24 August 2012

Tom Regan on Wild Animals

Tom ReganWith regard to wild animals, the general policy recommended by the rights view is: let them be! Since this will require increased human intervention in human practices that threaten rare or endangered species (e.g., halting the destruction of natural habitat and closer surveillance of poaching, with much stiffer fines and longer prison sentences), the rights view sanctions this intervention, assuming that those humans involved are treated with the respect they are due. Too little is not enough.

(Tom Regan, The Case for Animal Rights, updated with a new preface [Berkeley and Los Angeles: University of California Press, 2004], 361 [italics in original] [first edition published in 1983])

21 August 2012

From Today's New York Times

To the Editor:

Some in California Skirt a Ban on Foie Gras” (news article, Aug. 13) might give readers the impression that California chefs are free to serve foie gras as a complimentary side dish and so evade the state ban on sales.

Not so. When a diner pays money to a restaurant with the expectation that he or she will receive foie gras and then is served the dish, that constitutes a sale. People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals applauds the efforts of those district attorneys and animal control officers who are enforcing the law against those few chefs who continue to flout it.

Foie gras is the diseased liver of ducks or geese that have been force-fed through pipes shoved down their throats. PETA urges everyone to avoid this product of cruelty to animals.

Counsel, PETA Foundation
Norfolk, Va., Aug. 13, 2012

15 August 2012

Tom Regan on Endangered Species

Tom ReganThe rights view is not opposed to efforts to save endangered species. It only insists that we be clear about the reasons for doing so. On the rights view, the reason we ought to save the members of endangered species of animals is not because the species is endangered but because the individual animals have valid claims and thus rights against those who would destroy their natural habitat, for example, or who would make a living off their dead carcasses through poaching and traffic in exotic animals, practices that unjustifiably override the rights of these animals. But though the rights view must look with favor on any attempt to protect the rights of any animal, and so supports efforts to protect the members of endangered species, these very efforts, aimed specifically at protecting the members of species that are endangered, can foster a mentality that is antagonistic to the implications of the rights view. If people are encouraged to believe that the harm done to animals matters morally only when these animals belong to endangered species, then these same people will be encouraged to regard the harm done to other animals as morally acceptable. In this way people may be encouraged to believe that, for example, the trapping of plentiful animals raises no serious moral question, whereas the trapping of rare animals does. This is not what the rights view implies. The mere size of the relative population of the species to which a given animal belongs makes no moral difference to the grounds for attributing rights to that individual animal or to the basis for determining when that animal's rights may be justifiably overridden or protected.

(Tom Regan, The Case for Animal Rights, updated with a new preface [Berkeley and Los Angeles: University of California Press, 2004], 360 [italics in original] [first edition published in 1983])

01 August 2012


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