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    (Original post by Collingwood)
    If rights only make sense in the context of rational beings then it doesn't make sense to apply them to non-rational beings. We don't give strips of land rights, or inanimate objects - if animals are also to be treated as irrational then giving them rights that they cannot understand makes no sense.

    You are confusing having rights with having rights demand you to do something.

    Arguably, the criteria for the first is to be sentient, and for the second is to be rational. In which case the right for humans not to kill animals makes perfect sense.
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    have to go for a bit, will check back later - great discussing with you
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    (Original post by kizer)
    You are confusing having rights with having rights demand you to do something.

    Arguably, the criteria for the first is to be sentient, and for the second is to be rational. In which case the right for humans not to kill animals makes perfect sense.
    Admittedly there is a difference between the two, but having a right to life doesn't mean much in practice if you are unaware of it and unable to enforce it except through the benevolence of others. In practice, therefore, are we actually acknowledging a right that animals have, or are we just imposing restrictions on ourselves as rational beings to act in a fairly arbitary fashion? I might choose not to break a rock, for instance, but that doesn't mean that the rock has a right not be broken. Giving animals rights must also entail giving them some sort of self-ownership, which also makes little sense, and would effectively ban agriculture: there is no reason why they should have a right to life, but not a right to personal liberty or to own property.

    have to go for a bit, will check back later - great discussing with you
    The feeling is mutual. This has turned out to be of much better quality than the average animal rights debate.
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    (Original post by Collingwood)
    Admittedly there is a difference between the two, but having a right to life doesn't mean much in practice if you are unaware of it and unable to enforce it except through the benevolence of others. In practice, therefore, are we actually acknowledging a right that animals have, or are we just imposing restrictions on ourselves as rational beings to act in a fairly arbitary fashion? I might choose not to break a rock, for instance, but that doesn't mean that the rock has a right not be broken. Giving animals rights must also entail giving them some sort of self-ownership, which also makes little sense, and would effectively ban agriculture: there is no reason why they should have a right to life, but not a right to personal liberty or to own property.
    .

    On the contrary, there is an excellent reason - they aren't rational. Since they cannot understand the concept of property, and have a concept of liberty only when it causes them discomfort, there is no basis for giving them those rights.

    I also disagree that having the right to life doesn't mean much if you are not aware of it - it keeps you alive!


    At this point of course my problem is that since I don't think animals do have a right to life, I will have to think about things harder to come up with plausible arguments.. maybe an intelligent pro-animal rights person (assuming there is no referential failure of such a person not existing) could jump in.
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    The ability to reason should not be an excuse for excluding non-human animals from certain rights such as the right to life and freedom from torture. The ability to suffer, not the ability to reason, must be the benchmark of how we treat other beings. If the ability to reason were the criterion, many human beings, including babies and disabled people, would also have to be treated as though they were 'things'.
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    (Original post by kizer)
    On the contrary, there is an excellent reason - they aren't rational. Since they cannot understand the concept of property, and have a concept of liberty only when it causes them discomfort, there is no basis for giving them those rights.
    They can't understand any of the other concepts you have imposed on them either - they react against attack instinctively, not on the basis of protecting their rights.

    I also disagree that having the right to life doesn't mean much if you are not aware of it - it keeps you alive!
    No it doesn't. It only keeps you alive so long as other beings that choose to recognise it decide to recognise it.

    (Original post by -1984-)
    The ability to reason should not be an excuse for excluding non-human animals from certain rights such as the right to life and freedom from torture. The ability to suffer, not the ability to reason, must be the benchmark of how we treat other beings.
    If we adopt the minimising of suffering as our criteria for applying rights, it would be legitimate to kill humans provided they don't suffer, or kill humans who are suffering without their consent. I don't particularly object to laws against causing unnecessary cruelty to animals, given that they don't do any harm, but I don't understand the justification for banning animal research and farming that benefit humans.

    If the ability to reason were the criterion, many human beings, including babies and disabled people, would also have to be treated as though they were 'things'.
    Babies will at some point be rational beings, so we entrust them to the care of others (ie. usually their parents) until they become adults and are able to reason for themselves. Animals will never be rational beings. As an aside, many people believe that babies before they are born can be treated as things, hence abortions are legal in many countries. People with mental disabilities may have less ability to reason than other people, but they don't have no reasoning ability. People who do (ie. people who are clinically brain dead) are sometimes kept on lifesupport, but usually are allowed to die.
 
 
 
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