Fighting for animal liberation and an end to speciesism
Learn about the true meaning of animal rights, including what is and is not rights advocacy and examples of rights advocacy compared to other advocacy: http://www.rpaforall.org/rights.html
From the introduction:
"Animal rights" is almost always used incorrectly by the news industry and most animal organizations and advocates. This hampers animal-rights advocacy by creating confusion about its goal, divergence from rights-promoting strategies, and delusion about what constitutes progress toward animal rights. People have helped animals in countless ways for thousands of years without promoting rights for them. Promoting rights means describing the rights other animals need to lead fulfilling lives, why meaningful protection is impossible without rights, and why human beings as well as other animals will benefit when all have the rights they need.
In cases where you are not the cause of the harm (or maybe also beneficiary of the harm), I don't believe you have a duty to do anything to help anyone. Besides, I don't believe in objective morality and am not sure of any grounds for moral duties, other than equal consideration.
Equal consideration may lead us to believe that if we were a prey animal that we'd want help from a "compassionate biology" human to eradicate predator animals. However, equal consideration would also lead us to believe that if we were a predator animal that we'd oppose any attempt from a "compassionate biology" human to stop us from killing to survive, sterilizing us from reproducing, and otherwise inflicting harm on us.
All things considered, it seems non-intervention is the way to go. Other animals don't need our paternalism wrapped up in the fancy language of "compassionate biology" or otherwise.
Brandon, if you or a loved one were dying of hunger or thirst, or about to be ripped apart by a predator, then you could probably benefit from some "paternalism".
Thankfully neither of us are in that awful position. But millions of other sentient beings are not so fortunate. So I don't think we should withhold help on the grounds it would be paternalistic.
I have many grounds other than paternalism to oppose these dangerous and oppressive ideas, as I have given in my previous replies. Also, like I said earlier, you are failing to view the issue from the perspective of carnivores (and other non-herbivores) who would be the victims of human imperialism through harmful interventions, especially forced sterilization leading to genocide. Non-intervention is the fair and practical solution.
Brandon, advocacy of global veganism may be ill-conceived and utopian. But I don't understand how envisaging a cruelty-free world can be fairly be called "dangerous" or "oppressive". Can you see there is a tension, at least, between animal advocacy and urging us to view the issue from the perspective of carnivores?
No doubt our meat-eating circle of acquaintance would say the same.
My underlying beliefs for veganism, anti-speciesism, and animal rights is the desire for animal liberation - every animal living wild and free. The last thing humans ever need is more domination and control over our lives or that of other animals.
I don't really buy that analogy - regardless of whether or not it is our legal duty to flip the unconscious person in the puddle over so that they won't drown, isn't it our moral responsibility? I'm not sure where I stand on the issue of interfering with predator/prey relationships, but I certainly think that if we can prevent deaths of other humans without putting ourselves in mortal danger, then we are morally obligated to do so - and that it would not be a violation of their rights to save their lives. In fact, I think the analogy lends support to the argument that we should interfere in cases of predation..
Alistair, in what sense do human or non-human animals have a "right" to harm other sentient beings? Utilitarian and non-utilitarian ethicists alike can agree that a legal right not to be harmed is worth enshrining in law. By contrast, I can't see any advantage in extending the idea of rights to include an entitlement to kill or harm members of another race or species.
You're correct in law. If you stumble across someone face down in a puddle - perhaps an epileptic who has had a grand mal seizure, for instance - then you are under no legal obligation to roll him or her over. But unless we are going to argue for moral nihilism, there is surely a moral obligation to roll them over? Not to do so would make one complicit in their harm.
What is going to change the terms of the whole debate is that this century is that humans - for better or worse - will have stewardship of the whole of the living world. Should we do the equivalent of rolling over the seizure victim in the puddle?
All this talk of the (necessary) harms that predator animals cause prey animals is a huge distraction from what humans have (unnecessarily) done and are still doing to all other animals and the planet that sustains all life. It keeps the focus off human supremacy and the ongoing holocaust, helping the bloodbath continue unabated. Very sad.
'Human rights' issue from a perceived duty to some moral authority - an authority on what behaviour is or is not legitimate. Within civilised culture this has historically been a God figure, or before that a master, or after the Death of God it has tended to be 'humanity', 'reason', or some other grand idea. The 'right' is a special form of entitlement; it is a conditional entitlement, where one is entitled to be or do or pursue X IF [certain conditions are met]. Within judeo-christian culture, this condition has typically been some variation on 'The Golden Rule'; one may do unto others if one would have them do unto you, etc.
I should preface this by stating that I am politically opposed to the domestication of animals and humans by the civilised, given that it constitutes an abusive attempt to control entire communities and ecosystems through the methodical application of suffering to break the autonomous will of living creatures and subjugate their lives and sexual reproduction.
What authority issues the moral obligation of a hawk not to kill a crow? Said another way: What authority issues the entitlement of a crow to live so long as it kills no toads? What authority issues the entitlement of a toad to live so long as it kills no other?
I applaud your attempt to counter the speciesism inherent to civilised morality - which is ultimataely a project of long-term control and domination, requisite upon suffering and abuse - by applying it to non-humans. I would have preferred you to have moved in the other direction though, against civilised morality and thus *against* grand projects of control and domination.
There is a difference, even, from saving a gazelle from a lion and 'saving' all gazelles from all lions, and all hyenas, and all cheetahs, and all other predators and scavengers in the world.
Saving a gazelle you care about is one thing. Caring about all gazelles to save them from being killed is admirable in theory, but when the only logical conclusion is the systematic extinction of an entire species because it behaves in ways you consider boo-worthy.... I have to wonder whether it is liberation from institutional violence you seek, or pure and absolute control over life and the stasis of a tomb. Are you aiming to end the civilised project of domesticative control that has caused so many non-humans to suffer their whole lives under whips and chains and cages, or are you the latest expression of its attempt to metamorphose and continue in a new form?