Updated again….25th March 2008 … this post has got so many pageviews that I think a really proper article from the Libertarian Alliance, about this immensely important subject, examining the whole subject of Natural Rights, and whether these apply to “animals” as well as Humans, ought to be produced. AS we are unpaid amateur bloggers, I can’t guarantee when it will appear, but appear it must.
[ UPDATE BIT INSERTED ] The biological sciences building at UBC was “locked-down” (I guess that means closed off for security purposes) by Police, in response to a “threat”. I don’t know about you, but for me that means I bet you 5p it’s the “animal rights” terrorists wot dun it to this seemingly fine university, with a blog run by sensible, down-to-earth students….. I rate these ALF-type people as far, far, far more dangerous to the future of Man in the universe, and something serious will have to be done about them ,or we are f****d. They are, in strict temporal-comparison terms, far more immediate and nearby, chronically underestimated, and potentially lethal to civilisation than the IRA, the “Palestinians” (whatever those might be,) the EU itself (which shall of course implode eventually) or “Radical” Islam. This latter one does not even get off the starting block for me, if you look at the long term effects of i-ware, pop bands, MacDonalds and fully-available-plus-half-naked-Euro-totty (mostly very nice too, wish we’d had some of this for ourselves in the 50s and early 60s) on “young Islamic men”. I might write a piece entitiled “HOW THE c-THRU CROP-TOP WILL SAVE THE WORLD.”
And now, here’s the original, unupdated post………………!
I chanced accidentally, via Mark Steyn (a bumpkin’s daily must-read, to banish the creeping, all-miasmic socialist-induced depression about the world and man’s fate) on the UBC commentary site, which approximates I guess to a student blog. The link I followed logged stuf about Mark’s and Ezra Levant’s battle with Modern Nazi Canadian Sondergerichte thingies, known as “Human Rights Commissions”. There is of course no place at all, for these wicked fascist organisations in free, grown-up nations such as Canada: a nation which, along with Poland and the rest of the British Empire, fought precapitalist-barbarian-leftism from the first day to the last in 1939-45 (and incidentally in 1914-18 too…) “People” who “staff” these grotesquely evil outfits, ought either to seek help for neuroses, or perhaps they ought to read some good history books. Then, if they refuse these two quite painless courses of help, then they ought to be asked whose side they are on in the present titanic struggle of Civilisation against…well…its opposite, and have to choose sides and fight for it.
But now, to animals!
So, scrolling down, I caught the fag-end of a debate about testing of drugs and the like, on animals. The article on the ubyssey.ca site was written by a 3rd-year Biochemisty “major” (so I guess I must have been one too, once! I still teach the stuff, and am amazed at what now is considered by today’s youngsters to be a matter of fact when we had no blinking clue earlier) who also incidentally does the site’s cartoons from time to time; it is common to find curiously polymathic scientists, the world over. His thesis is that (1) he thinks humans are more important than animals, then also (2) in order to minimize human suffering and danger in the advance of treatment for ills, it is necessary although not perfectly ideal morally to use animals, and (3) animals’ physiology and biochemistry approximates to living human systems, so minimizes the risk of error and failure to spot harmful side-effects of treatments.
I agree totally with all this. However, he has missed vital points. If these processes violated “animal rights”, then we should have to deduce that IF animals have rights, that they also have duties – and the innate understanding that goes with identifying these. Since animals clearly owe no duties to anyone or anything identifiable (caring for the young even in “higher” (bad term!) animals is not a conscious obligation, merely a result of fully-formed largely helpless young being born in small numbers, and also some selection for survival-behaviour) then they can have no “rights” as defined in human terms, which have evolved and crystallised into our modern views of natural rights of Man.
That of course does not absolve thinking humans from the obligation to protect animals in our charge from unnecessary harm or pain. As animals, not being humans, can therefore be Man’s property, this provision allows the killing of animals (as painlessly as possible – I guess it’s curtains for “halal” meat, then…???) for food, and also the use of them for checking what happens when we give them new drugs etc. Had for example, the testing of drugs on PREGNANT mammals, for teratogenicity, been routine in the 1950s and 60s (naturally, it now is) then thalidomide would never have been licensed for use as a morning-sickness palliative for women, and would never have been described as being “entirely without known side-effects”. (It was.)
Socialists, tree-hugging dropouts, hunt-saboteurs, social failures, and others who are viscerally-disposed to defend animals’ corner against man and his needs, ought to consider whether they are right to argue that Man is “for the planet”, or whether instead they are mistaken, and in fact “the planet is for Man”. No possible amount of the wearing of Iraq-1 (or even Iraq-2) faux-camouflage day-leisurewear (made in Vietnam) in the shopping-precincts of Bootle – or elsewhere, even when “doing hunts” – will increase the credibility of these people.
In the end, all the motives of such people come down to a kind of neo-pastoralist lament, supposedly for some past “golden age”, when Man lived in harmony with “his surroundings”, had no influence over them whatever, and “the Lion lay down with the Lamb”….I notice it was never “the Spider with the Insect”. Does anybody consider the rights of insects (animals too, see below) in respect of spiders (also animals?)
Does it always have to be Man who carries the can? If so, then why?
Do “animals rights” “activists” consider Drosophila Melanogaster (the Fruit Fly) to be an animal? It is. To a first approximation, mathematically, “ALL ANIMALS FLY”. Do they know that? Have they done the sums? Animals are not just comprised of furry brown-eyed mammals, and nought else. Many entire phyla of animals have eaten each other, in the normal course of their business, in the most contemporaneously-horrible ways, for hundreds and hundreds of millions of years, before we even arrived.
Finally, no scientist I have ever known wants, or has ever wanted, to be gratuitously cruel to animals. My father was a scientist for the MAFF for 35 years after the war, and supervised among his other responsibilities (when MAFF was useful for something, such as helping farmers to extract more tons per acre, not like DEFRA now) a “room” and its own staff, which (room) I saw often, and which was full of quite large cages of white rats and mice, all carefully labelled and logged. The temperature was monitored 24/7, the staff knew exactly how old all the creatures were, and where, which cages had to be cleaned when, what amounts of food and water where to be given to what colonies at what hour, etc. I was even allowed to ” privately own” some of the creatures from time to time if I was a good boy, and I kept them at home, looking after them myself in my own cage system, and selling the babies in pairs for 2/6d a pair….if I thought the new owner was a responsible keeper. Yeah yeah whatever, slavery mumble groan knickers. I bought dinky Toys with the proceeds. And Mecanno. And Bayko rods and the like. (Floors are almost unobtainable these days.)
But neo-pastoralist lefties, posing as “scientists” (what a staggering corruption that was) such as Joseph Mengele both authorised and carried out personally the beheading of living human children, for “experiments” on “brains”. I don’t think you’d get scientists doing this to animals, let alone humans, See and wiki their henchmen, Walter Darré, Adolf Hitler (who loved dogs) and Baldur von Schirach, those great reforming neo-pastoralist European socialists, who were all “kind to animals”, and also had strong views about “people” – particularly those whom their twisted, barbarian precapitalist strain of neopastoralism, led them to regard as animals.
If proper classical Science was taught to 7-year-olds onwards, we owuld not have the problem of violent disputes over “animal” “rights”. Does anyone know if other advanced nations have such a problem?