Author Topic: Animal Rights v. Peoples' Rights; People Trump Animals  (Read 20 times)

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Offline JBG

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Animal Rights v. Peoples' Rights; People Trump Animals
« on: March 17, 2018, 02:47:38 pm »
A frequent and indeed inevitable topic of discussion is the rights of pet owners vs. non-pet owners in public facilities. Some consider it the rights of domesticated animals as opposed to the rights of people. The increasing use of Emotional Support Animals, or ESA's, as opposed to true service dogs. This is a particular problem because ESA's don't require or have any special certification. For a dog to become a true service animal extensive training and testing are required. Most dogs do not pass "seeing eye" training for example. They have a somewhat easier time becoming a therapy dog but even there the population is limited.

By contrast, to some extent most pets are "ESA's." Being greeted by a wagging tail on coming home from school or work melts most people's hearts. Or even having a cat rub against your leg. It is pure, unconditional love. Even a spouse or children may not always give such a greeting but pets don't have "rough days." So the proliferation of ESA's raises issues.

Should a third-grader be able to say, in order to go to school, "I need my doggie-woggie, I'll cry without him/her"?

Are animal rights on an equal footing with people's rights? On one side animals undoubtedly have feelings. They feel pain, sadness and a whole panoply of human-like emotions, though that is a matter of some controversy. See Which Emotions Do Dogs Actually Experience?  Dogs have co-evolved with people to the point where they look at us, with their eyes, for solutions to problems. They live for us, we live for them. See We Didn't Domesticate Dogs. They Domesticated Us.

On the other hand, dogs can bite, especially if in stressful situations such as airplanes where there's no ready escape. See Southwest Airlines passenger bitten by an emotional-support dog. There are many people allergic to dogs. Others are downright scared of dogs. And if two people bring dogs onto a plane and the animals don't get along things can get messy. Also, dogs add to the cacophony of other noises such as cellphones and babies crying. Dogs may take an interest in food of other passengers and being served on the airplane.

Courts don't always agree on the issue. Compare Can You Take a Chimp to Court? to Chimpanzees are not 'persons,' appeals court says. In my view, humans are "keystone species" and must make the decision for animals, not the other way around. While animals must be protected from unnecessary cruelty people's rights must prevail.
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