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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 1 2011: In any ecosystem , every species has it's role in food chain as well as to keep balance of the system.
    For our own sake we need to keep that balance, whether telling it RIGHTs or not doesn't matter. Who we are to give or take rights? As Christopher rightly asked below.

    The revenge of nature can be slow but it seems to could very dangerous , definite and irreversible.
    We mankind already did lot damage , showed many species the road of extinction and result we are getting now. Need wake up !!!
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      Nov 2 2011: There is no ecosystem. There's constant twists and turns of events in nature. Otherwise, there'd be no evolution. Mankind did little damage considering the massive extinctions of the past, where something like 95% of living things were wiped out completely.
      Besides; are humans not part of nature?
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        Nov 2 2011: That are quiet interesting comment about Ecsystem Gerald. Need to understand and learn why there is no Ecosystem ?
        Who told ecosytem is static and a barrier for evolution.
        Exitinction of past happened due to non adpatability to the cahnged environment by species or due to catastrophe that my limited learning of biology says. Also agree if we start to counting from Trilobites or even before from the fossils available for so far those were extinct , the numbers defintely are huge, but that doesn't denounce the extinction of many species during last 200 year due to huamn agression.
        Did I say Human is unnatural ?
        Human is the only species that cahnges nature for it's comfort otherwise other species try to adpat with nature.

        So you think there is no environmental risk due to human activity like deforestation, industrialzation , mining etc etc.......

        Would love to hear your perspective .
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          Nov 2 2011: I think there is environmental risk due to human lack of knowledge. And deforestation is a catastrophy, don't get me wrong.
          What I mean is that it's too often that you hear about humans as something evil, much unlike the friendly species among which we live. Every single thing is evil, and the only thing stopping certain bacteria from destroying us is medecine. Zebras' only dream is that lions starve to death, and they run as fast as they can to reach this goal.
          You say, for instance, that humans change nature for comfort, unlike other species that just adapt to nature. This isn't accurate. We've adapted as much as we could on a biological level too. Our brains are such adaptations. And other species do change nature as well, the world would be completely different without certain species. But we say they don't change things with foresight, they do what they feel needs to be done. But don't we?
          Improving knowledge about our planet is what can save it from blind destruction of ressource. There is nothing nasty about changing nature to improve comfort. What is nasty is changing it with no foresight, what non human species do. They just might take a wrong turn and face "natural" catastrophies. Only humans can avoid such catastrophies, and save some of this.
          So please a little respect for homo sapiens.
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        Nov 3 2011: What I wrote has broader meaning than just what word means. As for example, when I wrote only human change nature if you take this word only with literal meaning than you are right & I am wrong. I agree also other species does same for their comfort or struggle for existance i.e. mouse / rats digs earth , birds makes nest, insects also dig earth and so on.....

        But what I wanted to mean is only Human being brings things like polythene , plastic or destroy whole habitat for mining. Definitely human being went through evolution and due to it success with it's evolving brain power it could not only change but to some extent can say can control nature.....which others species couldn't do yet

        Another point in evolutionary thoughts are Barriers that says there are geographical, environmental, anatomical , physiological barriers to keep a species it's gene pool separate from the other species. As for example you will not find a Camel in cold Mountainous geography (except in zoo) but it's cousin Lama can be. Here the environmental barriers is in work. Human being is the only species that actually crossed all environmental and geographical barrier.

        Not a proven theory , but an hypothesis about evolution , which says super growth of any organ of any species sometimes can be proven lethal for it's own existance, example is the exitintion of sabor tooth tiger.......the canine of that tiger overgrew so much that it resulted in to an ineffective tool for hunting so the whole species couldn't survive

        Your Zebra , Lion example is natural example of Food Chain , hypothesis is there if there is no extrinsic influence Zebra & Lion will maintain their numbers in a jungle despite they have a predator prey relation. Moreover Lion never kills a Zebra when it's not hungry , human does (please don't think I am telling only Human is Evil). Its just an example......

        Thanks for your perspective that made me re think over my insufficient learning of biology that i did many days back.....
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          Nov 3 2011: We agree, Salim.
          But just one thing about lions and zebras. The only reason why lions don't kill more zebras than they need to is that it's energy-costly to catch one. Energy is precious. It can be used instead to reinforce one's social status or to worry about mating. Time and energy wasters have less progeny than strategic investors and are soon replaced. This is an interesting question. What animals do with their spare time and spare energy. Some animals have very little of these. Some have a lot.
          Baboons, I read, have about 9 hours a day they can spend on social activities.
          Humans have an incredible amount of energy available in modern wealthy societies. Boredom comes into account. As you say, a rich doctor may fancy getting on a plane and hunting lions and hippos for recreation. But this meaningless activity is just a self stimulating way not to be bored.
          My point is that lions would kill more things, perhaps, if they had more time and energy in their hands. But natural selection is harsh on them.
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        Nov 3 2011: Quote: "Improving knowledge about our planet is what can save it from blind destruction "

        Are you serious Gerald. Do you really think it is possible and if it was it had any effect on human behavior?
        What we need, and fast is a bit of knowledge about ourselves.

        There's nothing natural about most human beings because they've separated themselves from it.
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          Nov 3 2011: I agree that we also need always more scientific knowledge about ourselves in order to save the environment. For instance, knowing that rhinoceros horns have no effect on potency might have saved the species from extinction.

          Do I think it's possible to what? Save the planet (do you think we're already doomed)? Or is it impossible to save it with knowledge(do you think knowledge about the world is irrelevant)?

          It seems obvious to me, yes, that knowledge only can diminish the amount of waste and pollution. See how much greener tomorrow's energies will be compared with coal and oil. And if we'd had knowledge about farming back then, wouldn't we still have mammoths in Siberia?
          What about synthetic materials replacing animal fur?

          Humans have separated themselves from nature, you say. What makes you say that? What are we doing different? Are we not acting like animals?
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        Nov 3 2011: You said it Gerald, a lot of people act like animals, animals in the zoo that is.

        And yes knowledge can help to recycle resources and clean our waste but it can’t replace the rainforests or revive the ocean life. Indeed we are too far already almost as far as the point of no return.

        What we have to know about ourselves isn’t only what’s superstition but more how we have to rear the next generation to be cooperative and aware that the only way to navigate this planet through space is by standing together for a common future.
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          Nov 3 2011: I'd say we all act like animals (what else would we act like, what are we?). Some of us living in zoo-like conditions act like fairly similar animals living in zoos. I don't think we all live in such conditions, though.
          You must be refering to Desmond Morris. Well I've been to the zoo, it's depressing. I can't agree that we live in such misery. Prisoners are like apes in zoos, sure. They have no way to get out, they're fed according to a fixed schedule, they don't chose their room mates, etc... I live in a big busy city, but I've had the freedom to select out of my life anything that interfered with my biological needs. I can mate when I wish to, can spend time with my offspring, can travel around, have physical activity, encounter challenges to my creativity, have unlimited access to culture, and so forth...

          But anyway, back to our topic. I don't think we've reached the point of no return. For one thing, this is what people have kept saying since... God knows when. We've screwed up much of this planet, but in the process, a bunch of people has dug up tons of knowledge. There is tons of it still awaiting us. This is what pessimists often forget : our knowledge is increasing VERY fast. Who could have predicted 100 years ago that we could bring back extinct species?
          Why can't you imagine that we might be able to fix things up gradually? A common view is that things have never been worse. But this isn't true. Our ecological conscience has just been born and our means to live in harmony with our environment are growing parallel to scientific progress.

          I agree that we should stand together in this quest, that we should cooperate to favour progress, instead of hanging on to traditional ignorance and principles.
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        Nov 14 2011: Hi Gerald
        Interesting thoughts those you mentioned about "energy conservation" & hunting by animals. There might be research findings about that, will love to know.

        You see for human to kill , for long they don't need to spend much of their energy because of invention of technology.....so killing spree of human being has created an imbalance. Whatever may be the reason in nature there is certain sort of limit....which human crossed successfully.....seems even now human being guiding the Natural Selection (exagerrating I am may be) !!!
    • Nov 3 2011: In response to the first comment by Salim.

      Interesting thought.
      Who are we to give or take rights?

      As it currently stands animals have no rights in human terms. They (most importantly) do not have the right to live or die. So we are the most important part of this "case". We as humans have the power to give them rights because we give them no rights now. If we have the power to not give them rights then we have the power to give them rights.

      Food for thought.
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      Nov 3 2011: Hi Salim.

      Your debate with Gerald largely revolves around our entitlement to be predators. I will quote my response:

      "I believe many people feel that we are justified in killing animals for food in the same way that Savannah predators are justified in killing their prey. This is false. We, unlike Savannah predators, are now technologically advanced enough to build a system whereby we can acquire essential nutrients without the murdering of other sentient beings. If you are not satisfied with eating high-protein vegetarian food, we still have no excuse for not financing research of meat synthesis."
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        Nov 14 2011: Hi Nick
        Just a bit calrification about my point.....it's the natural condition of predator prey relationship in food chain that I mentioned not an entitlement by human being to be predator.

        Even if human being is a predator in food chain , it has broken the natural phenomenon through it's technological invention to become a mosdt fercious predator that kills also just for pleasure ....!!

        Agree what you told about producing protein through technology ...waiting when that technology become commercially feasible one .

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