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The Illogic of Animal Rights

By J. Neil Schulman

Critique by Punkerslut

From RadicalGraphics.org
Image: From "Animals" Gallery from RadicalGraphics.org

Start Date: 12/27/01
Finish Date: 12/27/01

"The so-called 'animal rights' movement is relying upon a logical fallacy which is based on mutually exclusive premises.

"'Animal rights' premise #1: Human beings are no different from other animals, with no divine or elevated nature which makes us distinct;

     The principle of Animal Rights has nothing to do with abstract religious or philosophical principles; the principle of Animal Rights as I see it is that all conscious beings (nearly mutually exclusive to the animalia kingdom) deserve considerations of their interests. This sentiment of equality invokes no supernatural or divine theory at all. However, it is considerably notable that Schulman is speaking from a highly prejudiced point of view. The whites plantation owners and slavers of the 1800's claimed that white humans were divinely different from black humans, thus granting them the right to enslave black humans. Consider the following verses of their holy book...

Exodus 21:
20 "If a man beats his male or female slave with a rod and the slave dies as a direct result, he must be punished,
21 but he is not to be punished if the slave gets up after a day or two, since the slave is his property."

Ephesians 6:
5 Slaves, obey your earthly masters with respect and fear, and with sincerity of heart, just as you would obey Christ.

     It was on religious reasons that white humans enslaved black humans. If the excuse for slaughtering animals is based purely on a religious reason, it can no doubt be explained as a religion of cruelty and a religion of hate. The fact that the gods of people tell them that they may be cruel or vicious in no doubt excuses cruel or vicious behavior. Thus, the inclination of Schulman that this has anything to do with religion is only a confession that any religion defending the right to be cruel and vicious is definitively a cruel and vicious religion.

"'Animal rights' premise #2: Human beings are ethically bound not to use other animals for their own selfish purposes.

"If human beings are no different from other animals, then like all other animals it is our nature to kill any other animal which serves the purposes of our survival and well-being, for that is the way of all nature. Therefore, aside from economic concerns such as making sure we don't kill so quickly that we destroy a species and deprive our descendants of prey, human animals can kill members of other animal species for their usefulness to us."

     What our nature or purpose is holds no regard with ethical considerations. It is the nature of a gun to kill. It is the nature of a combat knife to stab someone. It is the nature of a torturing device to torture someone. In no regard does that justify the usage of any of these devices, simply because "it is their nature." And what other animals do also justifies no unethical actions of our own. Animals may kill each other in foreign lands, but this matters not, as Galapagos lizards are known to rape, salamnders are known to cannibalism, and primates are known to steal. The fact that these animals commit such actions does not justify our commiting of similar actions.

"It is only if we are not just another animal -- if our nature is distinctly superior to other animals -- that we become subject to ethics at all -- and then those ethics must take into account our nature as masters of the lower animals. We may seek a balance of nature; but 'balance' is a concept that only a species as intelligent as humankind could even contemplate. We may choose to temper the purposes to which we put lower animals with empathy and wisdom; but by virtue of our superior nature, we decide ... and if those decisions include the consumption of animals for human utilitarian or recreational purposes, then the limits on the uses we put the lower beasts are ones we set according to our individual human consciences."

     Baseless assertion, unfounded claim, random bable... there are many names that are fully capable of describing what Schulman has just stated. The fact that I as an individual are superior to an infant does not mean I can decide the ethics that governs our relationship. Otherwise, according to Schulman's shotty ethical theory, I may consume the infant after torturing it with a long, drawn out vivisection, all fully justified by Schulman's impractical theory. But I choose, instead, not to be a vagrant devoid of both intellect and compassion, but to be a humanitarian fully capable of reasoning and tenderness.

"Each of these criteria is simply a proof of intelligence and self-consciousness:

"1) Being observed as producing or having produced technological artifacts unique to that species;

"2) Being observed as able to communicate from one generation to the next by a recorded language unique to that species;

"3) Being observed as basing action on abstract reasoning;

"4) Being observed as engaging in inductive and deductive reasoning processes;

"5) Being observed as engaging in non-utilitarian artistic activity unique to that species.

"I'm sure there are other criteria we could use, but these are obvious ones that come to mind immediately. None of them speculates about the unobservable functioning of a neural network; all of them are based on observable effects of intelligence and self-consciousness."

     Not only does Schulman obviously miss what self-consciousness can be defined as, but then he arbitrarily places things which do not mark self-consciousness. Being conscious does not give someone the ability to produce technological artifacts, nor does it allow for communication. Abstract reasoning? I've yet to see a single scientific document that marks self-consciousness as abstract reasoning. Inductive and deductive reasoning processes? Reading this essay is making me doubt that humans are capable of that capability. I'm sorry, but plainly J. Neil Schulman is wrong. This is not a question of debate or of reasoning (but possibly of Schulman's intellectual capabilities), but this is simply a question of fact of science. To quote Charles Darwin...

Nevertheless the difference in mind between man and the higher animals, great as it is, certainly is one of degree and not of kind. We have seen that the senses and intuitions, the various emotions and faculties, such as love, memory, attention, curiosity, imitation, reason, &c., of which man boasts, may be found in an incipient, or even sometimes in a well-developed condition, in the lower animals. [The Descent of Man, by Charles Darwin, part 1, chapter 4.]

"By the 'survival of the fittest' which is the law of raw nature, no animal has rights: only the tools to survive as best it can. The chicken has no right not to be eaten by the fox. The wildebeest has no ethical recourse against the lion. If we are merely animals, no other animal has any ethical standing to complain against the human animal for eating them or wearing their skins."

     The law of Survival of the Fittest is a scientific observation concerning the evolution and change in the diversity of wildlife. It is, by no means or proof, an ethical construct. It is used by White Supremacists to justify their disagreement with other races just as much as Schulman uses it to prove his disagreement with other species.

"But, if we are superior to other animals -- if our nature is of a different kind than other animals -- then why should we grant rights to species who can not talk, or compose symphonies, or induce mathematical equations, or build satellites which send back television pictures of other planets? Why shouldn't we humans simply regard lower animals as things which may become our property? We may be kind to animals if it is pleasing to us to do so, but we should not grant animals an equal stature that nature has not given them. Respect for nature requires a respect for the nature of what things are ... and we are better, stronger, smarter, than the animals we hunt, ranch, farm, fish, trap, butcher, skin, bone, and eat."

     At this point, Schulman states that humans are better than animals, in both intellect and brawn. The unstructured and flowing ignorance and drivel of this man makes me highly question the statement regarding brains. The fact that an animal is not as fit or as smart as humans is by no means a reason why they do not deserve any rights. Otherwise handicapped individuals deserve to be just that: food on your plate. Children, infants, and the mentally retarded are then just individuals to be hunted by Ted Nugent. But I'm sure we can go beyond that. Arthur Jenson, professor of educational psychology at the University of California, Berkelyey, and H. J. Eysenck, professor of psychology at the University of London, made claims with evidence about the variation of intelligence in races. His report showed that Caucasians were more intelligent than Africans yet Asians were more intelligent than Caucasians. If we are to follow the speciesist ethic of Schulman, and its logic, we will eventually come to the conclusion of Racism: that Africans deserve to be slaves of Caucasians and Caucasians deserve to be slaves of Asians. Or, if we are to follow Rationalist and Humanitarian ethics, we will find that whether or not someone is inferior, they deserve compassionate treatment.

"Nor are any 'animal rights' activists themselves merely animals. There is no organization called Porpoises for the Ethical Treatment of Animals. It is People who make those demands of other People."

     And were there any Abolitionist organizations that were composed strictly of slaves? None, because slaves couldn't free themselves.

"Those who argue for animal rights argue that since animals are living and feel pain, that therefore nature gives them a right not to be treated cruelly. This is an argument that could only work on a being capable of empathy -- and that requires an elevated consciousness. It is true that animals can feel pain, and that esthetically requires that we not be cruel in our treatment of them. But what is cruelty? Beating a horse that won't pull a wagon? Making animals fight each other for sport?"

     In this brief passage, Schulman admits that animals are capable of feeling pain, yet previously states that they are not conscious. How quiant of a dichotomy.

"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."

     This is just plainly garbage and not worth refutation. To state that Animal Rights Activists are against Human Rights is just stupidity. Yes, I may be against humans having the right to kill any defenseless creature on this planet or to torture an animal to death. I may be opposed to individual humans having this right, but I seriously doubt that any educated person would call me a Human Rights Violation Activist.

"Which leaves us esthetics, which exists only in individual humans. Since lower animals don't have rights, we humans need to make judgments on humane versus cruel treatment of lower animals not by treating animals as if they have rights but instead must rely on our esthetic values -- our consciences. But, after seeing tree-spikers, people throwing paint on fur coats, and Kentucky Fried Chicken being equated with Auschwitz, it's now apparent that the effect of trying to give animals the same ethical immunities as humans is that all esthetic distinction between cock-fighting and eating meat is lost. The effect of 'all or nothing' in our uses of animals is to blunt our consciences, which makes us crueler to animals, not less cruel.

"Those people among us who would give lower animals human rights do not do it because they love other animals. They do it because they hate humankind. They hate the fact that their own superior nature as intellectual beings gives them superior challenges which they shrink from by attempting to deny the superiority of their human nature."

     Useless, barbaric, and obviously biased opinion. I'm sure Lev Nik Tolstoi - the Russian Anarchist, Vegetarian, author, and an individual who fed the poor in times of famine - was not a Vegetarian because he hated mankind. I am not a Vegetarian for the sake that I hate humankind. I am a Vegetarian for the sake of non-human animals. This is something that at least civilized humans who even eat meat can understand. However, Schulman is much more than a stone's throw away from being civilized. If I hated humans, I would not transform this hatred into Vegetarianism. Rather, I would probably become a mass terrorist so I can actually target the object of my hate. However, since I love animals and do not hate humans, I channel my sentiments into Vegetarianism. It's not something very difficult to understand, but considering how Schulman is not much more intelligent than a neanderthal, not to mention how his so-called facts have no evidence at all to back a single one of them up (and not to mention how his facts are completely contradictory to modern, scientific, accepted knowledge).

"'Animal rights' is just one more diabolic scheme for promoting government control over human lives by destroying our right to private property. It is the logical tactic of those who hate the individual creative ability and wish it replaced by the anti-human jackboots of collectivism."

     If private property means having African, non-human, or Caucasian slaves, as Schulman's logic would lead us to believe, then I am absolutely against it.

"They may speak for themselves only, not for me. I know what I am. I know what animals are. And I will name what 'animal rights' activists truly are: the Human Defamation League. And making us as oblivious to cruelty as are all other animals, if not the actual agenda of the Human Defamation League, is nonetheless the unintended consequence of their campaign."

     "The Human Defamation League." How primitively barbaric. I have yet to see Vegetarians making campaigns against humanity. I have yet to see a single Vegetarian doing this. And, as is consistent with Schulman's writings, no evidence is brought forth to this claim. Instead, he simply uses poor logic, unsupported facts, and prejudiced opinion.


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