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What *IS* the ethical treatment of animals?

post #1 of 52
Thread Starter 
I am not intending to be offensive or facetious here, I am seriously interested and open minded on this subject.

What do *you* consider the ethical treatment of animals?

No eating them? Only eating free range? No animal product use whatsoever (wool, milk, eggs)? How about pets & zoos? Do people "owe" animals something, or should they just be left alone?
post #2 of 52
I think the bare minimum is to not squash them into cages so tightly that they try to kill each other and depriving them of light.

Animals that are raised for food should at least be able to live lives with outside runs and pastures that they can run around in, feel the sun on their backs and exibit their normal behaviors.

They should also have access to adequate shelter that they can choose to use or not as they see fit. They should not be over crowded and should not have to stand in piled up feces. In fact I think there should be a federally mandated minimum amount of space per animal .They should be fed a quality species specific diet that isn't ground up parts of other animals and full of antibiotics. They should be medicated when they are sick. They should not have their beaks and tails cut off. They should not be deprived contact with others of their own species.

They deserve to be killed in as painless and humane a way as possible.
post #3 of 52
A story, relevant ...

A long, long time ago, DH worked in a lab in NYC, doing research on Alzheimer's Disease. At the time (a relevant point to the story) he was a serious atheist. Part of his job was performing neurosurgery on rabbits.

Over time he got heavily involved in Tai Chi, then added Taoist meditation, then various forms of Eastern mystical traditions on top of it all.

He began to use various parts of his new belief system before his surgeries ... talking to the rabbits, being attentive to them and then apologizing for what he was about to do, and in the last weeks and months of that job spent time elaborately thanking them before putting them out.

It made him feel better about what he did ... and in retrospect he still believes the research was necessary ... but also was deeply aware of what he was doing to them, and conflicted by it.






I guess the reason I posted the story is because whatever purposes man has with the animal world, there are ways to do it that cause as little harm as possible, or that at least make the animals' lives not tortured, and to respect what it is that they are doing for us.

But it's such a complicated issue that it would have to be broken down into its component parts (animals in research, used for food, for clothes ...) and dealt with separately to have a coherent useful solution discussion ...

And Arduinna's post was a fine start.
post #4 of 52
Thread Starter 
ITA with Arduinna's post.

But, is that enough to be ethical? I find that to be the minimum, and I know that it's not reached. But, it still leaves animals as food, clothes and research subjects. If that were true, would people be "content" or is there more?
post #5 of 52
would people be "content" or is there more?

as with most things there isn't a single answer that will fit for all people. And sometimes focusing on what is ideal ends up in closing discussion because people focus on what they don't agree on instead of what they do agree on.

I believe the points in my first post are what we should all be fighting for now. I have no idea how to do it though.

We as a society have to change our values if we want to change our practices. We have to stop being a Walmart culture. Cheap food, cheap toys, cheap lives.

This isn't really about is veg better than omnivore, it's like Amy said there is a way to do things with thoughfulness and insight and gratitude. Instead of with a feeling of control, entitlement and selfishness.
post #6 of 52
I agree.

I think at base the ethical treatment of animals means seeing them as living things, not commodities, with their own inherent worth, dignity and rights. I don't know that humans will ever be able to all agree on what those rights should be, in entirely. But as a society it would be nice if we could come up wiht some sort of reasonable base.
post #7 of 52
Thread Starter 
Quote:
I believe the points in my first post are what we should all be fighting for now.
That's my belief, but also my problem. It seems sometimes that PETA is as far from my beliefs as mainstream society. I think animals should be treated with respect, but I do put a premium on human life. Where is the group for me?
post #8 of 52
I think that animals should be treated with respect to their species. But I don't think that no animals should be pets. I think you have to make responsible choices regarding your pets. I think dogs should have homes with large yards and the opportunity to run and play several times a day. And its best if they have another dog companion.
In regards to animals for eating I think they as well deserve to have plenty of pasture and good food that is what they would eat in the wild. That they should be cared for so that their home is sanitary.
I do put a higher importance on the life of humans without a doubt. So if an experiment must (and I mean is necessary for pertanent medical research, not cosmetics) be done I'd rather it be on an animal.
post #9 of 52
I've yet to meet any group of people that agrees with me on everything. I try to focus on the bigger picture. I know that PETA (for example) strongly supports veganism, I don't happen to be vegan. I still support their cause of animal rights and education. Too many people are completely ignorant of the truth of factory farming. I applaude their efforts to educate and have change made.

I look at it this way, in negociations one almost always asks for much more than one can live with. Because for some reason our culture feels that both sides must give up something. One side can never be 100% right. So, let PETA push for veganism as the ideal. If in negociations for better living conditions for animals they are seen by mainstreamers as sell outs to their true cause because they didn't get the 100% end of animal consumption so be it. What matters in the end is that animals get a clean safe bed and food.
post #10 of 52
Thread Starter 
Fine point Arduinna.

If they only just wanted veganism, or no pets, I could live with supporting that. But when I read about thinking it is "okay/good" to consider a human life and an ant's life as equal I can't even stomach that. I so believe in human rights and to equate a human with an insect, to me, belittles that which makes us human.
post #11 of 52
Wasn't there a time when women were thought not to have a soul? A man was allowed to beat, rape, and kill his property (his wife) and no legal consequences would befall him.

Wasnt' there a time when black slaves were considered property and a slave owner could beat and kill his slave with no legal repercussions?

It's just a matter of time before people realize the same is happening to the animals.
post #12 of 52
Does PETA *really* believe that an ant's life and a human's life are equal? I can see the argument behind it, I guess, although I personally would not agree... *that* argument would probably alienate more people than anything else.
post #13 of 52
AFAIK, one person was quoted as saying they believe the ant comparison, that person may (can't remember now) be a member of PETA. Regardless, I find it hard to believe that ALL PETA members believe that. And i honestly see this as a perfect example of how people can so easily look for an easy out. "Well shoot, I don't agree that an ants life is just as important as a humans so heck forget EVERYTHING else that I do agree with that PETA stands for" :

Our society would never get a freaking thing done if everyone had to agree about everything to talk to each other :
post #14 of 52
Quote:
Does PETA *really* believe that an ant's life and a human's life are equal? I can see the argument behind it, I guess, although I personally would not agree... *that* argument would probably alienate more people than anything else.
There is a whole religion devoted to the belief that all animals - including insects - are equal to a human's - It is called Jainism and is branch of Hinduism. There are monks and nuns in the Jain religion who wear masks on their faces to avoid breathing in an insect inadvertantly. They also will sweep the path in front of them while walking to avoid trodding on an innocent insect or animal. Jains number in the millions (mostly in India but some here in the US).

Hindus overall also beleive in the sancity of all animals.

I guess I just don't think PETA is an extreme group in this. But perhaps for Americans it is.

That said I am not a vegetarian although I was for years and so was my family. I guess we have fallen into a western way of thinking.

I do beleive that animals should be treated well. PETA has done alot to teach people on how to behave toward their pets. I hardly think these are ideas that are radical. PETA encourages its members to help abused or neglected dogs and cats. PETA encourages people to speak out about abuses at circuses and zoos. I admit that I find the idea of animals performing at circuses to be awful but I do take the kids to zoos.

I guess in country with high morality (: ), we should be happy that there is group like PETA.
post #15 of 52
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Wasnt' there a time when black slaves were considered property and a slave owner could beat and kill his slave with no legal repercussions?
Well, there are still millions of slaves that are beaten and killed on a daily basis. I consider this a much more terrifying issue than drinking milk, honestly.

Quote:
It's just a matter of time before people realize the same is happening to the animals.
So, convince me that there is no difference between people and animals. I believe men and women are "equal", I believe the different "races" are equal. Animals, nope, don't buy it. I don't need to be convinced that animals are mistreated. I know it. I don't support it. BUT, I have yet to be convinced that human life and animal life are EQUAL.

Kay
post #16 of 52
Thread Starter 
For the record, I am not saying that it is an official stance (ant/child) but that I have heard PETA members quoted as saying the following two things:

1) no distiction between an ants life and own childs life <i consider this person psychotic, as *I* have a distinction between my childs life and everyone elses life, oh well>

2) would not swerve to not hit a child if it meant hitting a dog

Comments like this from "official" members/spokespeople just turn me off the organization. I cannot support an organization who, if they got what they "wanted" would be so antithetical to what I believe and remove so many freedoms my family and I enjoy.
post #17 of 52
hi all~
I guess to really answer this question I would have to fully explore the definition of the word "ethics"... which it is to late at night to do, so instead I will ramble & muse about the current discussion

who/what deserves to be treated ethically? Do people deserve better/more ethical treatment than animals? Do cows deserve better treatment than ants? etc...

I would ask, what about the plants? they are living. Even, what about the mountains, the granite, the rocks, the clouds, the rain, the swell of the tides? Should the animate, the growing, get better treatmen than inanimate? hmmm. I would like to teach my son respect for all life. For the earth, for the world, for all the elements that create us.

Does the ethical treatment of all things/all of us (people, animals, plants, earth, you name it) reside in balance, in awareness? Is it ethical for me to eat sausage? If I do so without contributing to cesspools of pig shit, maybe. Is it ethical for me to bake bread? If I can do so without contributing to genetically altered wheat production, maybe. Is it ethical for me to take my DS to the zoo & see the animals that were stolen from their homes for our amusement? if... and so on...

I believe: each action I take ripples outward from me, to you. Is that principle the beginning of understanding what is ethical?

blessings, maria
post #18 of 52
Quote:
I believe: each action I take ripples outward from me, to you. Is that principle the beginning of understanding what is ethical?

Excellent point. Couldn't have said it better myself
post #19 of 52
I think it should be illegal to use animals for financial gain.

For example, making it illegal to sell a dog/cat for money would take away the incentive for the vast majority or dog breeders out there.
It is outrageous and sickening and absolutely unncecessary the number of potentially wonderful pets that are killed at shelters each year. We should all be ashamed.
1 out of 3 pets that enter a shelter are pure breeds. And that's not to knock all the wonderful mixed breeds there (personally my favorites, we have four of our own and have rescued many others).
If a breeder is truly breeding their dog/cat out of a love for the breed, as so many claim, then they shouldn't mind working out of love, not for money.

I guess as a baby step we could make it illegal to sell domesticated animals, but honestly I'd like to see it across the board. The fact is, the reason these animals suffer is because people profit from it.

Ethical treatment of animals is treating them with kindness and showing respect for their natural instincts. Period.
post #20 of 52
They're just animals. : I take good care of my animals and don't think you should own one unless do but I keep it in perspective. I have no problem with laboratory testing of animals, fur coats, leather shoes, etc. I do have a problem with people intentionally being mean to animals.
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