Sunday, April 27, 2014

Our God and Evolution Given Rights

Hi, Susan!

As usual, I take a position that doesn't seem to fit what we usually hear. I know there are those who express utter contempt of the very idea that animals have rights, but on the other hand we have PETA actually bringing a lawsuit saying that pet animals are enslaved that need to be liberated. Which makes me wonder what they want. We should just turn all our dogs loose and let them roam the streets in packs?

PETA always makes me think of one of my favorite stories. A French philosopher, I'm pretty sure it was Voltaire, made the satirical comment that there really was nothing wrong with killing a man, the real horror was murdering a carrot!  After all, he pointed out, Christianity tells us that if we kill a man all we are doing is setting his soul free from the horrors of this world and sending him to his final reward. (Or punishment,if that's what he deserved.). But in any event, we were just liberating his soul, no problem.  But, since it has no soul, to kill a carrot is to kill it forever.

I'll have to take the evolutionary viewpoint. Everything we have and everything we are came through evolution. That's just scientific fact. Where you put religion into the equation depends entirely on your own personal beliefs, but the facts are clear.

If human rights are truly rights, not just something granted by governments or societies, then those rights evolved. And if they evolved, they came to us as an inheritance from our more primitive ancestors.  Human dignity evolved out of animal dignity. Human rights evolved out of animal rights. Human emotions evolved out of animal emotions.

So I have no doubt that animals have rights and that those rights should be respected as surely as human rights should be respected.  It is just that I believe that they don't have the same level of rights as humans. Just as animals can communicate, but not as well as we can. Just as animals can think, but not as well as we can.

Levels of cruelty in meat production are truly horrific and should not be tolerated. We should pass laws preventing these extremes. As you know, I will not stop eating meat. But I do advocate that we must produce that meat in as humane a manner as possible, which will of course raise its price. That might actually be good for our health!  More expensive meat means less consumption. Not that that's the purpose of this conviction. The purpose is to protect animals' rights.

Even more, I dream of the day, which I do believe will inevitably come, when we will grow our meats and our other animal products in tanks. There will be no living creature to suffer. There will be no nervous system. We will never raise another farm animal, just the desired animal product.

As I pointed out to you in an earlier Facebook post, lab grown skin will already begin to replace many of the animals used as test subjects. It's a beginning, and it will continue to grow, as will its impact on animal well being.  Think of lab grown leather!

I am well aware that my own positions are contradictory on the subject. I want animal suffering stop, yet I won't stop eating meat. It isn't hypocrisy, because I'm well aware of the contradiction and freely acknowledge it. However, it is my compromise made between many of my deeply held moral convictions and the way of life I have chosen to follow.

This is one area in which I believe advancing science will ultimately resolve the problems for us. We will one day look at the kind of casual cruelty practiced on animals, including even some of those which currently are against the law, but not felonious, and regard them as marks of the days when we were a society deeply infected with mental illness and all too tolerant of that fact.

On a personal note, it's nice to see you looking so happy in the pictures you've been posting lately. Also, I really miss you. You were always a joy to be with. You will always be my friend.

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