At 10:28 PM 1/9/99 -0000, Samael wrote:
>The majority of extropians on this list are in favour of perfect human
>inviolability (ie people never have the right to affect another person
>without their permission - except in self defence).
>I'd be interested to hear peoples opinions on the rights of animals. Do you
>believe that animals have no rights and can be ignored, that animals have a
>sliding scale of rights based upon their intelligence, or some other system?
Since humans and transhumans consider ourselves the more advanced of the species, and the question of "rights" which we, as a species, understand the meaning and consequences of, animals are not privy to this question and cannot openly debate their rights.
So, I think your question is one of our *ethics* and *conscience of actions* in giving consideration and respect to animals outside our species.
Since most humans and transhumans have pets living with them, (we may own legally and are responsible for them, but we don't own our pets as "objects" like living room chairs), it our ethical choice to give our pets respect and consideration for their well being.
We now can afford to be vegetarian, and the foods produced these days for vegetarians are substantial and contain the necessary nutrients, we no longer need to hunt and kill animals for food. Regardless of meat eaters excuses that there are farms that breed animals for food and that is their purpose and justify this as necessary for human nutrition, I have difficulty in understanding the defense. The cow has nerve endings and feels pain. The cow also reproduces and cares for its young. The look of horror on the cows face when it is sent to the slaughter house is a vision I try not to draw up from my memory bank.
The sport of killing animals for fun, not for food, does still occur and is legal, unless the animals is a protected species. This type of sport is so foreign to me that I am deeply saddened by this type of activity and represents a sub-human psychology in killing life just for fun.
Thus, to answer your question, I believe that animals are not cognizant of rights. They are aware of their well being because of their heightened senses and they themselves have innate boundaries for their own survival. Pets are under the owner's protection and he or she is the guardian of the animal. The human and transhuman have an ethical responsibility to consider what the animal needs and to provide it as best she/he can. There is indeed a sliding scale based of how humans and transhumans view animals which is a hierarchy (based on such things as: intelligence, cuteness, sensuality, strength, or storybook characteristics) imposed on them by us and also by nature.
Natasha Vita-More: http://www.natasha.cc Transhumanist Art Centre - Home of Extropic Art: http://www.extropic-art.com **NEW** Transhuman Culture InfoMark: http://www.transhuman.org PRESS RELEASE: "We are transhumans ..." Meme Orbits Saturn in 2004!
"The best defense is an aesthetic offense."