Re: Extropians and animal rights
Sat, 9 Jan 1999 17:57:13 EST

In a message dated 99-01-09 17:30:09 EST, (Samael) wrote:

> 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

We had quite a discussion of this subject here (or was it on the old "Transhumans" list?) a couple of years ago. You might try hunting (ugh) in the archives.

I think there are two questions here: (1) Do animals have "rights" and (2) How should we behave toward the natural environment. I've written a little on the latter subject. You can find a brief discussion of one take on "extropian environmentalism" at

As for the former, one first has to have a clear idea of what the term "rights" means. I find it hard to conceive of a "right" without an entity capable of asserting that right, so I don't find it useful to speak of "rights" in connection with animals that can't at least let out some kind of squeak of protest. However, with that first squeak comes some minimal "rights". Ultimately, though, I agree with the second alternative you indicate, i.e.a "sliding scale" of rights based on the sophistication of mental apparatus and the level of self-awareness. On this scale animals like primates and cetaceans rank pretty high.

	Greg Burch     <>----<>
	   Attorney  :::  Director, Extropy Institute  :::  Wilderness Guide   -or-
	           "Good ideas are not adopted automatically.  They must
	              be driven into practice with courageous impatience." 
	                      -- Admiral Hyman G. Rickover