What *IS* the ethical treatment of animals? - Mothering Forums
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#1 of 52 Old 12-11-2003, 12:37 PM - Thread Starter
 
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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?

 

 

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#2 of 52 Old 12-11-2003, 01:38 PM
 
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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.
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#3 of 52 Old 12-11-2003, 02:16 PM
 
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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.
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#4 of 52 Old 12-11-2003, 02:20 PM - Thread Starter
 
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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?

 

 

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#5 of 52 Old 12-11-2003, 02:57 PM
 
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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.
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#6 of 52 Old 12-11-2003, 03:12 PM
 
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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.
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#7 of 52 Old 12-11-2003, 03:12 PM - Thread Starter
 
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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?

 

 

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#8 of 52 Old 12-11-2003, 03:54 PM
 
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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.

Mom of a 7 yr old, 4 yr old, and 1 yr old. Wow. How did that happen?
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#9 of 52 Old 12-11-2003, 03:57 PM
 
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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.
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#10 of 52 Old 12-11-2003, 07:51 PM - Thread Starter
 
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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.

 

 

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#11 of 52 Old 12-11-2003, 10:06 PM
 
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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.
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#12 of 52 Old 12-11-2003, 10:27 PM
 
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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.
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#13 of 52 Old 12-11-2003, 10:36 PM
 
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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 :
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#14 of 52 Old 12-11-2003, 11:55 PM
 
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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.
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#15 of 52 Old 12-12-2003, 01:16 AM - Thread Starter
 
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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.

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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

 

 

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#16 of 52 Old 12-12-2003, 01:19 AM - Thread Starter
 
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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.

 

 

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#17 of 52 Old 12-12-2003, 06:27 AM
 
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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
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#18 of 52 Old 12-13-2003, 11:41 AM
 
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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
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#19 of 52 Old 12-13-2003, 11:13 PM
 
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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.
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#20 of 52 Old 12-16-2003, 01:40 AM
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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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#21 of 52 Old 12-16-2003, 03:08 AM
 
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They're just animals... 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.
Just animals? I wonder what you mean by "just"? Can they not feel pain and suffer just like humans? Aren't we humans just animals? Okay, don't answer that...that might open up a whole 'nuther discussion.

You say that you can not stand people being intentionally mean to animals but how do you think they manufacture fur coats?

Well, I'll tell you. For a single mink fur coat, several minks endure electrocution administered through their VAGINA or ANUS! They are tortured to death so that they don't ruin their precious coats. And why? Can't human beings find warmth through less cruel means? I think so. "I'd rather go naked than wear fur"

Leather shoes are no better. They come from a disgusting cattle industry that prod, brand and torture cows for every commodity they can get. If you can't sympathize with that, realize that mother cows and calves are separated shortly after birth so that HUMANS can profit from the mother's milk that is designed for their babies. Their babies cry for their mothers just as our babies cry for us and the mother cows suffer through depression as a result of missing their babies. Male calves go directly to veal farms where they are not allowed to develop properly in order to produce quality veal meat for a greedy human being to enjoy during one glitzy night at a fancy restaurant.

As for animal testing, it is inconsistent and does not produce results that can be applicable to humans. For thirty or some odd years, humans have been testing on animals for a cure for cancer with no results. Humans and animals are so different. Animal testing done on mice produces different results than animal testing done on rats! If we can't find conclusive research on two similar animals like mice and rats how can we expect to apply this research to HUMANS!!??

And yes I am a vegetarian that opts to avoid milk and egg products. And yes I avoid animal tested products for my use.

Leather and fur coats, the factory farming--it is all HUMAN GREED!!! And to me, animal testing is a waste of effort, money and time as well as being cruel and inhumane to animals.


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What should trace the insuperable line? The question is not, Can they reason? nor Can they talk? but Can they suffer?--Jeremy Bentham
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#22 of 52 Old 12-16-2003, 03:31 AM
 
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Tiredx2--

I can't speak for PETA as a group but as someone who has met many of the individuals that work there and has been to one of their fabulous animal rights conferences, I would interpret the saying that an ant's life should be as valued as a human's life to mean that each creature values their own life and seeks its own survival. Each sentient creature can feel pain and suffer and in that basic respect, humans and ants are equal.

Each individual human being is NOT equal in respect to individualistic characteristics and qualities. However, each human being no matter what has a right to life without cruelty and intentional suffering.

I don't understand why you don't get that just as men and women should be valued the same, just as the all the races should be valued the same, why humans and animals can not be viewed that way?

There is something very basic and simple that humans and animals have alike. They can both suffer and feel pain. They value their survival and the survival of their young. Animals do not have a voice. Humans have become greedy and cruel in their treatment of animals and it is groups like PETA that seek to be their voice.

The cruel and inhumane treatment that humans have suffered through throughout history all have analogous sufferings in animals. For example, the Holocaust, slavery etc.

Look at animals used for entertainment in the circus, they are beaten and forced to perform for human entertainment. They are kept in captivation when they should be allowed to roam free. This is BASIC! Just as in slavery in the U.S. where Black people were required to be at the will, entertainment and work of White people and not allowed to be free in their own rights, animals are still being treated that way today. But many human beings fail to see this.

Animal rights does not mean allowing animals the right to vote or drive a car or own property or anything silly like that. It is about basic rights. It is about respect for animals as lives.

You state that you care about human rights. Well, so does PETA. In fact, veganism at its core SUPPORTS human rights. Did you know that if every human being became a vegetarian, no human would go hungry? We are feeding our commodities to animals. We are raising cattle on grounds that where we could grow grain and plants to eat. It is because of human greed in industrious countries such as the U.S. that many agricultural based countries are going hungry.

And why does it have to be one issue over another? Why can't you care about the rights of humans AND the rights of animals? The two are not mutually exclusive. In fact, I strongly believe that they are interwoven.

And if you don't agree with PETA as a group does that mean you should write off animals and animal rights??? To me, that doesn't make any sense. What if I were to look into a human rights group and disagree with several of the things said by them and thus write off the human rights movement as a whole? That would be ignorant of me.

I feel like I've gotten very long-winded here. I'm so riled up, I'm shaking. And this is because veganism and animal rights are SO important to me. And I strongly believe that human rights are such a huge part of this.

A chant often recited by animal rights activists--
One struggle
One fight
Human freedom
Animal rights.

The basic core of my message is that both humans and animals have the right to live without cruelty and suffering. They have the right to be respected in their natural survival instincts. They should not be seen as a commodity to use in any manner that we like.

I actually have been encouraged by PETA to apply for work there and am very much considering it. I don't want anyone to equate what one person there believes for what the whole organization or all the individuals there stand for. But, if someone were to write the whole organization off, because of one statement made by one or two individuals that work there, that's their ignorance and that's just too bad for the animals

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#23 of 52 Old 12-16-2003, 04:58 AM - Thread Starter
 
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I don't have time to fully reply tonight, but will get back tomorrow. For now, I wanted to reply to two things:

Quote:
I don't understand why you don't get that just as men and women should be valued the same, just as the all the races should be valued the same, why humans and animals can not be viewed that way?
I accept that they *can* be viewed that way, just not that I ever could. I would have no method to choose who lived: a black man or a white woman or an asian man or... But if I were forced to choose between and animal and a person, I would hands down choose the person (please don't get into, how about Hitler versus your best friends dog, you know what I'm saying).

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Did you know that if every human being became a vegetarian, no human would go hungry?
That is untrue. There is already plenty of food, the issue is not food but DISTRIBUTION. It is that in this country people are paid to hold back or destroy food while others starve. This has nothing to do with the consumption of food by livestock. And, of course, even if we weren't going to eat those animals... should they just be left to starve?

 

 

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#24 of 52 Old 12-17-2003, 01:23 AM
 
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That is untrue. There is already plenty of food, the issue is not food but DISTRIBUTION. It is that in this country people are paid to hold back or destroy food while others starve. This has nothing to do with the consumption of food by livestock. And, of course, even if we weren't going to eat those animals... should they just be left to starve?
Actually, I have to call you on that one. It takes an astronomical amount of grain to produce one pound of beef. If we distributed the feed we give to those animals to starving people, there would be enough to feed everyone several times over. Literally.
And, we have to think *logically*. Everyone isn't going to magically stop eating animals overnight. It is a gradual thing... the less meat people eat, the less animals are raised for that purpose.... so if everyone *did* become vegetarian, it would occur gradually.
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#25 of 52 Old 12-18-2003, 02:28 PM
 
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It doesn't belittle humans to have compassion and love towards animals. Why is it a black and white issue? Does it hurt anyone in anyway to have compassion for animals? To try and end their suffering? Does it decrease the suffering of humans to say that animals also suffer?
Does it harm anyone (human) to say "OK, yes animal treatment SUCKS, and there should be something done about it... what can we do?"

It makes me nuts at the fact that some people can't see that it doesn't devalue a human life to see that animals also have a right to a pain free life.

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#26 of 52 Old 12-18-2003, 08:12 PM
 
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I accept that they *can* be viewed that way, just not that I ever could. I would have no method to choose who lived: a black man or a white woman or an asian man or... But if I were forced to choose between and animal and a person, I would hands down choose the person (please don't get into, how about Hitler versus your best friends dog, you know what I'm saying).
TiredX2 ~ I think the point is being missed here. Most likely there will never be a time that you would be forced to choose between a human OR an animal life. If that were the case, we most likely would all chose our family or loved one over anyone, animal or human.

To me, that argument is kind of a cop-out. Like the old 'carrots have feelings, too' line. It is so simple for me to choose not to eat or wear animals or buy products with animal products in them. I may have to check labels or avoid mainstream markets but it's a simple choice. I don't need to make excuses for why I contribute to the deaths and suffering of animals. I make it a priority to respect the other creatures that I share the earth with and do the least harm to them as I can.

Kylix ~ beautifully said.

Sleeping Queen said, "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."

The above statement epitomizes the selfishness of many humans and the ignorance surrounding the animal rights movement. Believe me, fur coats and leather shoes are ALL about people being 'mean' to animals.

Are we that selfish as a human race that we cannot extend the basic right to live freely as was intended to the other creatures that we share this earth with?
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#27 of 52 Old 12-18-2003, 08:15 PM
 
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It makes me nuts at the fact that some people can't see that it doesn't devalue a human life to see that animals also have a right to a pain free life.


Me too, mamaofthree.

That is a terribly weak argument.
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#28 of 52 Old 12-18-2003, 09:28 PM - Thread Starter
 
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To me, that argument is kind of a cop-out. Like the old 'carrots have feelings, too' line. It is so simple for me to choose not to eat or wear animals or buy products with animal products in them. I may have to check labels or avoid mainstream markets but it's a simple choice. I don't need to make excuses for why I contribute to the deaths and suffering of animals. I make it a priority to respect the other creatures that I share the earth with and do the least harm to them as I can.
I'm referring to my support of using animals in medical research. In that case, I feel completely willing to "sacrifice" animal lives for the good of human life.

Kay

 

 

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#29 of 52 Old 12-18-2003, 11:10 PM
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Animals were put on this earth to be used by humans. I don't understand why people spent so much time and energy worrying about animals. If they have the time to spend to be an advocate for something they ought to help stop the killing of unborn babies. No there is something worth crying over, not how a bunch of animals may or maynot be treated.

I might sound harsh, but we need to put things in perspective.
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#30 of 52 Old 12-18-2003, 11:25 PM
 
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sleeping queen, where would you EVER get the idea that animals were put on this earth to be used by people? :
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