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Should we allow animals to have rights?

Should animals have rights?
If so, what kind of rights should they have and why?
(Please be specific)

If not, why not?

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    Nov 3 2011: Animals have intrinsic rights of autonomy, i.e. non-interference from humans. These rights are independent of human subjective consideration. I believe we ought to extend moral consideration to animals to protect these intrinsic rights. This moral consideration includes but is not limited to legal representation on the behalf of those communities/individuals harmed by human actions, vegetarianism, and required sustainable design for all future human projects. The time of ignorance and dis-compassionate behavior is over. Humans won the race. We are dominant. It is time to stop sacrificing the losers.

    If another dominant species arose from the abyss and took over the world, everyone would pray that the new winners adopt a similar moral code as I described above. How would you like to have zero moral considerability with regard to your master? How would you like to be farmed as a commodity? I doubt very you would like it very much. Why do people think this is OK? It is one thing to be impoverished and behave out of necessity, but there is little excuse for the rest of us to perpetuate these evils.
    • Nov 3 2011: Correct me if I am wrong.
      But you seem to be putting us on the same level as animals in regards of importance.

      What I am trying to say is we humans are far above animals. Why?
      We have a conscience.
      We can love.
      We can hate.
      We know right from wrong.
      ect....

      Thoughts.....
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        Nov 3 2011: You list some unique human attributes but you make no attempt to show why those ought to be valued above other traits. Furthermore, not all humans have those traits, what can we say about them? Do we leave them behind based on this narrowly defined view of moral considerability?

        My views are of a form of holism wherein each individual is a member of a number of different communities. You are a member of a family, a town, a state, a nation, a species, an environment, etc. There are responsibilities for each member between each member in each community. What we are failing to realize is our duty to those in our various communities. I think the foremost duty is of non-interference (a negative duty). I believe we have stronger positive duties to those in our closer moral communities, such as our positive duties to help humans in need. Maybe we don't have positive duties to those outside of our species. Maybe we do. I am not putting animals on the same level as humans, but they need to be taken into consideration due to their membership in one or more of our communities. Once again, the most important thing is the non-restriction and protection of autonomy of 'animals.'

        This of course begs the question about where you draw the line for animals. Technically algae are animals, but do they deserve moral consideration? I would contemplate this question further with another appeal to the algae's membership in one of my communities and my particular duties to that community. E.g. I have a duty to my city and state and nation to vote on what I believe in. Or I have a duty to algae because I believe they are an important part in an environment that has intrinsic worth.
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        Nov 3 2011: And we can have wars and destroy the planet and all species with us.

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