COMMENT: The belief that animals don’t have rights is as ridiculous as people that think abortion is murder.
RESPONSE: Animals are animals and animals don’t have any rights. That doesn’t mean that people should carelessly or maliciously subject them to cruelty. It is a moral issue, but a moral issue for people to deal with, just as abortion is a moral issue that balances on the rights of the mother vs. the life of the fetus. In that moral debate some of us believe the rights of the mother carry more weight.
In the moral issue of treating animals with kindness some of us believe that is a responsibility people have to themselves and society as moral beings – we don’t “owe” the animals anything, nor do the animals have rights. To believe that animals have rights when they have no society based on laws that exist in a moral context is a delusion. Delusional behavior is a form of mental illness. Treating animals kindly does not preclude raising them with the intention of eating them and wearing their skins, any more than a belief that individual lives matter precludes aborting fetuses.
As George Carlin once said, the Earth doesn’t give a crap about ecology. If you pump plastic into the environment the Earth just morphs to a new paradigm that includes plastic. The only real reason to manage (stress on “manage”) the environment is to save ourselves. A diverse biosphere is part of that – but it in no way indicates any part of that biosphere has “rights”, any more than the kerb does when you scoop up your dog’s poop. You scoop up the poop for other people – not for the dog or for the concrete.
We need to manage the environment as part of the moral imperative that our society is (or at least should be) based on. But to say we’re doing it for any reason other than to preserve ourselves and our society is ludicrous. Whales don’t give a crap if we save them. We give a crap. The whole “Gaia” concept that imparts some sort of mystical sentience to the “life force” of the planet is silly, sort of like religion.