Rescue Journal

animal rights has become a dirty word in rescue.

Carol  ·  Feb. 18, 2011

i find this sad because this is not just about their is about their intrinsic right to be at all times treated with a deep respect as living and self aware beings.

but even animal welfarists and rescuers have limits on what rights they believe animals are entitled to. they actually believe that while animals do not have any actual rights..humans do have the obligation to care for them properly.
have this discussion and soon the absurdies come into play....

"humans will no longer be able to ever share their lives with companion animals, we will have to set them all free in the woods".....really? is this what we did when we gave rights to children? did we turn them all loose to run around as bush babies?

"animals will no longer be able to work for us....we will never again be able to eat a steak"....hmmm...well humans have rights and we still have to work to survive and we work for each with payment or wages....i fail to see why an animal's life would be any different....even free and wild animals need to work to feed themselves and their families. even a gazelle may lose it's life to feed the lion and her young....but a lion will not enslave all gazelles in a dark, crowded and dirty cave and expect them to live there from the moment of their birth until they die.
if rex's job is to herd the sheep..or spot's job is to be a companion and keep someone company, to pay for their home, their care, their food and their share of the electricity and heat and medical be it. it just means that because they work for us, or we use them to eat...we do not have the right to abuse or torture or neglect them in the mean time.

giving animals rights means that just like us...they have the protection under the law to be treated fairly and respectfully.

the opponents of allocating legislated legal rights to animals are blowing smoke up our collective butts to incite doubt, concern, stop dead in it's tracks any move forward in the animal rights movement. PETA and other extremist groups are held up as examples of what they say the future will be if animals are given rights.

not necessarily. the taliban is not mainstream muslim society and neither did communal free love in the 6o's take over the entire world....just because the far right wingers wants things to be so does not mean the moderate cannot find the responsible and respectful middle of the road....and it also means that animals do not have to continue to live, die and suffer through out their lives by the rules of the far left either.

animals do have make this sound dirty or crazy or dangerous to humans rights is to remove all possibilties for them to live better lives.

i support animal is not something to will make all of us together, more responsible, respectful and compassionate human beings...sounds like a good move forward to me.



Leila... by entrenched thoughts, should I understand that you believe I have them? or that you have them? or the two "sides" have them?

My thinking is not so far from yours BUT... (there always has to be a but...) if we believe that humans and non-human beings both have souls and are sentient AND it's only the humans who have the laws to enforce... is it not valuable to KEEP the laws man has made for animals? It is the humans who attend court on their behalf and keep others responsible for humane care.

I believe that the decimation of animals comes from the ideas of the Animal Rights folks to wipe the slate clean and apply their agenda. I believe that those with Animal Welfare is mind will do their best to improve laws and humane care for all. We may share the world with animals but we still govern their destiny by virtue of our prefrontal cortex.

PS Leila... I used the Premack Principle to explain my point. It was only an example and I knew that you and others were understanding of the label... others might not be.


Thanks Carol for reminding me to control myself. I was in a pissy mood about something else and I can see from my comments that my bitchy side is coming out.


no personal sniping please...the issue of animals rights is far above any of our individual personalities and deserves thoughtful issue based discussion. i did not raise the topic here because everyone in the world will agree with me...if this was true...animals would already have rights and this would be a non issue. some people have not even given animal rights a thought as of yet..others have already decided, yay or nay and most are probably in the middle, trying to sort it all out in their heads.
what i do know for sure is...there is a lot of misinformation out there on both sides. and i also know that when actually assigning rights...we do have the power to say what we believe those rights should or should not be...far right and far left can meet in the middle somewhere to acknowledge each animal's own intrinsic value and improve the lives of all domestic animals.


Oops, forgot to mention, I am still wondering, as Carol asked before, why would all animals be decimated if animal rights come into play. No one seems to be able to give an answer on that beyond that statement other than the usual uh look what PETA will do like PETA is the world. Oh and by the way, I don't think you need to explain Premack Principle, Donna, There lots of peeople familair with the principle. Any way I think the whole debate is moot as everyone seems very entrenched in believing the way they do. I know I think all non human animals have souls and, therefore, are equal to human animals and, therefore, have the rights and privileges as human animals. But I am very much a left wing nut bar who dearly would love the NDP would go back to being the way it was many moons ago.


After reading this over, doesn't sound like anyone is right or wrong. Just a different way of percieving the world but wanting the same out come.


Thanks Tracey... so it doesn't mean that I'm wrong then? or was that debate? I don't know what you're debating. Perhaps labelling groups A and B?? It's unfortunate that exchanging ideas makes you annoyed.

Sheila. I believe that UNTIL the laws are changed to protect animals, it's better to have them viewed as property because we already have laws that are in place. If we change animal's status without changing the law, they will not be protected.

The Premack Principle would apply when thoughts are supported (ie rewarded) so the same thoughts are revisited... why change thinking when it's safe? When you have a group all agreeing with each other... it's rewarding.

I doubt our views on animals are much different. I just see the law differently. One authority demands stronger laws when we already have ones that are enforceable... so let's enforce them. :-)


Donna, to recap what I have debated with you ad naseum is I dont believe our only viable choices are one of two camps (Welfare and Rights) the way they stand today. My own personal beliefs lie in somewhere in between.


I don't think anyone here is saying not to rethink or revisit thoughts that might not be the past path.... that would be short sighted. Given a choice I certainly wouldn't go down that road. I also don't think anyone here is against better Animal WELFARE laws. I am having a very hard time understanding why if animals become sentient beings that are no longer property that those that advocate for this (and I do not mean PETA) would not want to also advocate for better Animal Welfare Laws ... they go hand in hand. Why would animals be decimated because they have become sentient beings and no longer property? Animal Rights advocates are not going to just fight for a dog to be no longer property and then just leave at that. Change evolves slowly and I don't think it matters if the animal welfare laws come first and then the issue of animals being sentient beings come second or vice versa. I believe each will push the other to happen. I do believe that people have a belief system as to how they view friends, neighbours, the world, other countries and animals and I can see my view of animals is very different from yours and that is why we are missing each other’s points.


And I would apply the Premack Principle.. if any action is rewarded, it's likely to be reoccur. This includes thinking and revisiting thoughts that may not be the best path to the goal ergo Kumbaya. Please let's make better Animal WELFARE laws because HUMANS must then enforce them.


I should have stated that the 100 ideas are not posted in by importance but by date only.


I just finished skimming (yes that means I didn't read every page - only the one's that interested me)a TIME book called "100 Ideas That Changed the World"

As noted the book was published by TIME - which is pretty much middle of the road - neither extremists, right wing or left wing (although I am sure the Tea Party group in the US wouldn't call them middle of the road)
So I would say that what they publish is pretty much accepted by a large enough majority

I won't type all 100 ideas but I will start with 95 just so everyone can get an idea of the mostly accepted ideas they are saying have changed the world

95. Behaviorists Discover "conditioning" - I am sure everyone on this board has heard of Pavlov and his dog experiment. This also talks about BF Skinner who a long time ago when I took psychology 101 was a major figure. All us dog people have heard behaviour can be changed either by positive or negative reinforcement.

96. Levi-Strauss Discerns the Structures of Thought
I didn't take anthropology 101 and I am sure he is studied in sociology 101 - but even I have heard of Levi-Strauss. Loosely speaking he came up with the idea that all culturals have the same belief systems or thought pattern. I am sure I am screwing up his very detailed work by simplifying it like that

97. Montearists Say Money Matters. This discusses John Maynard Keynes whose theory of government spending when times are bad were again used being used in 2008 by the US government and I am sure a few other countries - our federal government certainly were/are using that theory. Anyone who studies Economics also studies Keynes - right or wrong he changed they way governments dealt with large scale unemployment and a depressed economy.

98. Mankind Goes in Search of Extraterrestrial Life
Well anyone who has heard of NASA can kind of figure out this idea. I don't know if I always agree with so much government spending on this - but I am sure there is a huge portion of the population that would disagree with me.

and I am going to jump to

100. A software engineer dreams up the world wide web
I didn't know that it was a man named Tim Berners-Lee who in 1980 was only 25 years of age. In the 90's it was called the information highway. Now it is called the internet - enough said.

Back to Number
99. People Begin to Ask: Do Animals Have Rights?
I won't write it in its enterity but will paraphrase the important points.
Up until the 1800's there was a wide ranging Christian belief that humans had complete ownership of all other creatures. (Me sheila speaking - I believe this is probably still believed in the 21st century by many including those involved in animal welfare)

In 1975 a book called Animal Liberation, written by Peter Singer an Australian philosopher, started a new era of animal rights Singer argued that people and animals alike had an equal interest in avoiding pain.
Others countered that with rights, comes duties, something animals connot be expected to understand, much less satisfy. And more than 40 years later the debate goes on...


I am sure today that there are people advocating that if we give "rights" to animals that we will go down a dark and twisted path that will ultimately lead to their destruction. I believe that when abolotinists (god did I spell that right) were in the 1800's advocating for the rights of slaves to be given freedom that many advocated that it would be the downfall of their race because they were incapable of looking after themselves and they would rather the slave remained "property" that was cared for. I am sure that in the 1920's, when woman were asking for the vote, that many that opposed this also along the same lines.

The reality is that no system is ever going to be perfect and will always be manipulated because that is how human beings function but I don't think that should stop us as a society from moving forward. Take how children have rights as individuals seperate from their parents and/or guardians. Sometimes that has turned around and been a deteriment to the child. But I am sure that the general population would not want to go back to a time when children did not have rights.
The advocacy of children's rights (which still continues today in many countries) occured in North America and Europe out of a desire to abolish child labour. Animal Rights advocacy has sprung out of a desire to abolish animal cruelty - just for this reason I think it is disrespectful to label the group as extremists and uneducated. I say this mainly because I don't consider myself as uneducated or an extremists and you know any opinion any of us express comes out of a place of knowledge only LOL

And I don't believe that everyone who believes in say the general statements that Carol posted from the UN makes us all "kumbayah" type people. I am assuming that means there is a naiveity to anyone who believes in warm and fuzzies legislation that our government or the UN comes up with. I can believe in the warm and fuzzies and still understand that there are autrocieites that are still committed because the warm and fuzzy legislation is really just a statement that isn't carried out.

And I just found out from CBC radio that Kumbayah means Come my Way and the rest of the phrase is my lord. It was sung my slaves along the North Carolina coasts in the 1800's. People being oppressed sang the warm and fuzzies because they needed to ... to get through the day, the years, their lives.


Fear-mongering Tracey?? that's just silly. When the rules come in and the laws remain the same, we won't have a say in the lives of our animals.

SAINTS won't be exempt... so let's make GOOD animal welfare laws first before we hand over our rights for the sake of our animals.

I'm glad to know that you support Animal Rights.


Exellent post Carol.

Feare mongering serves no one; especially the animals.


in what way will they be decimated?..i support animal rights and i have no plans to decimate them.

seems to me the opposite is true...100 "owned" dogs without any rights were slaughtered in whistler last year.


You don't get it... while we all sit and sign kumbayah, the animals who have rights will be decimated by those supporting the AR movement.

I'd rather they be my property so they WILL be cared for...


This is good news. This backlash indicates the opposition to animal rights are floundering around to try and bolster their position. Hopefully we are beginning a time when animal rights will eventually be a given.