August 10, 2005


Richard Ryder writes in The Guardian (found via The Daily Ablution) about the rights of animals regardless of species:
Our concern for the pain and distress of others should be extended to any "painient" - pain-feeling - being regardless of his or her sex, class, race, religion, nationality or species. [...]

Some international recognition of the moral status of animals is long overdue. There are various conservation treaties, but nothing at UN level, for example, that recognises the rights, interests or welfare of the animals themselves. That must, and I believe will, change.
According to Ryder, all pain-feeling organisms have the same rights as people, and discrimination on the basis of species is speciesism. I will not dwell on the problem of pain-feelingism, or discrimination against non-pain-feeling organisms. I want to focus on positive rights and public services.

If we want to avoid speciesism we must extend positive rights and public services currently enjoyed only by people to all pain-feeling organisms (PFO). We must use public resources in a non-speciesistic manner. This applies to public health care. It is not a matter of creating new Veterinaid or Vetericare systems (or their equivalent in other countries), but to extend the current systems to all PFO in a non-discriminatory way (the Servicio Galego de Sa├║de, or Galician Health Service of my homeland, already has a convenient species-neutral name). Expenditure per capita would be ideally the same for all PFO. All PFO of old age are entitled to retirement pensions and public nursery homes.

Caring for PFO welfare must include protecting them from dangerous drugs. State officials must assemble lists of non-edible (and non-smokable) plants for each species. A PFO can use a listed plant only under medical/veterinarian prescription.

The state must ensure that all PFO travel safely. The state must help migrant birds to arrive at their proper destinations, especially when there are hurricanes, and forbid cheetahs to run so fast.

Compulsory schooling and public education must be extended to all PFO. The state must ensure that all young birds receive adequate flying lessons, and mosquitoes human-biting lessons.

Obviously, if we follow this progressive, non-speciesistic agenda we will need more bureaucrats and higher taxes. People will enjoy less public services, because we will have to share public resources with billions of PFO.

Conclusion: if we want to avoid speciesism, we better become libertarian.

1 comment:

  1. I have a special penchant for sarcasm. Nice post.