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Should people own animals?

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Ly&Pigs

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This whole equality business really starts a slippery slope. Where do you draw the line? If you start giving blacks rights, you might give women rights, and then horses rights, and then trees rights, and then rocks rights...
I really don't like this statement because it's bordering on a political discussion which is not allowed. Keep these types of comments to yourself from now on.
 

fairysari

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OK, Weatherlight, a few clarifications - first of all, if something is part of a different kingdom, it is also a different species. Therefore if you are being 'kingdomist' you are also being 'speciesist.' Secondly, taxonomy is completely a human invention, and is just a paradigm for organizing different organisms. It is not perfect and it is not static - it is constantly being changed, different species are moved sometimes between kingdoms. Taxonomy is irrelevant. If you really believe in equality for all organisms, then just limiting yourself to species in the animal kingdom is discriminatory. Thirdly, I do think that the lion, for instance, does make judgements based on genetic makeup. At least they decide which organisms are more deserving of being eaten by them. And aren't humans subject to the same wiring/practicality? And lastly, and perhaps most importantly, how do you personally know if something is sentient or not? It seems to me a very strange criterion to use when there is no possible way of determining it or not.
 

Access

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Weatherlight said:
Children are usually rather slave-like also, but at least most of them reach some degree of freedom as they age.
I think you have it backwards, most of the time it is the children who control their parents. It's just like the example of a crying baby being held by a frustrated mother. The baby cries and the mother does something. The baby stops crying and she does something else. The baby goes 'coo coo coo' and she does yet another thing. Who is in control here? In many cases, the baby has more control over the mother than the mother has over the baby.

You can say the same for most pets. In the morning when the dog comes to your bed and climbs up onto you, drools all over you, he might as well be saying 'get up, it's time to get up! I won't let you sleep any longer!' When he runs to his food dish and pants and paws it, he might as well be ordering you 'feed me now!'. When he runs to the door and barks and then runs over to where his leash is kept, he's saying 'it's time for my morning walk!' And many pet people, when the dog requests it, they do all these things without any second thought.

It is very easy for people to fool themselves into believing things they want to believe, like "I am in control". "I am in control of my animal / my kid / my environment / my home / my friends / my boyfriend or girlfriend / my husband or wife / my money / etc." When in reality that is often far from the case.
 

Sabriel

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Or with cats they just keep tripping you till they get what they want. ;)
 

Weatherlight

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Weaver,

I hope you see the difference between someone who can't imagine not sharing their lives with animals in ways that help everyone involved, and someone who can't imagine not sharing their lives with animals they deliberately captured/bred in order to have their company.

Sabriel,

Then do you identify yourself as someone who uses animals only as means to your ends? o_O Your previous posts did not seem to indicate that.

I don't know what "bubble" you are talking about. Few other animals enslave others in any way, yet they are not isolated. What makes you think that if humans also did not enslave others, they would live in a bubble?

Ly&Pigs,

Is not animal rights (and slippery slope arguments against it) political as well, but allowed? I'm not talking specific political parties, but giving a valid analogy as an argument. Others have used this in the past. Excerpt from Animal rights and Human Obligations:

In fact, in the past the idea of "The Rights of Animals" really has been used to parody the case for women's rights. When Mary Wollstonecraft, a forerunner of later feminists, published her Vindication of the Rights of Women in 1792, her ideas were widely regarded as absurd, and they were satirized in an anonymous publication entitled A Vindication of the Rights of Brutes. The author of this satire (actually Thomas Taylor, a distinguished Cambridge philosopher) tried to refute Wollstonecraft's reasonings by showing that they could be carried one stage further.

Is it really so off topic and political to say that if the slippery slope argument is not reason enough to withhold rights from humans, it is not reason enough to withhold rights from animals?

fairysari,

Some people don't discriminate based on species within kingdoms, just on kingdoms themselves. (I don't discriminate based on either, if that wasn't obvious.) Taxonomy is morally irrelevant, both when it comes to humans and cavies or animals and plants.

A lion probably doesn't think "birds have a right to live and antelopes don't" or whatever. They just hunt according to instinct and what they were taught as cubs, whatever is an easier/bigger meal, etc.

Humans certainly are biological animals (being a naturalist, I don't think "free will" exists), but some of them also have the ability to reason and use that ability to temper other motivations...or use it to rationalize other motivations.

Since subjective experience is impossible to know in any organism except firsthand in the self, it's impossible to be 100% certain that, for example, your neighbor is sentient and actually feels pain if you punch him in the face. However, since he likely has a central nervous system (I think it would take a really paranoid person to believe that the government has planted a very realistic robot next door) which has the necessary "hardware" for nociperception, it is most reasonable to conclude that he probably is sentient and, further, does prefer to no be punched in the face. This goes for any other being. The more evidence we have (whether on sentience itself or specific interests of a being), the more sure we can be.

Access,

So if a slave owner responds to stimuli provided by the slave, you think the slave has more control than the owner and therefore justifies the slavery? That's a pretty weird way of thinking.

Also, people who unthinkingly do everything the dog prompts them to can be setting them all up for trouble. This control is the essence of dominance, and yes, some dogs are smarter than their masters :p Too bad this often works to the dog's disadvantage when it results in neglect (because the owner cannot handle the dog) or even death (because the dog is deemed "aggressive"). Both cases show what happens when one being is ultimately more powerful even if less smart and easily manipulated in a few ways.
 

Ly&Pigs

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The only political discussions geared towards animal rights are clearly defined in this thread and I will quote:

https://www.guineapigcages.com/forum/principles-philosophies/18208-about-religion-politics.html
The only exception is that members may discuss animal-rights issues, for example:

* Bills or laws pertaining to animal rights
* Elected officials or candidates and their track records on animal rights
* Petitions or "call your representative" recommendations about animal rights
* Government entities, such as Animal Control, that have a bearing on animal rights
 
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Access

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Weatherlight said:
So if a slave owner responds to stimuli provided by the slave, you think the slave has more control than the owner and therefore justifies the slavery? That's a pretty weird way of thinking.
No, and if you are saying a pet it a slave I don't agree with that either. It is pointless to argue with a conclusion that is based on a false pretense to begin with. Slavery is a most extreme case, and even the most extreme cases require that one yield free will or control before it can be taken away. The same way a samurai who has sworn complete and total fealty to his lord still has the final recourse (taking his own life). Not that I want to justify slavery, or coercion for that matter; if you really want to get into what I believe, that is empowerment and the old adage 'do unto others...'

Also, people who unthinkingly do everything the dog prompts them to can be setting them all up for trouble. This control is the essence of dominance, and yes, some dogs are smarter than their masters :p Too bad this often works to the dog's disadvantage when it results in neglect (because the owner cannot handle the dog) or even death (because the dog is deemed "aggressive"). Both cases show what happens when one being is ultimately more powerful even if less smart and easily manipulated in a few ways.
And the point is? Any action we take in life can 'lead to trouble' but that doesn't mean we avoid all actions. Many people go along with this routine quite willingly and happily, no different than a responsive parent tending to the needs of a child. Many pet people find it a good thing that their animals can communicate / control them and much prefer an animal that does over one that doesn't.
 

Sabriel

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Which post are you refering too? I don't see how I am using animals "to my own ends in either". In the first post I suggested tha every inhabitent of this Earth should work towards a peaceful state of existance. Admittedly humans have to do most of the work in this but it can't hurt to have our animal friends by our side.

In my second post I'm refering to the fact that my cats will keep tripping me while I feed them. Personally I see it as counter productive (as I am typically carrying their glass bowls of food and water when they do this), but I really can't do much to change it. It would be easier for all involved if they would take their meals in the kitchen, but alas, for some reason only in the living room by the phone will do. So that's where I feed them, mean horrible "slave driver" I am.
 

Coopdog

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Well, Weatherlight, this has been most entertaining, although not very enlightening. I find your arguments amusing at best, and ridiculous at worst. Maybe if you were a bit less cerebral and presented more rational views, I could take away something meaningful from this discussion. As it is, I find your arguments to lack credibility and to be, frankly, irrational. In other words: Me thinks you think too much.

By the way, there are places on this planet where you can go and live as an "equal" among the other animals. You might want to try it if you really believe what you say. However, I don't think you would survive very long.

Please don't bother giving me one of your long winded replies (because I am quite sure you will have one), I really don't have the time to read it.

To the others who have been involved in this discussion, you have made some interesting points, and I have enjoyed reading your posts.

Coopdog out.
 
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Susan9608

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Guys - try to maintain a reasonable amount of decorum here.
 

Weatherlight

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Access,

Any sentient being who is property is a slave. I don't know what definition you use.

Many people go along with their dog's whims until the dog becomes dangerous and then they kill the dog. There are better ways. There is a difference between thoughtfully attending to one's needs and thoughtlessly doing whatever is prompted. If you're going to keep slaves, at least care for them right.

Sabriel,

Actually, if you wanted to, you could teach your cat to not get underfoot. You are indeed the slave owner, and it is your choice whether you feed them at all, whether you train them to continue tripping you...

You did not want to be referred to as someone who cares enough about animals to help them regardless of their usefulness.

Coopdog,

Thanks for your ad hominem. No one is forcing you to read anything here.

Ethical equality is raising all such beings to the utmost moral consideration. You COULD go the other way (make the CEOs work in sweatshops, if that's not too political an example) but that defeats the purpose.
 

Sabriel

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It's also my choice of I decide to feed my husband. It's my choice if I decide to feed anything. But out of love I feed and care for those around me. My cats could indeed run off and fend for themselves and my husband could cook for himself. But I do these things for them out of love.

I'm sorry you don't see why I'm not in the same boat as you. I don't think you ever will. I don't keep animals as refugees to be pitied. The animals in my home are family members. They are as important, loved and respected as the humans in my home. That is true equality. We all have the *same* status in my home. Not 2 classes of people who are treated equally.

We may take the same actions but our intentions are different. The energy we put into our actions are different. Our attitudes are different. And animals are really good at picking up on such things.
 

Weatherlight

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I really would not agree that your cats could fend for themselves nearly as well as they do under your care.

What refugee needs pity? What they need is an opportunity to have a good life.
 

Susan9608

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Any sentient being who is property is a slave.

I don't think so. A slave is technically someone bound in servitude as the property of a person or household. Animals, while they may *legally* be considered property, are generally not bound in servitude to their owners. And if you think that the companionship they provide or the affection they provide is servitude, well, I think that's really stretching things a bit to fit the definition you want to believe.

Also, most people do not think of their animals as property; to most people, animals are family. You may regard your family as being enslaved to you, but I don't think you'll find that a common sentiment here.
 

Weatherlight

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Animals are forced to serve humans in a variety of ways, some more harmful than others, including companionship or decoration, with physical labor, and with their deaths (meat, leather, etc). There were human slaves kept in the past who were not required to do actual "work," but they were still considered slaves.
 

Sabriel

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Well if they are better off in my care then they will ever be in the wild then I think that it hardly qualifies them as slaves.

Is a physically or mentally challanged human considered a slave because others must care for him/her? Or are they just a person in a symbiotic relationship where they get care in return for money, companionship, etc?
 

Susan9608

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I guess what I'm missing here is the point of your argument. Are you arguing that human beings should not share their lives with other animals? Is that your point? I'm getting lost in the deluge here.
 

Sabriel

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I'm pretty sure that's Weatherlight's point. Heck I think that's actually the point of the thread itself.

This thread just kinda drags that argument all over the place via examples and comparisons. ;)
 

Weatherlight

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Sabriel,

If someone bred a race of disabled humans to serve them, then would the fact that the disabled people would be worse off without the owner's care make it not slavery?

Susan,

I'm arguing that humans should not domesticate animals, nor perpetuate the domestication of animals. If people want to befriend other animals on their own terms in ways that don't harm the animals, or want to rescue animals already domesticated without supporting the domestication of other animals, all the better.
 

C&K

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I guess what I'm missing here is the point of your argument. Are you arguing that human beings should not share their lives with other animals? Is that your point? I'm getting lost in the deluge here.

From what I can tell, all animals living in captivity are slaves, to their human masters, either they are subjected to cruel tortured existances or not, but the bottom line is, the only interaction a human should have with another animal (because we are animals are too) is out in the wilds, or around our homes, (as we interact with bugs, critter, and pests all the time at home)

No one has the right to keep a pet.

With the exception of the refuge animals that are already here. If a domesticated animal is born, it deserves to live out its life in as humane a way possible in our homes.

Weatherlight does now own any animals, she harbours refugees!

Should all breeding of domesticated animals stop (which is what she would like to see happen) monitored "responsible breeding" programs should never be resumed, pets will no longer exist.

I also find it interesting, that she would murder a human she has no social ties with, if in so doing, it allowed her to provide for her "refugees" in her care, should she be forced to make a choice between killing another live animal? so, Human, cat, dog, mouse, guinea pig, it is all the same. If Buster needs food, any bum / animal is on an equal chopping block.

Also, it is apparently better to kill and feed endangered species to hedgehogs, then chickens, this sits better with her Utilitarian perspective!
 
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