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Campus research ends in death of chinchillas

Associate News Editor

Published: Friday, April 30, 2010

Updated: Friday, April 30, 2010 09:04


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46 comments

Mr Peabody
Wed May 5 2010 04:38
Lack of campus research ends in death of humans... just a thought. Let's face it, animals have more rights than the unborn anyway...
Jon Hochschartner
Tue May 4 2010 19:34
Fair enough.

But that offer is extended to anyone. If you want to continue this back-and-forth dialogue, I'm more than willing to do so if you can find an appropriate print outlet.

Anonymous
Tue May 4 2010 17:51
@Jon,

Yeah, that last question wasn't me.

-Bri

Jon Hochschartner
Tue May 4 2010 17:27
Dear person who I assume is Brian Curry,

I have a feeling you're simply probing my argument for holes, without seriously engaging it. Don't lose track of the bigger picture: roughly 10 billion animals are slaughtered every year in the United States alone. If you'd like to continue this conversation in some kind of print outlet, I'd be more than happy to. But as it stands, me spending intellectual energy answering questions in a comment box that no one reads feels like a waste of time. That said, I'll answer this last question.....here goes.

Pets are a tricker question. Some people treat pets as members of their family, and I personally have no problem with that. But no matter how one treats their companion animal, in the eyes of the law that animal is little better than any other piece of non-living property. If I get bored with my dog, I have the legal right to shoot him. If in a case of flagrant negligence, a veterinarian kills my dog I'm entitled only to receive his "fair market value," say $100, in compensation. This falsely assumes that animals are replaceable commodities, like a pair of sneakers. In fact, pets, and all animals for that matter, are sentient individuals with inherent value.

So if the legal relationship between me and my dog was changed from that of owner and property to steward and dependent, I wouldn't have much of problem with pets. That said, I haven't given the issue much thought, to be honest. The suffering created by pet ownership is infinitely dwarfed by the use of animals for food, clothes and research. So don't hold me to this position, as I could very well change it.

Anonymous
Tue May 4 2010 15:44
So are you campaigning against owning pets?
Jon Hoch
Tue May 4 2010 07:04
Needless to say, I disagree with you.
Anonymous
Mon May 3 2010 20:35
"Normal, adult humans are capable of understanding ethical boundaries. This makes them moral actors. Animals on the other hand, because they are incapable of understanding ethical boundaries, are moral patients."

The problem with this argument is that it treats as an absolute the idea that utilizing animals is inherently a moral evil. This hasn't been adequately established, in my opinion. Just as the lion has an absolute right to hunt a gazelle, so I have an absolute right to eat meat. The fact that I can choose not to does not necessarily imply that I ought not. I am an omnivore; it is my right. I believe that the argument can, to some extent, be extended to animal research.

Note that this doesn't absolve me from acting responsibly and ethically, with utmost concern for animal WELFARE. In that sense, the fact that I am a moral actor must needs direct my behavior and actions. But it does not establish adequately the idea that animal research is an absolute moral evil.

Jon Hoch
Mon May 3 2010 19:46
Oh and I missed one statement you made which is a common misconception of the animal rights position:

"If a bear, for instance, were to be given the same rights as humans..."

No one is suggesting that animals be given the SAME rights as humans. No one is suggesting animals, say, be allowed drivers licenses. That's absurd. What the animal rights position does say is that animals have the fundamental right not to have the legal status of property. All other rights, including bodily integrity, flow from the this most basic one.

Jon Hochschartner
Mon May 3 2010 19:30
I really wish there was an "Ask the Vegan" service so I didn't always have to answer all these questions....but here goes.

"First, I find that the volume of their arguments tends to be proportional to the relative cuteness of the animal in question."

Such people don't really understand animal rights philosophy. There is no significant difference between slicing the throat of a dog to slicing the throat of a pig. We are simply trained to empathize with one and not the other.

"Killing insects tends to go unnoticed"

Personally, I don't make too much of a fuss about insects, because, as I understand, the degree to which insects are sentient is not clearly established. That said, its reasonable we should give them the benefit of the doubt.

"Does a cat have an absolute right to kill a mouse? If so?"

This question seems virtually identical to the one that follows, so I'm going to answer them both at once:

"If a bear, for instance, were to be given the same rights as humans, can we not expect that he or she behave in accordance with our rules?"

Normal, adult humans are capable of understanding ethical boundaries. This makes them moral actors. Animals on the other hand, because they are incapable of understanding ethical boundaries, are moral patients. It should be mentioned that young human children, and mentally disabled humans of all ages also fall into the category of moral patients. Despite the fact they can not enter social contracts, we do not systemically exploit human moral patients. In the same way, we should not exploit animal moral patients.

Anonymous
Mon May 3 2010 19:14
"I guess I've just addressed the objections you raise so many times before in so many different places that I just don't really have the energy to rehash it all. "

Look, I recognize that it's unrealistic to expect perfect consistency with your arguments, but I find that animal "rights" advocates often fail to realize the ways in which they are inconsistent with their stated beliefs, and also the ways in which their arguments are extraordinarily simplistic. First, I find that the volume of their arguments tends to be proportional to the relative cuteness of the animal in question. Killing insects tends to go unnoticed, while furry critters are mourned to the depths of the soul; clearly, there is a line, but apparently only those who support animal research as an important cause are consistent in where they draw it.
Second, it is strange to me how vociferous some are in decrying animal research as an unnecessary violation of animal rights, yet no one seriously argues against the cruelty of a cat in playing with its prey. Does a cat have an absolute right to kill a mouse? If so, why?
Lastly, those who argue for the rights of animals make no mention of the responsibilities that come with rights. If a bear, for instance, were to be given the same rights as humans, can we not expect that he or she behave in accordance with our rules? What would be the punishment for acting like a bear?

Anonymous
Mon May 3 2010 18:49
TA shouldn't be possessive, first off. I know griping about grammar on the comments section of a website is pointless, but a lesson there for you. You can attack the poster all you want, but it just undermines your entire argument because you clearly have no defense other than calling us barbaric. You know you lost an argument when all you have are ad hominems.
Barry Horne's Ghost
Mon May 3 2010 18:47
"Ah, I see you've run out of anything substantive to add. The "Shill" gambit isn't particularly impressive, nor particularly effective."

I guess I've just addressed the objections you raise so many times before in so many different places that I just don't really have the energy to rehash it all.

Anonymous
Mon May 3 2010 18:36
"Ah, I see the vivisectionists have paid their TA's $5 an hour to defend their useless, barbaric violence."

Ah, I see you've run out of anything substantive to add. The "Shill" gambit isn't particularly impressive, nor particularly effective.

Barry Horne's Ghost
Mon May 3 2010 18:20
Ah, I see the vivisectionists have paid their TA's $5 an hour to defend their useless, barbaric violence.
Anonymous
Mon May 3 2010 18:14
If we're really about animal rights, shouldn't we free them from captivity? Why have pets? Aren't we infringing on their rights to live a free life outdoors?
Anonymous
Mon May 3 2010 18:00
"Annnnd the alternative to animal testing is?"

Not only this, but many who decry animal testing are seemingly ignorant of the degree to which they owe life as they know it to animal research.

Anonymous
Mon May 3 2010 17:42
Annnnd the alternative to animal testing is?
Anonymous
Mon May 3 2010 17:14
If I was drilling a hole into your skull, the question would not be whether I supplied you with painkillers beforehand, but rather what gave me the right to violate your bodily integrity in the first place.
Anonymous
Mon May 3 2010 16:54
"You missed the point. "

Pretty sure I didn't. You trotted out a false equivalence, and I rightly called you on it.

Anonymous
Mon May 3 2010 16:36
"Right, because a precise surgical technique performed with anesthesia and being hit repeatedly by a baseball bat are toooootally equivalent."

You missed the point.





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