Dif­fer­ent an­i­mals treated dif­fer­ently

The Aurora (Labrador City) - - NEWS -

Ge­orge Or­well’s “An­i­mal Farm” is about the an­i­mals tak­ing over the farm from Mr. Jones. In the re­struc­tur­ing, they adopt Seven Com­mand­ments. The most im­por­tant one is, “All an­i­mals are equal.” How­ever, when the pigs take over as lead­ers, they add “but some an­i­mals are more equal than oth­ers.”

When fire­works are used, some dogs are vis­i­bly fright­ened by the noise and may run away. One such in­ci­dent on New Year’s Eve caused a stir and even cap­tured front-page news cov­er­age. On New Year’s Day, many of us were eat­ing turkey or ham. Herein lies a con­tra­dic­tion. We pro­tect those an­i­mals we call pets, while we kill other an­i­mals for food. The lat­ter are of­ten breed in con­strained and un­healthy con­di­tions and then slaugh­tered.

The me­dia, at the same time, high­lighted an in­ci­dent of a cat caught in a snare and how it suf­fered. Yet we ig­nore the suf­fer­ing of the wild an­i­mal which dies in the same trap. Another ex­am­ple of the con­tra­dic­tion. These con­trast­ing con­nec­tions be­tween our­selves and an­i­mals is demon­strated in our re­la­tion­ships with rab­bits. They are both kept as pets and killed for food. It does seem that some an­i­mals are more equal than oth­ers.

We can look at our re­la­tion­ship with other an­i­mals and our treat­ment of them through the lens of moral­ity, wel­fare and jus­tice. Do other an­i­mals ex­ist sim­ply for the ben­e­fit of us hu­mans? Do they have an in­her­ent right to just to live and without any in­ter­fer­ence from us?

The United Na­tions has a pro­posed “Dec­la­ra­tion on An­i­mal Wel­fare.” It has been around for years but has not yet come to a vote. It is mainly about the pro­tec­tion of an­i­mals and refers to farm an­i­mals, com­pan­ion an­i­mals, an­i­mals in re­search, draught an­i­mals, wildlife, an­i­mals for re­cre­ation and an­i­mals for en­ter­tain­ment.

Some ar­gue that as this pro­posal lim­its it­self to the wel­fare of an­i­mals, it doesn’t go far enough. In­stead, it should be about an­i­mal rights. Such a pro­posal was drawn up by a group in 2011, called the “Dec­la­ra­tion of An­i­mal Rights.”

The an­i­mal wel­fare pro­posal states that hu­mans may make use of an­i­mals for com­pan­ion­ship, work, plea­sure, food and fi­bre pro­duc­tion, pro­vided they are treated with re­spect, and not sub­jected to cru­elty.

The an­i­mal rights pro­posal ar­gues that other an­i­mals are not to be used for hu­man pur­pose in any way. This dec­la­ra­tion “holds that all be­ings are cre­ated equal, and have a right to life, lib­erty and the pur­suit of hap­pi­ness.”

I do eat meat and can en­joy the com­pany of a pet, but I also know I can do without them. Will there ever be a time when we longer use other an­i­mals for our own ben­e­fit?

Everett Hobbs C.B.S.

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