Animal Rights: Where the action is?

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Hughes's picture
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May 23 2010 23:58

I should have added the qualifier of "severely" mentally disabled humans. But yes, I do believe I know what I'm "on about."

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May 24 2010 00:05

What do you think "mentally disabled" means?

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May 24 2010 00:10

I'm not medically trained, so I could likely be using incorrect terminology. But I imagine "mentally disabled" encompasses a vast spectrum of disorders. Feel free to enlighten me.

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May 24 2010 00:16
Farce wrote:
Anyway, I think this is a bit unfair, there are a lot of people who do AR stuff who also have decent class politics (although I may be biased cos I've never actively been involved in AR, so I've only tended to meet those who turn up to class struggle-related stuff). I'd think that, even if you don't agree with (all of) its arguments, something like 'Beasts of Burden' by Antagonism is at least worthy of a serious response beyond just "alienated/misanthropic/reformist" and so on.

I am well aware of Beasts of Burden (been a long time fan), as well as Animal Liberation: Devastate to Liberate, or Devastatingly Liberal? which is quite scathing of the misanthropy and the lack of class politics in the ARM. To say nothing of Bob Torres book who takes apart PETA and the ALF. That aside lets be clear 'Animal Rights' as its espoused is a single issue campaign. The whole liberal concept of rights is at complete odds with our politics. Do we get worked up and entrenched about definitions of human rights? Think about it.
I agree that animals can be viewed under capital as a property form, and libertarian communism would be about avoiding their abuse. Animal Rights however in the way it operates within conjunction to anarchism is that it is essentially liberal dogma being imposed from the outside in a rather spurious form. The fact that its completely unrelisable liberal reformism under the current context means some people won't take it to task as they should.

And thats to say nothing of the fact that 'anarchists' who do animal rights, is usually just a cover for people doing single issue politics with bad politics. Seriously how many actually exist who carry out activity for class solidarity and animal rights? This isn't the 80's/90's no more.

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May 24 2010 00:21
october_lost wrote:
And thats to say nothing of the fact that 'anarchists' who do animal rights, is usually just a cover for people doing single issue politics with bad politics. Seriously how many actually exist who carry out activity for class solidarity and animal rights? This isn't the 80's/90's no more.

Perhaps there would more solidarity if both movements were less hostile towards each other.

By the way, Steven Best, the co-founder of the Animal Liberation Press Office recently gave a nearly hour long interview on the connections between socialism and animal rights. He can at times be an unsubstantial propagandist, but if one's patient, he makes valid criticisms of both socialists and animal rights activists.

http://negotiationisover.com/2010/05/11/an-interview-with-dr-steven-best-the-left-capitalism-and-animal-rights/

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May 24 2010 00:22
revol68 wrote:
Peter Singer is an intellectual joke.

Agreed. Though that's probably not what you wanted to hear since you're merely attempting to bait me, correct?

Wellclose Square
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May 24 2010 00:24

Joseph Kay wrote:

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mentally retarded people are a bit like animals if you think about it.

Please explain what you mean by that phraseology, and in what way you think the term 'retarded' is in any way appropriate? How do you know that, some day, you may not become 'mentally retarded' yourself? How would you want people to think of you or describe you then, assuming you're compos mentes now?

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May 24 2010 00:27
Wellclose Square wrote:
Joseph Kay wrote:
Quote:
mentally retarded people are a bit like animals if you think about it.

Please explain what you mean by that phraseology, and in what way you think the term 'retarded' is in any way appropriate? How do you know that, some day, you may not become 'mentally retarded' yourself? How would you want people to think of you or describe you then, assuming you're compos mentes now?

Was it not Hughes who alluded to that comparison, and this was a bit of sarcasm on JKs part?

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May 24 2010 00:29
revol68 wrote:
Wellclose Square wrote:
Joseph Kay wrote:
Quote:
mentally retarded people are a bit like animals if you think about it.

Please explain what you mean by that phraseology, and in what way you think the term 'retarded' is in any way appropriate? How do you know that, some day, you may not become 'mentally retarded' yourself? How would you want people to think of you or describe you then, assuming you're compos mentes now?

it's called satire.

yup. Hughes was claiming people with (severe) mental health issues are like animals. i was making this unsavoury logic explicit.

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May 24 2010 00:33
Hughes wrote:
I'm not medically trained, so I could likely be using incorrect terminology. But I imagine "mentally disabled" encompasses a vast spectrum of disorders. Feel free to enlighten me.

I'm not sure that "mentally disabled" really means anything specific. I assume from context you're talking about learning disabilities rather than mental illness?

According to MenCap:

Quote:
A learning disability is caused by the way the brain develops.

There are many different types and most develop before a baby is born, during birth or because of a serious illness in early childhood. A learning disability is lifelong and usually has a significant impact on a person's life.

Learning disability is not mental illness or dyslexia.

People with a learning disability find it harder than others to learn, understand and communicate. People with profound and multiple learning disabilities (PMLD) need full-time help with every aspect of their lives - including eating, drinking, washing, dressing and toileting.

There are 1.5 million people with a learning disability in the UK. Like all of us, they are individuals who want different things in life and need different levels of support.

The extent to which somebody with a learning disability, however severe, can be held responsible for the consequences of their actions varies not just from individual to individual but from situation to situation.

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May 24 2010 00:32
Hughes wrote:
october_lost wrote:
And thats to say nothing of the fact that 'anarchists' who do animal rights, is usually just a cover for people doing single issue politics with bad politics. Seriously how many actually exist who carry out activity for class solidarity and animal rights? This isn't the 80's/90's no more.

Perhaps there would more solidarity if both movements were less hostile towards each other.

I have no qualms about improving the lot for animals. The central issue here is about the motor for social change within capitalist society. Animal rights activism carried out by liberal do'gooders, misanthropes and well intentioned class struggle activists does not change the central function of society which is to exploit the entire biodiversity of our planet and the sentient beings within it to extract profit. Animal rights does not move the task of getting rid of capital one iota. Workers self organising against capital and the state is entirely a separate issue. Simply put humans can liberate themselves and potentially animals, but animals can do neither.

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May 24 2010 00:40
Joseph Kay wrote:
revol68 wrote:
Wellclose Square wrote:
Joseph Kay wrote:
Quote:
mentally retarded people are a bit like animals if you think about it.

Please explain what you mean by that phraseology, and in what way you think the term 'retarded' is in any way appropriate? How do you know that, some day, you may not become 'mentally retarded' yourself? How would you want people to think of you or describe you then, assuming you're compos mentes now?

it's called satire.

yup. Hughes was claiming people with (severe) mental health issues are like animals. i was making this unsavoury logic explicit.

First of all, we're all animals. We often forget that.

Humans with severe mental retardation have roughly equivalent levels of awareness and intelligence as some animals, and both are often incapable of entering social contracts. Are you disputing this? My comparison--which is by no means original, I must say--was NOT meant to suggest that humans with severe mental retardation should be treated worse than they, but rather that animals should be treated better than they are.

jooball
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May 24 2010 00:43

As having a family member with a learning disability. I take issue with the label 'mentally retarded' and also with Mencap (Mencrap) description of learning disability. My son has just as many rights to a full and interesting life as anyone else. I don't find the labels at all comfortable or useful - they are merely dehumanising.
Mencap is a charity - my son is not a 'charity case'.
Please can people look at their language.

jooball
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May 24 2010 00:44

Accept satiricism but a bit switched off when we live with it everyday.

Hughes's picture
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May 24 2010 00:45
madashell wrote:
Hughes wrote:
I'm not medically trained, so I could likely be using incorrect terminology. But I imagine "mentally disabled" encompasses a vast spectrum of disorders. Feel free to enlighten me.

I'm not sure that "mentally disabled" really means anything specific. I assume from context you're talking about learning disabilities rather than mental illness?

According to MenCap:

Quote:
A learning disability is caused by the way the brain develops.

There are many different types and most develop before a baby is born, during birth or because of a serious illness in early childhood. A learning disability is lifelong and usually has a significant impact on a person's life.

Learning disability is not mental illness or dyslexia.

People with a learning disability find it harder than others to learn, understand and communicate. People with profound and multiple learning disabilities (PMLD) need full-time help with every aspect of their lives - including eating, drinking, washing, dressing and toileting.

There are 1.5 million people with a learning disability in the UK. Like all of us, they are individuals who want different things in life and need different levels of support.

The extent to which somebody with a learning disability, however severe, can be held responsible for the consequences of their actions varies not just from individual to individual but from situation to situation.

I was not referring learning disabilities. I was referring to those with severe mental retardation and mental illness.

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May 24 2010 00:49
jooball wrote:
As having a family member with a learning disability. I take issue with the label 'mentally retarded' and also with Mencap (Mencrap) description of learning disability. My son has just as many rights to a full and interesting life as anyone else. I don't find the labels at all comfortable or useful - they are merely dehumanising.
Mencap is a charity - my son is not a 'charity case'.
Please can people look at their language.

First, I fully agree your son has just as many rights to a full and interesting life as anyone else.

But what is the preferred terminology for a person with an IQ score below, say, 35? I will happily use the term. Wikipedia, which is, admittedly, often incorrect, defines this as "mental retardation." My impression this was a scientific term even though it is as times used as an insult.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mental_retardation#IQ_below_70

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May 24 2010 00:51
revol68 wrote:
Hughes wrote:
Joseph Kay wrote:
revol68 wrote:
Wellclose Square wrote:
Joseph Kay wrote:
Quote:
mentally retarded people are a bit like animals if you think about it.

Please explain what you mean by that phraseology, and in what way you think the term 'retarded' is in any way appropriate? How do you know that, some day, you may not become 'mentally retarded' yourself? How would you want people to think of you or describe you then, assuming you're compos mentes now?

it's called satire.

yup. Hughes was claiming people with (severe) mental health issues are like animals. i was making this unsavoury logic explicit.

First of all, we're all animals. We often forget that.

Humans with severe mental retardation have roughly equivalent levels of awareness and intelligence as some animals, and both are often incapable of entering social contracts. Are you disputing this? My comparison--which is by no means original, I must say--was NOT meant to suggest that humans with severe mental retardation should be treated worse than they, but rather that animals should be treated better than they are.

well i'm opposed to peoples pets getting slaughtered.

Right, but then what's the difference between slitting the throat of a puppy and slitting the throat of a pig? The truth is there is none, and when it comes to animals we have a deep moral schizophrenia.

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May 24 2010 00:52
jooball wrote:
As having a family member with a learning disability. I take issue with the label 'mentally retarded' and also with Mencap (Mencrap) description of learning disability. My son has just as many rights to a full and interesting life as anyone else. I don't find the labels at all comfortable or useful - they are merely dehumanising.
Mencap is a charity - my son is not a 'charity case'.
Please can people look at their language.

I only used the definition from the Mencap site because I thought it was a reasonably accurate definition from an organisation that (regardless of how shit it is) deals primarily with learning disabilities.

Wellclose Square
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May 24 2010 00:57

JK - yeah, I can see now you were being ironic in the face of Hughes' shit, who I notice has recently signed up, presumably to post his sewage. Hughes, are you some sort of third positionist or Nazi, because I can't conceive of any other contemporary environment in which terms - in the pejorative way you use them - like 'retardation' or 'mental illness' are acceptable? In which case, why are you posting on a board which, nominally at least, is committed to human liberation? Otherwise, kindly fuck off.

[i] admin - no flaming. This is a warning

tsi
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May 24 2010 01:03
Hughes wrote:
Obviously not. I doubt the average PETA member or supporter, celebrity or not, knows of PETA's ideological radicalism. Still, an organization of its size (the number I quoted comes directly from the PETA website) endorsing such a radical position is significant.

About as significant as the size of the communist party of china.

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May 24 2010 01:11
Wellclose Square wrote:
Hughes, are you some sort of third positionist or Nazi

I don't even know how to respond this aside from saying: NO. Godwin's Law is certainly true.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Godwin's_law

Wellclose Square wrote:
I can't conceive of any other contemporary environment in which terms - in the pejorative way you use them - like 'retardation' or 'mental illness' are acceptable?

I did not intend to use the terms in a pejorative sense whatsoever. Either you've misunderstood me or I've done an atrocious job explaining myself.

Wellclose Square wrote:
In which case, why are you posting on a board which, nominally at least, is committed to human liberation?

Because I'm committed to human liberation.

Wellclose Square wrote:
Otherwise, kindly fuck off.

Attack the arguments, not the man. That said, I'm perfectly willing to leave.

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May 24 2010 01:14

Its amazing that so many feel so threatened by intellectual debate. I'm sorry I even brought it up.

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May 24 2010 01:18
Hughes wrote:
Humans with severe mental retardation have roughly equivalent levels of awareness and intelligence as some animals, and both are often incapable of entering social contracts. Are you disputing this? My comparison--which is by no means original, I must say--was NOT meant to suggest that humans with severe mental retardation should be treated worse than they, but rather that animals should be treated better than they are.

Issues of terminology aside, you simply can't expect people to consider what is potentially a family member, a friend or even themselves in the same light as a farm animal or a pet.

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May 24 2010 01:29
madashell wrote:
Hughes wrote:
Humans with severe mental retardation have roughly equivalent levels of awareness and intelligence as some animals, and both are often incapable of entering social contracts. Are you disputing this? My comparison--which is by no means original, I must say--was NOT meant to suggest that humans with severe mental retardation should be treated worse than they, but rather that animals should be treated better than they are.

Issues of terminology aside, you simply can't expect people to consider what is potentially a family member, a friend or even themselves in the same light as a farm animal or a pet.

If I was bringing my "A" game I wouldn't have even made the argument from marginal cases. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Argument_from_marginal_cases

The argument for animal rights can be made as simply as this:

1. Causing "unnecessary" suffering to animals is wrong (most everyone agrees with this general statement)
2. Human use of animals for food, clothing, and entertainment causes suffering.
3. The uses listed above are not "necessary" by the most liberal definition of the word. (Animal research is the only use with a slight claim to "necessity." I still think its wrong, but for the sake of the easy argument, I'll avoid it)
4. The uses listed above are wrong.

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May 24 2010 06:35

"you simply can't expect people to consider...themselves in the same light as a farm animal or a pet."

Except that if they can be led to consider themselves a certain way by reading something, they are by definition not the group that the statement applied to.

I think it's probably a rhetorical mistake to speak as if "severely mentally retarded humans" is a category whose intension or extension is known by the speaker.

But the point at issue, I think, is that for any specifiable defect in the mental capacity of, say, pigs, some humans can be found who share that defect. It might be language, or long-term planning, or self-consciousness, or abstract thought, or whatever.

I, and probably most supporters of AR, don't really know who these humans are or what it's like to be them. The statement isn't a reference to any particular humans, it's a reference to the standards usually applied to differentiate humans from other animals. Those standards are never able to put all and only humans on one side.

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May 24 2010 08:07

I'm not arguing for some particular set of "standards". Morality doesn't exist in the abstract, it's something human beings, as social animals, create. Our relationship to a disabled human being is fundamentally different to our relationship to a farm animal.

It is rational to treat disabled people as, well, people, because you never know when you or one of your loved ones could be that disabled person. Farm animals, on the other hand, are raised and kept alive by humans as a resource, they'd die out otherwise.

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May 24 2010 09:29

a contribution from Spain?

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/europe/spain/7753416/Matador-in-hospital-after-horrific-goring.html

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May 24 2010 10:48

Anyway Animal Rights theory aside. To answer the OP, no Animal Rights is not where the action is. Animal Rights as been hugely on the decrease pretty much since the SHAC people decided to dig up dead bodies and the state conducted a witch hunt against activists. Animal rights was once arguable a social movement, but single issue campaigns are ephemeral in class society since contradictions pull us in many directions.

And correlating a growth in diet choices with animal rights or even a political consciousness is laughable. Capital still remains in place and as simply adjusted to the needs of a new market whom its happy to sell 'ethical goods' to. Vegetarianism and veganism have easily been co-opted as brands. The proof of the pudding is when you see small whole foods companies and vegan business charging extortionate prices for their niche market products and in some cases still exploiting workers.

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May 24 2010 10:37

I don't 'believe' in 'animal rights' in any naturalistic sense, but I am glad they have some protection under law here, with cruelty to animal laws. I suppose that could be construed as a right not to be subject to cruelty, but then we are allowed to kill animals and eat them. Is that contradictory? Probably, but then so are the scope of all human rights which are subject to certain rules (I'm thinking defamation in 'freedom of speech').

Is this a moral objection to animal cruelty? Yes, but I don't see what is wrong with that. I have a moral objection to human suffering too. If I saw someone kicking their cat I would be upset and angry. On the other hand, we have people who think its abhorrent that in some cultures they eat 'domestic' animals. I think animals should be treated as well as can be afforded. However, the extent of that is necessarily subject the reality of capitalism where productivity is essential.

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May 24 2010 11:24

I'll wrap up by covering, specifically, a few of the benefits human society would accrue by widespread veganism.

1. While a lot of the global hunger problem is related to distribution, some of it certainly has to do with inefficient use of resources. As Gary Francione writes: “It takes only one-sixth of an acre to supply a vegetarian with food for one year. It takes three and one quarter acres to supply a meat eater with food for a year. Every day we feed enough grain to American livestock to provide two loaves of bread to every human being on earth."

2. Its hard to take any environmentalist seriously, carnivorous Al Gore definitely included, who isn't vegan. The United Nations' FAO reports, “livestock are responsible for 18 percent of greenhouse gas emissions, a bigger share than that of transport.”

3. Giving up animal products is good for your health. The American Dietetic Association has stated people who don't eat meat have “lower body mass indices ... lower rates of death from ischemic heart disease, lower blood cholesterol levels, lower blood pressure and lower rates of hypertension, type 2 diabetes and prostate and colon cancer.“