Animal Rights( Re: A few comments to the Devils Advocat
SPLUHAR at CROP.UOGUELPH.CA
SPLUHAR at CROP.UOGUELPH.CA
Wed Jul 14 02:09:23 EST 1993
Janes.F.X.Welleham posted the following:
> To: bioforum at net.bio.net
> From: James.F.X.Wellehan at dartmouth.edu (Jim Wellehan)
> Subject: Re: Animal Rights( Re: A few comments to the Devils Advocat
> Date: 13 Jul 93 01:03:15 GMT
> In article <CSNET_MQ-101.930710012201.320 at crop.uoguelph.ca>
> SPLUHAR at CROP.UOGUELPH.CA writes:
> > > > 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?
> > They should have differing statuses because legality is a human
> > construct designed for and by humans. Cows can't debate legality and
> > are thus unable to take part in any meaningful debate on law within a
> > human society. No non human organism has shown either the ability or
> > the potential to develope such an ability. Most retarded humans have
> > the potential to develope this ability on a low level.
> You said _most_ retarded humans. What about the rest?
They should still be given a status above animals because they are
still too close to " normal" humans . To give them lower status
opens the door to a slipery slope that can lead to a repetition of
some of the horrors of the recent past. Once you start saying
certain individuals are not human and therefore not deserving of
human rights, there will be others who will want to broaden the the
spectrum of those who are not human. This could be done for reasons
of saving the state money, based on the argument that the state has
no obligation to protect or care for the individuals who are ruled
to be non-human.
To a certain extent the extreemly retarded have a differing legal
status in that many continue to be wards of their parents long
after they would reach the age of majority. They are kept in the
legal status of children long after they are chronologically adults.
Many oters are kept in institution where there lives are far more
regulated than normal individuals. This special status is designed
to protect these most helpless of individuals. It is generally
thought that if they were not protected in this maner they would
under go extreme suffering and there lives would be at risk. So you
could say there special status is justified.
Ultimately the animal rights debate can be considered a moral
debate. The animal rights extreemists are convinced that they are
right and everyone else is wrong and no amount of rational argument
will change there mind. I happen to think that the vast majority of
people are in a middle position where they would like experimental
animals to suffer as little as possible. It can be argued that this
is good science because extranious stress factors could threaten the
validity of an experiment.
At a deeper level when we talk about any issue that is deemed a
moral issue we have to consider why humans construct moral codes
and discuss morality. In general they do it inorder to make there
society function better. Keeping this in mind, the question to ask
is: If the animal rights activists had there way would our society
function better and would people be better of ? My answer would be
NO? Society would loose far more than it would gain in terms of
knowledge and potential cures for diseases.
Now we could get into a very interesting argument about the nature
and function of morality, but that topic does not really fit this
Sorry for being so long winded.
Stephen A. Pluhar
SPLUHAR at CROP.UOGUELPH.CA Dept. Crop Science U. of Guelph
Phone: 519-824-4120 Ext. 4865 Guelph, Ontario, Canada. N1G 2W1
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