Animal Rights... And Wrongs
by Frank Sherwin, M.A.
The lines continue to blur between you and your dog with the philosophy of evolutionism proposing that they be erased altogether.
As man continues to be denigrated as “a virus infecting Earth” by some environmental groups, his pets and non-domestic creatures are enjoying a new-found esteem. This is thanks in part to bizarre activist groups such as In Defense of Animals (IDA) and “animal-rights” law courses being taught at institutions like the prestigious Rutgers School of Law. Indeed, the San Francisco IDA would like to see the word “guardian” used in reference to pets rather than “oppressive terms such as ‘owner’ or ‘master.’” One litigator and animal rights law professor went a step further calling for a granting of personhood to bonobos and chimpanzees! Philosopher Pete Singer maintains orangutans, gorillas, and chimps should have legal equality with man.
Another interesting story involves a legal organization representing prisoners. This “civil libertarian” group is currently engaged in a fight regarding the alleged harmful effects of chaining inmates together during work hours because it makes the convicts feel like animals. Why the fuss? Have not these malefactors and other members of society been constantly taught in public school that they are animals? We read in the taxpayer-funded 1994 textbook, Biology: Visualizing Life, that “you are an animal and share a common heritage with earthworms.” In 1998 Bruce Alberts, President of the National Academy of Sciences stated: “In the last 10 years we’ve come to realize humans are more like worms that we ever imagined.” How can being chained together with other people be any more demeaning than being told outright that we have worms as ancestors?
On one hand we see serious legal efforts to have people treat their animals virtually as equals, and grant chimps personhood, while on the other hand special interest groups are outraged because men are treated like animals. This quandary sounds similar to the child’s dilemma: you can’t have your cake and eat it too.
Cite this article: Frank Sherwin, M.A. 2000. Animal Rights... And Wrongs. Acts & Facts. 29 (6).