And what about animal rights?

The book ‘primates and philosophers – how morality evolved’ by professor Frans de Waal tries to explain to the reader how ‘morality’ is not a unique human trait, but something that evolved. Various forms of morality can be found in other species and, not surprisingly, the nearer these species get to human species, the more evolved their sense of moral gets. That’s the basic idea. I won’t get into details about the book and whether it’s any good or not (I liked it though), if you’re interested in that, go and have a look at the Amazon reviews or something.

bryce.jpgWhat I was triggered by was something de Waal wrote in between making two points about the central mater of moral: Is it ridiculous for animals to have rights? It seems to me that De Waal thinks so, because he started with something of joke in which a Gazelle was suing a leopard for chasing her. Also, he made the point: if it is okay for a fox to eat a rabbit, why should it not be okay for me to eat a rabbitThe afterthought to that would be: if it is okay to eat a rabbit to keep you alive, why would it be wrong to do medical tests on animals to keep you alive? Since I believe that De Waal is a smart man, I think it’s safe to conclude that these are thoughts shared by a lot of people, and not just the stupid ones.

I am no attacking people that meat. Nor is my central point here that it would be wrong in all cases to perform medical tests on animals if it will save human lives. I have a opninion on those matters, but I won’t bother you with that right now. What I am saying here that even if you are in favor of medicak tests andeven if you truly believe humankind consists of carnivores; that’s not an argumant to want to set up legislation for human rights. And the way I see it; it shouldn’t have to be all that difficult (De Waal seemed to think it wold even be impossible).

Shouldn’t the central point of universal human rights simply be:

“Anything that is capable of happiness has a right to it and anything that can suffer has a right not to.”

And I honoustly do not believe that that’s naive. Obviously there will a lot of small matters that lawyers and legal experts need to sort out, but they’ll work it out in the end. If we, humans, have such a strong sense of morality, it should have to be that difficult to agree with such a rule of thumb. And if you are absolutely convinced that you have to have your pork sausage, steak or bacon… at least give those animals a happy life.


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