be used for meat.
An example: Tim was worried about the welfare of his eldest daughter who had decided to join the army.
Rights: Animal Rights is defined as privileges and civil rights that would be given to the animal in order to make them equal to humans by law.
An example: Alex was infuriated that because of her wrong accusation and time spent in jail, she lost the right to vote.
So hopefully it is pretty clear between the differences. Animal Welfare attempts to look out for the animal as much as possible and within limitations; Animal Rights attempts to give non-human animals the equal rights in order to protect them fully.
So then, what is the problem with animal rights? Well, there are a number of issues.
1) People and Animals can only live together so far before conflicts occur
A lot of people tend to get this statement confused, hence why I changed the title a bit. Yes, some animals can live with us. We have already proven that with cats, dogs, birds, fish, rodents, etc. However, there are only so many animals we can live with before we have to start taking into account the animals we cannot live with. Bears, wolves, cougars, elk and deer, and (for those who wish to see a global conversion to animal rights) tigers, lions, jaguar, elephants, hippos- this is just a small list of the many animals we cannot live with simply because they can, have, and would kill people or at the most get into conflict with us. Nature is not a uniform, happy circle where each animal asks if it is okay to eat the other. If a bear wants to eat a human, they will go for it. If an elephant sees us as a threat, they will attempt to trample us to death to make sure that threat is gone.
And what of the arthropods and small animals that Animal Rights forgets or ignores? As easy as it is to talk about giving a cow equal rights, to implement Animal Rights would have to be done to all animals, even something as simple as a sea sponge or as small as a water bear. Some people cannot physically live with these types of animals, either because they have a fear of them or because these animals can be dangerous to their health (some people are allergic to spiders, and we do have highly toxic spiders capable of killing anyone. And some like cockroaches are dangerous to everyone’s health if left unnoticed).
Like a lot of things in nature we live in conflict and cannot simply presume that we can live with all animals day-to-day.
2) Animals could not benefit from being given human rights
So let us presume we do this one day; all animals are now given the same rights as people. This also means they must follow the same laws. After all, if they were considered equal to humans then we would have to apply a human-defined standard upon non-human organisms. Except that these are not humans, nor do they have human minds. Our culture, laws and standards cannot be applied to animals simply because what our culture is belongs to us. Just as how chimpanzees have their own culture and rules, and so on and so forth. No wild animal benefits from being expected to live in a wholly different culture or society. They would be arrested for all sorts of crimes, and would never adapt to our life-style. But…
3) To try and remedy question 2 by giving them more rights would likely cause a serious level of disorientation and upset amongst people
Let us assume that by rights, they mean letting these animal roam free, as animals, with no restrictions. Okay, but as I said in my first point, we cannot live side by side. Setting up laws that make it so we cannot handle animals when there are problems would only upset numerous people and cause a lot of disorientation. For example, is killing a wolf that keeps on going to your property okay or not? The wolf can kill people, and carnivores that draw close to human society tends to be a sign that they use us for food, or are likely no longer afraid. Plus what if a deer runs into the street and is hit by a car? Does that person get punished, or do we accept that it was a sudden situation neither could control? We cannot exactly say we are giving these animals equal rights to people if we proceed to give them more rights that essentially disadvantages people. We are not equal if we treat them as superior.
Now obviously I am treating the concept of Animal Rights in its most literal term. But that is how I view it, the giving of human rights to animals. I am taking it to its literal term because historically, the people who very adamantly support it tend to speak of it as in treating animals equal to humans. However, I have seen two other definitions used by people who understand the problems above and do not expect that level of freedom. However, both alternate definitions have their own problems.
So now let me point out a few things regarding the different ways people define Animal Rights.
Animal rights as in no meat or products, but pets allowed.
So we free cows, chickens, sheep, horses, pigs, all the animals we have spent around 7,000 years breeding. Not many of these animals will survive, if we let them go. Cows and sheep are bred to be very docile; in fact some sheep are known to eat flowers and vegetation that causes horrific mutations to offspring if left alone in a field. These animals would die out without our intervention. We cannot reverse thousands of years of breeding and assuming they will be free and happy because they are not used for meat or materials is far from the reality. Now saying- well we can just keep them in pens and let them live safe and alive. That is also not possible. These types of animals can cause damage to the environment, and at least when we eat them/use them we do cull their populations somewhat. Letting them live in pens to breed, become too big, it would cause severe environmental harm and would benefit neither party. This leaves sterilizing all the farm animals not capable of being released, which really is no different then letting them go to die in the wild, or just kill off their population then and there.
Not forgetting that for those animals capable of living wild, if they are not native and natural to the environment; they are most likely not going to help it. Thus most farm animals are not going to benefit from being “freed”. They will starve, be wiped out either by native organisms or by us, keeping them is costly and harmful if we do nothing but let them breed wildly, and those capable of living wild could cause irreversible damage to these native environments.
Animal rights as in no pets, no meat, nothing.
Like the point above, many farm animals suffer. But the same goes for pets, if we applied that too. Hamsters will not survive well; neither will a wide variety of dogs, cats, birds, lizards, etc, etc. Sure some are still capable of surviving, but will a Pomeranian make it in the wild? Will tiny dogs and cats with altered muzzles, altered ears, altered body sizes and fur, will they be able to survive? Plus some of the many pets we do own come from wholly different continents and letting them roam free leads to the same issue as stated earlier; interference with the native environment.
In both cases pets and farm animal do not benefit. They either die out (whether it be by native animals, by relying too much on us for food, or just not being adapted to the environment), or just damage the environment.
I understand that for some, they do not like the idea of people eating meat, using them for medical testing (a wholly different topic I may touch on one day) and for some they do not even like the idea of having pets. But to expect that the world is going to change to an unreasonable and impossible standard where we live equal to animals, or let animals we have bred down be “free” when they are incapable of surviving on their own, it will not happen. The reality is that we cannot apply our rights to animals, nor expect a successful return to nature if we released all the animals we do own and work with. It is just not possible. We can at least though try to treat them well. Get rid of factory farms and advocate for better treatment of animals, stop the improper breeding of animals (i.e. breeding turkeys to be so large they cannot move), and feed them the proper diets they were meant to have.
Those things can be applied to real life. So if you really want to help animals, advocate for animal welfare. It can be done and provides the best outcome possible.
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Again, if anyone wants to add on, PLEASE do so! I’m no expert on this topic so of course I could make some stupid mistakes. If I do, tell me! I will edit them. And again, if anyone comes here and wastes my time by posting a “you’re a fucking idiot”, even if you’re about to talk about the topic I will NOT reply to you. Why? Because to me, you’re not here for a debate; you’re here to instigate a fight and waste my time by telling me I’m an idiot when it has NOTHING to do with the topic.
So again like my Let People Love who they Love stamp, if I see a comment that has nothing to do with the topic itself (e.g. you’re a fucking idiot go and die) then I WILL ignore it. I may also ignore many other comments because I do get a lot at times.
While we can debate what Rights mean, the thing is that Rights still cannot be applied to an animal. Rights are a human concept, created by us for us. Our rights could be defined as anything; right down to “people with purple tattoos are allowed to mate”, but at the end of the day Rights are a human-originated concept. Its part of our culture, something even our closest relative- the Chimpanzee, does not have because they have their own culture. So to apply rights to an animal, a concept created by us for us, which utilizes deeper concepts many animals lack simply because it’s 1) not part of their own culture and 2) may be too complex, is pointless. They won’t understand it, will not follow it, and to give them leeway does very little but cause trouble and upset people.
And we can’t. I’m being realistic about this, not pessimistic. A tiger cannot live with us side by side. Siegfried and Roy is a perfect example of this; they were sure they knew their tiger well and yet still it attacked. Did it do it for food? No, but animals can feel some basic emotions like fear, anger, and if the animal is in an off-mood then it can and will react how it wants. Heck, our own pets have attacked people and killed people before. The difference between a dog and say a wolf, though, is that a dog is bred down, not as physically capable of killing us and can be controlled better than a wolf. A wolf is not; it is still wild and has all the instincts and abilities wild wolves have, making it more of a threat. As such, there is no possible way to live as equals with animals. A tiger will not consider us as people or equals; we are either viable sources of food, annoyances, or easy prey to eat. Like wise, smaller animals like ants will see us as threats, not companions or equals. We do not think alike to animals, nor do they think alike to us; thus it is physically not possible to live side by side with animals as true, full equals.
Also, animals do not mate to increase a population when illness occurs and they do not mate to improve their population. They mate because it is an end goal; to pass on your genes. It is why very small populations will practice inbreeding- even if they may be aware of how it leads to weaker offspring. It is a goal that is almost innate, and even when certain species of animals do not all mate (take bees for example) it appears to be that the lack of mating may serve a purpose (in this case a worker bee helps her sister [the Queen Bee] by taking care of their nieces because they share 75% of their genes, meaning the non-mating worker will still see 75% of her genome (shared with her sister) be passed on through the offspring of her sister [the Queen Bee]). And if that’s not the case, then they may not mate because of competition; such as elephant seals where the strongest males who fight and holds out the longest earn the most females.
In any case, animals do not mate because they think to themselves “we will increase our fitness”. They mate because they want to pass on their genes. Referring back to my elephant seal example, we know that females will go and mate with the males who dominant; but they do this because said strong male may offer better safety or food. Yes, the female may even choose said male because their offspring may survive better by having a healthy, strong father. But that’s because the female, who loses quite a lot in the process of caring and rearing for the offspring, wants to see her genes get passed on. And so choosing the male who shows the most vitality guarantees this.
But she does not think to herself, “This will improve our population”. We can easily tamper with animals like peacocks, where we add gigantic, beautiful feathers to males with small, duller feathers and sure enough these males- who unaltered would not succeed, now mate. If these animals were considering the fitness, then males and females who felt they were flawed would not offer to mate. But we see weaker or flawed males and females alike still try to mate and still try to rear young; because their goal is to see that their genes are passed on.
Nature and the environment determines fitness; not the animals. It just happens to be that the animals that fit a certain environment due to chance mutations, genetic drift, and natural selection thrive best and thus are more likely to mate. Not because they see an end goal or improvement for their species. A female chooses a good male because he will provide good offspring who will live, thus allowing her genes to persist (while the male just sees to it that their genes get passed on by trying to get females). Nature affects what will be the best male.
There is only one known animal that has tried to breed itself for success, to increase their fitness and persist; that’s us. Yes, how we have done it before is deplorable (eugenics, Germany and the holocaust) but vaccines, medicine, and even our efforts to learn and manipulate the genome to remove illnesses like Huntington’s disease; those are our ways of improving and persisting to thus live and potentially see our genes get passed on/serve a role in society/etc. Furthermore, it could take animals some time to evolve to combat a new illness and in certain cases if their population drops too low due to a new virus, there’s a huge risk they just go extinct. We’ve learned how to combat viruses by administering vaccines, thereby avoiding the chance that our population could drop. Furthermore, the fact that we’re at 7 billion and still counting suggests we’re succeeding so far.
Now, this does not make us superior to any animal, just as how animals are not inferior or superior to us. But to argue that because we do not let nature decide who lives and dies, and then say we’re inferior because of that is nonsensical. We are animals, complex animals, but still animals. This may very well be our evolutionary advantage- just as how the beaver dam is their way of living in safely, so too is our house. But like every organism, we are not perfect and we do have a ways to go; such as being better with our environment, diet, etc- and even that’s changing (for example we were not really big grain eaters when humans first evolved and became a species; now biologists have observed that in populations who have adopted for a long time a grain diet now have a better ability to digest it).
Finally, your last argument seems more philosophical and not really the point I was getting at. It does not matter if we view ourselves as not like them, or view most animals as not like us. As humans, an individual species, we function differently from many other animals; even compared with closely related species like Chimpanzees. As such, we cannot apply our human behaviours, culture and social structure to animals that are not human, lack the brain structure to understand it, lack the culture to absorb it, and even the social structure to practice it. Rights cannot be applied to animals. But we can certainly do better, and one way is through welfare. We cannot give chickens human rights, but we can definitely say that instead of keeping them in tight, miserable pens and feed them drug-riddled food (which is unhealthy to us and the animal) we let them roam and eat the proper diet that they should.
Animal welfare can be practiced and is the best we can do realistically; rights is a fantasy that if physically applied would cause problems, upset many people (and animals) and with our society as it is today, could not even be implemented.
I'm not quite sure what their end goal was, but my guessing is that it has to do with veterinary science. Maybe there are cats who have this condition that they're trying to mimic so they can find a treatment for it. It may sound horrible, but some things (like animal experimentation for medical research) are necessary evils.
Y'see, humans aren't animals because we understand things more with the world, unlike other species. And besides, we have a larger population than any other animal in the world.
Where's your pride now, huh?
Also, having a larger population doesn't mean we suddenly magically changed biology.
Also, "we understand things more with the world, unlike other species" is a statement that cannot be confirmed nor denied, as we have no form of communication with other species.
Our animal specie is called "mammals" more specifically "primates"
How about if you google it
Seriously, though, I'm all for animal welfare, and I can't stand animal cruelty, but I still enjoy eating meat (and yes, you *can* be against animal cruelty and still eat mean, you intolerant PeTa nuts, you!)
I hunt, and I despise animal abuse. the fast food industry for the way animals are slaughtered there. Did you know the chickens there only live 6 months? And chickens have the IQ of a 2 year old, if I remember right.
Saying you can't eat meat and love animals makes you kind of a huge intolerant douchebag.
But as you said in all seriousness, it is possible to eat meat and support treating animals well. Plus here's something I've always found ridiculous with PeTa and many hardline vegans.
If we are supposed to be equal to animals (again, they argue for animal rights which means we are supposed to be equals) then why is it that we cannot eat meat but other omnivores like bears, wolves, ravens, etc which have been found to eat meat are allowed to do that when they, too, are capable of eating non-meat products as well?
It seems a little ridiculous for them to be declaring “we are equals and so we cannot eat these animals” but then go off and say “but no, we can’t stop these animals from eating meat”.