My country decided that animal sacrifice in the name of religion is constitutional
Another person said that s(he) can't form an opinion because s(he) eats meat, and it is almost the same thing. She feels it's wrong, but at the same time thinks it's prejudice against some religions if we are worried about a couple of animals and continue to kill millions just to eat.
I can agree and disagree with this point, but one thing being wrong doesn't give a pass to other things.
But if we agree that it's constitutional to sacrifice animals, then what certain religions do to women (or any person) should be at the same level.
That's why i disagree at the end. It shouldn't be allowed, period.
The animal being sacrificed didn't chose to be there, nor the human being mistreated.
What are your opinions? Can someone point what i'm thinking wrong here?
PS: Sorry for my poor wording because english is not my first language. I wanted to know the opinion here about morals or what is right or wrong, not the law itself. Of course that any discussion on that is welcome too.
Uh, there's a big, big, big difference between sacrificing an animal and sacrificing a person. I can't possibly see how anyone could make this statement and assume it's logically sound so casually.
The only other place I can remember seeing people equated with animals in law so casually, and so incorrectly, are all those nonsense arguments against gay marriage ("what's next, marrying dogs?!").
It is an extremely valid question. There is a branch of philosophical thought which says that any sentient being (a being which can sense and respond to pain) should have the right to freedom from pain. Humans are not the only sentient animals: all mammals are sentient (they sense and respond to pain), and many other animals are also sentient. If we, as sentient beings, have the right to freedom from pain, why do not other sentient beings have the same right? If a being can feel pain, why should it not have a right to be free from pain and the suffering that pain causes?
It's a very valid question, which professors of philosophy have considered and are still debating.
Humans can do arithmatic.
so can bees
And...? How does adding 2 and 2 provide us with some sort of special protection against pain?
Its a higher order of protection. This isnt a black and white problem, but you asked how a human life is different from an animals, and when it comes down to it, a humans very understanding of pain and suffering is larger than a sompler creature's.
Have you ever seen a dog cower when a human raises their hand to hit it? I'd say that dog has a pretty good understanding of pain and suffering: it recognises that the pain is coming, it knows the pain will hurt, and it fears the pain. Then, when the human hits the dog, it feels pain, and it suffers from the pain. How is that different from your understanding of pain?
Extending from this, humans can cognitively reason about pain. Dogs and other animals can't. They don't know why they're in pain, just that they are. They end up being not only hurt, but confused and afraid, making their experience of pain arguably worse than our own. Animals are very much like perpetual children, and one wouldn't consider a child somehow lesser than an adult in terms of priority of protection--indeed, we typically prioritize children above ourselves.
What do you consider pain to be? Simple machines can be created that appear to show pain and can even replicate simple stimulus response behaviors. Worms will writhe and respond when they're poked. Does that imply the worm's experience of pain is on the same level as a dog? What behaviors of a dog suggest it's on the same level as a human?
That's actually a very good question.
I can't define what pain is. The only definition I have is a tautology: pain is that which hurts.
However, through personal experience and observation, I've got a fairly good handle on what pain feels like to me, and the types of things that cause it in me. I've also noticed that pain produces various responses from me: I'm likely to make a noise expressing my hurt, I'm likely to cringe from the source of the pain, I'm likely to nurse the injured part of my body. And, if I see the same pain-causing stimulus again, I'm likely to avoid it. They're all subjective experiences, but I can only know myself. And, through knowing myself, I have learned what my internal feeling of pain is, and what my external responses to pain are.
Separately to my observations of pain in myself, I also have a theory of sentience regarding other beings. I know that I am sentient, which means that I sense certain stimuli and respond to them in various ways. I assume that, if other beings react to stimuli and events in similar ways to me, they are probably sentient like me. If they act like a sentient being, then I assume they are sentient and treat them accordingly. If it walks like a duck, swims like a duck, and quacks like a duck, I'm happy to assume it is, in fact, a duck.
So, when I see another being respond to a stimulus by making an expressive noise, cringing from the stimulus, and nursing part of their body, I assume it is feeling what I call "pain". When I see these pain-type responses in humans and non-humans animals, I'm happy to assume that they are also feeling pain.
Even though I can't define pain, I can observe it - or, at least, I can observe responses to it. If I see a pain response, I'll assume it's being caused by pain, and that the being I'm observing is therefore feeling pain.
If a dog whimpers and bites and runs away and favours or licks part of its body, these look like pain responses, so I'll assume they're being caused by pain, and that the dog is therefore feeling pain. Same for a worm.
In a biological sense, pain is an organism's response to negative stimuli, and is intended to protect the organism from damage by making them retreat from the negative stimulus and avoid it in future. As animals, humans, dogs, and worms all have a nervous system, which is the mechanism by which we sense our environment and stimuli within that environment. I'm happy to assume that, if a stimulus causes pain in my nervous system, it will similarly cause pain in another animal's nervous system. I've confirmed this assumption through observation: for example, when I've seen dogs fall over and hurt their legs, they whimper just like I would if I fell over and hurt my leg. That which causes pain in me also appears to cause pain in them. We are similar in that regard. Worms are a bit more different from me than dogs, but they do still respond to some pain stimuli: if you bring an open flame toward them, they back away from it, just like I would.
So, a stimulus which causes pain responses in me can cause pain responses in dogs and worms, and I assume that a being which demonstrate pain responses is feeling pain. That's good enough for me to be able to say that dogs and worms feel pain.
And, if pain is bad for me, it's also bad for them. It might be bad for each of us in different ways, but it's still bad.
I just want to address a small point here: there's actually a very big disconnect between the physical reflex associated with pain and the actual cognitive processing of it. If you burn yourself, for example, you'll react physically before your brain has actually had time to elicit the sensation of pain. Thus, a reflex isn't necessarily indicative of pain sensation.
With that out of the way, I'd like to point to good old Occam's razor: If an animal experiences damaging stimulus and then hesitates around or actively avoids that damaging stimulus in the future, then odds are far better than not that they're experiencing the actual sensation of pain. Avoidance is a learned behavior, and one that you don't learn from every reflexive twitch of your body--it's one you learn from the twitches that are accompanied by an incredibly intense and uncomfortable neurological sensation that you desperately want to never experience again (unless, you know, you're into that kind of thing).
This is serendipitous. The Life Scientific started just as I was reading your comment
The Life Scientific - Irene Tracey on pain in the brain.
Thank you for such a thorough reply. I don't have too much to add but I think you might find this article interesting as it's basically advocating that we will create fake dogs who fake pain.
I don't see anything in that blog piece about robot pets which says they will or should fake pain. It's mostly about: humans feeling affection for robotic pets even though the pets don't feel affection, and; robotic pets could have added non-animal features.
Humans are a higher form of life. If you cant grasp this fundamental then I have nothing more to say, as nothing will convince you anyway.
You're making lots of assertions, but you're not backing them up with evidence or logic, which is why I'm not convinced.
Are you sure thats why? Are you sure its not because youre asking for empirical evidence that youre smarter than your dog?
Sorry, couldnt resist. You do you, man, just because we dont see eye to eye doesnt mean we cant coexist.
No, I'm asking for evidence that being smarter is somehow relevant when it comes to feeling pain and whether someone/something that feels pain has the right to not have pain inflicted on them/it. I don't see how being smarter matters in this regard. If that was true, then all those members of Mensa should have the highest rights in the world to freedom from suffering, and all the world's morons would be free targets for everyone else to punch. If higher intelligence provides more rights, then we'd all better get our IQ test results ready.
So, that's what I'm waiting for evidence to support: that higher intelligence provides more rights.
You ever read something that makes you wonder if youve gone insane? Thats this whole conversation, for me.
I dont have anything to add. I'm honestly struggling to find a way to phrase this that doesnt come off as insulting, because I dont know how to respond to someone who unironically thinks this way. So... You do you. Thats all I got. If you believe that an animal's pain is equivelent to a human's, then, uh... I donno. I just... Donno.
Algernon's entire side of this is something to consider whether you believe in it or not.
I intuitively value humans and human life more and I'm not genuinely proposing that we should be hard-pressed to choose between saving a dog and a little girl from a fire, but it's useful to think about why we think this way. Your answers aren't really satisfactory. Intelligence is a really messed up metric and I would hope we can agree that people with profound intellectual disabilities have just as much of a right to life (or painlessness, as the conversation was going before) as the rest of us.
Maybe you can argue that ethics are some innate part of us and what feels right is right. That's a rough road, but it's more of an answer. Still, it doesn't discount the usefulness of exploring how we might not have any logical reason (or at least not one that's logically consistent with our other beliefs) at all for something as basic as "why do we matter more than animals?"
My point was potential intelligence. Certainly I dont mean to suggest that your IQ should determine your worth to live, but when it comes down to it, the reaosn I'd save a person's life over an animal's is because the person is a rational, thinking, feeling being in a way that far exceeds any other animal, and thats more worth preserving. This is a satisying answer to me, and I just assumed that it was self evident.
Well now you have a reason for intelligence mattering that doesn't match the kind of intelligence you're looking for. If you mean the potential of the individual, consider cases where someone was severely disabled at birth. They never had that potential. If the potential of the species...well the potential of the species has no impact on whether the person in this case can reason, think, and feel more than any animal.
Clearly there's something acting on your definition for intelligence for this anyway, otherwise why does it matter in some cases and not others? Why an arbitrary kind of intelligence that doesn't even have an impact on the thoughts and feelings of the individual? Personally, I'd say the way out of this box is to say you're relying on intuition and stop trying to put another reason on it like that (unless you have something else like maybe a religious reason). If you're going to try and reason your way there, you either haven't said or don't have enough to get there.
Your conclusion is self-evident for most of us, sure, but your reason for it reads as a justification working backwards from your feelings. That's fine and all, I think ethics should always be grounded in what we intuitively want to see the world be like, but you're presenting it as something else.
I suggest you look up Professor Peter Singer's book 'Animal Liberation', or just about any work by him. He and other philosophers have discussed this long before you & I started this conversation. It's an important philosophical issue: what is a "person" that we accord moral rights to? How do we define "personhood"?
In the Mass Effect games I think it's mentioned that the Salarians use "can some members of this species understand calculus" as a way to decide who's "sapient" or not. It's a throwaway joke, but it does hint at the kind of difficult philosophical questions that can arise in a universe with a variety of intelligent life.
That mighve been where I got it from, come to think of it.
Let's actually try to draw a nontrivial difference between a human and an animal. I mean nontrivial in that "We should be able to kill something because its DNA is different" is an absolutely terrible argument.
Are animals dumb, and humans smart? I'd argue babies are dumb as shit, and are far stupider than most trained dogs. Therefore under that division babies aren't much more different than animals. Similar situation with mentally retarded people.
Can humans live in society with a sort of social contract to contribute and receive the benefits, while animals cannot? I'd argue that animals must be able to do this as some are housepets that don't bite the hand that feeds them, just as you don't waltz into work and execute your boss.
Are animals not capable of feeling love, while humans are? There are all those news stories of dogs running into burning buildings to save their owners, so I don't know.
My point is that any sort of nontrivial division we place between humans and animals inevitably some animals will fall on the wrong side of the division or some humans will fall on the wrong side of the division. That should answer your question as to why they were asking for the difference between a human being and an animal; They were not asking for the actual difference (thats just DNA), they were asking for a difference that could reasonably be used as justification for sacrificing them.
As a result of this inability to divide them, if we are trying to say "We ought to be able to sacrifice animals and not humans because X", then that reason must also include some humans or exclude some animals, and is therefore logically inconsistent because we cannot separate animals and humans nontrivially.
That assumes there is a correct answer to something being right and wrong and that humans should follow whatever logic they work out. But babies are dumb, and if it weren't for their emotional connection, appearance as human, and mental potential we probably would kill them. A similar situation with retarded people, without the emotional bonds, appearance, and uncertainty surrounding their experiences we might decide to kill them too.
Well yeah I'd say that there probably isn't a correct answer. But I do think that having a good argument to support your actions regarding killing something is pretty important.
Those are totally valid reasons not to kill something, and are fairly strong reasons not to imo. My point was that two of those also apply to some animals, and "similar appearance" is not a valid reason to value one life over another. If it was considered reasonable to kill a living thing just because it does not look like me, that could be used to justify a lot of horrible stuff.
I'd just like to make clear that I'm not condoning killing babies, the mentally handicapped, or the elderly. What I am arguing is 1. We should have a clear justification and moral grounding for killing something -> 2. If that moral grounding is inconsistent it is not useful in determining what we ought to do (by definition; if you have morals but don't follow them, what use are the morals?) -> 3. Therefore we should re-examine how we morally justify killing.
I don't think anyone here is advocating hurting babies or people in any way. I think it's completely fair to want a moral grounding, but to also realize our knowledge of the world is limited and filled with a tremendous amount of complexity. For those reasons I'd say that moral foundation is only useful as a guide but can also often be ignored.
seems manipulative in favor of non human animals
That's the point, yes. It's a case where an animal is smarter than a human. I don't really get the point you're trying to make here
It's up for debate whether animals feel pain to the same capacity as humans. We can only ever really understand how other humans experience pain, it's a leap to guess animals' subjective experiences of the outside world are any different.
It's subjective to even evaluate infliction of suffering as inherently bad. We inflict suffering all the time as a punitive measure against transgressors against the social order and as "necessary evil."
A lot of the distaste around this comes from an idea of "dirty hands" but gets talked about as a universal moral principle. If death of animals is bad, then why is killing a deer by habitat destruction to grow palm oil preferable to killing it by buckshot to the throat? There is an argument about intentionality, but at the same time with environmental impact analysis being a thing we kind of know with some degree of confidence how many animals will die as a result of actions we take. Yet "reduction in deer population by 20,000" doesn't seem to raise the same hackles as "hunted and killed 20,000 deer" does. Although if I was a deer, given a choice between spending my whole life being stunted until I starve to death from lack of food and being well fed but likely to get shot once I reach maturity I'd probably choose the latter (though I wouldn't be thrilled about either).
It's not even really clear that pain itself is something to build moral heirarchies around. It's possible that we just privilege it because of an anthropocentric bias. As humans we're mammalian animals. We feel pain because it's a stimulus that tells an animal to get out of whatever pain-causing situation its in and to avoid it in the future. We also are close enough to other mammals that their ways of communicating distress are intelligible to us. But all this means is that their behaviors are familiar, not that they have the same value as moral agents that we do. We can't understand the vocalizations of a fish as well, so lots of people are kind of okay with fish just because they're less sympathetic.
To take it further, fungi, plants, and yeast don't vocalize or communicate at all (or maybe they can and we just can't tell). In some cases they just didn't need to evolve signals to avoid a place because they can't move or ways to communicate because they aren't social. But they still react to outside stimulus. There are plants that emit chemical signals when they're damaged. These chemicals can do all sorts of things. They can be a skin irritant to whoever is eating them, a cue to other plants in the area to close up, grow more thorns, or slow their rates of growth, or they can even attract predator species of the animal eating them or swarms of ants to come defend their habitat. Can we not interpret this as a "cry for help" not unlike a bellowing animal would emit? Or are we just more comfortable with killing those plants because we're deaf to their "screams" (if they have them)?
Would you struggle to choose whether to kill a human or an animal?
Depends. If it's a person I know and love and a random animal, I probably would kill the animal, and vice versa.
Just to enforce it: I don't agree that sacrificing anything in the name or religion is right. Be it human or animal.
Here's the thing though, i don't think we are different than animals. I mean, there is homossexual behaviour in animals too. I'm just pointing out so people here don't think i'm against anything.
I do think animals should have almost the same rights as we have (to live, for example). We evolved in other areas better than other species, the same way that other species have advantages over us in other areas.
I don't see people as equal animals, i see animals are almost equal as us.
We're peculiar, but we are not better than any of them. In the end, we are the ones who are destroying everything because of greed.
Thinking we are better than other species is something subjective. We are measuring using some kind of unit we created.
Your comment makes me want to re-read Animal Farm as a literal story instead of allegory. Four legs good, two legs bad.
It only matters what is codified in law.
Does your country's body of laws treat an animal as a person? Is an animal entitled to all the same rights, privileges, and opportunities by law as a human being would be in your country? That is the only way I can see making such an equivalence part of the premise of the argument so casually.
Since english is not my first language, i may have made a mess out of the subject.
I was conflating what is constitutional with what is moral. Because when people see something as constitutional, a lot of them see it as something that is not wrong. What i wanted to ask is if you think this is right, not necessarily legal.
In the end, i still think if they say it's ok to kill or inflict suffering in the name of religion, it should apply with everyone. They can say it's humane killing, but i doubt the animal isn't in any distress.
I would say it's more of an ethical question than a religious one. It has certainly been considered by secular philosophers without any reference to religions or deities.
What do we do with animals eating each other? If animals have a right to eat each other, and if we are no different than them, why should we lack that right?
What do we do if plants turn out to feel pain (e.g. see this, they can feel things)?
How do we decide that pain is immoral? Hedonism is not the only school of thought out there.
Do animals not die if we don't eat them?
Are we not fundamentally different from animals in that we are us?
How is religious sacrifice is any different from usual immolation for consumer meat? Especially if the resulting meat is consumed thereafter?
Why should we extend human concepts like freedom and right to animals, but not others like responsibility and morals? If eating animals is immoral, because it is a violation of its right to live, why do we not charge animals with murder when they eat other animals?
I am all for animal rights and I love animals. I am also an irreligious atheist. But this is an extreme PoV. It is a central concept of nature that living things feed on other living things (including plants), the food chain. I don't get why it is immoral to be a part of that, and how religious sacrifice is any different unless it is done cruelly by non professionals or the resulting meat is not consumed but burned or whatnot.
Animals don't have a world of intertwined labor, social communication, exploration and art. Humans built a while incredibly rich world, absolutely vastly superior to what any other animal has ever done. From atom level precision tools to TV shows - our world to animals is like animals to inorganic matter. Animals are not like humans.
Some have, to a degree.
And this only matters to us. You are measuring superiority by your own standards. This is a metric that you (us) created.
We build precision tools and tv shows, but we are still abusing the planet. We didn't evolve the way we treat our environment. We are already suffering the consequences because of our choices. We still have wars because of religion, we still have prejudice, we still don't see each other as equals be it because of skin, gender, beliefs or country.
All we did was create things for a better life for us. Seeing from the outside, from the perspective of a living entity that is all our planet, we did nothing to make it better.
There is a difference just like there is a difference among individuals. Humans are different to one another - some a babies, some are young, some are old, some are clever, some are stupid, some can’t feel any pain, some can’t feel anything at all, nor have a brain that is capable of anything more than a dog, and some are capable of a whole lot.
Just like there is a difference among people, there are differences among species. As far as we know, humans are the most developed animals. But only as far as we know, and only now. Could easily be different in the future.
None of this makes for good excuses for why we are allowed to force other living, feeling, sentient beings to serve under our will when it’s not necessary. We understand that we don’t want to suffer, so we shouldn’t make other beings suffer either if we can help it. Or at least not do so while asking others to respect our well-being. Not when it’s not necessary.
None of that has to do with law, though. Can you point to any country whose laws treat a person and an animal as a like entity?
India confers some special status to specific animals that display high levels of cognition or social intelligence. IIRC this includes apes, cetaceans (dolphins specifically), and elephants. They're not quite on par with people, but they are afforded elevated protection among animals and it's suggested (though not generally operationalized) that the government and industry take special care to respect their rights to life and autonomy to manage themselves.
Arguably, there are also religious laws being pushed that seek to elevate the cow's status in this way as well. There's plenty of people who complain that the Sangh Parivar actually venerates and protects cows above people.
I don’t understand why you are talking about laws. This post is specifically about right or wrong, not what is lawful and unlawful.
...This entire post is about a matter of constitutional law decided on by a country's Supreme Court in a court case. Also, I specified "animals in law" in my comment so even if you somehow missed that the issue is over a law (which it is), the context of my comment is still about law.
Yes, but it's not about whether or not it's lawful (that's a matter of fact, not an opinion), it's about whether it should be lawful or not.
Sure, but I'm saying that if one of the assumptions of the argument in the matter of law is "this means we can sacrifice people", it brings the whole thing to a halt because it's not a valid assumption.
Like it or not, this is a matter of law. Suggesting that animals are equal to people in law is not a small statement.
The topic mentions constitutionality twice. That's a legal concept, rather than a moral or ethical one.
It's not asking about whether it's lawful or not, it's specifically not asking that. The point of the topic is whether it's morally sound.
There's lots of stuff that may be immoral to do, but creating laws to restrict it can actually yield even more immoral outcomes.
Controls on free speech are a great example. There's tons of stuff that it's immoral to say, but state power deployed to regulate speech is such a dangerous proposition that we leave it outside the state's scope of powers to get too zealous about clamping it down.
Abortion is a similar one. You may think it's personally wrong, but is it your business to be making the moral choice for someone else? What about gay marriage?
I was explaining why @TheJorro was talking about laws, not about what the OP is actually asking. Given that the OP mentions constitutionality a couple of times, it's only natural to discuss the legal aspects of killing animals.
I see your point
... however the topic isn't about whether it's lawful or not. Those are facts that OP is aware of. It's about if it should be or not, hence why I still believe @TheJorro's comments are unwarranted and missing the mark.
If @TheJorro missed the mark, I would lay responsibility for that with @Grand0rbiter, who has admitted they did not write their prompt as clearly as they might have done.
I invoke the 5th!!!
Yes. Sorry, it was poor wording on my part. I edited the main post to clarify a little. Please correct me if it's still confusing.
There is no Fifth Amendment in Brazil. :P
(Yes, I tracked it down.)
It's fine now. The "P.S." explains your point.
Yes, so it's not about if it's lawful or not, it's about right or wrong, as I said.
Does death equate always equate to suffering? And if death necessarily involves suffering, then why must we avoid inflicting it on other beings? I'm not aware of wolves going hungry because of moral objections. Death is part of life and holding humans to some standard that isn't found in nature is, itself, unnatural.
Death doesn't always equate to suffering in the physical sense. However in an objective sense, by killing someone, you are taking their possibility of experiencing future joys and so on, which is a kind of suffering. However not something they will feel since they are dead. But you are still taking something away from them in any case.
Anyways, the point is necessary or not.
For a wolf, it's necessary to hunt and kill. For humans getting their food from a supermarket, it isn't to get the necessary nutrients to be healthy. Sometimes however it's necessary to kill another human. For example in self defence, in which case it's morally okay and it's also lawful. But when it's not necessary, it's not morally right, or lawful, to kill another human. And my point is that when it's not necessary to kill a non-human animal, it shouldn't be considered morally right nor should it be lawful. We extend that respect to other humans, whether they extend it back at us or not (babies don't, mentally handicapped people in some cases don't, evil people don't, and so on), why not to non-humans who only kill to survive? And who not to non-humans who doesn't even kill except by accident, like a cow?
Thank you for the response.
I struggle with this argument because I some part of me wants to be that person who is striving for a higher morality but I'm pulled back because it doesn't reflect the world we live (just the world some might wish us to live in). I'll respond point-by-point with some counter-arguments, some of which I hold more strongly to be personally true than others.
This is surely true of other omnivores as well. It's not purely a "we need this to live" thing is it. A large subset of humans prefer to eat meat and we seemed geared to have a taste for it from a survival standpoint. So let's set the "we don't need meat to live" argument aside, just because we know that's not an effective argument against those who want to consume meat.
When I think of that argument in terms of hunting/eating meat it sort of resonates. The problem is people don't want to stop eating meat and they don't want to feel bad about eating it, so the dissonance is strong. So let's set that aside for now as a separate argument.
Thinking more broadly, what about animal testing? What about bomb-sniffing dogs? The proverbial canary in the coal mine?
I'm not sure we extend it, nor should extend it, in the same manner to animals.
Let's play the "Trolley Problem".
An animal and a human are on separate tracks. The train won't stop. You are responsible or switching the tracks. Do you switch it so the animal is killed or the human? If you responded "I'd kill the human" then I think we're not going to ever see eachother's view points and we might both make better use of our time. If you responded "I'd kill the animal" then we recognize that we're placing more value on the life of the human than the animal. And why shouldn't we? The human may cure cancer or make some other contribution that helps the whole, while it's highly unlikely that a single animal will do the same. Given that there is some difference in value between the life of the human vs the life of the animal, is it so wrong to treat them differently?
But is this the reasoning that goes into your head when you choose in such small time?
I think we choose mainly because it's another human being. Not necessarily superior, just because we can see them suffering the same as we would suffer. In a split second, the choice is obvious.
Put Hitler or Ted Bundy there. Is the choice the same?
Probably not in the example of a Trolley problem presented in real life. But I think it's something to consider in the abstract and certainly that sort of thinking goes into the more traditional application of the Trolley problem - 1 person vs many people.
Oh I think not, but that's one of the great things about the Trolley Problem. It brings our own personal biases to light quite quickly. If you wanted to be macabre you could argue that either of those examples produced greater change in the world than a group of random people might.
I guess i would save Hitler if he was on the same track as my father. But then Hitler would kill him after.
That opens some doors we may all rather remain shut lol
In those cases in can be argued that it's necessary. Or at least were once upon a time. As the years go by, robots will be better. Still, if it's necessary, it's okay. If it isn't, it shouldn't be considered okay.
Again, in this case, it can be considered necessary. If it were two groups of humans, one with 100 people and one with two, it would be clear that you would have to sacrifice the one group with the less capability of suffering. If it's a person and an animal, the case is the same.
So your response is very interesting because I'm used to people that I've had this discussion with in the past arguing that the life of an animal is as equally valuable as the life of a person. And you (like me) seem to believe that it's not quite so black and white, that there is in fact some difference in the value of the life of a person vs an animal, indeed that a human life is MORE valuable than an animal's life. Let me know if I didn't get that right.
"Necessity" is a big word that we can fit A LOT underneath. Let's dig deeper!
Is it necessary to test products on animals to make sure the products won't harm a human? Some could argue it's not necessary but then we might point to the possible undetected side effects that harm humans as being the reason why we need to do that testing. So let's say that in general, we recognize that there is some need to test products on animals. But what products? Is testing dandruff shampoo worth caging a monkey for it's entire life as a test subject? What about a rat? What about makeup? That's commonly tested on animals and it's hard to argue that's a necessity (insert sexist joke here).
Something you should know is that the conclusion you reach is not at all obvious and the Trolley problem has been argued about by philosophers and others for a long, long time. What if the single person is your mother? Does that change your answer about killing them instead of the 100 humans? Your sister? Your aunt? Your third-cousin? Do you see how all of this gets very slippery very quickly?
Another bothersome turn of phrase! How do we define suffering and one's capacity for it? I believe many fish (correct me if I'm wrong) lack pain receptors so can they not suffer? How many fish do we throw on dry land to equal the suffering of a cow brought to slaughter? How many chickens in too-tight-of-quarters equals the suffering on a man in prison?
You've presented two very large caveats to the "we should not kill animals" position:
Given that we both agree that a human's life is more valuable than an animals (which I think is a common sentiment) I think we can both recognize that there is a WHOLE lot that can fit under those two points and that is reflected in how society treats animals in the here-and-now. People's opinions of what is necessary and what constitutes suffering simply differ and it's by working on a common understanding of those two points that we can have the most effect on how animals are treated in our society.
You got it right.
There is a difference, just like there to me is a difference between you and my kids, and objectively there is a difference between a retarded person and a highly capable one.
I'm aware, and they are right, subjectively, there is a lot of factors to consider. However the trolley problem is not necessary to solve to say that unnecessarily inflicting suffering on other beings, human or not, is not okay, so I'm okay with that The lowest denominator - both in this, and in your point from the paragraph before this one - is that unnecessarily inflicting suffering on other beings should not be considered okay. Lets get the world onboard with that, and then we can argue about what is and what is not necessary afterwards :)
Again, let us focus on the lowest denominator first. Then we can tackle all the granularities afterwards.
No, I don't blankly agree with that. I think some human animals are worth less than some non-human animals. Brain dead people for example. Or one person vs 2 billion cows. To take an extreme example, I don't personally believe that the holocaust of (~5 million) humans is a bigger calamity than the "holocaust" that is right now ongoing towards many billions of sentient animals per year, at least not if we talk about amount of suffering. There is nothing to suggest that the "few" jews (in comparison) has suffered more than the extreme number of animals that have been mistreated in industrial animal farming over the last century. Pigs are considered mentally capable to the extend of a young child. And many billions of pigs as well as other sentient animals, are being mistreated in highly similar, and worse, situations every year compared to what the jews in the holocaust were.
Now, just to make it clear, I think both things are disasters, and I don't think we have to compare the two. Both things are calamities. But if we were to measure the two objectively by the amount of suffering, I think it's pretty clear which of the two is worse.
However, I just think we should not be harming other beings except if it's necessary, necessary meaning except if it's detrimental to me objectively (not subjectively) thriving.
I think there are cases where we can both agree that the violence done against animals is unnecessary by any rational measure, so yes, let's work on those cases first. But do know that what others consider necessary will not match what you and I consider as such, and so the debate continues in the world until a consensus is reached.
I don't have anything else to add. Thank you for the thoughtful discussion. Much appreciated!
That's a bit of a jump. Most ethical systems consider humans to be different to other animals. Most people think it's okay to eat non-human animals but they probably don't think it's okay to eat humans. We generally don't equate the two groups. This argument of yours is a false equivalence.
That said, there are at least some ethical systems that do consider non-human animals to have an equal right to freedom from cruelty as humans. According to this school of thought, any sentient being (a being that can sense and respond to pain) has the right to be free from pain and suffering. Maybe that's you. However, if that's so, then you should be a vegetarian or vegan, because that's the only position consistent with upholding the right of all sentient beings not to feel pain or be subjected to cruelty.
But... we humans are inconsistent. We invite some animals into our homes and treat them as part of our family, while we farm other animals to be killed for food, and hunt yet other animals for sport. Consistency was never our strong point!
Personally, I don't see any justification for killing animals as a religious sacrifice. If we are going to kill animals, it should at least be for a greater good, such as to feed ourselves. Something positive and beneficial should come from the act of killing a sentient being. Killing an animal and wasting its life is wrong to me.
But if they believe they are doing good by their scripture, it isn't something benefical for the group?
Nope. I'm talking about a practical, measurable, observable good, such as sustaining life. Having nice feelings because you've bonded with other people over killing an animal isn't a strong enough justification for taking a sentient life. The good in that case doesn't outweigh the bad.
While I agree with you in actuality, let's recognize that some of the people making these sacrifices believe that are doing so for noble purposes such as sustaining life by bringing rains for crops, etc.
I'd want some evidence that the death of the animal results in rain. Mere belief isn't good enough. Show me the actual beneficial outcome. (Unfortunately, the only way to test this hypothesis is to kill animals and observe what happens.)
Also, I believe that punching a Candomblé pai-de-santo in the mouth is going to cure hunger in Ethiopia: every punch means one more child gets fed. Is he going to stand there and let me punch him because I believe I'm doing so for a noble purpose?
This quickly becomes a debate about whether we should tolerate ideas and actions born out of religion/ignorance doesn't it? And that's too big of a debate for me to have today I think :)
What do you mean becomes? :) Given that the justification for killing these animals is religious, this discussion is at its core a debate about tolerating religious actions. We've all been dancing politely around the edges, pretending that it isn't - but it is. This debate is about religion.
And it's okay if you don't want to do that today. :)
And in that case, if we should only allow things with evidence, even animal sacrifice that ends with people eating the meat shouldn't be allowed.
There's no evidence that the sacrifice is necessary and results in anything.
Fair enough :)
I was treating it more as a secular debate elsewhere in the comments, but you're of course correct that the article and the conversation around it is about religion.
Some of the points I want to make are touched on elsewhere, but I'll collect them here in a top-level comment:
There is definitely a difference in ethics with regards to animals vs. humans. I believe this difference to be small, however. Killing an animal for the sake of eating it is fine, but killing an animal for the sake of killing it is wrong. Killing an animal humanely, where it doesn't experience undue suffering, is fine, but causing pain and suffering is wrong. And even before the end of an animal's life, its treatment while it's still alive matters quite a bit--we shouldn't mistreat an animal just so we can keep it around to eat later, but should instead raise it under suitable living conditions.
In the case of religious sacrifice, the questions to be asked are:
If the answer to those 3 questions are all "yes", then I see nothing wrong with allowing religious sacrifice of an animal. It's when any of those questions are answered "no" that I believe there to be an ethical problem.
Also, I've noticed here and elsewhere that there is often the argument that animals don't feel pain the way that humans do. This argument is absurd. Even barring all evidence to the contrary, with animals exhibiting clear experiences of pain and suffering when injured, we can go the other route and ask this question: would it be okay to kill another human being just because they were born with a genetic defect that causes them not to feel any pain at all (a condition which very much does exist)? Obviously not. The ethics of killing transcend the concept of pain and depend primarily on the belief that deprivation of life is wrong.
We shouldn't be relying on such myopic arguments. Ethics are not based purely on pragmatism, so let's not pretend that they are.
Why would sacrificing an animal for meat be less wrong than sacrificing it for religious reasons? In every animal sacrifice ritual I've ever heard of, the animal is going to be eaten by the people who participated or given away to the poor anyway. And the methods of killing it aren't generally any less humane than normal butchering, and way MORE humane than factory farming.
This is an old way of doing things from a time when meat was valuable and scarce. Rituals developed around the slaughter of animals to sanctify the process, show respect to the animal, help people cope with the emotional fallout of bloodshed, and teach ways to kill the animals that are quick and minimize pain. Putting ritual around it makes people more respectful of the sacrificed animals than people buying meat from a factory farm.
Some sects of my religion (including my own) practice animal sacrifice, though it is fading. During my wedding we had to sacrifice a goat and there was some argument about whether we should keep doing this or not moving forward. I came down on the side of making it optional if the person is vegetarian, but continuing to require it of non-vegetarians. It's healthy for people to know where their food comes from. It doesn't became any less moral because you've outsourced the gory details to someone else.
This is something i did not know. Is this true for all religions?
I don't think either is right. Be it religion or factory farming.
I can't speak for ALL religions, but it's at least true in Hinduism and Islam in the modern day. And it was true of the Ancient Greeks and Romans as well. The sacrifice is part of how you source the meat for the event (wedding, birth, festival, etc.)
Thanks for the info. I knew some religions would eat the meat, but there are others.
Zulu, if i'm not mistaken, causes a lot of suffering.
I'm going to go out on a limb and guess that Monica Hunter was an anthropologist and neither a butcher nor a butcher's daughter. This is kind of the problem. So much of these descriptions of "other" "exotic" cultures is filtered through people who would never apply the same kind of editorializing to similar cultural practices within their own societies either because they're inured to it out of familiarity or because they're just unaware.
This is how you keep an animal from panicking and kicking everyone as it's being killed. It doesn't really benefit anybody to have it thrashing around in its death throes. And if it's fighting, that only makes it harder to get a clean cut that kills quickly. Slaughterhouses do something similar, where they keep them confined in boxes too small for them to move their heads so they can get a clean shot.
This is confusing. The aorta is an artery, not a muscle. I'm guessing she's referring to the aortic valve here? In which case stabbing above it would mean they're cutting through the carotid arteries.
This seems consistent with the standard methods prescribed in halal and kosher butchery. They require a clean and very sharp blade with no nicks, and they instruct you to slice the carotid artery and ensure the animal is killed by drainage of blood. Some halal butchers will "stun" the animal before doing so, but it is explicitly stipulated in halal meat that stunning cannot be used to kill the animal, it just has to survive being knocked out and then killed in the halal way while unconscious. For kosher meat they're not allowed to stun it before killing IIRC.
In any case, up until the invention of those air-guns used to puncture the cow's skull (seen in "No Country for Old Men"), this was probably the most painless ways to kill an animal. The alternatives are decapitation (which requires somebody very strong, well trained, and access to/knowledge of metal smithing), or stabbing the heart (which is harder to do unless you've studied up on your animal anatomy).
This is just part of the grisly business of killing an animal and doesn't seem inappropriately cruel to me, once you've already committed to killing the thing.
I don't believe the Zulu religion is using air guns now. I'm mostly concerned with the "lay in agony for about five minutes before it died" part. It does not sound painless.
Here in Brazil, you can spot some dead animals in corners as offerings or "macumbas" (some macumbas are made for evil purposes). They do not eat them, the dead body is left there with a bottle of alcohol (spirits mainly) by it's side.
Not in the middle of the cities, but i spotted a lot when mountain biking.
People who live near "macumba centers" often complain about cockroaches, flies and the constant smell of blood too.
I mean, you are killing an animal at the end of the day. It was never going to be painless. The "Lay in agony" bit is editorializing on the part of the writer and shouldn't be taken too seriously. Like I said, this is also the standard process for halal and kosher butchery. It's what an animal will do when it bleeds out.
I looked her up and it turns out the lady was a missionary, so three guesses as to what her orientation towards these native customs were when she saw them.
From looking it up it looks like they only reserve part of the slaughtered animal for sacrifice and take the rest for food .
This is also the defense from the Afro-Brazilian rights organizations arguing in the Court
This seems like something you could remedy with the sorts of health and hygiene regulations that come on the back of legalizing an underground practice.
These sorts of complaints also commonly follow around members of minority groups, justified or not. Ethnic restaurants are often blamed for food poisoning in the same way. It has more to do with them being exotic than it does inherently poor compliance.
It could be just a part of the animal, i never got too close to see the state of the animals.
Health and hygiene regulations here in Brazil for those practices is never gonna happen unfortunately.
Thanks for the talk. You gave me something to think about.
It's possible that they leave it. From what I've seen these sects are really local and have practices that vary a lot from place to place. I would think most cultures would be averse to wasting food, but if chickens and stuff as cheap enough it probably doesn't matter to them.
Even with that though, making it legal and bringing it out of the shadows is likely to make the beliefs converge into something more universally acceptable. If there are flies it's a public health problem.
You may know the saying "Your right to swing your arm ends where my nose begins". You can swing your arms around freely - but as soon as your hand hits my nose and hurts me, your right to swing has impinged on my right to be free from harm. In other words, you have freedom of action as long as it doesn't cause harm to anyone else.
What happens when someone's religious beliefs cause harm? When their religious beliefs cause them to mutilate their daughter's genitals? When their religious beliefs cause them to send their homosexual son to conversion therapy (which has a high rate of psychological damage and suicide)? When their religious beliefs cause them to start a war? Do we have any right to tell these people to their religious beliefs are right or wrong? Does a government have this right?
And, in some ethical schools of thought, harm to non-human sentient animals is morally wrong just as harm to human sentient animals is. If a cow can feel pain and fear just like a human can, why is it permissible to cause harm to the cow but not the human? So, if a government has a right to tell people not to conduct their religious practices when they cause harm to sentient humans, does a government also have a right to tell people not to conduct their religious practices when they cause harm to other sentient animals?
"Your freedom to practise your religion ends where my nose begins - or the nose of any sentient being."
Because it is a well-known phrase which expresses a key philosophical point in a colloquial way.
Or, at the very least, you need to compensate people and society for the pollution you cause.
Incorrect. It means no polluting automobiles, factories, power plants, mass resource extraction and so on. We have the ability to make these activities non-polluting. We should penalise people who pollute, and praise people who do not pollute.
There's always the compromise option of asking people before harming them: "Is the city okay with me building a factory which is going to spew toxic waste into the local water system? Is there anything I can do to make this okay?" Or getting polluters to pay to fix their pollution: "The city requires all drivers of polluting vehicles to pay a pollution tax, to fund our air-cleaning measures."
My opinion is that of course it’s wrong if it’s not necessary which it isn’t.
But I also don’t consume, or use in any other way (directly at least), any animals products since they are not necessary for me, so my view on the matter is most likely a bit different than most peoples.
This is something I'm actually struggling with lately. Should humans care about other species? Is there any reason to help and care for other species if it doesn't impact us? It's less of if these animals that people are sacrificing or testing on have feelings, emotions, cognitive awareness, or the ability to feel pain, but more on shouldn't we care for our own species progress far above other species. Isn't the whole "survival of the fittest" thing in play over here? We as humans have evolved way past other species and it shouldn't be our responsibility to pick up the slack for other species?
Sacrificing may be slightly different to what I had in mind in the above paragraph, but that may be my personal religious biases. But if those people believe that doing what they're doing is right, then why should a superior species' right to practice religion be bellow an animal's right to live.
I personally don't sacrifice, mistreat, or actively try to harm animals. But I've been thinking about the moral implications of man vs animal. As a part of the human race should we be trying to hinder human progress in place of animal rights?
What if another species surpasses us. Or if a species from another planet pops up here. Let's suppose you're capable of arguing with them.
Would you want to convince them to not harm/eat you since it's not necessary and it will make you suffer or would you tell them that since they're superior they can do as they please with you?
We are capable of altruism and putting ourselves in other people/species' shoes. If something makes us superior and different from others, is this. To understand that unnecessary suffering is unnecessary.
In case I say "I" where it would be impossible, so if I say I would fight back or anything similar. I mean us as a species not just me as a singular beings. I've gone back and edited my response a couple times so some stuff may be a little weird sounding.
This is actually something I visualized when writing the comment. I suppose our species would 100% fight for our own rights to the best of our ability, as I'm sure lab animals, mass farmed animals (not sure if that's the right term), and sacrificial animals fight to their best ability. Though I suppose the difference is that we would most likely know what is happening to us over the animals that are oblivious to our world.
I suppose if I stick to the stance that I took, then my response would be two-fold.
Though personally I know I would like it if my species was properly treated, as I'm sure every species, if they were able to have the thought, would. And I appreciate the point about altruism. But is it this altruistic quality in us that is making the ethical decision that we should care about other species. If so can we properly say yes or no to the ethical question we are talking about without bringing in our "emotions". Should we be cold and calculated when talking about this, or is it ok to just say because it naturally feels wrong that it is wrong? I'll probably be thinking about this all day...
It's a complicated question for sure.
A little off-topic, but what you said about what "feels wrong" reminds me of that quadruped robot on youtube. I don't know if you saw it, but people were testing by kicking it. They wanted to show that the robot would stay on foot. I feel bad the entire video.
It would be strange if that was not constitutional. There's usually only one legal aspect that differentiates non human (also typically vertibrate only) animals from other property: it's illegal to abuse them. Not every killing of non human animal is abuse. Mostly it is not.