<div>Joe et. al.</div>
<div>Your questions could open a semester seminar on Ethics.</div>
<div>Amazing how these simple questions are not easy to answer...and how little interest they have for most people. But I'll offer a few comments.</div>
<div>I was not trying to outline a system of ethics in my post on animal rights. I took it as given that causing "pain" in another living being is something most compassionate people would seek to avoid if possible, whether or not the animal has "intrinsic value," however that is defined. Even the profit motive oriented hunter hunting a species to extinction might still try to avoid inflicting unnecessary pain in his prey. I suppose then this might imply some sort of "moral obligation," to avoid inflicting "pain," if avoidable. And I might try and define any animal that can feel "pain" as an animal that has "intrinsic value," but another way to look at this is that there is "intrinsic value in avoiding inflicting pain when possible," without defining the animal that feels the pain as an animal with intrinsic value. This covers the example of the hunter hunting an animal to extinction (no intrinsic value there!) while still following the moral principle of avoiding inflicting pain. To have a moral principle to avoid inflicting pain may not sufficiently address the moral issues involved with species extinction. We need life forms to have intrinsic value to argue against species extinction as a moral principle. Often the environmental movement will argue for the present or future utility of species to serve human needs as an argument against extinction, but then we hear the counter argument that it does not matter to human well being if such and such a species goes extinct. There is a very broad argument that can be raised about the intrinsic value of species in general that has been made very compellingly by others more knowledgeable than I:
<div>Link to book titled "Biophilia" by Edward O. Wilson:</div>
<div>I suspect the potential for or the exercise of "reason" is a quality many would associate with being necessary to be a "person," to distinguish persons from non-persons, not "pain." This is obvious, I think, and is the most common view, defined different ways. Pain may be felt by primitive organisms with little "reasoning" ability. But most would not consider a baby seal about to be clubbed to death a "person," even if they do feel pain as they are clubbed, given seals limited reasoning ability, along with numerous other qualities absent that we associate with being human. Different definitions of a "person" will give different results.
<div>You often hear that "reason" distinguishes humans from other animals in some sharp fashion, but this is certainly false. Animals do "reason" in some manner, and it may be hard to draw a sharp line in the animal kingdom between reasoning and non-reasoning animals. So are some animals to some degree "persons?" This becomes a legal debate, ultimately. We accord legal rights to some impaired human beings who may have mental capacities below that of some animals.
<div>We've all heard about primates and dolphins intelligence, and we think our cats and dogs have some "smarts." Some birds exhibit remarkable capacities (talking parrots that can mimic sounds and give "appropriate" responses to stimuli that suggest they "understand") that are amazing some scientists, given the birds small brain size. Anyway, we are still learning about animal intelligence, and what we thought previously were "dumb" animals, are turning out to have a lot more "intelligence" than was thought.
<div>If we are going to consider degrees of "reason," as well as "pain," as qualities and experiences that we use to ethically regulate how we treat other animals, pigs should be given the same consideration as cats or dogs, with all three animals having reasoning capacity above that of cows or chickens. But the pigs are not furry and cuddly, and they do not have the same behavioral patterns that endear cats and dogs to humans, so pigs get the overcrowded cesspools of feed lots for a life before they are slaughtered in modern industrial systems:
<div><a onclick="return top.js.OpenExtLink(window,event,this)" href="http://www.columbia.org/pdf_files/husbandry.pdf" target="_blank"><font color="blue" size="2">http://www.columbia.org/pdf_files/husbandry.pdf</font></a>
<font size="2">.</font><br> </div>
<div>Hogs are confined by the thousands in industrial barns </div><font face="Times" size="3"><span style="FONT-SIZE: 12px; FONT-FAMILY: Times">
<div>which force them to spend their lives in tight metal </div>
<div>pens, often standing painfully on slated concrete </div>
<div>floors, breathing almost poisonous levels of ammonia </div>
<div>and hydrogen sulfide from the manure stored under </div>
<div>their pens. Hogs are sentient, social creatures that can </div>
<div>be debilitated by stress when deprived of outlets for </div>
<div>their nature behavior. Antibiotics and other artificial </div>
<div>inputs are given, in part, to overcome the physical </div>
<div>symptoms of this stress. </div>
<div>Vision2020 Post: Ted Moffett</div>
<div><span class="gmail_quote">On 9/7/06, <b class="gmail_sendername">Joe Campbell</b> <<a onclick="return top.js.OpenExtLink(window,event,this)" href="mailto:email@example.com" target="_blank">firstname.lastname@example.org</a>
<blockquote class="gmail_quote" style="PADDING-LEFT: 1ex; MARGIN: 0px 0px 0px 0.8ex; BORDER-LEFT: #ccc 1px solid">Here is a set of philosophical questions, related to this discussion:<br><br>What kinds of things have intrinsic value (that is, a value in and of itself, rather than because of its associations with others): Humans, animals, plants, nature?
<br><br>What makes it the case that something has intrinsic value? It was mentioned (by Ted, I think -- though it might have just been in passing, so I'm not saying that it is his view) that something has intrinsic value if it has the ability to feel pain. Is this the only kind of quality that matters? What are some other, relevant qualities?
<br><br>Often philosophers distinguish between persons and non-persons. Is this a relevant distinction? Which is a better way of distinguishing between persons:<br>a) persons have the ability to reason and non-persons do not, or
<br>b) persons have the capacity to feel pain and non-persons do not?<br><br>Are there things (nature, say) which have intrinsic value yet do not even have the ability to feel pain?<br><br>What are our moral obligations toward humans? toward persons? toward things with intrinsic value?
<br><br>--<br>Joe Campbell<br><br>---- Ted Moffett <<a onclick="return top.js.OpenExtLink(window,event,this)" href="mailto:email@example.com" target="_blank">firstname.lastname@example.org</a>> wrote:<br><br>=============<br>
Megan et. al.<br><br>Thanks for your reply...<br><br>I couldn't resist the "connection" between discussing animals rights and my <br>concerns for pigs, and the album "Animals" with "Pigs on the wing." I'm
<br>not sure the album has much directly to do with animals rights, except in<br>some sort of round about way, like saying the "pigs" in power mentioned in <br>the lyrics support cruel aspects of the animal food industry (or animal
<br>experimentation, like for cosmetics) for the big profits they can make,<br>which is probably true.<br><br>But when the animal rights subject is broadened to include the right of a <br>species to exist, and the fact that current human conduct is inducing
<br>extinctions of species at rates likely to increase with dramatic human<br>induced climate change and other factors, then the subject of how those in <br>power (pigs on the wing) are approaching environmental and ecological
<br>issues, becomes directly relevant to a broad view of "animal rights." And<br>thus human rights, given that the world's ecosystems can only take so much <br>damage or fast human induced change before dramatically impacting human well
<br>being on a mass scale.<br><br>Many life forms do need "a shelter from pigs on the wing," including many<br>abused and oppressed human animals! <br><br>Ted Moffett<br><br>On 9/6/06, Megan Prusynski <<a onclick="return top.js.OpenExtLink(window,event,this)" href="mailto:email@example.com" target="_blank">
firstname.lastname@example.org</a>> wrote:<br>><br>> Ted, I just wanted to thank you for your long & well-thought out<br>> response. It's always interesting to hear others' perspectives on animal <br>> rights issues and you bring up some great points. Ultimately the decision of
<br>> where to draw the line in terms of sentience and what to eat is really up to<br>> the individual. We gotta eat something! :) It's a difficult line to draw and <br>> it has always baffled me how some animals are considered ok to eat in our
<br>> culture and some are not. Like the other issues you pointed out, it's a<br>> slippery slope. I just try my best to educate people about where their food <br>> comes from so that they can make informed decisions, and this is also a
<br>> large part of PETA's mission.<br>><br>><br>> Thanks for the Pink Floyd lyrics, too. I have never really studied them<br>> before but Pink Floyd is one of my favorite bands and the songs you mention <br>
> are indeed pertinent to this discussion.<br>><br>><br>> I don't have much to add, just wanted to thank you for your insightful<br>> post. :)<br>><br>><br>> ~megan<br>><br>><br>><br><br></blockquote>