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Animal welfare vs Animal rights

nyanko

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    First evolution and creationism and now this? Are we really this bored!? :laugh:

    I'll take the bait. The idea of animal rights as it is currently defined is ridiculous. We cannot ascribe the same set of rights to animals as are generally considered inalienable to humans in western society because animals do not have the reasoning skills to comprehend those rights or the general moral framework to consider the rights of other animals or humans. I realize that not every person has these reasoning skills or morals either, but those people generally, if they act on it, will end up having these rights diminished through incarceration or institutionalization.
     
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    cowgirla

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      Where do you draw the line? How do you feel about cosmetic procedures? Devocalization? Declawing? Would you perform them?

      my opinion on declaws-
      if a cat owner comes in and says "my cat is clawing all my furniture" or scratching the husband with hemophilia, and either the vet declaws him or they turn the cat into a shelter,...i'd rather do the surgery and ensure the cat has a home.

      ear crops are pointless

      tails and dewclaws have a reason to be removed on same animals- namely hunting dogs. I don't have an issue with it on the working dogs, but do when its purely cosmetic
       

      nyanko

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        Well, despite these being fairly contentious and inflammatory topics, they are probably good things to think about in terms of preparation for applications and interviews. Personally I think a debate in which the sides don't degrade into name-calling and fallacious appeals is a great way to not only get a sense for the viewpoints of others and other angles of approach but to better refine and elucidate your own views on a topic.

        However, rarely does such a debate ever end up occurring, particularly on the Internet. I won't pretend I've never been an instigator around here. ;)
         

        thereservoirdog

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          First evolution and creationism and now this? Are we really this bored!? :laugh:

          I'll take the bait. The idea of animal rights as it is currently defined is ridiculous. We cannot ascribe the same set of rights to animals as are generally considered inalienable to humans in western society because animals do not have the reasoning skills to comprehend those rights or the general moral framework to consider the rights of other animals or humans. I realize that not every person has these reasoning skills or morals either, but those people generally, if they act on it, will end up having these rights diminished through incarceration or institutionalization.


          Good post Nyanko. Most of the people on this forum, when it comes to this animal rights debate, seem to have a one or two sentence parroted argument that usually boils down to "Animal rights suck! Go animal welfare!". This simple view can actually be pretty dangerous, since it ignores the fact that there is still a ton of room for improvement in the understanding of animal ethics and welfare.
           

          shortnsweet

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            Oooo perfect review for my Animal Husbandry exam!! The Welfare and Ethics section...note that there is no 'rights' in that title...

            "On admission to membership of the Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons, the new member makes the following declaration:
            “..my constant endeavour will be to ensure the welfare of animals committed to my care”"

            Guiding Principles from RCVS Guide to professional conduct
            “Your clients are entitled to expect that you will - make animal welfare your first consideration in seeking to provide the most appropriate attention for animals committed to your care”



            Can We Define Animal Welfare?
            The Physical Debate
            “An animal is in a poor state of welfare only when physiological systems are disturbed to the point that survival or reproduction are impaired” McGlone, 1993
            The Mental Debate
            “Neither health or lack of stress or fitness is necessary and/or sufficient to conclude that an animal has good welfare. Welfare is dependent on what animals feel”
            Duncan, 1993
            The Naturalist Debate
            “To promote animal welfare we should raise animals in natural environments and allow them to behave in natural ways”
            Rollin 1992


            Then you can talk about the 5 Freedoms....animal needs, animal welfare science, and ethics being "more than just a feeling..."

            Always love a good debate...Back to studying!!!

            Oh...and whoever mentioned this being good review for interviews...ding ding ding..at least it was in mine:D
             

            Armymutt25A

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              I don't remember this being a big deal when I interviewed (last century). It wasn't even mentioned at Purdue. We were taught to treat animals well because they produced better that way, which is the bottom line. Declaws were kind of like circumcision for human males - a normal thing at the time. Please, debate it. It will give me some insight to both sides of the argument.
               

              dee vee emm

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                Oooo perfect review for my Animal Husbandry exam!! The Welfare and Ethics section...note that there is no 'rights' in that title...
                "On admission to membership of the Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons, the new member makes the following declaration:
                “..my constant endeavour will be to ensure the welfare of animals committed to my care”"
                Guiding Principles from RCVS Guide to professional conduct
                “Your clients are entitled to expect that you will - make animal welfare your first consideration in seeking to provide the most appropriate attention for animals committed to your care”


                Can We Define Animal Welfare?
                The Physical Debate
                “An animal is in a poor state of welfare only when physiological systems are disturbed to the point that survival or reproduction are impaired” McGlone, 1993
                The Mental Debate
                “Neither health or lack of stress or fitness is necessary and/or sufficient to conclude that an animal has good welfare. Welfare is dependent on what animals feel”
                Duncan, 1993
                The Naturalist Debate
                “To promote animal welfare we should raise animals in natural environments and allow them to behave in natural ways”
                Rollin 1992


                Then you can talk about the 5 Freedoms....animal needs, animal welfare science, and ethics being "more than just a feeling..."

                Always love a good debate...Back to studying!!!

                Oh...and whoever mentioned this being good review for interviews...ding ding ding..at least it was in mine:D

                OOooo Duncan is my prof this semester for my MSc Animal Behaviour & Welfare program... he's pretty awesome!!

                As for the whole animal rights vs animal welfare, I think it's not about who is right or wrong on picking one of the sides, it's more of what is your personal belief. There are different animal welfare philosophies that each of us use and usually we each use more than one... these are: contractarian, utilitarian, relational, animal rights and respect for nature. We did a poll in our class, and the highest percentage of people used 4 philosophies. The highest one of those was utilitarian (According to Utilitarianism, morality is about maximising human and animal well-being. Animals, like humans, deserve moral consideration. What matters in our dealings with animals is the extent to which we affect their well-being. In deciding what to do, we must therefore consider what are the welfare consequences for animals as well as potential benefits for humans of our actions), and the second highest was animal rights (Fixed ethical rules place limits on our treatment of animals: there are some things that we are not permitted to do to an animal whatever the circumstances. This idea, of a non-negotiable prohibition, is what people mean by “Animal Rights”. But remember there is a range to what people believe are the rights to which animals are due).

                So that's just my 2 cents...:cool:
                 

                nyanko

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                  (Fixed ethical rules place limits on our treatment of animals: there are some things that we are not permitted to do to an animal whatever the circumstances. This idea, of a non-negotiable prohibition, is what people mean by "Animal Rights". But remember there is a range to what people believe are the rights to which animals are due).

                  While that may be a technical philosophical definition, common use of the term "animal rights" doesn't really follow that definition. The practical definition of animal rights is basically that animals should be considered as having rights equal to humans. If they have these inalienable natural rights, foremost of which we consider to be life and liberty, then they should not be seen as property or used as resources.
                   
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                  vnair2

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                    There is a difference between "animal rights" the silly movement and believing that animals have some rights. It is a confusing distinction, but blame "animal rights" activists for it, because it is all their fault.

                    No Veterinarian can believe in the animal rights movement as it is defined right now, but veterinarians can believe that animals have some rights and perhaps more rights then they are given now.
                     

                    Perfbird

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                      my opinion on declaws-
                      if a cat owner comes in and says "my cat is clawing all my furniture" or scratching the husband with hemophilia, and either the vet declaws him or they turn the cat into a shelter,...i'd rather do the surgery and ensure the cat has a home.
                      Just as a nitpicking point, would you at all consider the fact that an onychectomy is just that - an amputation of the last phalanx of the toes? It is an extremley painful procedure that, in my opinion, should be banned for cosmetic/lazy purposes (unless the amputation is warranted with something such as a malignant tumor located there, severe infection, or if the toe is not salvageable from a HBC or something). Simply saying "the cat scratches my furniture" or "the cat is scratching my children who are grabbing it by the tail" is a terrible reason to do the surgery and to me would be a huge violation of the veterinary oath. Most likely the problem would NOT be solved with the surgery anyways, or it is a problem that could be helped with a bit of time and money invested into a behaviorist. I have seen many, many delawed cats at the humane society that were abandoned after surgery because they resort to biting since they can't use their claws, or they don't use their litter box anymore, or because they constantly cry because they are having phantom pains. It's already banned here in the bay area, and for good reason. Just wanted to point out that performing uneccessary surgery on a cat on the basis of it not having a home otherwise isn't a good reason to do it if your goal is to promote the anmals' welfare.

                      I guess that's my view on animal welfare then, it should be for the animal's best interest, and anything that is not necessarily in the best interest of the animal's comfort or wellbeing (well-faring, anyone?) should be carefully looked at and considered. As for animal rights, honestly I am not that well versed, but I do know that I can see both sides with regards to the fact that even if animals can't practice morality, it doesn't necessarily mean they should be denied all rights. We as humans are quite exploitative of animals, and linking back to animal welfare, there are many instances where upholding the best welfare for animals is violated because they have no rights. But that doesn't mean I'm some crazy PETA freak, it just means that although I am not for or supportive of animal rights, it is a bit of a grey area for me, so I'm not going to totally consider animal rights as lunacy. :laugh:
                       

                      shelterURIgirl

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                        I totally disagree. There are many people who own declawed cats that WOULDN'T own them if they weren't declawed. Sure, there are some people that declaw because the cat scratched the furniture, and yeah, some declawed cats end up at the shelter, but thats not really examining the big picture.

                        Declawing cats is not ideal, but consider how many cats are euthanized each year because they don't have homes. If somebody wants to declaw their cat, its the veterinarians duty to counsel and advise them. If they want to declaw because the cat is scratching the kids, then its the obligation of the vet to educate the owners. Making declawing illegal is taking away choice, and ultimately its going to take away a chance at life for many cats out there.

                        And since when does the law get to decide what procedures we as veterinarians can or cannot do? We are a profession and this topic is something our profession (AVMA) should decide on and regulate, not the public.

                        Just my opinion.
                         

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                          How can that be inalienable when justification is completely subjective?

                          Agreed.

                          Stop thinking about this in terms of ANIMAL RIGHTS - Animals have absolutely NO RIGHTS. Instead think of it in terms of human responsibilities to animals, and what OUR duties are to animals.

                          To suggest that animals have inherent rights, would by definition extend those rights into the 'wild'.
                          No animal has a right to live (otherwise they couldn't be eaten by a lion).
                          No animal has a right not to suffer a horrible and painful death (otherwise they couldn't be eaten (alive) by wolves)).
                          No animals has a right to not reproduce, otherwise they would not be forced to copulate in the wild.

                          When under our care however, I believe humans have responsibilities toward the welfare of animals in our charge - and we can and should be punished for violating these responsibilities.

                          But stop confusing HUMAN responsibilities towards animals with ANIMAL rights - because they just don't have any.
                           

                          StealthDog

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                            And since when does the law get to decide what procedures we as veterinarians can or cannot do? We are a profession and this topic is something our profession (AVMA) should decide on and regulate, not the public.

                            The law gets to decide when the public feels that the profession isn't keeping up with the current social ethic. That's why it's so important for groups like the AVMA and state veterinary boards to pay attention to how society feels about hot topic issues... unfortunately, the profession is rarely pushing ethical issues- usually it gets dragged into change after the societal ethic has already shifted.
                             

                            OtakuVet

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                              First evolution and creationism and now this? Are we really this bored!? :laugh:
                              Evolution and Creationism argument where? I always love a good laugh. Its one thing to have your own point of view its another when your points can just be silly. Being a science major, Ive always been in this little bubble where I thought every really did believe in the same things I did in regards to this hot subject along with others. Boy was I wrong when I decided to be a TA for a Bio 101 class and thus I found out the 101 ways to avoid to speak my mind to anyone who didnt have much of the same background as I unless brought up in casual conversation.
                               
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                              sumstorm

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                                Just as a nitpicking point, would you at all consider the fact that an onychectomy is just that - an amputation of the last phalanx of the toes? It is an extremley painful procedure that, in my opinion, should be banned for cosmetic/lazy purposes (unless the amputation is warranted with something such as a malignant tumor located there, severe infection, or if the toe is not salvageable from a HBC or something).

                                OK, so this always bothers me. How do you know it is an extremly painful procedure? Especially when performed pretty early in an animals life? Have you read pain studies for all the methods of performing this procedure? Does it matter at all if pain management is performed? I assume, since it is painful, you also disagree with removing dewclaws on dogs for any reason prior to trauma? I suppose we also shouldn't neuter/spay, since that involves pain, unless there is a tumor or pyometra? How about debudding cattle? Castrating livestock? If we are saying things shouldn't be done to animals because they may be painful, wouldn't that preclude many things that most of us consider completly reasonable?

                                We do perform procedures on human infants that are painful as well, at least when performed in an adult. I assume you object to those as well, because surely if we don't perform painful procedures on animals we won't do it on children?

                                Also, I don't know of anyone who declaws or removes dewclaws because they are unattractive.... they do it because of concerns over the use of those claws, justified or not. Having an adult cat who has done over $10k in damage in the past year (at the age of 9) for the first time in her life has greatly influenced my views on declaws when they are done well (surgical disarticulation or laser) and with appropriate pain management. If my cat was younger, I would consider it. Oh, and you are right...it is because I am soooooo very lazy. If I was really lazy, I would have ditched my cat 4 years ago after Rita took out my home and I lived in my car for months on end. Instead, I managed a litter box in 2 door car...in the same space I slept in. The clawing of furniture didn't start until after the most recent relocation. It took less than 48 hours to destroy at least $2k of furniture. Then I started vet school, and when my husband tried to trim nails, he got clawed. As an immunocompromised diabetic, that isn't a risk he can take. It costs $15 every two weeks to have the vet office trim the nails, and it freaks the cat out, which actually increases her stress, and thus the clawing. We tried glue on caps, she chews them off. So, you are right...the fact that we even consider it means that we are just lazy no good people searching for a cosmetic solution.

                                Simply saying "the cat scratches my furniture" or "the cat is scratching my children who are grabbing it by the tail" is a terrible reason to do the surgery and to me would be a huge violation of the veterinary oath.

                                Please, explain this to me.

                                The oath is:
                                Being admitted to the profession of veterinary medicine, I solemnly swear to use my scientific knowledge and skills for the benefit of society through the protection of animal health, the relief of animal suffering, the conservation of animal resources, the promotion of public health, and the advancement of medical knowledge.
                                I will practice my profession conscientiously, with dignity, and in keeping with the principles of veterinary medical ethics.
                                I accept as a lifelong obligation the continual improvement of my professional knowledge and competence.

                                How is a declaw procedure violating this oath? In the case of my husband, it would actually be performing a part of this oath by protecting public/human health.

                                Most likely the problem would NOT be solved with the surgery anyways, or it is a problem that could be helped with a bit of time and money invested into a behaviorist.

                                Have taken this cat to 3 behaviorists in 3 cities now. She has even been treated with anti anxiety meds. Her clawing is stress related. The current VET BEHAVIORIST recommendations are to declaw. So, please, let me know how the surgery (currently recommended) wouldn't solve the problem, but apparently an investment in money (already at over $1k just to resolve this issue) would? If you know so much, how about you tell me how to solve it? I still haven't declawed her, so I will be happy to have you prove your point in a challenging case.

                                . Just wanted to point out that performing uneccessary surgery on a cat on the basis of it not having a home otherwise isn't a good reason to do it if your goal is to promote the anmals' welfare.

                                My goal is to provide the best solutions for the client and the patient, which will be determined on an individual basis. My goal throughout my career isn't necessarily the promotion of animal welfare. I do believe that there will be people who abandon animals for really stupid reasons, but I also believer there are people who will not tolerate more than my annual tuition bill's worth of costs to deal with clawing issues that can be solved by a surgical procedure. I do believe in the oath, which was only adopted a decade ago (so the majority of practicing vets did not necessarily graduate with that oath as part of the veterinary philosophy) but do not believe in random interpretation or addition of phrases such as promoting animal welfare.

                                I guess that's my view on animal welfare then, it should be for the animal's best interest, and anything that is not necessarily in the best interest of the animal's comfort or wellbeing (well-faring, anyone?) should be carefully looked at and considered. As for animal rights, honestly I am not that well versed, but I do know that I can see both sides with regards to the fact that even if animals can't practice morality, it doesn't necessarily mean they should be denied all rights. We as humans are quite exploitative of animals, and linking back to animal welfare, there are many instances where upholding the best welfare for animals is violated because they have no rights. But that doesn't mean I'm some crazy PETA freak, it just means that although I am not for or supportive of animal rights, it is a bit of a grey area for me, so I'm not going to totally consider animal rights as lunacy. :laugh:


                                So, it is in the best interest of the animals comfort or well being to live with humans? to be consumed by humans? to be studied? to be used for medicine and trials? Is it best for them to be crated? to have their homelands destroyed for the construction of homes/buildings/farms/roads/etc?

                                I am all for making sure that animals do not suffer needlessly, but I do not believe that animals have rights. If I did, I would be living on a scavenging diet in a forest somewhere, embracing hte knowledge that I could be part of the dinner of a bigger carnivore. Animals are resources that should be used wisely and treated decently, but animals are not above humans, and we do strip humans of rights routinely (as children and as prisoners and even in the military and government.)

                                I fully support your right as a vet to chose not to do any procedure that you are not comfortable with, but I am not ok with banning other veterinarians from procedures because you, or even a group of veterinarians, object to those procedures. And I wish everyone who feel that animal welfare is of the utmost priority would have the same respect for the wild animals who are displaced by the development of society. To me, it is an odd contradition to thing it is ok to damage the welfare of some animals in order to promote the welfare of select others.
                                 

                                thereservoirdog

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                                  To suggest that animals have inherent rights, would by definition extend those rights into the 'wild'.
                                  No animal has a right to live (otherwise they couldn't be eaten by a lion).
                                  No animal has a right not to suffer a horrible and painful death (otherwise they couldn't be eaten (alive) by wolves)).
                                  No animals has a right to not reproduce, otherwise they would not be forced to copulate in the wild.

                                  Correct, which is why I used that all important word "justified". In nature, all those actions are justified. Is it justified for a man to torture an animal for his own pleasure, just because animals have no rights and the man wants to practice his inalienable right to the pursuit of happiness?

                                  I don't believe giving animals the rights we as humans are entitled to. I fully support the use of animals in medical research. However, I believe animals have a certain capacity for suffering and depending on the animal a certain level of sentience. If an animal has an interest in avoiding pain, I believe we can afford animals a certain amount of rights in order to protect them from undue suffering.
                                   

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                                    I believe we can afford animals a certain amount of rights in order to protect them from undue suffering.

                                    And while we agree on the conclusion, I don't think we will agree on route to get to that conclusion.

                                    I do not believe that anything you said = "Animals have a right to protect them(selves) from undue suffering".

                                    I do believe that we as a society have a responsibility to curtail the actions of other who do things that violate OUR societies accepted norms.

                                    Many religions sacrifice(d) animals - for (arguably) not more then the pleasure that a deranged man gets from torturing an animal (lets assume the pain to the animal is the same in both situations) - but one = OK by societies norms while the other is not.

                                    The rights of the animal are inconsequential;
                                     

                                    nyanko

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                                      Correct, which is why I used that all important word "justified". In nature, all those actions are justified. Is it justified for a man to torture an animal for his own pleasure, just because animals have no rights and the man wants to practice his inalienable right to the pursuit of happiness?

                                      The extent of the man's natural right to the pursuit of happiness stops where his legal rights do. He does not have a legal right to "torture" certain animals (that we as humans have deemed capable of feeling and expressing pain) for his own pleasure, just as he does not have a legal right to jerk off in public for the pursuit of happiness.

                                      The point of contention, though, is with the word "justifiable." That can either be a matter of personal ethics or a matter of legality. Of course it's easy for most well-adjusted people in our society to agree on the extreme examples like a person setting a cat on fire or throwing a dog off a bridge for no reason. Same with the opposite extreme, an experiment that might be quite painful for some rats or cats or dogs, but has a high probability to yield amazing medical breakthrough. Our world quite seldom works in extremes, though. There are shades of grey, and as long as those shades exist you can't say that a right is a right unless it's "justifiable." Then it's not a right anymore but merely a suggestion.

                                      So no, you still aren't saying that animals have rights.
                                       

                                      thereservoirdog

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                                        The extent of the man's natural right to the pursuit of happiness stops where his legal rights do. He does not have a legal right to "torture" certain animals (that we as humans have deemed capable of feeling and expressing pain) for his own pleasure, just as he does not have a legal right to jerk off in public for the pursuit of happiness.

                                        Yes, and what are the purposes of laws? To protect the rights of others. If animals have no rights, what is the purpose of animal cruelty laws? I don't think it is to simply protect man from having to witness another man torturing an animal.


                                        The point of contention, though, is with the word "justifiable." That can either be a matter of personal ethics or a matter of legality. Of course it's easy for most well-adjusted people in our society to agree on the extreme examples like a person setting a cat on fire or throwing a dog off a bridge for no reason. Same with the opposite extreme, an experiment that might be quite painful for some rats or cats or dogs, but if successful could yield some amazing medical breakthrough. Our world quite seldom works in extremes, though. There are shades of grey, and as long as those shades exist you can't say that a right is a right unless it's "justifiable." Then it's not a right anymore but merely a suggestion.

                                        So no, you still aren't saying that animals have rights.
                                        That's why you have the many other ethical theories such as utilitarianism to help decide what is justified or not. They all revolve around the concept of rights. Earlier you mentioned "inalienable" rights. Well even these basic rights can be taken away from a man if it is justifiable. That doesn't mean they aren't rights anymore.

                                        And while we agree on the conclusion, I don't think we will agree on route to get to that conclusion.

                                        I do not believe that anything you said = "Animals have a right to protect them(selves) from undue suffering".

                                        I do believe that we as a society have a responsibility to curtail the actions of other who do things that violate OUR societies accepted norms.

                                        Many religions sacrifice(d) animals - for (arguably) not more then the pleasure that a deranged man gets from torturing an animal (lets assume the pain to the animal is the same in both situations) - but one = OK by societies norms while the other is not.

                                        The rights of the animal are inconsequential;

                                        I'm glad we can agree, but I just think that the statement "animals have no rights" can cause more harm than good when misinterpreted. I agree that as a society we should be able to make proper, responsible moral decisions. But unfortunately we live in a society where you can hardly take your car to the mechanic without getting ripped off. I'd rather not use the honor system. And I have to disagree with your analogy with religious sacrifice. People sacrifice animals because they honestly believe that the God(s) will punish them if they don't, and that's why it's acceptable in their society. The torturer does it because it's fun.
                                         
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                                        nyanko

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                                          Yes, and what are the purposes of laws? To protect the rights of others. If animals have no rights, what is the purpose of animal cruelty laws? I don't think it is to simply protect man from having to witness another man torturing an animal.

                                          By and large animal cruelty laws are a matter of preventing violence that is in our society morally inacceptable. They don't exist to protect the animals; they exist because repeated abuse of animals is a signal of psychological problems that can escalate into violent behavior against society. And yes, it is disturbing and could even be seen as threatening to another human being to see a person torturing or abusing an animal, or to see an animal that has been tortured or abused.

                                          That's why you have the many other ethical theories such as utilitarianism to help decide what is justified or not. They all revolve around the concept of rights. Earlier you mentioned "inalienable" rights. Well even these basic rights can be taken away from a man if it is justifiable. That doesn't mean they aren't rights anymore.

                                          In a society like ours, it is justifiable to take those rights away from a person if and only if the person is incapable of exercising said rights without infringing on the selfsame rights of others within the bounds of law and society. If the person is later deemed capable of exercising those rights using moral judgment that fits within the norms and laws of society, the rights are returned to the individual*. That's a matter of individual responsibility and consequence. Animals are not capable of knowing where their own "rights" to life and well-being end with respect to the rights of others or making moral judgments based on that knowledge, so as I previously stated, cannot be afforded rights without that responsibility.

                                          *cases where the individual's right to life was taken away via the death penalty notwithstanding. you can't give that one back. ;)
                                           
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                                          thereservoirdog

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                                            By and large animal cruelty laws are a matter of preventing violence that is in our society morally inacceptable. They don't exist to protect the animals; they exist because repeated abuse of animals is a signal of psychological problems that can escalate into violent behavior against society. And yes, it is disturbing and could even be seen as threatening to another human being to see a person torturing or abusing an animal, or to see an animal that has been tortured or abused.

                                            Sorry, but animal cruelty laws were first developed somewhere around the 17th century. I think that was a bit of time before those modern psychological theories about violence were hypothesized. You really don't think animal cruelty laws are meant to protect animals? Interesting.


                                            In a society like ours, it is justifiable to take those rights away from a person if and only if the person is incapable of exercising said rights without infringing on the selfsame rights of others within the bounds of law and society. If the person is later deemed capable of exercising those rights using moral judgment that fits within the norms and laws of society, the rights are returned to the individual*. That's a matter of individual responsibility and consequence. Animals are not capable of knowing where their own "rights" to life and well-being end with respect to the rights of others or making moral judgments based on that knowledge, so as I previously stated, cannot be afforded rights without that responsibility.

                                            *cases where the individual's right to life was taken away via the death penalty notwithstanding. you can't give that one back. ;)

                                            I agree with you here, I did say earlier that I don't think animals deserve the same rights we do. I've only ever said that they deserve the right to protection from undue pain.
                                             

                                            Ausheya

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                                              Slightly unrelated, but... apparently animals used to be prosecuted for various things, like homicide. I don't really know the specifics. I read a little about it somewhere a couple years ago. How's that for animal rights? :p
                                               

                                              vnair2

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                                                @nyanko It is true that the "right to not suffer uneccessarily" is vague and not easy to define, but I dont think that means it isnt a right. There are many laws, regulations, and institutions that restrict the ways we can and cannot use animals in our daily lives. Personally I view these things as some form of collective consensus about what is or is not justified.

                                                @NoImagination your statements in my eyes are relatively contradictory. If animals have no rights (and most importantly no right to be protected from uneccessary harm) that under what basis do we have an obligation to protect their welfare. In some cases this basis is self centered, in that the animals benefit society directly (farm animals and such), but in many cases (such as companion animals) this is not true. Why do vets support euthanizing animals suffering from painful incurable diseases? Why do we run adoption shelters instead of just euthanizing strays? Why is it illegal for me to starve my own dog to death (in many states)?

                                                I have seen the claim "animals have no rights" many times on these boards, but repeatedly it seems like a misrepresentation of the person's actual beliefs, used merely because they are afraid of any association with the words "animal rights"
                                                 

                                                chris03333

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                                                  Simply saying "the cat scratches my furniture" or "the cat is scratching my children who are grabbing it by the tail" is a terrible reason to do the surgery and to me would be a huge violation of the veterinary oath.

                                                  Please quote what part of the veterinary oath you are referring to. I have no clue what you mean by that.
                                                   
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                                                    @NoImagination your statements in my eyes are relatively contradictory. If animals have no rights (and most importantly no right to be protected from unnecessary harm) that under what basis do we have an obligation to protect their welfare. In some cases this basis is self centered, in that the animals benefit society directly (farm animals and such), but in many cases (such as companion animals) this is not true. Why do vets support euthanizing animals suffering from painful incurable diseases? Why do we run adoption shelters instead of just euthanizing strays? Why is it illegal for me to starve my own dog to death (in many states)?

                                                    I believe our obligation to curtail animal suffering and prevent abuse stems from our societies rules/guidelines, and are not derived from any intrinsic 'rights' of the animal(s) in question.

                                                    Therefore, as our society changes and evolves, so do our obligation (or lack) to animals.

                                                    If animals had rights, they would not change over time, in respect to human society. Basically I believe that animal cruelty in the past was a function of accepted society norms and not that of the animals.

                                                    Why is it illegal for me to starve my own dog to death (in many states)?

                                                    As an example, imagine (I do not know if it was true) a time and place when starving an animal was accepted. At that time and place it was not 'animal cruelty', but the norm.

                                                    Now imagine 100 years from now, when (hypothetically) exotics wildlife like elephants and/or horse/dog racing has been outlawed (like Bull Fighting in many countries). People may look back at us and say "Those savage people were committing animal cruelty" or they may (as I believe) look back and say "Society back then tolerated such actions, and society has since evolved to outlaw those actions"

                                                    Have I made my opinion clearer?
                                                     

                                                    bunnity

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                                                      I think the issue with the above argument is you could apply it to human rights but it would not fit with how our society views human rights. Humans did not always have the concept of human rights, or at least ones that applied to all humans. Life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness were only formalized a couple hundred years ago, and are not rights in every country today. So do humans have unalienable rights, or has our society evolved in what are acceptable ways for humans to treat each other? Do we have unalienable rights because we say we do, or because of something inherent in us?
                                                       

                                                      vnair2

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                                                        I think the issue with the above argument is you could apply it to human rights but it would not fit with how our society views human rights. Humans did not always have the concept of human rights, or at least ones that applied to all humans. Life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness were only formalized a couple hundred years ago, and are not rights in every country today. So do humans have unalienable rights, or has our society evolved in what are acceptable ways for humans to treat each other? Do we have unalienable rights because we say we do, or because of something inherent in us?

                                                        Agreed. Historically there have been many societies where people's so called inalienable right to life have been routinely and acceptably violated, just as there are societies where animals assorted rights have been violated. The rights of both people and animals have developed over time, the rights of people have just developed faster.

                                                        Quite honestly I think the problem lies with the definition of inalienable rights. Im not convinced that any creature has inalienable rights. Ethics evolve over time and who is to say what is or is not moral. I want to believe that morals are evolving towards some perfect morale state that defines are absolute inalienable rights, but Im not convinced.
                                                         
                                                        About the declawthing... all I have to say is that if you don't want an animal that scratches, then don't get a cat. Get something else. It's painfully obvious. Billions of cats are going to die regardless because that's how society is and it won't change in my lifetime.

                                                        I don't agree with it. Unless there is some magic law that makes de-claws illegal, then I don't have a choice.
                                                         

                                                        bunnity

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                                                          About the declawthing... all I have to say is that if you don't want an animal that scratches, then don't get a cat. Get something else. It's painfully obvious. Billions of cats are going to die regardless because that's how society is and it won't change in my lifetime.

                                                          I don't agree with it. Unless there is some magic law that makes de-claws illegal, then I don't have a choice.

                                                          I think declaws should be a last resort but I do not agree with your reasoning here at all. First of all, most cats can be trained to use a scratching post or wear the claw covers. A few cannot. So it is not reasonable to say: if you want an animal that does not scratch, don't get a cat. It's like saying that since a few dogs bite, if you want an animal that doesn't bite, don't get a dog. There is a middle ground here: pet owners need to understand that a house with pets will likely be less than immaculate, but that does not mean that a pet can scratch/bite whatever and, more importantly, whoever, for the next ten to twenty years and that the owner should just suck it up.

                                                          A lot of my current job is educating people about basic animal care. Many of the adopters think a declaw is a standard part of being a responsible owner ("I took really good care of my cat - I declawed him and everything!") and I explain what the operation entails and the trauma to the cat and the possible complications. I actively discourage people every day from declawing. But a lot more people than you think are immunocompromised or have other valid reasons for needing to declaw. For a baby or an HIV positive person or an elderly person with thin skin, a cat scratch can be devastating. The health of a human does take precedence over the health of an animal.

                                                          The second to last thing you said really offends me as a shelter worker and someone who plans to dedicate their life to combating overpopulation. So billions of animals die in shelters, and there's nothing anyone can do about it? Is that really how you look at life? Are you going to bother advocating spays and neuters for your patients since billions of animals are dying anyway? That is disgustingly complacent and makes me wonder if you really value animal welfare at all. Since it appears that you have never been in a shelter, I will tell you with 100% certainty that it is better for a cat to be declawed than it is to leave their home, be shoved in a cage in a room with hundreds of other cats, inevitably get sick, and then sit in that tiny cage for a few months with people staring at them, dogs barking at them all day, and no chance to exercise. Every cat that is surrendered for scratching means another cat that is euthanized. Every cat that we can find a way to keep in their home means another cat that lives. It's as simple as that. And if we as vets and animal welfare advocates don't think unwanted animals dying is our problem, then who is going to fix it?

                                                          The last thing you said also makes no sense. Just because declaws are legal doesn't mean a particular vet has to perform them. Ear docking is legal in the US and I doubt most vets perform ear docks. I may not do declaws as a vet - since there is a lot of potential for infection I may refer them to a better surgeon (depending on how good I turn out to be at surgery). There is a big difference between what you, personally, do as a vet, and wanting to take away other vets' choices for what they, personally, do as vets.
                                                           

                                                          bunnity

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                                                            I'm leaning towards coming back, yeah. I think I can do more good as a vet than anything else (and definitely more than arguing with people on the internet lol). I'll let you know when I reach a final decision.
                                                             

                                                            Minnerbelle

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                                                              as for the declawing... i run an itty bitty no-kill shelter, and our policy is that we will not adopt out our animals to people who will consider declawing their cats. every time we hear a potential bring up "scratching-issues," we tell them to expect that a cat will scratch, and we explain to them exactly what a declaw is, and if they still would like to consider declawing, then we tell them that there are plenty of sweet-as-pie declawed shelter animals in other humane societies and that they should pick one that's already been declawed. saves a shelter kitty and also prevents another from getting declawed.

                                                              of course it's not ideal, but if someone already has a cat that they want to declaw, and the cat would be happier in that home as a declawed cat than as a shelter cat... then i think the more ethical thing to do as a vet is to just perform the procedure with the best technology and pain management as possible. of course, if it's likely that the claws weren't the only thing "wrong" with the cat and the owner is likely to dump the cat for other reasons in the future (e.g. litter box issues), then maybe it's better for that cat to end up in the shelter with claws.

                                                              as for animals having rights... i don't really believe they do. i think it's more like people HAVE the capacity to ponder ethics, and therefore have the obligation to behave according to their morals. because morality is subjective, there are core rules that are a part of an accepted social norm and are thus enforced (i.e. laws), and then there's the gray zone that not everyone believes in. a lot of opinions about how animals should be treated fall within the latter. but generally it's recognized that animals can suffer, and beyond what laws dictate people can/cannot do to animals, individualshave the responsibility to minimize the pain they inflict on animals.

                                                              so i don't think it's so much that an animal has the right to live/not suffer, but rather that people have a moral obligation to minimize the suffering an animal faces if it's feasible to do so.
                                                               

                                                              sumstorm

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                                                                About the declawthing... all I have to say is that if you don't want an animal that scratches, then don't get a cat. Get something else. It's painfully obvious. Billions of cats are going to die regardless because that's how society is and it won't change in my lifetime.

                                                                I don't agree with it. Unless there is some magic law that makes de-claws illegal, then I don't have a choice.

                                                                I obtained my cat before I had an immunocompromised husband. Also, she never used her claws on unapproved objects for over 6 years. 6 relocations in the past 3 created a lot of anxiety for her. That combined with her nails hardening and being more difficult to tidy up by clawing and having a hard time retracting them (no idea why, but she gets 'stuck' on carpets and similar surfaces frequently.)

                                                                So, from what you are saying, when my cat first scratched my husband, which was unintentional, I should have dumped my cat? Or should I have given her up when I married someone who was immunocompromised?

                                                                Please note, I still haven't declawed my cat....but I will confess that I feel pushed closer to making that decision, and I NEVER thought I would be willing to consider it for my own animals. I don't expect to have a spotless home; I have 6 dogs, 2 of which are SAR certified, and 2 cats. I grew up on a farm and worked in a zoo where I slept in my office as many nights as I went home. This isn't someone saying 'oh, my furniture isn't perfect.' I am talking about furniture and WALLS that are shredded, by a cat who never did this before. The same furniture had occasional claw marks from the cat leaping from it, but there is a difference between an occasional incident and having to worry whether in this destruction if this cat or another pet is ingesting the material being torn off the furniture and walls. We have tried the comfort sprays, nail caps, sticky tape, scat mats (which I am not fond of), air sprays, pharms, and isolating her to a few rooms. If she is isolated she will claw herself and pluck fur with enough force to create wounds. She has 4 cat towers each with different types of carpet, each over 6 ft tall with different set ups. There are flat surface and slant surface carpet, sisal, and cardboard scratchers, multiples in every room. We routinely play with her on these, and she DOES use them. Even if I trim her nails, she will be clawing the same day.

                                                                This isn't normal scratching, this is anxiety related. Should I have not attended vet school because it increased her anxiety? Should we both quit all our activities, including employment, because along with generalized anxiety she has seperation anxiety? My husband SWORE we would never have another cat....we actually obtained a kitten to ease some of her SA (and that has helped with behavior issues more than any other thing we did, and we were advised that it was VERY unlikely to help and could make things much worse.) This is also a very well trained cat....when she was younger, she traveled on planes with me all the time. She walks on a leash, comes when called, does tricks on cue, and doesn't ever get on a counter. She has 'mats' in every room and goes there on cue. I don't think this is something that training is going to fix, because I have tried.

                                                                I do feel that my options are extremly limited, and I would love another EFFECTIVE solution besides declaw or abandonment. Two years now. 2nd cat for 1 year has actually decreased but not eliminated the issue. BTW, all the damage is by the older cat. We have hundreds of hours of film, because we wanted to be sure the kitten didn't pick up this habit.
                                                                 

                                                                DVMDream

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                                                                  I do feel that my options are extremly limited, and I would love another EFFECTIVE solution besides declaw or abandonment. Two years now. 2nd cat for 1 year has actually decreased but not eliminated the issue. BTW, all the damage is by the older cat. We have hundreds of hours of film, because we wanted to be sure the kitten didn't pick up this habit.

                                                                  Have you tried the pheromone diffusers instead of the sprays. It is like an air freshner plug-in with the anxiety medication pheromones in it. We have had clients who absolutely love them. Maybe that will work better than the sprays since it is constantly going and is at a height level with her sense of smell. Good Luck to you; you have stuck it out a long time. I would have gotten frustrated a long time ago and had her declawed. (Even though I do not really like declaws, but I am not completely against them.) Again, good luck and other than the diffusers, I can’t think of anything else, you have tried many things and hopefully you can find something that will work out for the best. Keep us updated on how she is doing and what you eventually decide. :luck:
                                                                   

                                                                  Pointer1330

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                                                                    This is an easy one. First, animals don't and shouldn't have any rights, and I thought No Imagination summed the point up well.

                                                                    Second, I will perform tail docks, remove dewclaws, crop ears, and do declaws if the client so chooses. I will also use appropriate pain medication when possible depending on the age and procedure. I feel that if you think you're torturing an animal by doing any of these things, then don't do them. Just don't tell your clients they're horrible people for wanting them done, because that client owns that animal and makes decisions for them. If you feel like you can offer some different alternatives, then there's nothing wrong with that.

                                                                    I personally can't seem to find any psychological problems with my pets, all 3 of which have docked tails and 1 which has cropped ears.

                                                                    I don't really think my opinion will matter much though, as I'm sure in my lifetime some or all of these procedure will eventually be illegal to perform.
                                                                     
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