Winter 1992

Animal Rights?

Stratford Caldecott

Many members of the Green movement judge (rightly) that in recent centuries large numbers of animals have been mistreated by humans. Animals have been vivisected, massacred, processed and mutilated in the service, often, of something as trivial as cosmetics. The conclusion is sometimes drawn that in order to protect them we must grant them rights, which can then be defended in the courts on theier behalf. Like the extension of human rights to slaves in the past, the granting of certain rights to animals is said to be demanded by the progressive elevation of human sensibility through history. The torture of human beings (for certain purposes) was an acceptable practice in Elizabethan times; it is no longer. The torture of animals (for certain purposes) seems to be acceptable now; it should not be in the future.


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