Saturday, March 5, 2011

Animal Rights...

I was poking around on one of the various websites and blogs I visit and ran across something by Roger Yates on the "On Human-Nonhuman Relations" blog where he wrote about animal rights.

One of the links in the entry connected to a page where there was something written called a Universal Declaration of Animal Rights.
Inasmuch as there is ample evidence that many animal species are capable of feeling, we condemn totally the infliction of suffering upon our fellow creatures and the curtailment of their behavioural and other needs save where this is necessary for their own individual benefit.

We do not accept that a difference in species alone (any more than a difference in race) can justify wanton exploitation or oppression in the name of science or sport, or for use as food, for commercial profit or for other human ends.

We believe in the evolutionary and moral kinship of all animals and declare our belief that all sentient creatures have rights to life, liberty and natural enjoyment.

We therefore call for the protection of these rights.
I sort of like this declaration, I object however to the insertion of the word "wanton" before the phrase about exploitation or oppression. Having that word there suggests there are situations where exploitation or oppression is justified...some sort of clarification is needed or the word needs to be removed.

When you have the time you might want to read the complete page containing this declaration of rights, for instance at one point the text says:
The pretence that human affairs exist in isolation from those of all other living creatures on our planet is no longer sustainable. Evolution teaches us not arrogance but humility, and the greater follies of our technological century serve to reinforce the lesson that the natural world is neither our property or our servant. The further pretence that the exclusion of others from the benefits of compassion and justice can be justified by our status as the dominant species is untenable. Power is no longer the measure of moral worth. That is the lesson of our age. 
Good stuff!

Nester (Nessie Rae)
This bunny has is time we began living up to that truth. Living as an ethical vegan is necessary in order to do so.


Krissa said...

Nessie is very pretty and look how wise her eyes are. It will always be beyond me to know that so many of our species can actually look into the eyes of our fellow beings and not see everything that we see. There is most definitely thought, intelligence, feeling and every other thing we feel. So yes, they deserve everything listed in that Declaration. It's like the Dalai Lama says, if one can't find it in their heart to actually love others, then to at least not hurt them is enough. That applies to us all. I know not everyone is capable of loving our fellow creatures, but everyone is most certainly capable of NOT HURTING them.

veganelder said...

Thank you Krissa for commenting. You make a good observation when you say everyone is capable of not hurting others. Very astute.

Ah, Nessie Rae, I haven't reached a place yet where I am ready to write about her yet. She is a new family member, and the adjustment period is in full swing. I am not yet convinced she wants to be here so I want to see how that plays out before getting settled enough in my mind to write about it all.

I will venture to say that sharing living space with a lagomorph being (at least this particular lagomorph being) is a distinctly different situation than sharing with a feline being or a canine being.

It is not a small thing that cats and dogs and humans have been hanging out together for thousands (apparently thousands) of years. This is not true of rabbits and people (at least not to any significant extent). Therefore, much learning is required (on both parts) and little experience is available to fall back on (at least on my part). It is a busy time, a work in progress (so to speak). She is indeed, though, quite pretty.

Krissa said...

Ah, Miss Nessie. Although I don't have a lot of experience with bunnies, I do have with cats. And I can imagine the challenges to gaining a rabbit's trust. Spikey (our cat-boy family member) was at the shelter I volunteered at when I met him. He had been physically abused by the kids and man in the 'family' he lived with. I'm not sure I can accurately capture in words how difficult it was for him in the shelter. Long story short, I was the one and only person he ever accepted. And he didn't let me touch him much until he came home. It sounds like Nessie is going through something similar to Spike no matter what the reason is. I hope she will find a friend, be it bunny or human or other. ... Do rabbits like human voices? One thing that has always helped me when I was working at vets offices with scared cats or dogs or volunteering with feral or abused cats is singing. And I sing like c**p. Spike actually hissed at me for singing at the shelter. Ha ha! But he and all the cats LOVE to hear (this is cute) "The Grinch Who Stole Christmas". I know it by heart and I tell it to them and they get so relaxed, it's quite amazing. I think it has to do with the way the words flow and rhyme. Anyway, maybe Nessie would like singing? I'll send some good thoughts her way and hope to hear some good news about her one day.

veganelder said...

Thank you Krissa for your reply. Oh, I think Miss Nessie will be fine...eventually.

I am speculating that she is trying out all sorts of bunny behaviors that shelter living doesn't offer much opportunity for. Sort of stretching her existential to speak.

She is actually quite impressive, the other day she ripped out a series of grunts/growls that dwarfed anything I have ever heard out of any bunny at any time at the shelter...all over objecting to being picked up to be carried to her bedroom. I so wished I had been able to capture those sounds on a video...very intimidating. I congratulated her and she responded with a thump when I put into her enclosure.

As for singing, well, given my voice and all I am afeared she might call 911 on me or's a thought. Very cool that you figured out the effects of your singing on the cats.

We will muddle through this, my concern is that she enjoy her life and her environment (given that the option of her living free doesn't exist) as much as she can. This is all quite new for her, and for all of us and while new can be always takes some getting used to.

The news about her isn't bad so much as it is unsettling (I guess)...she certainly is packing away her daily carrot and stuffing in her organic baby greens like nobody's business...she does appear to love her victuals.

Nessie will appreciate your good thoughts (even though she might not say so) and I will too. Thank you.

Bea Elliott said...

Hi Veganelder --- I do know what you mean about the placement of the word "wanton" in relation to: exploitation/oppression/cruelty, etc. It does modify those practices to mean that *sometimes* there is justification to do them. I don't know... I think I may be guilty of doing the same thing in my attempt to expose that all the ways we use animals are "frivolous"... As if any "use" of them at all could be otherwise.

This is a good reminder to watch my word usage and language with a more tuned-in and accurate mind. Thanks for that and the link that is otherwise filled with good-intentioned content.

Ms. Nessie Rae - She is stunning! But I do see something in her gaze that is mysterious... She does have a story to tell - But I think she's looking for a trusted place to do so. Her look seems to be asking "are you safe?"... I know you will do everything in your loving power to reassure her that she is - safe! Please keep us updated - I want to hear her repaired happy story. <3

veganelder said...

Thanks for commenting Bea. Ah, Nessie Rae, this is an adventure and one I will eventually write about in the meantime I want to survive it. :-)

It is all really amazing.

So I'm Thinking Of Going Vegan said...

I like the Declaration, but kind of wish it was called a Universal Declaration of Sentient Rights instead. The language still separates humans from other animals and posits other species as well, other. I'm really inconsistent in my language I find, and wish I could come up with something that was both accurate and not cumbersome. Even the term nonhuman animal is problematic I think because it implies that the human animal is central and the nonhuman animal merely a deviation. Okay, I'm rambling now, so had better stop! :)

veganelder said...

Thank you for commenting SITOGV. I like your thought about the title change. I stumble around too with what sort of terminology to use...nonhuman animal is off-putting somehow. Never doubt that your ramblings are filled with gems. :-)