Monday, May 29, 2006

Animal rights versus animal welfarism

Calsifer sent an email to say that tomorrow at 12:20 pm on 93.8 FM they are discussing the issue of whether animal rights activism is a waste of time and resources. Thanks for the heads up Calsifer!

People often lump the two together - and often in doing so, they try and point out that people who are interested in animal welfare are not for example interested in the welfare of people, which is patently ridiculous. It also allows some to say that they aren't interested in animal welfare by painting anyone interested in animal welfare as being a crazy activist who hurts anyone and anything in the process of saving animals.

Here's the thing - someone may be concerned in animal welfare without necessarily being an animal rights activist. The question of whether you're interested in welfare is a simple one - do you believe that animals should not be ill treated and made to suffer? If you do, then tada! you believe in animal welfare.

This does not touch at all on the fact whether the animal has inalienable 'rights' in the sense of the word. Let's give an analogy. For example you may believe that a chicken can be eaten as meat - this does not mean that you believe that you can do anything to that chicken in the process of it being killed, including mutilating, torturing and letting it die a slow, horrible death where it suffers horribly.

At the end of the day, I would argue that someone who has no interest in animal welfare at all is someone I would view with suspicion. To knowingly partake of, enjoy or condone the suffering of an animal does suggest a rather alarming state of mind - and the repercussions are not 'just' about animals.

6 Comments:

Blogger calsifer said...

Bravo, Dawn.

Well said and so right!

If only people understand there is a difference, but no, almost anyone is painted with ALF/ELF stripes, which is so unfair and shallow.

29/5/06 11:40 AM  
Blogger budak said...

Then there are people who conflate different issues by saying things like "How can you talk about animal welfare, kindness, no cruelty etc... when you are also consuming meat etc...?

29/5/06 12:55 PM  
Blogger Dawn said...

Budak - some people are never happy. If you say you're vegetarian (which I am), then sometimes people will say, what about plants? Don't they have feelings too?

Turn the tables back on them - most people who ask these questions are trying to evade their own responsibility. For example, ask them not to change the topic and ask if they're saying they're into torture and suffering of animals - emotional blackmail begets emotional blackmail :)

29/5/06 1:01 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Unless the animals attack us, then we hv to defend ourselves. If not, there is no reason why people should abuse these animals. Most of these domesticated animals are tame and friendly. They don't attack us. Usually it's the people who attack them first.

We should treat animals with respect and kindness because we are civilised people.

We shouldn't abuse, torture and make them suffer in agony. Only a wicked person will harm animals. A kind and compassionate person will love and protect them.

29/5/06 3:47 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I am just a feeder, not an animal activist, but if I see an injured animal, I will automatically bring it to the vet for treatment. If I see an animal being abused, I will immediately stop the person from abusing it. It will also bring the injured animal to the vet for treatment, get a report from the vet and file a police report against the abuser. This is what every and each citizen should do. We shouldn't allow people to abuse animals and we shouldn't ignore these animals when they need help.
We must take action against these abusers, do not let them go scot-free.

29/5/06 3:56 PM  
Blogger Dawn said...

Don't put yourself down Anonymous - you are doing a great job. It doesn't matter if you're an animal activist or not. Not everyone is going to be an animal activist - and not everyone has to. I do think that as you said, animal welfare is something that should concern every citizen.

This is similar to when people use 'feminist' as a slur. Feminism is just about making sure women are not discriminated against and are treated equally - and I think the vast majority of people feel the same way. Does that make you an activist? No. Does that make you a concerned citizen? I think it does.

29/5/06 4:04 PM  

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