Fighting for animal liberation and an end to speciesism
So we've totally messed up the way that dogs (and cats too) live in the world. They're genetically modified organisms that live compromised lives. But is the solution to the problem we've created to eradicate them from the planet? I mean, do dogs live such terrible lives that no dogs could have lives worth living? Would it be better for no dogs to ever live than for dogs to live the lives they are capable of living? Would dogs choose to have their species eliminated if they were able to choose?
It seems to me that some animal advocates look at the mess we've made and rather than try to fix it, they think the easier thing to do would just be to wipe it out - eliminate the dogs and the problem we caused would be eliminated along with them.
Can that be the right answer?
I think this is a case of us wanting to have a cake and eating it too. It is like those people who want to eat animals, but they want them to be well looked-after, or even worse - those people that seem to think there's such thing as humane slaughter. You can't commodify animals in order to eat them and then expect them to be treated well. The moment we decide their lives are not worth more than our desire for taste, we open the door to abuse. I'm afraid the case is the same for companion animals. The moment we decide that we want to have them next to us to keep us company or for security of any other reason apart from rescuing them, we instantly condemn some of them to a life of suffering.
I think it is impossible to end the suffering of the 600 million stray dogs (without considering the cats) who are struggling and suffering at any one time around the world, by continuing to have companion animals. We want to have them with us because we like it, but this desire to have them around us will, directly or indirectly, cause some of them to be unwanted and forgotten, or even worse - abused. It is impossible to keep domesticated dogs and cats and not have any of them suffering as a result of this. And we should focus our attention on those who are suffering as a result of us refusing to give up a species created by our ancestors. We owe them more than we're giving them. When we talk about keeping companion animals as a species, we tend to focus on those who are well looked after and don't see anything wrong with having them around - they are happy and we are happy. But we forget that our responsibility lies with those who as a result of this desure suffer immensely, and even if one of them is the subject of this unnecessary suffering, that is one too many.
Like with the humane slaughter analogy, our selfish desire to have companion animals around us, opens the door to all sorts of abuse, like dog fighting, teacup puppies (health problems at the expense of looks), commercial breeding, etc. In other words, and like it is usually the case, they pay the price for our little luxuries and whims.
I, like most people, like dogs and cats, it's nice to see them around us. In fact, I have two jack russels laying in bed with me right now, but seeing so many of them struggling to survive and being abused or neglected as a result of us wanting to have them around us has made me think long and hard about this culture-condoned "habit", about what we have created, about what we need to do and our responsibility towards them - those who are suffering as result of this.
To end the species we have created is not a bad thing as some seem to think. To end their species would mean that we have finally decided to do what is right, to give them the respect that they deserve and to put their need before ours.
Tim Gier said:
Not all dogs live lives of suffering and not all dogs who suffer in life suffer all the time. There are lots and lots of dogs who live perfectly healthy and happy lives. I don't support the endless commercialized breeding of dogs as it happens now, and I don't support eliminating dogs from the planet. Those are not the only two options open to us. There must be a better way.
I don't reject anything that Francione advocates just because he advocates it. I reject some things that he advocates for because there are very good reasons to reject them. This is one of those things.
Andres Grijalva said:
But we need to remember that he's not talking about altering the reproductive biology of dogs in order to prevent them from doing what comes naturally to them. He's talking about doing it to stop them from suffering. Are you against neutering companion animals? Do you think we should let them breed? Do you know how much suffering not neutering them would caused?
He is in favour of eliminating a man-created species from the planet. What is so wrong with that? There's no cruelty involved in doing so. Fancione's solution is radical, but it is the only solution to this problem, there's no other solution or reasonable alternative with human's current state of evolution. It may be radical and it may even be impossible, but the same is being said about a world without eating animals. The fact that some may consider a suggestion radical or impossible, doesn't mean it is not the correct one.
We should not be dismissing what he suggests just because it comes from him. The fact that a theory is not practical, doesn't mean the theory is wrong. He is suggesting what should be done in order to minimize, or in this case completely avoid, the suffering of another creature. There's nothing wrong with that! To suggest otherwise would not make sense. The fact that people will never do what he suggest, and what I believe is the right thing to do, does not make his suggestion any less valid or correct - a practical plan of action may be missing, but the suggestion is the right one if our aim is to minimize the suffering cause by us.
Tim Gier said:
But this isn't a question of us keeping the species going. Francione advocates for altering the reproductive biology of dogs in order to prevent them from doing what comes naturally to them. He is in favor of eliminating the species from the planet. I am not suggesting that we do nothing, I am suggesting that Francione's solution is radical, wrong and impossible. Like the rest of his "theory" of animal rights, it has little or no practical value or application in the real world.
Andres Grijalva said:
The first thing we need to be asking ourselves is why we want to keep the species going at the expense of their suffering. Is it for their individual benefit? No! Then why? Why do we have the desire to continue on with the result of our ancestors mistake to tamper with animals? Is it the same reason that a conservationist is willing to "cull", as they call it, thousands of animals in order for the species to be preserved? I think we need to stop worrying about species and start worrying about individual animals.