AFacebook critic named criticized my stand on the now controversial puppy-hanger issue, wherein I made the following comment: “If animals had rights, what kind of rights do they have? The right not to be eaten? The right not to be killed? The right to live free? I believe it is UTTERLY WRONG AND STUPID to attribute such rights to animals that humans intrinsically possess by virtue of their nature.”
This critic made the following comment that deserves a somewhat lengthy response:
“The answer to this is the right for animals to be treated humanely, you see froi the pet dogs that humans possess now are a product of human intervention. Since we have the cognitive ability to reason and think like you have stated. one most remember to that some of the pets we have now relay so much on humans for survival. So therefore it is our duty to safeguard the well being of the pets such as dogs that we now have a inter dependent relationship with. But i am not talking about extreme stuff here froi. Mind you.”
Here’s my reply:
You can treat animals ‘humanely’ if you want. The fact that animals don’t have rights, because only humans have rights, does not mean humans have to unnecessarily torture, maltreat animals. True, animals are part of human existence, but rights don’t clash with each other, comrade.
Do you understand the proper concept of rights? Your right to life means others don’t have a right to kill you. If your neighbor attempted to kill you, then he should be held liable under the law. There’s a law that penalizes murder, homicide, attempted murder, parricide, infanticide, etc. If someone stole your cellphone, car, jewelry, etc., then that someone should be held liable under the law. If someone kidnapped you or deprived you of liberty, then that someone must also be held liable under the law.
Do you understand now, comrade? There are institutions and legal mechanisms that protect your rights. Why? Because rights are a condition of your existence. Without such rights and legal mechanisms, any government agent or criminal can harm you at any time of the day. Your life, your safety, your freedom, your security would be at great risk all the time. Imagine a society without rights, comrade. Imagine North Korea.
Now, do animals have rights? The answer is no, because only human beings are entitled to rights! But that doesn’t mean we have to treat them as if they’re not part of this world. Our dealings with animals depend on our value-judgment. For instance, many people like me believe that dogs are man’s best-friend. Others even regard their dogs as part of their family. For some people, dogs are like any other animals to be eaten. For these people, dogs are considered mere property.
In most cases, animals are part of people’s livelihood. The concept of livelihood or survival gives value to animals. Consider the case of a farmer who works his carabao in the field. What do you think would happen to the farmer’s livelihood if he abused or maltreated his carabao that plows the rice-field? He would not be able to make a harvest. In this case, the carabao has great value to the farmer.
Consider the case of a poultry owner. What do you think would happen to his poultry business if he refused to feed his chickens/ducks and to provide them with comfortable shelter? He would go BROKE, comrade.
Consider the case of a circus owner who uses animals for entertainment. What do you think would happen to his business if he did not feed his beasts well and refused to provide them with comfortable shelter and good ‘living condition’? He would not be able to continue his business and there’s a big possibility that his animal-loving patrons would boycott him.
So what motivates people to care for and love animals? Self-interest. People care for their animals or pets because of their (financial, emotional) value.
What do I mean by the phrase “rights should not clash with each other”? Animals’ right to be treated “humanely” requires certain legal mechanisms or institutions for its protection. It gives a certain legal status to animals. Without such legal mechanisms or institutions, such a right would be futile or unenforceable. You should know this, comrade. You see? I’m trying to educate you now.
But what’s the definition now of “humane”, “humane treatment” or “humane procedures”? The word “humane” is supposed to refer only to humans! Does that mean we have to treat animals like human beings? Perhaps yes, and this is the reason why PETA and animal rights advocates are calling on our lawmakers to give animals the rights they allegedly deserve.
Some people here claim that the use of some animals for entertainment purposes is “inhumane.” If that’s the case, the more it is “inhumane” to kill any animals for food. The more it is “inhumane” to use animals for livelihood. If that’s the case, then everybody should start trying to be a vegetarian. Is this not ridiculous, if not highly idiotic?
The right of any animals to “humane” treatment means any human being who violates such a right may face certain legal sanctions. Under our non-objective Animal Welfare Act, any human being could go to jail for violating certain non-objective, undefined provisions of the measure.
True, there are some lunatic, idiotic people who maltreat and abuse animals. Kids sometime treat animals like their personal toys- and, under the non-objective, absurd legal parameters of the law, these kids may be held liable for treating animals cruelly and ‘inhumanely’. But of course they’re exempt from any legal sanction because of their age and immaturity. The responsibility to properly educate naughty, animal-hating and animal-hanging kids falls upon their parents and/or school teachers.
What about those animal-hating, animal-hanging adults? They deserve condemnation, but they should not be jailed for their stupid, highly irresponsible acts. We already have a number of animal rights groups like PETA and Philippine Animal Welfare Society that condemn what they call “inhumane” treatment of animals and even abuse of the environment.
But is there any other legal recourse wherein we can penalize people that “inhumanely”, unnecessarily maltreat, abuse animals? Certainly YES. Consider the following cases:
- The pet/animal owner may sue his irresponsible, abusive neighbor or anyone who stole, ‘inhumanely’ abused, maltreated, killed his pet/beast. Thus, the basis of the penalty or legal sanction is the person’s property right. In the Philippines, we already have Anti-Cattle Rustling law and other laws that protect any person’s right to property.
- The alleged ‘inhumane’ use of animals for any purposes may penalize or legally sanction anyone if other people’s rights were affected or injured. For instance, a circus owner may be held liable under the law if his animals caused stampede and injured or even killed some of his patrons.
Is there any other alternative wherein we can punish animal abusers without resorting to legal mechanisms or the force of law? Yes, and the answer is business boycott.
This is the same answer I gave to one of my Facebook critics named RM.
RM: are you saying that you are more into hurting businesses (out of the law) that do not abide by the animal welfare act instead of penalizing them?
My reply: Business boycott is a personal choice of consumers. Definitely, I’m in favor of that. What I oppose is a boycott orchestrated by the government.
RM: i don’t like that froilan. those are businesses, and boycotting these businesses might hurt the economy. they should be allowed to continue with their business but they should abide by the law. they should be penalized if needed be.
My reply: that’s better and safer and perfectly legal than a boycott orchestrated by the government. It happened during the time of Estrada. Personal boycott is perfectly fine. Like my case, I’ve declared a personal boycott against McDo. Any group of people may declare boycott against any company. That’s part of the free market, comrade.
Let me make my stance very clear.
- I oppose any kind of boycott to be orchestrated, declared, ignited, triggered by the government or any of its officials (like the case of Joey Salceda who called on the boycott of Chinese products.
- Private boycott is perfectly moral and OK. That’s part of consumers’ right and power to choose. That’s part of Milton Friedman’s books. Any pro-capitalist advocates and intellectuals know that and understand that.
Thus, if a group of catholics declared a nation-wide boycott against condom companies, that’s their right as consumers, and there should be no law that seeks to penalize or punish anyone from declaring a boycott.
I believe that the Philippine Constitution and the Revised Penal Code treat animals as mere property. This is because only human beings should have and can have rights. As property, animals don’t have any better right than their owners. The very dangerous notion that animals are entitled to certain rights and welfare simply means that animals are accorded legal status that must be protected by the state. The mandate that animals have a right to shelter, food, etc. means that anyone who is perceived to have deprived his pets or animals of these entitlements may be held liable under the law.
Only the property owners can have rights over their pets or animals. Thus, only the property owner may initiate a legal suit against anyone who stole his pet or cattle. However, under the Animal Welfare Act, any animal rights and welfare group like the Philippine Animal Welfare Society (PAWS) may acquire a legal right to sue anyone who they perceived to have violated any of the provisions of the law.
The provisions of the Constitution is very clear, there is no such thing as animal right. Animals are not entitled to certain welfare entitlements if property owners cannot afford them. To give such rights or entitlements to animals is to disregard and sacrifice the rights of human beings who, by virtue of their nature, are rightfully entitled to rights. Thus, the Animal Welfare Act must be repealed for being anti-man, anti-human rights and unconstitutional.
In conclusion, let me quote a great essayist, J. Neil Schulman, although I strongly reject his libertarianism, in regard to this issue:
“Let me make it clear: I am not questioning the humaneness or cruelty of any particular practice. My point is that the interests of those who assert that the lower animals have rights is not to protect animals against cruel treatment. That can be done merely by an appeal to our consciences. Those who assert that animals or even “habitats” have rights do so to destroy individual human rights to control what I term the anthroposphere: the human habitat. It is the individual human right to control our private spheres of action — our individual habitats — which they oppose.”
Read the entire Facebook discussion here.
Now I’d like you to read the following article written by a blogger named Courtney Hamilton. He made a good case against animal rights groups.
Animals cannot, and should not have any rights whatsoever, and that is a good thing to. The whole concept of ‘animal rights’ is a pathetic fallacy perpetrated by groups and individuals who have an overblown sense of kindness towards animals. In fact, animals that exist in society are the property of humans, which is why they do not deserve to have legal status. Imagine if animals did have legal status – all hunters whether in the Amazonian jungle or the Scottish highland could be charged with murder, a road kill would be a ‘hit and run’, or worst, manslaughter, pet ownership would be viewed as an illegal slave-market.
Proponents of rights for animals say they want to put a halt to the sadistic treatment of animals by torturers (aka scientists), but the truth is the aim of animal-rights activists is to sacrifice and subjugate humanity to the level of animals. This is the logical conclusion of the idea of animal rights. You cannot attribute rights to dumb animals that are amoral and nonrational – to do that would turn rights from an important tool that preserves humanity to a tool that would liquidate humanity.
It comes as no surprise that some animal rights activists turn to terrorism to pursue their aims of destroying humanity, from digging up dead bodies to the attempted murders of scientists and lab technicians (including their families). Locking up the lunatic fringe of the animal-rights movement is not enough – what is needed is a new war against the very notion of ‘animal rights’. It needs to be confronted by a principled and intellectual war that will condemn ‘animal rights’ for what it is – logically false and morally, deeply repugnant.