- Shopping Bag ( 0 items )
Rights are a human creation used to control human social interaction. Rights did not exist before there were humans, since one must be able to understand the concept in order to follow it. The concepts of right and wrong, guilt and innocence, as well as the concepts of rights and duties, are the product of human reason and reflection. We are able to create concepts because of our inherent cognitive and perceptual powers of the mind and our ability to apply knowledge, experience, understanding or common sense and insight. Therefore, since rights are a human creation, rights belong to humans only, because no other creature could ever create the concept of rights.
The animal rights idea is that animals should be given the same consideration as human beings. Advocates of animal rights claim that animals should be viewed as non-human persons and members of the moral community, and should not be used as food, clothing, research subjects, or entertainment. However, animals are unable to enter into any social contract or make moral choices, and cannot be regarded as possessors of rights. Only humans have duties and therefore only humans have rights.
The attribution of human qualities to nonhumans is anthropomorphism, which is unscientific. Animals must be approached as physiological entities only. The ability to reason and use language involves being able to respond in complex ways to all the contingencies of life, something that animals clearly cannot do. Any sounds animals make do not constitute language, but are simply automatic responses to external stimuli.
A right is a valid or possible claim made by a moral being under principles that govern both the claimant and the target of the claim. Animals cannot have rights because the concept of rights has force only within the human moral world, since it is essentially human and it is rooted in the human world. Rights arise and can be defended only among beings that actually do or can make moral claims against one another. Therefore, rights are necessarily human and their possessors are human beings.
The concept of right can exist only among beings capable of moral judgments. Animals lack the capacity for free moral judgment. The holders of rights must have the capacity to comprehend rules of duty, governing all including themselves. The holders of rights must be able to recognize possible conflicts between what is in their own interest and what is just.
Rights demand obligations. If you have the right to borrow money, you have an obligation to repay it. If you have the right to be paid insurance coverage, the insurance company has an obligation to pay you. If you have the right to freedom of expression, you have an obligation to respect other people's opinions. A dog has no right to daily food or veterinary care, but the owner has an obligation to provide them. If you have the right to protection by the law, you have an obligation to respect the law. Can a dog, a cat or a rat obey the laws? If they cannot, then they are devoid of rights.