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View Full Version : The ethics of speciesism.



Golden Eel
08-28-2012, 09:50 AM
The subject of animals and their rights is a controversial one, to say the least. Everyone has their own opinion on the subject. Although some opinions are better backed up with scientific knowledge, there's no clear-cut answer on the subject. We've touched on this in other threads like the vegan thread or the 'animal testing' thread.

Anyways, I wanted to open this up to a more fitting discussion area.

How do you feel about lower animals? What level of respect do they deserve? Does a human deserve more respect than a dog? Does a dog deserve more respect than an ant? Does a human level of sentience and intelligence separate us from other animals? Is every life form deserving of equal treatment? Would you kill a human to save an animal, or vice versa? Are you one of those people who say "Fuck humans! All I need is my dog!"?



Regarding that last group of people I mentioned, I know a lot of them and I think it's a fucking crazy position to take. I can't comprehend how people care about animals so much. I've grown up with various pets all my life, but that doesn't really change anything. I have a cat currently. It's not my friend. It doesn't love me and I don't love it. It's a cat. I think the people who act like their pets are "a family member" are loopy as shit, and they make me sad to share the same society as them. It's incredibly naive to think that your pet feels anywhere near the same level of 'compassion' towards you as another human could. I think a human life is immeasurably more important than any lower animal's. I would kill a hundred thousand puppies or kittens to save one human stranger's life.

Anywho, troll away kiddies.

Shangri-LIE
08-28-2012, 09:55 AM
I am an omnivore so I don't mind animals being killed for my food. At the same time I do not believe in abusing animals. If a rodent or an insect gets into my home I kill them. At the same time I do not intentionally step on bugs or set traps for them when I am outside. That's where I stand. Why? *Shrugs. - Eats a cheeseburger.

Cringeon
08-28-2012, 10:11 AM
Animals used for food/resource, as long it's only be used to meet the need, and not going overboard. Big supporter of nose to tail (using all parts of an animal) in butchering.

As for pets, I actually have extreme closeness with my cat who's been pretty much at my side for 12yrs now. Her personality mimics mine, and there is definitely a bond. Even with my newer dogs (and I never was a dog person before), there is a certain level of communication and emotion shared between pet and owner. I don't mistake my pets as people, but they are respectable creatures that deserve dignity. They are definitely part of my family because I care for them, and care about them a lot. The thought of my pet suffering in any way makes me feel sick and I'd have no problem taking out a human or another animal if it meant I could save them.

This applies a bit more outside just animals, but for me everything in nature should be treated with respect. I've tried to be better about just killing insects for the sake of it, but rather trap and release. It's not that I think they are some special creature that is equal to me, but I was known to be a little cruel with spiders I'd catch haha. Just the whole do no harm kind of thinking.

Golden Eel
08-28-2012, 10:19 AM
The thought of my pet suffering in any way makes me feel sick and I'd have no problem taking out a human or another animal if it meant I could save them.

Does "taking out a human" mean taking their life?

Cringeon
08-28-2012, 10:22 AM
If you placed two buttons in front of me, and one would kill the human, or the other would allow the human to kill my pet - yup totally going for killing the human. Of course this would apply to situations where I would be able to do anything about it, but if I can do anything to prevent my pet from harm I'll do what I can. Although I imagine most humans could be stopped before death from killing an animal. Now if a bear went after my dog - that bear is dead lol

AssetReign
08-28-2012, 11:27 AM
https://sphotos-a.xx.fbcdn.net/hphotos-ash4/484501_354351641307004_1344003582_n.jpg

twiggysrabies
08-28-2012, 12:00 PM
The idea of animals being on the same exact level as humans is a bit silly, however I have a HUGE intolerance for people treating animals without respect and hurting them. Matadors? If they get gored by a bull, they deserved it. Using an animal, and torturing it for pleasure, or forcing them to fight each other until death is something that should be punishable by death. I like animals more than most humans.

If anyone were to hurt my dog, I would kill them without a second thought.

FeedYourHead
08-28-2012, 12:14 PM
I think that each species should put its own members first. Snails should value the lives of other snails more than the lives of humans, turtles, or any other species. Likewise, humans should value human lives more than dogs, cats, ants, etc.
Of course, there can always be exceptions and special cases, but this is pretty much where my core beliefs on this issue fall.

I get all kinds of confused when it comes to plants though, and species outside the animal kingdom.

ThreeEyedGod
08-28-2012, 01:07 PM
I eat meat like a mofo.

although..

guilty of feeling more empathy towards animals than humans.

sayyosin
08-28-2012, 03:18 PM
I think that each species should put its own members first.

I agree with this, but it becomes complicated when emotional attachment to our pets is stronger than our attachment to human strangers.

I don't think it's completely loony to feel so strongly about your pet that you would avenge it or try your best to protect it (we are very emotional creatures after all), but for me there has to be a line drawn. Cringeon's hypothetical button scenario just isn't realistic enough for me to make that decision so easily. If a human being hurt my cat purposely, I would want to hurt them back, but killing them seems so drastic. I would much rather take away something that they love instead (e.g. their ability to use the arm that hurt my cat, or their perfectly aligned nose). Note that I wouldn't hurt their pet because it isn't responsible for what they did. If someone else's dog killed my cat, I would still be angry at its owner who is partly responsible for keeping their dog away from others if they're that vicious. However, a dog doesn't know the effect of its actions towards me, therefore it's more situational and understandable. But to take away a human life, a being I identify with the most, for taking away a comfort of mine doesn't call for such a selfish act.

Yes, I think killing another human being for taking the life of my cat is selfish, and I love my cat. It's acting on instinct in a very barbaric manner, which we as humans should be trying to evolve away from. There's much more reasonable ways to punish someone, like having them arrested and put in jail for animal abuse. Tell 4chan what this scumbag did to your cat and give them their address- they'll take care of the rest.

We don't like to look at our pets as food, but in some cultures eating cats is just as normal as eating chicken to Westerners. Some believe the cow is sacred, and a Jain believes every living thing is. On the flip side, other species don't consider us to be sacred. They don't have the level of consciousness to follow ethics. Our own fabricated ethics of species-ism and our relations with other animals are entirely based on cultural backgrounds, traditions and ethnocentric perspectives- and whether you feel a connection between you and your pet, they still aren't human beings and they don't view you the same way you view them. So acting out of vengeance and killing someone for your pet is only benefiting yourself and your own selfish needs.

I'm the one who has manifested this sense of an intimate relation with another species which doesn't experience the same emotions that I do for it. My cat isn't going to avenge my death. They don't understand or feel compassion like we do, yet we look at our pets as mini-humans who love us back the same way we love them. That's simply just not true when it comes to cats. Domestic felines are actually more attached to their environment (in my case, my mom's house) than their actual owners.

I do understand the concept of lower animals, in the sense that we as humans depend on and utilize others for survival (like we've done for our entire existence), but I acknowledge that the concept itself is human made because bacteria (what some consider the lowest of lifeforms) can easily survive without us, but we couldn't survive without bacteria. Respecting nature is important because of the interdependence between all living things. So I don't think we should view ourselves as ultimately superior, but we need to have the right priorities for our species survival. Killing senselessly or killing out of emotional distress isn't acting logically or out of survival. It's just a selfish need fulfilled. So no, I would not kill another human being for killing another species. If they killed a human, I would feel differently but I'm not sure how I would react, or if I would react at all. If they killed a human being that I love, like my mother, I would probably want to kill them but again it's hard to speak hypothetically about such a severe situation.

iggy
08-28-2012, 04:17 PM
I eat meat, and am not offended by fur or leather or even the testing of medicine and cosmetic products. Pretty much, I don't give a shit so long as you don't sit there and beat them for your own pleasure.

Celebrity Killing Spree
08-28-2012, 05:27 PM
When I was in university I took an environmental studies course. I took it because it was listed as a SCIENCE course, and it did cover small amount of actual science but a good deal of it was philosophy/ideology which didn't even seem jive with the science. Anyhow, on the first day the professor proposed this hypothetical question to the class:

"You are hiking alone outside of a village in India. You carry a rifle with you but it only has one shot. You come across a clearing where you find a baby left abandoned. However, it is not alone. Stalking across the clearing towards it is a near extinct species of tiger, possibly one of the few remaining of its kind. Do you let the tiger eat and live another day or do you shoot it to save the child?"

80% of hands went up to say that they WOULDN'T. ...This was a science class. You'd think someone would have told them that any animal (endangered or not) would kill another to protect its young, but apparently the humans are special in their stupidity.

Animals don't feel guilty about killing a lesser species for food or protection, the fact that humans are able to reason themselves into feeling bad about it should be all the proof anyone needs that we aren't all on the same level. And you have evolution to thank for that. Millions of years of one species devouring another all so that mankind can grow a mind and come up with something so absurd as the question above.

People believe in a lot of myths about the natural world because they are so far removed from it and it makes them feel good. Like how dolphins are better than people because they are smart but also peaceful and helpful to humans. This of course has nothing to do with science which would tell you that they have all of the genocidal tendencies people do and in fact occasionally kill just for fun. Or what about our closest ancestors? You know those cute, sign language, social dwelling primates that need so much of our love and protection because humans are cruel... they rape and murder each other, killing infants just to prove dominance. But animals are still better than people right? Science would say otherwise. But human beings are so entitled, spoiled and detached from the natural world that we are able to believe fairy tales about it. There aren't a lot of omnivorous species that can afford to pass up a nice piece of meat for "moral reasons," let alone our ancestors who had never heard of a food surplus and didn't have the luxury of going to whole foods whenever their tummy was grumbling.

That being said, I don't believe in needless suffering and people who torture or show unnecessary cruelty to animals just for kicks deserve harsh punishment. But by all means, eat meat if you want to. And don't let anyone make you feel guilty about it. And please, go ahead and test life saving medicines on whatever cute and fuzzy creatures you need. Oh, and if you ever come across a tiger about to eat a baby... LOCK AND LOAD MOFO's!

Golden Eel
09-05-2012, 02:29 PM
I was thinking about this the other day. I don't understand the people who burst into tears at the sight/sound/thought of those sappy commercials with sentimental music showing abused puppies and kittens and shit. Are they just pitiful emotional wrecks who are constantly on the verge of tears during every waking moment of their sad lives? What baffles me even more is when they just shrug off the commercials that show starving, dying children. I can't comprehend the thought process that leads to this type of behavior.

Cat
09-06-2012, 08:31 AM
As for pets, I actually have extreme closeness with my cat who's been pretty much at my side for 12yrs now. Her personality mimics mine, and there is definitely a bond. Even with my newer dogs (and I never was a dog person before), there is a certain level of communication and emotion shared between pet and owner. I don't mistake my pets as people, but they are respectable creatures that deserve dignity. They are definitely part of my family because I care for them, and care about them a lot. The thought of my pet suffering in any way makes me feel sick and I'd have no problem taking out a human or another animal if it meant I could save them.
.

I can only agree. Family is family :-)

Lucille
09-06-2012, 12:44 PM
I think the supremacy or importance of a species compared to other species is really dependant on what angle you're looking from. I could argue that in the grand scheme of things we're the least important species, since we no longer belong in the natural order. We live entirely outside of nature. An animal at the mercy of its ego, foolishly running around in circles and destroying everything in sight, in the vein pursuit of some sort of distant imagined purpose (as if just living on the Earth wasn't enough). Recently I keep thinking, maybe we're not supposed to have the things we do, even the things deemed good or progressive. Maybe we're not supposed to live to 80, and maybe there shouldn't be over 7 billion of us. We're so far gone that we actually believe there's a difference in value between us and them. That we're somehow superior to them because of our intelligence, when in my opinion we're more flawed than they are. They're not stupid enough to question nature and destroy the very planet they live on. What good is all our progress and all these things we pride ourselves on, these things that we believe make us better, when at this rate there'll be nothing left in the end?

Celebrity Killing Spree
09-09-2012, 08:18 PM
^ Ever heard of invasive species? There are animals who fuck up entire ecosystems, eat smaller animals to extinction (sometimes contributing to their own) and act entirely as foolish and vain as humans. I share your dislike for humanity but animals are not somehow nobler just because they are closer to nature. We assume them to be because we are not.

Shangri-LIE
09-10-2012, 05:28 AM
I have an idea. Let's all embrace humanicide so that all of the graceful animals and flourishing plants can exist on the planet without our dietary need to consume them? I kid I kid. And yes, I do find it morbid that a lot of people will weep over a sad looking puppy in a shelter than an emaciated child who doesn't know how to read, probably has AIDS, TB, or some other God awful disease. The solution? Send them bibles! I'm not apathetic towards all things in life, but man we really need to get our priorities straight. Plants aren't people. Animals aren't people. Humans are, meh, just what we are and we do a horrible job at it. So by that token we should all just accept the 60 - 70 years if we're lucky enough to have on this planet and stop trying to save it. Eventually we will become extinct, so ...do what thou wilt.

Willice
09-24-2012, 11:41 AM
People believe in a lot of myths about the natural world because they are so far removed from it and it makes them feel good. Like how dolphins are better than people because they are smart but also peaceful and helpful to humans. This of course has nothing to do with science which would tell you that they have all of the genocidal tendencies people do and in fact occasionally kill just for fun.

Dolphins get far by being cute, I think. Consider baby seals. A lot of people make a stink about clubbing baby seals. I saw a guy wearing a shirt at my school that said "club sandwiches, not seals" and there was a picture of a seal holding up a picket sign with a big, meat filled sandwich on it. If I ever see that shirt again I will point out that the animals used in a club sandwich die a much bloodier death than a seal pup and that furthermore, they are killed en masse. Why only be concerned about the seals? Because they are more attractive?

iggy
09-25-2012, 04:30 PM
Dolphins get far by being cute, I think. Consider baby seals. A lot of people make a stink about clubbing baby seals. I saw a guy wearing a shirt at my school that said "club sandwiches, not seals" and there was a picture of a seal holding up a picket sign with a big, meat filled sandwich on it. If I ever see that shirt again I will point out that the animals used in a club sandwich die a much bloodier death than a seal pup and that furthermore, they are killed en masse. Why only be concerned about the seals? Because they are more attractive?



Cows/pigs/turkeys are in no danger of going extinct, bro.


Unless you know someone with a baby seal farm, this comparison is really silly.

AssetReign
09-25-2012, 04:34 PM
Dolphins get far by being cute, I think. Consider baby seals. A lot of people make a stink about clubbing baby seals. I saw a guy wearing a shirt at my school that said "club sandwiches, not seals" and there was a picture of a seal holding up a picket sign with a big, meat filled sandwich on it. If I ever see that shirt again I will point out that the animals used in a club sandwich die a much bloodier death than a seal pup and that furthermore, they are killed en masse. Why only be concerned about the seals? Because they are more attractive?


As far as I know, no other animal is clubbed to death like a seal.

Willice
09-25-2012, 10:13 PM
Cows/pigs/turkeys are in no danger of going extinct, bro.


Unless you know someone with a baby seal farm, this comparison is really silly.

I did not take extinction into account. You're absolutely right. If conservation is the only goal in mind, then the shirt makes no contradiction. But clearly, it cannot be worn by someone who takes total species equality into account. Why?

Consider: What if these seals were not endangered? What if I did know of someone who owned a seal farm? Would that guy then be ok with seals getting packed into crates their whole lives and then turned into seal-burgers? I imagine he would, unless my theory about more attractive animals is correct. (And I honestly can't prove that it is, I can only observations such as the fact that we eat cows and not horses.)


As far as I know, no other animal is clubbed to death like a seal.

Read Animal Liberation, now. Animals in factory farms and lab experiments have had improvements in comfort over the years, but for the most part humans still brutalize them for their own use.

AssetReign
09-25-2012, 10:25 PM
I'm always willing to learn. What other animals are clubbed to death?

Willice
09-25-2012, 11:09 PM
For clubbed, I can only think of fish that are recreationally caught for food. But monkeys have been exposed to radiation and isolated from birth. Chickens are drowned and get their necks snapped. Cows get rammed by tractors. You know, family fun and what not.

To make my personal stance a little clearer, I just find it nonsensical when people complain about seal clubbing because it causes pain when they are perfectly fine with causing pain to farm animals. They are showing special preference to the seals, in my opinion. However, as it was pointed out to me, they are endangered, so to make a preference on that basis is a narwhal of a different color.

(By the way, I'm just spewing my own opinion here, so if anyone wants to tell me off for being non-factual/irrational please DO. I'm new here, I'm new to message board arguing, I won't be offended.)

AssetReign
09-25-2012, 11:57 PM
^ I enjoyed your spin on horse of a different color.

Willice
09-26-2012, 12:57 AM
^ Also endangered, as it happens.
http://i223.photobucket.com/albums/dd300/willicex90/narwhalcrop.jpg