The Gross National Debt

Friday, August 26, 2016

Where for art thou rights?

This one covers a lot of different ground.

At issue is this monkey and whether or not he holds the copyright to the images. The author of this Quartz piece is "a law professor at the University of Denver Sturm College of Law. He is an expert in constitutional law and received his J.D. from Harvard Law School." He also believes animals have rights.

A Constitution expert (as many people claim the current POTUS is) believes animals have rights. This scares me immensely. It scares me more than the gun grabbers. Yes huh.

Afore we get any further, let's get this clear. There is a gulf of distance between "rights" and "welfare." I happen to be bang up against animal welfare. Don't be cruel. Don't mistreat 'em. Abuse animals, and I say we rub you down with a cheese grater and roll you in salt on second offense. First offense, a good caning suffices. Hunting is not abuse, unless the same rule is applied to animals. (I 'splain, keep reading).

Rights goes (go?) much further. Rights requires the entity having the rights to be able to understand right from wrong, make decisions based on right and wrong and know that actions have consequences, even if those consequences are delayed. Self-awareness figures heavily into this. Reason is the other major part.

ASIDE - Someone is gonna bring up people with diminished mental capacity. I cover this in a moment.

So what about all this and animals? SCIENCE! once said "no way hoser boy!" In the continuing pursuit of determining how little we actually know, SCIENCE! now says "Uh yeah. Well, we've got this evidence..."

Some critters are self-aware.


Here's a great way to put this into perspective. Are animals altruistic to other animals, especially other species? Other species is the key here. Doing it for your own family group or species doesn't fit my definition of altruistic (see people of diminshed capacity). That's self-preservation.

Animals certainly have emotion. Recent events at Sea World shows the orcas may be able to resent their confinement. Yow.

Talk about making muddy waters even more murky!

But do animals have rights?

This Quartz author and parasite of the human condition (my affectionate term for lawyers) says yes. He writes a decision for the monkey will "...pave the way for future litigation that will afford non-human animals the fundamental rights they deserve." This scares me massively, as I stated above. He scares me too.

Here's why. The other side of having rights is understanding consequences for affecting another's rights. As humans, we execute people for murder. We jail people for rape. We detain, fine and restrict a person's rights for other offenses.

If animals have rights, then they must be held accountable for their actions.

Try these:

Remember, animals also kill each other for food. Cats come to mind. Cats must eat meat because they do not have the ability to make a protein from the food they eat. Obligate predator,, Humans and most other omnivores can. But do cats have to kill? Could they eat animals which die naturally? Carrion eaters do and are pretty successful at it. If some carnivores can make do with naturally dead critters, then every carnivore should be held to this standard.

A lot of people told me the guy who killed that collared lion in Africa committed murder. When the lion killed a warthog, was that murder? If lions have rights, then I say yes.

Someone is going to say I am being totally ridiculous. "Animals don't think that way," someone will say. Then explain the above altruism and the ability to reason and self-awareness. Explain an animal's thought process.

"Baker, you are an idiot. You won't understand."

Either I don't and probably lack the ability to understand (likely) or I understand a lot more than my critics (equally likely). Take your pick.

Bottom line. If animals have rights, then they must be held accountable for their actions. When squirrels are charged with murder for eating baby birds, then I'm willing to talk about animal rights.

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