]]]]]]]]]]      ANIMAL RIGHTS: FOOD FOR THOUGHT, preliminary    [[[[[
               by Brant Gaede, Freeman 07656GAED           (1/5/1990) 
1/1/90

   How can a (non-human) animal have any rights?  Human rights are 
tied into a human being having free will, thinking, making choices--  
being free to choose and free to act in a human society.  As far as 
we know, we are the only creatures extant who have free will, whose 
rights are natural, growing, as it were, out of the organism which 
coexists with similar organisms all of whom have the innate capacity
to do wrong--i.e., initiate force and violate rights (a subcategory 
of wrong choices).
   Two things are needed for human rights:  humans and human social
interaction.  Only humans can violate rights because only humans can 
act in the context of moral distinctions. (The jungle cat that kills 
you and eats you up no more violates your right to life than the 
tidal wave that drowns you on a day trip to the beach.)  Law is the 
means of objectifying the protection of rights and the basis of 
making that protection practical.
   Non-human animals are not naturally part of human society.  In the 
case of domestic pets, they are invited to participate to some extent 
in that society.  This is where they get (some) rights, not out of 
their natural natures but out of human nature.  Just as a "Man from 
Mars" who would not be a human visitor to our sphere would neverthe-
less be entitled to the protection of our society's laws--it would 
hardly be permissible to barbecue the gent--so do our animal 
visitors according to the nature of their functioning in our society.
   This indicates the existence of differing categories of animals 
hierarchically arranged.  Generally speaking, it would be O'K to move 
an animal up in a category (research animal to pet) but not down (pet 
to research animal), because it would be cruel.  But even animals 
raised as food would be entitled to some protection.  I personally do 
not eat veal, because the calves raised for veal are horribly 
mistreated, spending their short lives confined in sheds consuming 
force-fed formula.
   Animals do not have the right to life but they do have the right 
to be treated humanely by humans, to be protected from humans by 
law.  Protection from what?  Being prevented from comporting 
themselves in ways generally salubrious to their natures. 
   My idea that it would be cruel to move an animal down in a 
category comes out of my experience in training to be a United States 
Army Special Forces Aidman 24 years ago.  The last part of my lengthy 
training consisted of four weeks of "Dog Lab."  This was the 
unofficial title, used by trainees because dogs were used as subjects 
for our surgical training.  The dogs were obtained from animal 
control officials in North Carolina (legally, I'm sure).  Some were 
obviously feral and some just as obviously had been pets.  The "Lab" 
would receive a shipment of dogs and first thing they had their vocal 
cords electrically cauterized so they couldn't bark.  Then they were 
put in a jig and shot with a .30 caliber bullet in the upper thigh.  
To leave out some unnecessary details, essentially the trainee was 
then given the dog which was put into surgery to debride the wound. 
The dog was then nursed back to "health" by the trainee before being 
sacrificed in a final surgical procedure (amputation) which it did 
not awaken from.
   We should have used goats.  No old dog, who could have been your 
pet or mine, should have to end his life in such a way.  I think they 
do use goats now, but I'm not sure.    
   This still upsets me.  The only way I could swallow it then was 
telling myself it was ultimately a way of saving a human life. I 
strongly believe that if dogs are used for medical research they 
should be raised for that purpose and probably used young, but I do 
wish no one tells me about it, for I've lost my ability to be 
objective on this subject.
   Well, there you have it.  I could go on at greater length and 
detail, but I hope I have come up with something a professional 
philosopher could use as the basis of a logical treatise in support 
of my position that all non-human animals in human society have 
(some) rights by virtue of partaking of that society.  John Hospers 
will be exploring the issue of animal rights in the next issue of 
Liberty magazine (March 1990, POB 1167, Port Townsend, WA 98368, 
$19.50 for six bimonthly issues.)  If someone will be so kind as to 
savage what I have written, I will try to come up with something 
better in consideration of the criticism and Hospers' critique.

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