Watch videos with subtitles in your language, upload your videos, create your own subtitles! Click here to learn more on "how to Dotsub"

Best Speech on Animal Rights | Sônia T. Felipe

0 (0 Likes / 0 Dislikes)
We are used to hear that we need ethics in government, in politics, in our society, in the family. But, until recently, we haven’t heard that it was also not necessary to have ethics in the way we treat animals or ecosystems. Therefore, this subject is something quite new in our culture and also something new in our mind and in the concepts we have in our mind to deal with it. There are roughly 200 years since philosophers began to address the issues of ethics in practical life and the question of "how to be ethical?". They proposed the following question: does it make sense, or is it possible to argue that we are ethical in relation to human beings and, at the same time, defend that we do not need to be ethical in any way with respect to any animal? This was a practical question that philosophy put for us and in the last 200 years we have quite intense and mature work trying to give answers to this question. The human choices on food, leisure, entertainment, consumption have implications in the quality of life of all species on the planet, risking that life even ceases to exist. In a kind of innocence that no longer fits we deal with the conditions of life of others and the conditions to continue life on this planet as something that we can manipulate, use, exploit, for the benefit of human affairs Neither of these practices, nevertheless, show ethical respect for life. They reveal an unacceptable incoherence. what we do with the lives of others we do not allow them to do with ours. Thus we have two weights and two measures to deal with the same valuable object: life There is no ethics, no justice, when we have two weights and two measures to deal with the same issue. The moral in which we were brought up is very old. It came at a time when we felt right to enslave humans to accumulate personal wealth. It has continued to be modeled over time when it was considered right to deprive women of freedom and to deprive them to learn and perform activities that were not related to procreation and home care. This same morality continues to be carried on in our time in which we judge to be correct to destroy ecosystems and enslave animals or even exterminate them to accumulate benefits for humans. Following this path, morality eventually become full of what I have been calling wrinkles folds, creases and folds. I'll talk about some of these wrinkle that end up distorting our moral conception. To get out these folds or wrinkle is a challenge that our human history imposes. Using the veil of traditional morality gives us the illusion of protection against evil. We just think: if our ancestors judged this or that as right, it can not be true that they were wrong, so who must be wrong are those who question such values​​. In this logic, we continue to follow them morally without thinking about building a strong argument to justify what we do today, regardless of the justification that our ancestors had to do things the way they did. To use the argument that "we do certain things because so did our ancestors” makes us fall into the traditionalist fallacy. A mistake of the mind that appeals to authority and puts in the place of the authority, in fact, just the repetition of the same habit. Not even the authority is there. It's just that an habit becames repetitive and we end up saying that, if has been repeated for so long, it can not be so wrong. Then we conclude that must be wrong those who question these values Appeal to the ancestors can be misleading because they also did many abominable things. For example, they kidnapped Africans and sold to owners of crops and marketers in America and Europe. They killed the inhabitants of the lands that we occupy today. They forced intelligent women to spend their lives without being able to make any political or economic activity. They killed those who did not profess their faith. They forbade their sons and daughters to marry youngs from other countries, other races, other religions. They killed, hunted, prepared traps, and tortured animals to test products and, never, any of these practices served to benefit the animals affected by them. Deforested the largest areas of the planet to plant soybeans and cereals to give food to imprisoned animals. Contaminated soil, water and air and destroyed the ozone layer that protects us from the sun's rays causing thawing of the polar ice cap. Fabricated animals as if they were plastic cups reducing their lives to a few days, or months, and gave them to eat a prepared food so that they would gain body mass in a short time at the expense of their health, destroying a normal biological cycle. Our ancestors did horrible things, didn’t they? Will we continue to do such thing just because they did it without thinking about the harm they were producing? It is not just because those practices were inherited from our ancestors that they cease to be morally unacceptable. But we are all entangled in those wrinkles, sunken in these creases, suffocated in these folds. We know that we exceeded ethical limits concerning what we do to animals and ecosystems. In spite of everything we do, humans are not happier nor healthier. We need to have more courage smooth these wrinkles, flatten these folds and undo the creases that make us live uncomfortably. Freeing animals from all forms of tyranny we impose them is the only chance we still have to free ourselves of our moral folds and creases. Although we can not brake the whole process of destruction of life started with intensity about five decades ago, we can still be aware of what it is and decide unsubscribe from this contract in which we were caught at birth and in which we continue to delude ourselves about the endless possibilities of manipulation of nature for the benefit of higher profits and human affairs. The three movements of a revolutionary project in morality and politics: according to William James (1842-1910) systematization, to get to be disseminated and shared in society every revolutionary ideal undergoes three phases or three impacts: first, the hostility. At this point the theory is attacked and judged as absurd. In the second, the controversy. A significant number of people adopt it. The ideal is then taken as true, but those who were his early detractors claim that it is something trivial, that is, something so obvious that it does not deserve much ado about nothing. At the third phase or impact, the ideal suffers widespread acceptance. Most people understand its meaning and seeks to revise their values ​​and their way of life from them. At that moment, as a rule, detractors present themselves as pioneers, as drivers of this idea that initially was harassed and ridiculed by them. Speaking of the duty to be ethical with animals and ecosystems still seems out of place, but I dare say that we are in phase two, the controversy. Generally the controversy comes in the form of a critique of animal advocates. They are accused of spending energy defending animals when "they could use that power to defend human beings". I used participate in the human rights meetings and, in the auditorium, I heard this criticism. They didn't know I was also in Human Rights. They said, “why don’t you use this energy to defend all human?”. I use to say: Are you in the human rights? I never saw you there. You do nothing, nor for humans nor for animals and you come here to tell me what I should do? So? Why start defending animals and plants? If there is so much human suffering to be eliminated. So this imposed question makes sense. I'll try to explain why. For over 2000 years it was preached that, before we become ethical towards animals we should learn to be ethical toward humans. During over 2000 years we have not became more ethical toward humans and what happened was that we worsen in the way we consider the life of animals and plants. The moral model that leads us to be unethical to animals is the same that leads us to be unethical to humans and the rest of nature. Therefore, it is necessary to limit human freedom walking the opposite route of this moral tradition, that is, starting from the edge of this morality to the epicenter of this morality. The contrary left us very comfortable and degenerated our mind making it almost unable to see objects subjected to our morality from a broader perspective. While we are only seeking to improve the lives of human beings using painful methods of exploitation of animals, we keep in our mind the concept that, in this way, we can handle with their lives, these "others". Humans in vulnerable conditions, however, are like animals. They may suffer from what we do to them and they can not defend themselves from our power to harm them. This pattern leads us to never abolish the moral matrix that allows us to mistreat humans because it is fresh in our minds the moral matrix that allows us to mistreat animals. We do to them what we do to our fellows. Animals are our fellows. They feel pain, fear, they love being alone, live with their peers, seek and choose their provision, breeding and care of their offspring, and so on. We are mentally formatted in the logic of domination. At first we think that in nature there are superior and inferior beings. In the second stage, we always put ourselves in the top position, either for fear of being vulnerable, or to covet advantages and privileges. In a third step we abuse of living beings who can not climb the ranks we built to ensure privileges for our species. From then on, we began to do anything without a qualm against any animal as a means of expropriating him from what we think does not have any value for him. We must abolish this logic of domination in which were formatted. Likewise we were not made ​​to serve the purposes of others, so other lives were also not made for that purpose. As much as it costs us to believe, the truth is that every life has in itself it’s own purpose. We treat animals in a way that we do not admit to be treated. We took from them their most precious possession: their lives. Claiming that they are not aware of it. Many humans also do not have any notion of the value of their lives. And even so, we do not exploit and kill them. On the contrary, when a human has no notion of the value of his life, we protect him. That’s what we do to our children, our teenagers, our senile and sequelae. But our moral formation is anthropocentric, ie: we learn that any living thing has value only insofar as it serves the purposes and human affairs. We are not the only actors on the stage of life. Life is a good for each and every living being. It’s hard to believe that life can be an asset to the dog, the bird, pig, cow, horse, banana tree, avocado tree, the stingray, fish, the whale, the shark. But if life were bad for the animals, they would no longer live because our central nervous system does not support the permanent pain. We depend on serotonin, which is the hormone of pleasure, and when serotonin is missing (when the pain is intense, continuous and without possibility of reversal) we can die in pain and animals also, die in suffering. So if life was bad for the animals they would die. Just like us. We just do not die in pain because we have the painkillers, but our central nervous system is not made ​​to withstand the pain or suffering indefinitely. Life becomes a burden when there is an imbalance between what is assimilated and what is burning in every cell, organ, tissue or body system, or when you have no freedom to pursue your own provision with health and the specific intelligence to do so. An animal deprived of physical liberty, boycotted in it’s mental interaction with another of its species and deprived of the natural and physical environment in which its mind can flourish is an unfortunate animal. No matter if it is confined to sheds to be slaughtered by the meat industry, or if it lives in an urban penthouse, being forced to be human companions. Animals are beings born to freely pursue its physical and emotional provision. It is in this experience that his specific mind of his species is formed. Its physical autonomy and fundamental freedoms associated with this autonomy of the body can not be boycotted to keep the body of this animal, but to destroy its spirit. Life imprisonment for an animal is of all the most profound and embracing cruelty. When we imprison an animal we preserve its body, but in absolutely hostile conditions to their well being and, in doing so, we destroy their mind. By confinement of animals we took their physical freedom which is what turns them into beings with practical autonomy. The prison turns them into living beings empty of meaning. After killing his soul we say that they do not have any purpose, that they exist only to serve human interests, that their lives have no value, or that the only value it that assigned to them by human when they decide to tame them , domesticate them, use them, explore them and kill them. This argument is not ethical. It is an argument that turns the animal into an instrumental value. No ethics can be founded on the argument of instrumental value. By the logic of domination we own no moral respect to what is mere means. Only when that is an end in itself. "The means are less worthy than results", that is what is believed in our traditional morality. The moral tradition teaches that animals and plants are inferior to humans because they do not speak, nor do mathematical calculations, do not claim rights, do not invent technology, do not write, do not create, and so on. We confuse typical skills of the human mind, for example, the ability to reason in a mathematical and instrumental way, and transmit to others using these arguments using articulated sounds which we call words. We confuses these skills with moral superiority. We always conclude in our favor whoever has this ability of the reason that he has the right to use, abuse, exploit and kill anyone who does not own it. No philosopher has ever explained how we can skip the first premise to the conclusion, that, for example, we have different mental abilities of animals, these skills are superior to any skills that any other animal have and that our mental abilities give us greater moral right to destroy the life of them because they do not have the skill of mental rationality that is typical of our species. It’s confusing because it does seems to make much sense, but how we skip from the first premise to the conclusion, no philosophers explain. It is a religious dogma. In that way we keep our morality wrinkled and that oppresses us and prevents us from improving our ethical nature. Philosophers forget to say that mental abilities always refer to a specific species. What must be understood with mental uniqueness and not mental inferiority. Darwin says that there is no mental difference between humans and nonhuman animals, just a variation on a kind of continuum, depending on the kind of environment in which this species forms his mind to proceed in life. No other animal species uses words to communicate what is happening in the private mental space. Only humans need the word. Virtually all living species, or nearly all, use articulate sounds to communicate to their pairs what occur in the environment. We believe that we are superior to other animals because we use complicated sentences to say what is on our minds, our hearts and to guide others about what is the best to do. We thus conclude that animals do not have this ability. We believe that we hear all the sounds from animals around us. A mistake. Based on mistakes we can not establish or build an ethic. The truth is that we are deaf and this is not a metaphor what I'm saying, we are literally deaf our hearing capacity does not reach most of the sounds emitted by plants and animal in nature. I'm not doing here a rhetorical figure. Just to compare our ear to the ear of a dog or a bat which is guided only by the sound environment. By chance, do you hear a sound when the wall is moving, no sound from the object you're shooting [with your camera]? We do not hear the sound, the bat hears! The physical space occupied by an object emits a sound that is picked up by the bat and not by us. If we put our hearing capacity as the standard of measuring sound around us we make ​​a mistake. Even the fish for millennia have been reported in the literature as being philosophical and theological mute, they produce sounds. We are so good to at hearing that without very sophisticated equipment we have no notion of the sounds that are emitted around us by other living species. This is their language. Insects, reptiles, vertebrates, mammals and humans make sounds all the time to communicate to others internal and external events. For orientation, to establish social, group and loving bonds. But for more than two millennia, philosophers have stated that only humans are capable of language. That only humans are capable of thinking, feeling and reason. They totally ignore the language of animals. They do not observe. Do not listen to them. How they presume that they understand them? Many still can not admit that there are so many languages as living species on this planet. We lost millennia of the natural history of these languages​​. Obtuse, philosophers and scientists still continue to declare that the animals are stupid because they can not pronounce words. They do not need words. Their minds are shape by their own experiences. Not through experiences of others. Only humans have the mind full of concepts that are not theirs. Concepts passed from generation the generation. I’m not saying that concepts are things we can do without. No! To the human mind the concepts are needed. They allow us to earn much time. Each one inherits a system of concepts of previous generation and so can use the leftover time formulating new concepts to carry forward the human project of creating new objects. But this is not the fate of animals. It is to live their specific form of life, formatting a mind that is theirs, of which much the puppies will have to learn, but to which not everything will be revealed. They will have to learn by their own, to form their individual mind, that species’s mind. One must remember that even being as intelligent as we are, we are unable to learn even a foreign language of animals this expression does not exist, I am creating it here for this purpose We learn at great cost our mother or national language. And we just got it because parents and adults are around us are, at least, for 10 years correcting and teaching us how to speak correctly. It takes us 10 years, at least, to have mastery of the mother tongue. Without language rules we would not learn or speak our own language. Why we should be considered superior to other animals? Because we can use a language? Animals have their own rules for communicating in pairs what is important to know. Maybe they show us their secrets, but we are obtused in our moral folds and wrinkles that preaches that animals do not have language nor reasoning. We believe that our state of stupidity is our state of intelligence and that their state of muteness represents their disability. Meanwhile, the gray african parrot learned from Pepperberg who is the scientist who made the first experiment to study the mind of a parrot and check if he only repeated words or if, in fact, he understood human language, including grammar and semantics. She worked for thirty years with Alex, by the way, her book is already published in Brazil in Portuguese, called Alex. I suggest this reading, very interesting. Meanwhile, the gray parrot learned the human language and chimpanzees learned and taught their children. Who lives in the company of a dog knows how much he is capable of learning human language. And there are exceptional humans. Those who spend decades watching the animal language and they are able to receive their message. Why would we judge ourselves more valuable them they while we are not able to learn their language and they, in great effort, learn the language that we teach them? Who is more superior or inferior in ability to learn a language? Or, why do we become disabled linguistics in regard to other animals? Because we separated them from their linguistic community, their peers, and we put them in cages. Arrested with chains, iron bars, threw in closed rooms with desks, drawers, computers, artificial light, air conditioning, manufactured food and plenty of humans to disturb their emotions and torture their minds. I'm referring to the laboratories and also to animals that we hold in our home without the company of others of the same species Well, nothing like this will help the animal getting any communication with humans around him. So, we conclude that: the animal is inferior to us because he can not pronounce a word. We destroy its mind and thus his specific language. We force it to live in the human language community, we dismiss all that is necessary for him, which would allow him to use his own language. So, after doing all this against them, we conclude that they have nothing in their minds. Well, outside the specific mental linguistic community there is no language. We have the human example of Kaspar Hause, there is even a movie that I suggest you all to watch it. In confinement do not expect the animals to express their specific language pattern. Expressing yourself is something that only makes sense if it to shows others your own mental intimacy, hoping that the other can incorporate us into his mental world while he hear us. If I do not expect to be incorporated into the mental world of the other, I do not drive a word to him. Just observe human masses in line, at bus stops, riding in subways or buses after work and see if someone speaks to someone. They squeezed touching and rubbing. Nobody talks to anybody, because nobody expects to be included into the mental world of the other. If extraterrestrials could spy us in these situations they would say that we are empty beings. We're stupid because we do not use the language. We're all clusters but we do not talk with each other. We have no ability to communicate. That's all we concluded about animals, because we took them out of their specific language community, and they do not have any expectation of being included in our mental world when they approach us. The Violence Human proclaim themselves owners of the lives of other beings which they proclaim inferior. For it they must maintain habits, practices and violent institutions. Mistreatment, physical and emotional violation practices are inseparable from slavery. Based on the logic of domination. José do Patrocínio, a leading abolitionist of African slavery (of African descendants in Brazil) refers to this combination in these terms: "It is not allowed slavery without the inhuman discipline of the whip". The captivity hurts the victim with perpetual interdiction. All forms of enslavement of the body of animals, human and nonhuman, are unfolded forms of moral violation, physical and emotional, protected by the institution of slavery, a tradition. Therefore, tradition is not synonymous with ethics, traditions are also wrinkles in morality who lose their vigor by sucking the inherent value of the fundamental interests of some and to aggregate instrumental value to others. The traditional morality is the most wrinkled tissue we have in our mind. From these folds that are never opened we preserve the cognitive matrix that support the violent and discriminatory practices. Maintained in the name of respect to something that no longer carries value, which may have had a value to hundreds and thousands of years when conditions were not comparable to the conditions of our present life. To be ethical, the individual and institutional moral needs to demonstrate the benefit that the traditional moral practices pose to all those who are directly affected by these customs. The traditional morality does not require this, the moral agent only needs to shows the economic, scientific, aesthetic or erotic benefit it has by exploiting vulnerable beings in a way that everyone have to bow and accept, in silence, what is practiced as morally valid. By enslave living beings they never benefit from it because their fate is to suffer exploitation and death, and none of these things bring them any benefit. Who suffers the brutality never takes any benefits from it. The abusers, for not suffering any harm with their violent practices, they perpetuate those practices. Maintained over centuries become traditions. So has been written the history of mankind: violence against slaves, women, children, animals and ecosystems, considered part of the physical nature to be dominated or simply tamed taken for accumulation of surplus value. In order to designate one of the three kingdoms of life, at least the three most talked about, animal beings are born free and equal in their capacity as individuals which to stay alive, they need to engage in provide themselves. The condition of being forced to move in a natural and social environment for auto provision, can be understood as a physical freedom, but it is a negative freedom, ie, the price of that freedom is to have act for themselves. This freedom endows the animal, of course, of practical autonomy This expression of an American philosopher who defends animals in American court, Steven M. Wise. He has written two books: Rattling the Cage and Drawing the Line. I use this term in the sence of three freedoms of the body that are the fundamental human rights. I always like to remember that fundamental human rights are the animal rights. The right not to be enslaved, the right not to be imprisoned and the right not to be exploited for others purposes which then generates all other rights, other chapters and the other 30 articles of the Declaration of Human Rights. For the purpose of granting constitutional rights to animals, Wise acknowledges the practical autonomy and its three fundamental freedoms, all of them relating to the animal body: the freedom not to be trapped, the freedom not to be enslaved and the freedom of not being assassinated. At birth, every animal is sharply separated from the source of nourishment that feeds its body during pregnancy. Those who learn to move, to provide themselves, following successful and specific patterns of social and environmental interaction for that species will survive. For, "to live is very dangerous" (Guimarães Rosa), this applies to animals of other species too, not just Homo Sapiens. Being alive is something extremely dangerous. Imprisoned and confined human and nonhuman animals are deprived of the sense that it is typical of them. Deprived from the freedom to pursue their own good in their own way. I use here, again, the concept of specie-specific well-being, elaborated brilliantly by biocentric philosopher Paul Taylor in his book Respect for Nature published in 1986, unpublished in Brazil, and now we are the first UFSC group that are doing articles on biocentric ethics, which are already on Internet. There are plenty of materials for those who want to study it. In Taylor’s conception, every living individual has well-being specific to its nature. This well is an inherent value to its life. It is not an instrumental value aimed outside, to foreign interests. In the case of sentient animals, animals with sensitivity and conscience of the things that threaten itself it's self provision does not affect only the physical but also the psychological. The animal provides itself from concepts stored in its own consciousness. This, in addition of being to typical of each species is also unique for each individual. Those who have many dogs or cats in the house can describe the personality of each one: "This one speaks to me", "This one only speaks to me before going to bed", "This one during all day long does not give a damn," "This one is jealous, I cannot cuddle another dog and he barks furiously because he is missing my love. "Each animal has its unique mind in the same way we have. The loss of liberty in which consciousness is formed in singular way represents a future threat to the self specific consciousness that each individual must have to keep moving in a space that changes every day. Just a small change in this environment and the animal has to redo its concepts in order to continue providing itself in that day or in the next. Imagine, after a storm, that ravages forests, the bird that used to find the little fruits or seeds from the previous day has to have the awareness of the stored images, the concepts of that food, format of them, radiation or magnetism of the fruit or the seed so that in the next day after the gale he can keep flying until he finds the tree where his food is. If he were a empty being, if he did it by instinct, if he had not conscience that the fruit of which he has an image, a fruit he ate, it did not have the consciousness of the difference between it and the environment in which he has to interact, which he has to get the nutrients, he would starve as soon as the gale has gone away and had overthrown all the seeds and fruits of the tree. It migrates, he seeks elsewhere, it carries the file from its experience and this experience is part of its mind. The confinement of animals forces them to live a life contrary to the nature of what would be their own good, within the concept of what is specific to them. A good that is specific to them. The human or non-human animal’s own good is not something that can be offered externally. To be well, on his particular way, the animal needs to interact in a natural and social environment and have favorable conditions for their physical provision and mental development while keeping it's freedom to make choices. Animals select what they eat and the greatest torture for us would be if we were confined and forced 3 times a day to eat a plate with the same food for years,3 times per day to eat a plate with the same food for years, the same format, the same smell, the same consistency. It is not different for all animals The enslavement of humans and animals deprives the enslaved individual of freedom to provide themselves in their own way and prevents it from being well according to the kind of life in which he were born. A good life is not restricted to physical or biological well-being. Independence is a significant part of the benefit that practical autonomy allows the animal to achieve. All animals interact with each other in order to live well, but live well only animals that can carry on their self provision movements without having their mind being forced into strange patterns or perception of what should be good for them at that moment. The birth of mammals requires forced separation of the supply cut by cutting the umbilical cord. To be born means to lose provision. Growing up means learning to provide themselves without relying on others. Living well means to have an intelligent mind to take on its responsibility individually. Humans are the animals that take longer to train the mind to seek self-provisioning effectively. In the case of egg-laying the rupture of provision takes place with end of nutrients present inside the egg. The bird keeps on pecking, pecking and feeding of the nutrients that are in the placenta inside the egg. When there is no more nutrients he's already strong enough, he is not complete yet, but it is ready. He continues pecking hoping to find food. It pecks so much that the egg cracks. After it crackes it is out in the world. And now? I'm lost!. No more food! The same thing is when you cut the umbilical cord of the baby human or any other mammal: food is over! Born in animal condition is tragic event. We earn a life in freedom in the sense that the body now is free, is no longer tied to anything. But this comes at a cost: the risk of starvation. Therefore it is necessary to form a mind after the birth. From the depends the animal for its provision as a specific animal. Typical of its kind. In this we and animals are equal. We are all in the animal condition, lacking nutrients, laking care, and guidance and lacking an adequate natural and social environment to learn how to preserve of our lives. According to the North American philosopher of law Ronald Dworkin, in his book The Domain of Life, this has a genetic value recognized by the uniqueness of the knowledge that each one has, a biological value that is given by the investment of the parents so that life continues is gestated and come to birth. And finally, when it is born, the value of the investment of this individual born to be free that is, he is no longer attached to the provision, not glued to the food, this is the investment that this individual makes to keep itself alive. So each animal life, no matter the species, brings with itself these three investments: the genetic background, the biological investment of its progenitors and the investment of the individual itself to continue alive. Therefore, the life of those who are subjects of this life and not just subjected to be alive, has, for the American philosopher Tom Regan (which is the first philosopher to write a book arguing in the category of animal rights) has an inherent value. This inherent value is inside of what is now the subject of his life, his living. Responsible for the tragedy of being alive in a capsule that needs the external environment around the clock to get the nutrients without which it will not be able to continue living. From this perspective, any animal life is a result from the aggregation of these three investments: the genetic, biological and self care. Animals are given the genetic background and biological investment made by their parents in the process of gestation. Once born they need to learn the specific care of themselves. It is this learning that his mind (spirit or soul, give it the name you prefer) constitutes itself in a unique way. In the free interaction with the animal of its kind forms it’s own mind of its own nature. In slavery, exploitation and confinement, deprived of specific social interactions, what remains from animals are just their bodies. Organisms of different species with the value of diverse genetic background. The spirit that would characterize them was destroyed. Human and non-human, endowed with sensory organs, therefore sentient beings, each species in a shorter or longer time, goes through the same aggregation of values. Tom Regan recognize them as subjects of their lives. Specific physical freedom and specific emotional and physical well-being are constitutive of each animal species own good. The kidnapping, torture, confinement and imprisonment represent for the animal the end of the possibility of stay alive in a good way accordingly to it’s peculiar way of existence of his species. When animals are forced to fall along the lines of a “good human life”, when they are anthropomorphized, they are deprived of the conditions to develop their own spirit. The humans have then on their property, bodies of other animals who claim to love, but which they have deprived from their spirit. Endowed with the freedom to move to provided themselves, all animals consists of a specific form of sentience, which is a word that ethical practice uses to designate sensitivity and awareness. Without it the animal can not record nor articulate concepts necessary to maintain their lives, to prevent from risks and threats posed by natural and social environment. Therefore, to encage, imprison or confine animals, in short, enslave them, is their worst torment. Prevent the animal from moving to get the nutrients and form their mind following their specific standards and creating the pattern that will shape him as an individual in his kind is to kill the spirit of the animal, condemning him to nourish themselves artificially, suffering the condition of complete subjection to human domain formatting. Anthropomorphization of animals. About which welfare can we talk about in this situation? To overcome the current stage of our moral wrinkle, we must have the courage to open the folds from which we hide from our own mind the reality of the animal condition under the ownership and human domain. When speaking of abolitionism we are talking about the abolition of all forms of imprisonment, exploitation and deprivation of liberty committed by human beings against other animated living beings human and non-human. In Brazil, we know the term abolitionism as the end of the kidnapping, trafficking, sale and enslavement of Africans, but that term today is used around the world to describe the movement of animal rights opposed to the mere struggle for approval of welfare laws because the abolitionist position considers that welfare laws do not solve the conflict of economic interests and moral interests related to the tradition of imprison, confine, use, exploit and slaughter animals to meet human affairs. The animalistic abolitionist struggle practically has not even started in Brazil. Humphrey Primatt doctorate in theology after having made a graduation in arts in the mid-eighteenth century in London. From the Greco-Roman tradition, certainly, he read for his doctorate thesis texts of the Seneca, Ovid, Plutarch and Porphyry. Four philosophers of the first four centuries of our era, vegetarians and animal advocates. The recognition of the ability to feel pain and suffering, intelligence, language and reasoning of animals, what studies of ethology and neuroscience today confirms, is one of the legacies of the philosophy of these first four Greco-Roman philosophers. They distinguish humans from other animals, but they did it not to permit humans to exploit animals but to attribute to human the responsibility for the preservation of the life of animals, since they were always vulnerable to the interests and human affairs. Almost two thousand years have passed since the Greco-Roman philosophy without anyone giving importance to ethics in defense of non-human animals produced elaborated by these four philosophers. The thesis of Plutarch and Porphyry, to judge that the animals lacked intelligence and rationality, and Ovid and Seneca, advocating that animals were sensitive beings, were silenced in the Western philosophy history until it bloomed in this single text written by this theologian of Aberdeen, Scotland, in 1776. It's a tiny book and I spent 5 years searching for it in internet and there was just one copy of the original edition from 1776 which costed 5.000 pounds. I tiny book that has about 100 pages. But in 80's they did another edition and there was no copy of this new edition too. I spent 5 years search in Internet for used books to find that book. 4 years ago was the happiest day of my life in this research trajectory, the day I received Humphrey Primatt's book. In the original it was called "A Dissertation On the Duty of Mercy and the Sin of Cruelty Agains Brute Animal”. In the edition of the 20th century, in 1980, it was translated simply as "the Duty of Mercy". That same year, 1776, was proclaimed liberty, equality and the right to pursue happiness in their own way, by Americans. It is the year of American Revolution. Primatt defends many theses in this text (I've done a reception of these thesis, they are published in an article in the first volume of the Journal of Animal Rights of graduation students from Bahia University. I will work on only three of them here.). Ethics takes into account biased criteria when it elects reasoning as parameter to say who deserves moral respect and who doesn’t (this is one of the strong thesis of Primatt, which is a thesis used by animal advocates in the 20th century). The second:. Similar interests should be treated with equal respect, no matter the shape of the living being in which that interest occurs. (this is Peter Singer thesis that is the principle of equal consideration of similar interests. Singer adopts all arguments from Humphrey Primatt ). The third thesis: the distinction between humans and animals disappears, is destroyed when humans use their so-called superior mental abilities like reason, language, ability to reason and calculate, for example, to misuse and mistreat animals . By doing it humans degrade and do not become superior. Primatt’s text was read by another philosopher at the same time who was also a very important British philosopher in the theory of criminal law: Jeremy Bentham. Bentham was the first philosopher of England to propose that physical punishment as a punishment for the prisoners should be extinct. They were whipped, were condemned to forced labor, did not receive proper nourishment ... so the body of the criminal was punished in the expectation that, by punishing the body (as he had committed the crime with the body) it would correct the criminal’s mind. The Bentham, one of the most important utilitarian said, you can only fix the human with pleasure, not torture. If you want to correct a child pay close attention to her temperament. What is pleasurable for her and which things that she does that would be unpleasant to others. If the child is accustomed to do things that are unpleasant to others, watch the child and do not punish her, don’t beat. Every time she approaches this form of interaction, distract the child from the scene. Put it in another pleasurable interaction and not in an interaction that gives her pleasure to bring pain to others. Because that is what creates a psychopath. Do not punish, watch, take the child away from the scene so that her would not repeat malevolent actions because otherwise she will create a character which there will not be any way fix it. So do not hit the child when it begins to make mischief. Remove her from the scene in which the vicious interaction can happen. Divert the child's attention, put a positive and enjoyable thing in this place, then her brain will get used to do the pleasurable and beneficent interactions and not those that are pleasurable and maleficent. Adults are there for it, to supervise the child's interactions watching her character that is forming by repetitive practices. That's the theory of Aristotle: what form the character is the repetition of gestures, practices. Bentham have a very strong antenna in the theory of Aristotle. Well, he read Humphrey Primmat and probably his book "An Introduction to the Principles of Morals and Legislation" was already written. Then he made a very long footnote in the last chapter and then introduces the argumentation that: we will not have moral improvement while we are excluding animals capable of feeling pain and suffering. Exclude from the scope of which we judge to be the scope of beings that worth of respect and consideration. This is the thesis of Jeremy Bentham, 1789, which is the year of the French Revolution which declared: Equality, Liberty and Fraternity. So we have the greatest philosophers of the seventeenth century, Primatt Humphrey and Jeremy Bentham, in the two years of the two great revolutions that marked our time. Those were the revolutions that declared equality, liberty and the pursuit of happiness as principles that have become even constitutional principles in almost all of today's democracies. In both cases, Primatt’s and Bentham’s, the principle of equality guide the ethical argument in defense of animals. Primatt does not refer in his text to animal rights, he does not build his argument based on the category of "rights" but he laments, in 1776, he did not had at hand, in England, no law which he could use to protect animals suffering torture and cruelties in the streets of London. Because of this his text, it was founded in 1824 the first British society for the protection of animals, the RSPCA. In 1821 it was passed the first law of animal protection in England, called Martin's Act. Primatt does not refer to animal rights but regretted not having still in England this law which he could appeal. Bentham, unlike Primatt, did not defend laws recognizing the rights of animals, but considered that advocacy for a no-person was something that would not make much sense. Most humans at the time of Bentham and Primatt was not considered to be subject to any right: slaves, Jews, women, children, disabled people had no rights. At the time, extend rights to encompass animals sounded so absurd as to extend to women or slaves. This was exactly the title of a pamphlet written by another philosopher, named Thomas Taylor, who wrote a book like this: "The Vindication of the Rights of Brutes", in 1793. He chaffed the British feminist Mary Wollstonecraft, who had published "The Vindication of the Rights of Women ". She made claims for women's rights in 1792 and a year later a a very chauvinistic man wrote a pamphlet “The Vindication of the Rights of Brutes”. Taylor quips as follows: well, since women demand equal rights with men, so why we do not also assign the same rights to all the beasts? This was hist text. Beast is a term in English, used to describe animals that are used on forced work for human service. Animals, women and slaves have always been, throughout human history, endowed with sensitivity, awareness, felt pain, suffered, sought his own good in their own way when they were left free to do so in peace. But 230 years ago, the prevailing morality in Europe of which we are heirs as we are all educated in the traditions and moral values of Europe and not of the natives who lived here, or Africans who were kidnapped) considered these beings, women, blacks and animals mere objects of male property. Subject to the male’s right, they were not subject in its own right. Exactly such subjection to the male legal system equaled women, slaves and animals in human history. Therefore, what represents the liberation of some, today echoes as a threat and revindication of liberation of others. Animals, women and slaves. Both texts advocating the end of animal cruelty were written not for coincidentally, not fortuitously in those two years marked by the fight to end cruelty to humans: 1776 and 1789. From North American and French revolutions we received the ideal of human and animal liberation. To choose and to follow it’s own choice characterizes what we call individual autonomy. Autonomoi from greek, means one who takes the law in itself, does not need another subjugating it to his law. In this sense, non-human animals are autonomous individuals, beings who have in themselves the law. This law may have different names: needs, interests, desires and mental and psychological ability to live by the law inherent in their species. His intelligence and sensitivity, like humans, are intended to the search for it’s own good of the particular nature of the individual that each animal is. However, so you can understand why we need ethics to deal with animals and other life forms beyond the human it is necessary to point a difference: the animals are still directly and indirectly under the absolute control of human property. Likewise what, in history, Africans, women and foreigners have also met in any empire. For an oppressive and tyrannical owner, there is nothing on those subjected to his tyranny that can make the oppressed to be like oppressor. The logic of domination traces a insuperable line in the human mind. It excludes any and all non-human being from the moral context in which humans find their shelter. In his book Animal Rights, published in London in 1892 so, one century after Humphrey Primatt, Jeremy Bentham, Thomas Taylor and Mary Wollstonecraft on the late eighteenth century Henry Salt writes: "But it may be reapplied. Sympathy wave for inferior animals is one thing. The ultimate recognition of their rights is another. "Where is the reason to suppose that we should move in sympathy for animals but not the thesis of rights?" Henry Salt was one of the greatest friends of Gandhi. And from him Gandhi learned the ethical arguments of animal rights because Gandhi was from India, from a Jaina tradition, a Jain mother, who taught him not to eat meat (the Jains are the first vegan in human history. They live looking hard not to take the lives of any living form. They do not have technology, do not use motors, do not use machine, do not use animals for any service, do not eat anything that comes from animals and do not drop plants. They only eat seeds, fruits and tubers). But Ghandi used to eat dairy and he even regrets at a time in his history, failing to abolish the use of milk, ghee (clarified butter), from his diet. He recognizes that as his limitation from which he had not been able to make the leap. Well, when Gandhi went to England at the age of 16 to study law he was a vegetarian. In England, figure, late nineteenth century, in the last quarter, he did not have much knowledge of restaurants and who was a vegetarian. Then he asked for information and was indicated to this philosopher. (Probably) they said: "look, there is a humanist there who is vegetarian and defends animals. It'll be good to go and join. He will teach you how to live here being vegetarian.". Thus began the friendship of a 16 years old boy with this philosopher. Then Gandhi by two or three times in his speeches, international, he referred to this friendship saying it was significant in his life because he had religious arguments, the Hindu tradition, in defense of the principle of non-violence, but he does not had ethical arguments to defend animals. This ethical argument came from Henry Salt. According to Henry Salt, every liberation movement is based on the ethical argument. Oppression and cruelty founded invariably in the unwillingness to establish sympathy with those who are similar but vulnerable. The tyrant has no sympathy for his victim because she is weak and vulnerable. If so, he would give an ultimatum to tyranny and recognize rights to those who were objectified by him. At the same time, the last decade of the nineteenth century, José do Patrocínio wrote, here in Brazil, against the tyranny of the whip which ensures the enslavement of humans and use their tensile strength and other abilities for the benefit of tyrants. Being born without wanting to, without having committed any effort to do so and owe your life to someone else, can be to projenitores or family, to nature or a to a deity, it is something that equals all the animals that to survive at birth, ie , the cutting of provision, require third-party care. Seen from this angle, we can underestand that other animals are in this respect like us. To be born was not her claim. Dying is not your greatest desire. The same applies to us. If our desire to stay alive is what typifies who kills us as a murderer (to kill a human being is a homicide) why should it be considered a murder not taking the life of an animal that strives to keep alive when his life and his way of guaranting himself in life does not threaten us? Why do we have the word homicide, and we do not have the "caticide", "dogcide", "horsecide", "cowcide", "birdcide"? Because we do not have in our minds the idea that we are committing a murder. For a vital impulse, which was not in our power to suspend, but was in our projenitores, here we are on the planet. We inhabit the earth for a certain period. Our life span is always shorter than we would like it to be. This, again, equals us in the estimates: 10 million species from which 2 millions have a latin name, have some record and something around 250 thousand kinds of life were in fact studied by science on this planet. It is just for us to imagine the richness of life earth contains. There is no argument that supports the thesis that the miracle birth should be considered a moral merit of humans. Merit is what we reach by our own commitment. Birth and start living is definitely not something that results from our personal efforts. Nature plays a part through conscious or unconscious will of those who came together and gave each other the first step towards the new life production, that same life in which each one of us is bound. "When he called me I came, when I found myself here When the eye shone I understood. When I created wings, I flew..." - Chico César, A primeira vista (brasilian music). The same thing happens around us with the life of horses, cows, pigeons, turtles, whales, elephants, birds, birds, cats, dogs, to name some 10 of these 10 million "events". Each one forges a singular awareness of their living. This can not be known from the outside. Probably it cannot even be known from inside out. We are more than two thousand years making sophisticated philosophical constructs to try to put on paper a minimally acceptable description of how works the mind, consciousness, reason, affection, emotion, thought, language and human knowledge . That's what makes philosophers. We are inside a mind that we say is ours, and we have little to say about of what goes on inside it, Even little or nothing we know of our mental condition and we stated that animals have no soul, that in their bodies there is nothing beyond the physiological functions commanded by an automaton system (this is the philosopher's thesis Descartes, 1649, completely superseded by more recent studies of ethology and Animal Neuroscience). To defend ethically animal rights implies seek moral coherence. But unlike the traditional moral consistency, formatted in the thesis that we are superior and we can do as we please with their lives, the new moral consistency requires that we recognize the value of being alive also in other kind of life. The milestones elected to define who is superior or inferior does not even apply to all humans. Precisely for being such a pattern an elitist pattern (for example, require that to be morally respected the living being must be endowed with reason, language, logical reasoning ability) excludes all human for much of their lives, for example, a newborn baby is not capable of it all, a small child is not capable of it all, a teenager is not capable of all this and the elderly, or senile, the brain injured by an accident or illness may also not be able to perform all these mind skills. Precisely because it is such an elite standard, our morality could make us understand that we must respect all human. Nonhuman animals had no better luck. As we say that language, logical thinking, the ability to make sensible judgments, make decisions, build devices and act decently are the marks that distinguishes us from animals, we have left behind many humans who are not capable of that. Many of those skills are present in many animals. The point here is that they use these skills in a way that does not require speech. That's why is this so hard to accept that their lives has as much value to them as our lives have to us. Once overcome this difficulty, which has more to do to human pride than to animal deficiencies, it remains to us to assess which are the practices in our daily life that emphasize that pride in relation to animals. Some of our consumption habits will then appear clearly on the top of list. Others, however, will still be hidden under folds hard to be smoothed. For this latter case, we need to build tools that allow us to leave the fold in which we are wrapped. To defend rights for animals entails a preliminary decision: reformatting the concepts with which we operate, redefining the moral statute of animals and therefore our own statute in this place called nature. From tyrannical owners, domineering of life on earth, we have to turn to be advocates of non-violence against any kind of life. Whether we like the design in which this life appears or not. Thank you very much.

Video Details

Duration: 1 hour, 17 minutes and 24 seconds
Language: English
License: Dotsub - Standard License
Genre: None
Views: 6
Posted by: leoh on Jul 13, 2016

Caption and Translate

    Sign In/Register for Dotsub to translate this video.