Animal Rights( Re: A few comments to the Devils Advocate)

Jim Wellehan James.F.X.Wellehan at dartmouth.edu
Wed Jul 7 13:40:32 EST 1993


In article <CSNET_MQ-101.930706190530.480 at crop.uoguelph.ca>
SPLUHAR at CROP.UOGUELPH.CA writes:

> Jim Wellehan wrote:
> > What is the distinguishing characteristic that elevates humans above
> > other animals?  It would seem to me that our main attribute would be
> > intelligence.  If so, wouldn't an intelligent non-human animal (Koko,
> > etc.) merit more rights than a less intelligent retarded human?

> A definition first. Intelligence is the ability
> to solve problems and learn new tasks.

OK.
 
> Now on to the question above. I would answer no based on evidence
> from recent human history. The ranking of human beings into groups
> with differing legal statuses has lead to some very horrible things.
(examples deleted)
> Thus giving humans differing legal statuses based on inherent traits
> can be a very dagerous president.
 
Agreed.  If not an inherent trait, why should species have different
legal statuses, then? 

> Please Note I am not implying any sinister motive on the part of the
> devil's advocate and mean no offence to him.

none taken.

> To a certain extent animals are given legal status based on
> itellgence and yes cuteness. For instance you can do all sorts of
> things to frogs and people won't care.

Wouldn't an AR activist object to doing things to frogs?

> Experiment on mamals and
> people are up in arms.

Mammals are commonly used in research.  Mice are one of the most common
systems.

> Another example you can step on a fly in front
> of a large group of people and no one would protest, NOT EVEN AN
> ANIMAL RIGHTS ACTIVIST.

There are extremists who would definitely protest.

> Basically I feel that we should reduce the suffering of animals
> in labs as much as possible and if we can avoid using them in
> learning some information we should. This means that some experiments
> which cause extreem suffering to animals perhaps should not be done.
> Further we should also try to reduce our dependence on animal
> research.

I agree with you.  (That doesn't mean I won't question my own position,
though.)
 
> But right now ending animal research would criple medical research
> and deny hope to millions of suffering people. I for one find the
> relief of human suffering of the highest priority.

The highest priority?  Why?  I'd consider continuation of the human
species more important.

> > Also, what if we engineered super-intelligent animals?  If they were
> > vastly more intelligent than ourselves, would they have a right to
> > experiment on us?
> 
> No because we would be there creators and they should respect us more
> than that for bringing them into being.

Why should reptiles evolve into mammals?  Should we not experiment on
any animal that is potentially a human ancestor?

> Why should we want to creat
> super-intelligent animals that would rule over us?

So you think our evolution should stop with  H. sapiens, and we should
not improve ourselves?

Jim



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