Hens in a Battery Cage

Hens in a Battery Cage

My UQAM Event Ticket

My UQAM Event Ticket

I am moving into unchartered waters here. I am not an expert on law, specifically non human animal rights under the law.  But my husband and I did decide to attend a symposium this past Wednesday, July 16th at UQAM, the title of which is Animal Rights and Animal Law. There were three speakers  who spoke very eloquently about the ethics of animal law, including their  belief that current, outdated laws need to be changed.

 On their website, GRIDA at UQAM states:

Although the suffering of animals has, in recent years, led to the emergence of multidisciplinary reflection on the animal condition, legislative initiatives undertaken or planned in Quebec and Canada are, unfortunately, still based on false and even negative perceptions about animals. Trapped within the rigid structure of civil law, which does not recognize animals as persons, animals are treated as chattel goods that are subject to abuse. We must therefore ask ourselves some serious questions, whether, in the twenty-first century, the law shall continue to maintain the “machine-animal” theory, an ethological hypothesis that emerged from classical theories of the mechanistic movement, which postulated that animals do not suffer any more than they think (Descartes).

 Dr. Mark Rowlands is a professor of Philosophy  at the University of Miami, whose field of interest is the moral status of nonhuman animals. He was one of the speakers at this event.  These  are some of the points he made.

violating Vital Interests

Vital vs Non-vital Interests

Moral Rights

All animals, human and nonhuman alike, have the capacity to suffer and, as such, have moral value. We know that non humans suffer because of their behavior  and their brain chemistry when subjected to suffering and as well, because of evolutionary history.

All animals, human and nonhuman alike, have vital and non vital interests which matter to them.

Vital interests of non humans include the right not to suffer, the right not to be killed and the right to be free.

Non vital human interests include the consumption of meat for our own wants, not our health.

animal rights 06

Vital vs Non Vital Interests

animal Rights 05

Overriding Vital Interests

It is morally wrong to violate nonhuman vital interests for non vital interests of our own.

“Staying alive is a prerequisite for enjoying vital interest.”

“On moral and prudential grounds, the practice of eating meat should be abandoned.”

Lab Experiments on non humans for the purpose of testing the efficacy and safety of drugs have been proven to be ineffective. Phase 0 testing of drugs on animals have a 98% fail rate in the second phase of testing, which does not include testing on animals. There is a growing recognition that the vital interest of humans is not served. This barbaric practice will soon be abandoned.

 

Vegan Grammie Annie

Vegan Grammie Annie

I applaud the efforts of the three speakers at the event to bring into our view the destructive view we have of all other sentient beings on this planet. They are trying to inform and to change long held, archaic laws built on what we now define as speciesism.

I have not commented  on the other two speakers, Valery Giroux and Martine Lachance  simply because their talks were in French and I am not proficient enough to have understood everything  they said. But I did get the gist of their work for nonhuman animal rights  and I support their efforts.

Annie’s Vegan View

Current laws which classify non humans as property with no feelings, thoughts and interest of their own (vital and non vital), need to be changed.

Non humans need to have moral value under the law. I am not talking about laws which legislate more “humane” (I use the term loosely) treatment of non humans caught in our cruel industries.

I am talking about freedom from these industries which support non vital human interests. These industries need to die so that non humans can live with dignity, freedom, and agency over their own lives, free from pain, suffering and death.

May all beings be happy and free.

Anne

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8 thoughts on “Non Human Animal Rights and Law

  • July 21, 2014 at 10:45 am
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    Dear Anne,

    I strongly agree and support your statement regarding all sentient beings. People are well aware of the old saying “Ignorance is bliss” but I say, It is Unacceptable, especially in this day and age.
    It is beyond my understanding, that anyone can so cruelly and appallingly treat another living being.
    I mean, who gave anyone the right, to decide who lives and who dies.
    My one and only wish is for “Humans to be Humane”
    Is that too much to ask?

    Natasha (nat_bl11)

    Reply
  • July 21, 2014 at 12:27 pm
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    Hi Natasha,
    It is a pleasure to meet you and to have your comments. I am reading a book that covers the history of the moral status (or lack thereof) of nonhumans. This debate has been going on for centuries. It is very firmly entrenched in the laws and in the hearts and minds of people. But I am hopeful that times are changing and that nonhumans will get the liberty they deserve. I look forward to hearing from you again soon.
    Many thanks,
    May all beings be happy and free.
    Anne

    Reply
  • August 4, 2014 at 8:32 am
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    I totally agree with everything that’s said. However, I fear the laws we seek will only be fully mandated after the economic revolution towards cruelty-free is well under way.

    Lawmakers run scared of something that will fundamentally change the status quo .

    The livestock industry is so entrenched in our way of life, including very close links with government, that serious potential conflicts of interest preclude such changes in the law.

    That’s why I favour an economic solution to eradicating animal cruelty.

    I am working very hard on this concept! Perhaps you’d like to join me?

    Regards,
    Brian

    Reply
    • August 4, 2014 at 9:16 am
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      Hi Brian,
      There is no question that all of our nonhuman animal industries are driven by economics. This is a point that Mark Rowlands made in part of his lecture. Powerful lobbyists with ties to the government will be formidable foes in the cause of nonhuman animal liberation. Norm Phelps has written a great book (Changing the Game) about the history of social justice and how the we can effect change in the first social movement of its time wherein the victims cannot advocate for themselves. You can check it out on his website. http://www.animalsandethics.org/ I would certainly be interested in hearing what your own personal plans are for an economic solution!
      Many thanks,
      Anne

      Reply
  • August 11, 2016 at 11:57 am
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    Hi, Annie! Thanks for posting this article and the link to international group. I haven’t had time to read thru entirely, yet (but I will). Just wanted to mention that if you want more info, here in the US, Michael Budhkie, with SAEN (Stop Animal Exploitation Now) has been actively focused on using and improving existing laws to report animal testing facilities and to shut them down, when possible. In England, the Dr. Hawden Trust has been championing non-animal testing methods and technologies. You might already be aware of them, but just in case you weren’t, wanted to share wit you. ♡

    Reply
    • August 13, 2016 at 10:33 am
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      Hi Sharon,
      You are most welcome and thank you for the info. No, i was not aware and will certainly look into these two groups.
      Take care,
      Anne

      Reply
  • October 6, 2016 at 7:12 am
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    Hi Anne!

    I very much enjoyed reading your article. I agree with all the points made that animals are not ours and should not be used in any way.

    I support the Dr Hadwen Trust in replacing animals in medical research here in the U.K. They believe that inflicting pain and suffering on sentient creatures in the hopes of achieving medical progress for humans is cruel and unnecessary and cannot be morally justified. The DHT funds and promotes biomedical research projects to advance human-relevant medical science without harming animals. They promote and educate the scientific, political and public communities in the wider adoption of non-animal techniques in order to advance medical progress.

    As a result, the DHT has grown into one of the world’s leading exponents of non-animal research and is consulted by scientists, governments, education, animal welfare organisations and industry for its expertise.

    Animal exploitation must end now in all it’s forms.

    Take care Anne!

    Rachel

    Reply
  • February 10, 2017 at 11:55 am
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    Hi Rachel,
    So sorry that I missed seeing your comment when it was first posted. Glad to hear ab out the Dr Hadwen Trust. It illustrates the progress being made and the continued need for transparency.
    Take care.
    Anne

    Reply

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