# Should animals be treated as property?

Discussion in 'Ethics, Morality, & Justice' started by hug-a-tree, Sep 23, 2008.

Thread Status:
Not open for further replies.
1. ### James RJust this guy, you know?Staff Member

Messages:
37,093
All animals have [enc]intrinsic value[/enc].

I didn't say that.

It is interesting that every time the subject of vegetarianism comes up, a whole bunch of meat eaters suddenly can't restrain themselves from crowing about how much they love meat, how they love the smell of burnt flesh on the BBQ, how they salivate at the thought of a semi-raw steak, etc. etc., as if this somehow makes it ok to eat meat.

Do you people imagine you're "sticking it up" the vegetarians, and showing them what real men you are, or something?

It's like walking down the street shouting at the top of your lungs to anybody who wants to listen:

"I LOVE stealing. I steal stuff every chance I get. I just see those plazma screens in the shop and I can't wait to steal one. Man, I love the feeling I get from stealing. There's nothing quite like it! All you law-abiding citizens are really missing out when you don't steal stuff. I've been so much happier since I started stealing. Oh, I tried being honest for a while there, but it was just too much effort. And, you know what? It wasn't fun. I didn't enjoy it. Having to go out and work to get money was a hassle. And nature built me to steal.

We all evolved to steal stuff. The fittest survive, said Darwin, and I agree with him. If we weren't "meant" to steal, God wouldn't have given us hands."

2. ### Google AdSenseGuest Advertisement

to hide all adverts.
3. ### Mr. Hamtasticwhackawhackado!Registered Senior Member

Messages:
4,492
All animals have intrinsic value as food. To include humans, although they usually require extra boiling and a bit of ketchup, commonly known as "Long Pig". I've thought of opening a fast food chain serving nothing but variations on Long Pig.

4. ### Google AdSenseGuest Advertisement

to hide all adverts.
5. ### madanthonywayneMorning in AmericaRegistered Senior Member

Messages:
12,461
Yes, humans are omnivores. Meant to eat all types of food, including meat. And being a vegetarian can be bad for you health:
Yeah, brain shrinkage from vitamin deficiencies induced by a lack of meat. Sounds great! Eat crappy food and enjoy all the benefits of a smaller brain.
There is nothing immoral about eating meat. It's no more immoral than breathing. It's completely natural and healthy (less risk of brain shrinkage, for startere)

Another thing I've often wondered, what's to become of all the cows and pigs etc if you vegetarians had your way? Do you plan to keep them as pets? Or is that immoral as well? It seems to me that farm animals would become extinct but for the fact that we like to eat them. Is extinction preferable to living your life and then being eaten? Especially for a dull witted pack animal that's been subject to predation since the dawn of time?

Animals such as cows were meant to be eaten, it's their raison d'être. They were meant to be eaten, and we were meant to eat them. It's the circle of life.
Do you think it's content to be taken to the "animal shelter" and then put down because there's not enough room for it? Did you know that Peta kills over 90% of the animals it "rescues"?
http://www.petakillsanimals.com/
And there's nothing to stop PETA, either. But at least the careless owners don't pretend to care about animals and bitch and moan about people killing animals to eat while they kill them for no reason whatsoever!
You said there was no significant difference.
Yes, species membership. I value humans above all other creatures.
Actually, a species is a different "kind" of animal. And the Bible uses the terms interchangably.
Genesis 1:24: "And God said, Let the earth bring forth the living creature after his kind, cattle, and creeping thing, and beast of the earth after his kind: and it was so."​

6. ### Google AdSenseGuest Advertisement

to hide all adverts.
7. ### GustavBannedBanned

Messages:
12,575

americans are fat?
how dare you!!

/misses the monkey

8. ### kenworthdude...**** it,lets go bowlingRegistered Senior Member

Messages:
2,034
well,you seem to be saying animals should be given the same treatment as humans.that is a ridiculous idea.

they are the laziest animals on the planet.they arent adapted to survive in the environment they live in.they wont fuck.
they are lame.

9. ### epimanBannedBanned

Messages:
93
Tough Question

It is a tough question but I think that under circumstances the answer is yes. Since there is no way known to comunicate with animals, the owner has the responsibility of acting the the animal's best interest. If the owner does not act accordingly, then the authorities should remove the animal from the bad owners.

10. ### James RJust this guy, you know?Staff Member

Messages:
37,093
madanthonywayne:

"Meant"? Meant by God, you mean?

Or is this another applications of the [enc]appeal to nature[/enc] fallacy again?

What did you do? Type "vegetarianism bad for you" into a search engine and post the first link you found?

Really, you haven't looked into this at all, have you?

(Aren't you a doctor? Or am I confusing you with somebody else here? If you're a doctor, I would have thought you'd know at least a little about vegetarian diets. If you don't, you're letting your patients down.)

But I have explained to you in the past, have I not, exactly why it is immoral?

Did you forget?

Note: reciting your [enc]appeal to nature[/enc] over and over doesn't really make your case.

Obviously, if people stop eating meat, we won't need to keep deliberately breeding animals for the sole purpose of slaughter. The ones that are currently alive can be allowed to live out the natural terms of their lives, but after that we will reduce numbers simply by stopping the cruel breeding of animals solely for our use as objects.

Regarding pets, please read the thread, since I have already addressed that issue above.

Regarding extinction, have you noticed that tigers are not extinct? Nor are elephants. Nor are cheetahs. Yet we don't eat them. Do you think we should start eating them to ensure their future survival as species?

How offensive.

Tell me: what's your raison d'être, madanthonywayne. What use are you to the world? You're just taking up valuable space, aren't you?

Did God tell you this?

You're heading off on a tangent, trying to divert the conversation.This is not a discussion about PETA, but about whether it is moral to eat meat or not. Please try to stay on topic.

Two wrongs make a right now, do they? Interesting.

I said there's no significant difference between killing a disabled human being because you like the taste of human flesh and killing a cow because you like the taste of its flesh.

If there is a significant difference that I'm missing, please explain that difference to me. Remember to stay on the topic of meat eating, because that's what we're discussing here.

Why?

What's special about humans that makes them entitled to all kinds of rights to life, freedoms etc. and yet is denied to all other animals, sentient, conscious or whatever?

Wait, I know: it's that madanthonywayne is human.

Hmm...

Yes, and race is a different "kind" of human being, in exactly the same way.

11. ### James RJust this guy, you know?Staff Member

Messages:
37,093
Do you think that it is in the animal's best interest to kill and eat it?

12. ### James RJust this guy, you know?Staff Member

Messages:
37,093
Some statistics:

More than 25 billion animals are killed by the meat industry each year, in ways that would horrify any compassionate person. The average American meat-eater is responsible for the abuse and death of about 90 of these.

13. ### hug-a-treeLive the lifeRegistered Senior Member

Messages:
673
So James, you're not a vegetarian/vegan then?

14. ### Nin'Registered Member

Messages:
90
Personally, I think the human fetus, which in early stages of development has about the same consciousness as an ameba, should have less rights than monkeys. These monkeys have been shown to think and have feelings like us humans. We do share common ancestry after all, so I feel compelled to provide our relatives with at least some rights?

Nin'

15. ### PandaemoniValued Senior Member

Messages:
3,634
Morality is what we believe it to be. In some conceptions of the world a rock has an important and respectable position in the cosmos and everything is interconnected to everything else.

Some people do believe, however, that plants respond to our talking to them, that they feel "pain" in a sense and that, yes, they are every bit as entitled to rights as a housecat.

Do you believe that "intrinsic value" arises only when you personally feel an emotional bond with the entity in question? Interesting. On what basis do you distinguish between life forms? We are in fact all related, even we and the plants have a common ancestor. Would you extend the same courtesy to crabs and lobsters? What about mosquitos and roaches? (We are approximately equally distantly related to both crustaceans and insects.) Why should the animals, which live by devouring other living beings, have more rights than plants, which do not (in general) need to live such a parasitic existence?

As all morality is subjective, I think it's not a difficult to argue that the non-parasitic plants that do not kill are morally superior to animal life, which is defined by its somewhat parasitic nature.

To me, this rule of "necessity" does not justify a change in the moral rules. I agree that cats need diets with meat to survive, but if it is immoral to eat meat, the it seems to me that it is immoral to feed cats meat even if it lets cats live.

To the cat, meat eating is necessary to survival, but so what? Suppose you and I were on an airplane that was going down, and there was only one parachute between us. That I need that parachute to survive the crash doesn't give me the right to kill you to take it; yet you are arguing it is morally justified to take another life (in fact a long series of lives, as carnivorous animals like cats are responsible for many, many deaths over a lifetime) to sustain the cat's?

Let the cat starve and you kill but one animal. Feed the cat for life and you must sacrifice thousands.

You are mistaken as to how fallacies work. I am making a semantic argument, that the meaning of the word "cruel" is delimited by what we see in our everyday lives, and that that in turn is in part governed by what occurs in nature. I might be "incorrect" in my definition of the term cruel, but it is not a fallacy for me to state that it is so. If indeed nature *is* a benchmark against which we measure whether something is "cruel" there's nothing fallacious about point that out.

Think of it this way, suppose I said "cruel" means "inflicting pain or suffering beyond that which the majority finds acceptable." Under your view is that an "Appeal to popularity?" It would seem to be, but suppose that were the definition of "cruel" as commonly understood? A logical fallacy is an argument that is inherently false or self-contradictory, but issues of semantics turn on what large groups of people believe to be true with respect to the meaning of the phrase or word in question, so "appeals to popularity" are not invalid in the context of semantics.

In the same way, if nature constrains the definition of cruelty as I believe it does (because people, in part, define it by reference to what they see in the world around them), then it is not inherently fallacious to assert that. It might be incorrect, but a factual error in an argument is not a logical fallacy.

Yes there are, but you seem to assume that only animals have rights, a position that seems to say "my close relatives have rights, and my more relatives do not." I see that as an arbitrary standard in and of itself. One might say that plants have no rights because they do not feel "pain" and so therefore the concept of cruelty does not apply to them, but there are those who would dispute that. Further, if feeling pain were the criteria (not that you are arguing that it is, but you have yet to offer any basis for distinguishing between life forms other than the implication that you find it to be "obvious", possibly based on your now debunked theory of necessity), then there are painless methods of killing animals. Indeed there are those who dispute that animals feel pain in the way humans do and feel that we erroneously anthropomorphize a crab's desire to escape a pot of boiling water as "suffering". I have heard many times, though that their nervous systems are sufficiently different from our own to render that a questionable assumption. In effect, crabs have the power to react to stimuli, but their brains are not sophisticated enough to "suffer."

How is the obesity epidemic related to anything? Obesity may well be bad, but there is no evidence that meat eating is the cause of it. In fact I think you mean to imply, without actually offering proof, that meat eating is unhealthy, like eating salt and sugar. Speaking of logical fallacies, that argument fails even as to salt and sugar.

Eating salt is vital to life, and eating sugar in moderation not at all detrimental. Eating meat, therefore, being attacked only by implication, survives that argument unscathed. Ingesting anything to excess is bad.

Your argument would suggest that water is harmful, since imbibing too much can lead to water intoxication and death. I think we can agree that argument is silly. Water in proper amounts is vital to life and in moderated excess is not at all harmful.

I do not believe there has been a study showing that eating meat, in proper portions, is harmful. There might be certain varieties of meat that are harmful (for one arguable example, steroid enhanced beef) even in small quantities, but in general, meat is perfectly safe.

This would be what we call a "straw man" as I never said anything about eating "lots of meat". Again, anything in excess is bad, including drinking water. That excesses are bad does not render non-excessive consumption bad.

As for the moral issue, I have already indicated my position that I do not find it immoral. If you wish to convince me otherwise (and you must given how long your post is), then you must make a compelling argument to that effect. You have not. It is not logically required that I prove meat eating is not immoral, which would require me to prove a negative anyway.

(As an aside, would I say that eating meat was "moral"? No. Eating meat has no inherent morality to it, any more than "eating" in general does. It is a distinctly amoral (which is different from "immoral") activity to me.)

Yes I do. Again, take care, as if the difference is in the capacity to "suffer" (as I think is the typical basis of most vegetarians' moral smugness), then (a) not everyone agrees, (b) not everyone agrees that all animals "suffer," (c) even if we can achieve consensus that animals (or some animals) do suffer, cruelty free killing methods do exist and (d) vegans oppose the use of animal products even when there is no cruelty involved in obtaining it, like drinking milk or eating honey or eggs. Plants clearly have a greater capacity for suffering than an undeveloped chicken egg.

You could alternatively rely on the notion of "intrinsic value" as you did above, but good luck proving the existence of that. I don't believe it is "intrinsically" immoral to kill other humans let along non-human animals. I think our social natures make it a common moral standard within our own communities and that modern culture has extended the principle beyond local communities to cover all humans. You are arguing for a further extension of it to all animals.

It's fine to suggest it, but there is no "intrinsic" reason to extend the rule against killing to any group on some teleological basis. It may be useful to preserve social order and promote group cohesiveness, and so useful on a purely functional basis. That said, extending the rule to cover animals does not further the goal of group stability and order which I believe is the true underpinning of all our morality.

We are a social species, we are evolved to conform to the rules sets of those around us, because that's part and parcel of being social. Sociality is a survival strategy we've adopted. Morality is just the codification of those rules as applied to given actions. We might well have a rule that prohibits killing all animals, as the specific nature of the rules can be arbitrary so long as it helps establish a sense of group unity. We can have a rule that forbids killing "life forms" on that same basis. We can also have a rule that forbids killing "members of my group" and has no prescription against killing anyone else outside my tribe or community. Those are all equally valid moral precepts, even though it so happens that *none* of those is the moral rule that I internalized growing up.

(In the rule I was raised with, killing "Americans" is clearly near the top of the list of prohibitions, separate and of a higher order than killing others. I presented with a choice wherein I could save the lives of, say, five Americans or 20 Iraqis, I would find that to be a difficult choice. The rule I have absorbed, like all moral rules, is arbitrary, as I could have just as easily absorbed a rule that said "all human life is equally precious.")

No. Animals have no "rights" in my worldview, save those we as a society agree to enforce (which tend to be limited). The choice between eating pigflesh and eating TVP is an amoral one. There is no moral dimension to it whatsoever. As such, it is a perfectly valid rule of decision to select the one that tastes best.

It remains to you to prove that animals have inherent rights, not for me to disprove the point, as I concede that it is not disprovable. I'd also suggest that it's not possible to prove that point in the abstract, since as I noted the moral rules are developed in an arbitrary fashion to bind us to our social groups.

What you could do, however, is prove that, as a matter of the actually exiting morality of modern western (or American or other subgroup's) culture, animals have rights. That is just a matter of descriptive anthropology, and there you have a good case for certain animals. For example, there is an aversion to eating dogs in western and American culture not present in many others. That said, as a matter of descriptive anthropology you will not be able to show that western or American culture extends such rights to all animals, because they do not.

(Again, I should point out, I do not view this as a fallacious appeal to popularity because I assert that, as with semantics, society is the defining force for what "morality" is, as opposed to the notion that morality has some unvarying objective form. If you wish to prove that morality has an objective form separate and distinct from what society says it is, I look forward to your argument. That said, I did not find Kant's formulation to that effect compelling, so it will be a tough one around which to gain consensus.)

You could very easily show that vegans believe, as a moral principle, that animals have rights, but as I am not a member of that group, it's not clear why I should adopt their moral rules as my own.

Thank you for the appeal to emotion inherent in invoking "puppies" as "Christmas treats for kids." I think the puppy is not sapient and has no view of the matter one way or the other. It would be neither "very content" nor "very dissatisfied."

In this case, my upbringing raised me to believe that dogs do have special rights that would make me averse to killing them. Suppose instead of a dog, it were a baby chick bought as an Easter present that grew up into an ugly-as chicken (as all baby chicks do). Then I have no problem killing the animal. Chickens are accorded no rights in our system and many baby chicks are killed each year when they grow into less cute chickens, which is fine by me.

In any event, you seem to be ascribing to animals a degree of intellectual awareness that they do not possess. The puppy in your example would have no cognizance that it was about to be killed and, though I see you suppose an unusually frivolous reason for its being killed, the dog has no conception of "justice" or "injustice" against which to weight that frivolousness. It would not care about the reason because it is not smart enough to comprehend a "good reason" from a "bad one."

Dogs are no more resigned to death when the reasons for it are "fair" (say, because they have inoperable cancer) than when they are "unfair" (say the cancer is operable, but would cost $5,000 and the owner is unwilling to pay that much). Again, dogs have rather a special status in western and American morality, so I think it is a bad example. There are even special laws (applicable to dogs and cats but not all animals generally) prescribing the ways dogs can be killed. The special status is pronounced enough that I'd be surprised if the vet doing the euthanizing did not raise an objection. To focus on chickens, though, you are right. The owner of a chicken is generally free to kill the chicken. He can cut its head off with an ax in many communities and then consume the chicken. There is nothing intrinsically wrong with that, though I look forward to your making an argument for why there is. And an ad hominem now, it's rather amusing that you incorrectly accused me of invoking a logical fallacy, when you seem to be the master. Please tell me what the difference is between guardianship and ownership. What rights does an owner of a dog have that a guardian does not. This is of course separate from the "food" debate and back to the main focus of the thread on ownership. The ownership of dogs in America, in case you are harboring a misimpression, does *not* allow you to be cruel to the dog. Dogs have special protections based on their special position within our moral system. The only difference between guardianship and ownership as related to dogs that occurs to me is that owners can sell their dogs. "Guardians" probably cannot. "Owners" are even required to pay to have dogs properly groomed and cared for by a vet where I live. That said, the more limits you place on the owners/guardians, the less likely they will agree to take up the position in the first place. If you require, for example, that guardians pay catastrophic health care costs, for example, if you require they incur the hypothetical$5,000 payments to have the surgery mentioned above, and forbid them from having the animal put down as an alternative, the you will just make it harder to place digs in homes.

Ha ha! Priceless! I am uneducated, well, that disproves my argument. Here's the thing, I have looked up what "guardianship" means, and no source anywhere that I can see mentions *anything* about "dog guardianship". What I can see is that guardians to humans have to go to extraordinary lengths to protect and care for their wards. People might do that for family members, but it is a recipe for disaster for dogs (unless you like your digs living in shelters). In the case of humans, most guardians seem to be relatives, which explains why there is less reluctance to take on the burden (and, in general, being a guardian seems t be a burden from what I can see, as the discussion centers on the duties and obligations of the guardian, and not in any sense on any enjoyment the guardian may get out of the service).

So, it seems, your proposal is to make dog guardianship a chore, and comparable to human guardianship. Fair enough, if you prefer your dogs live in shelters.

Dogs aside, as at least they are cute, who would ever act as guardians for all the other animals in you system? If you can't eat cows, who would possibly want to maintain the millions of heads of cows we have currently? How do you propose we deal with them (as I assume killing off the unwanted cows is not an option)?

Is your point that, because you don't have a logically valid argument, snark will have to do? Because that is all I am getting in your last several responses. If you don't want to have a debate, that's fine, but why post information-free snarky ad homs? I can see from your posts that you are better than this, though I am sorry that my disagreeing with you has upset you this much.

I am willing to concede there might be additional differences between ownership and guardianship, owner looking them up, not many as it relates to dogs. It is *already* the law that you cannot kill your dig when you get bored with it, for example, and there are standards of putting the animal down in other contexts.

It did seem to me, though, that you were *not* likely suggesting a legal guardianship for dogs akin to those used for humans. Why? Let's say an elderly and senile relative gets cancer. In most states in the U.S., his or her guardian *cannot* euthanize the elderly relative. If you went to court and requested permission to do so, you would be rebuffed unless the relative were on life support (and even then you'd have to prove that the relative would not want the life support if he or she were competent). It would not matter how much pain the senile relative may be experiencing.

I assumed (perhaps incorrectly) that you would not want animals to suffer in that way. There is also no way to ever prove that an animal would have wanted life support withdrawn as well, and the presumption is generally that the ward does want life support.

It seems to me that you've selected a cumbersome and rules heavy legal relationship to replace the easy and uncomplicated world of dog ownership. I think you can see why I though it was *you* who perhaps did not think things through, especially when you consider that no one would ever want the role of "guardian" to "non-cute" varieties of domesticated animals, and that the vast numbers of those animals that we have renders the concept difficult (in the extreme) to implement.

Last edited: Sep 24, 2008
16. ### Betrayer0fHopeMY COHERENCE! IT'S GOING AWAYYRegistered Senior Member

Messages:
2,311
Great posts, guys.

17. ### Captain KremmenAll aboard, me Hearties!Valued Senior Member

Messages:
12,738
Ants are a case in themselves.
They should have rights based on whether they are indoor or outdoor ants.

Outdoor ants, renowned for their sociability and hard work, who spend their days climbing up and down, laboriously carrying little bits of debris back to their nest, may well be doing something useful, hard though it may seem to believe.

Indoor ants, on the other hand, climbing inside cupboards and looking for sugar, serve no greater purpose whatsoever. They are just a nuisance, and therefore deserve no rights at all.

Last edited: Sep 25, 2008
18. ### madanthonywayneMorning in AmericaRegistered Senior Member

Messages:
12,461
Excellent post. This part in particular is the heart ot the issue.

19. ### Betrayer0fHopeMY COHERENCE! IT'S GOING AWAYYRegistered Senior Member

Messages:
2,311
Is tearing the limbs off of an animal immoral?

20. ### SyzygysAs a mother, I am telling youValued Senior Member

Messages:
12,671
If they get more right, they should get more responsibilities and punishment too!

Thus if a dog bites a kid, the dog should be put in jail. If a snake bites someone, it should be eaten... etc...

Also we should promote vegetarianism among carnivores...

21. ### NorsefireSalam Shalom SalomRegistered Senior Member

Messages:
11,529
James do you think you could persuade a lion to stop eating meat? No! It's what they do.

Also you use appeal to natures all the damn time when discussing other issues.

22. ### Betrayer0fHopeMY COHERENCE! IT'S GOING AWAYYRegistered Senior Member

Messages:
2,311
Do you think you could persuade a lion to stop killing other living things of the same species? No! It's what they do.

Also you use straw man fallacies all the damn time when discussing every issue.

23. ### Betrayer0fHopeMY COHERENCE! IT'S GOING AWAYYRegistered Senior Member

Messages:
2,311
People can plead insanity, and get less time simply because in their current state, they could not be expected to know any more than what they did. Are you saying a dog understands it is "wrong," against the law, and is willing to take the risk of going to jail just to bite someone? If I bite someone, I won't be eaten. Looks like someone isn't as fair as he thought he was.

Thread Status:
Not open for further replies.