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Dormin111

Morality of animal abuse

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Animals do not have rights and exist for the use of rational beings. Since we can kill animals for fun and food, and enslave them, why can't we torture them purely for pleasure?

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Animals don't have rights, and you can kill them for food and whatnot. As for the morality of torturing animals for fun, I wouldn't say that that's immoral because it's destructive to the animal's welfare, but doing something like that could be a sign on deeper psychological issues.

EDIT- Unless you're referring to things like hunting (killing animals for sport/pleasure), which would probably not be a sign of psychological problems, then there is no problem with that.

Edited by ObjectivistMathematician

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People could. And we would all be free to disassociate ourselves from them, to publicly let it be known that they are abusers of defenseless animals. To warn people to not let those others take care of their children or to watch their pets. We could privately censure them for those despicable acts, we could organize and boycott their business if we so choose; because although their acts would be permissible in a free society, they are still morally reprehensible, disgusting, and cruel.

SapereAude likes this

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People could. And we would all be free to disassociate ourselves from them, to publicly let it be known that they are abusers of defenseless animals. To warn people to not let those others take care of their children or to watch their pets. We could privately censure them for those despicable acts, we could organize and boycott their business if we so choose; because although their acts would be permissible in a free society, they are still morally reprehensible, disgusting, and cruel.

But why are they morally disgusting and creul? They have violated no rights, and have acted in their own self interest. How come it is ok to murder animals purely for fun (ie. hunting), but it is not ok to torture them for the same reason?

The reason I ask is that animal abuse seems to evoke a gut feeling of disgust in most people, but as an objectivist I can't really see any reason why it is morally reprehensible.

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But why are they morally disgusting and creul? They have violated no rights, and have acted in their own self interest. How come it is ok to murder animals purely for fun (ie. hunting), but it is not ok to torture them for the same reason?

The reason I ask is that animal abuse seems to evoke a gut feeling of disgust in most people, but as an objectivist I can't really see any reason why it is morally reprehensible.

Just because you have the right to do something, doesn't mean that it is moral to do it. The point being made above is not that you don't have the right to torture animals, but precisely that it isn't in your self-interest to do so, because it indicates that you are a sadist. Not all that you have the right to do is automatically good and righteous.

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But why are they morally disgusting and creul? They have violated no rights, and have acted in their own self interest. How come it is ok to murder animals purely for fun (ie. hunting), but it is not ok to torture them for the same reason?

The reason I ask is that animal abuse seems to evoke a gut feeling of disgust in most people, but as an objectivist I can't really see any reason why it is morally reprehensible.

When people hunt, they usually do it for sport, for the same reason someone would do any other kind of sport. If someone gets pleasure from torturing an animal, it would be because they value the animal being in pain for the sake of it being in pain, which is throughly irrational. Of course people have the right, but that doesn't make it moral; people have the right to get addicted to harmful drugs, too, but that's certainly not moral.

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But why are they morally disgusting and creul? They have violated no rights, and have acted in their own self interest. How come it is ok to murder animals purely for fun (ie. hunting), but it is not ok to torture them for the same reason?

The reason I ask is that animal abuse seems to evoke a gut feeling of disgust in most people, but as an objectivist I can't really see any reason why it is morally reprehensible.

The Objectivist (philosophical) answer to that is that sadism (developing a taste for torture, or maintaining and satisfying one), is not selfish.

The reason why it isn't selfish isn't a purely philosophical one though. There are aspects of the human mind which are objectively beneficial to a person's life, and aspects which are objectively harmful. Determining which is which falls to the science of Psychology, not to Philosophy.

I'm not a Psychologist, but still I am confident that getting pleasure out of torture falls into the latter category. There are plenty of arguments, by experts, on why that is, what the consequences of nurturing such a sickness can be, etc. But, just because I know enough enough to say that, doesn't mean I'm also qualified to start teaching Psychology. (similarly, just because I know enough Physics to say Einstein made some good points, doesn't mean I should teach, or even try to explain, Einstein's work to you. It would be an embarrassing attempt to say the least.)

So I'm not gonna go into the Psychology of sadists, but maybe there's someone who actually studied it, who will. Or at least someone who has a good link on this.

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EDIT- Unless you're referring to things like hunting (killing animals for sport/pleasure), which would probably not be a sign of psychological problems, then there is no problem with that.

But even that palls. I'm friendly with a professional hunter who has taken clients all over Central and Southern Africa. He has been in spots nobody has ever set foot, and is quite famous in the global hunting fraternity.

Recently, at an incredibly fit 70 he said to me that he's had enough. Asked why, he said "Too much killing."

I think an Objectivist would reach that conclusion earlier. Simply, rational egoism eventually leads one to the value of all life, I believe - right down to the lower forms.

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I guess not all of us would wish to possibly alienate a newcomer with terse response to "go look it up" than give a simple answer.

If you don't want to participate then don't.

Dante and DonAthos like this

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While it may also be improper to give a terse response to a redundant question, it is proper forum etiquette (mentioned on the forum rules page) to search first before starting a new thread.

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While it may also be improper to give a terse response to a redundant question, it is proper forum etiquette (mentioned on the forum rules page) to search first before starting a new thread.

Point taken but newbies also need to get the feel for a place in order to be comfortable as part of a community like this, and asking an easy question is often a good way to do that.

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I am very new here (obviously) and probably shouldn't get involved, but this thread has created a great opportunity for debate about reason vs. emotion, and it is playing out in both the main topic of the thread and also in the subplot/newbie drama.

On the first question about torturing animals, I agree with Tanaka "There are aspects of the human mind which are objectively beneficial to a person's life, and aspects which are objectively harmful." If the scientific/statistical link can or has been proven that torturing animals leads to self-destruction, either in the form of self-inflicted guilt or by society's vengeance, than reason confirms that it is an act of self-destruction and thereby immoral. If a man, using his reason and capable of understanding that torturing animals would ultimately lead to his own destruction, than it would be immoral (against reason) to continue to torture animals. I think ... even when arguing the Objectivist side, it would be easy to allow emotion to place too much emphasis on the fact that this torturing of animals might lead to more cruel, more frequent acts of torture to animals, and that this is why it is so immoral. But the focus, from my understanding of an objective perspective, would be solely on the self-destructive nature of the act itself upon the perpetrator.

Regarding the newbie starting a new topic for something that is already currently being discusses elsewhere on the board: I also thought the immediate harshness of pointing out the topic's redundancy may have been uncalled for, but have to admit that is an emotional reasponse; my mind somehow using an irrational line of thought to convince me that I should have sympathy for the "new guy", especially since I am a "new guy" myself. But why should a forum expect any less of its NEW members than its existing members? In fact, new members should be especially aware of the high tendency for newcomer redundancy when it comes to topic creation... so it would be in their best interest to make careful searches of the forum first. This would be acting in self-interest by the newcomer. However, if the existing forum members responded to a lapse in the forum etiquitte by a newcomer with anything less than disdain, it would surely be an altruistic act, an act fueled by emotion (sympathy/empathy) for the "underdog". In essence, by lowering the expected standard of forum etiquette for newcombers, the forum could risk a decline in etiquette across the entire board over time. This would become especially problematic if the board experienced a surge in popularity and hundreds of "newbies" signed up every day. If that influx of posts were all allowed to break with forum etiquitte simply because they were new, the board would suffer intolerable redundancy.

I hope that this type of debate is acceptable. I am not trying to ignite anything except a meaningful debate about how to apply reason before emotion in all matters of dealing with reality... and the human interactions on this forum certainly represent reality.

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I guess not all of us would wish to possibly alienate a newcomer with terse response to "go look it up" than give a simple answer.

If you don't want to participate then don't.

Well, then I guess that these people who do like having a messy and disorganized forum with unnecessary and redundant threads, giving the moderators and other users like me, who do use the search function, a really hard time organizing and looking through a myriad of reiterative and duplicated threads, just as long as the newcomers, who didn't even bother to read the forum rules, get their special treat, need to rethink about the consequences of their oh so kindhearted flexibility to oher people in this forum.

Edited by 0096 2251 2110 8105

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Then again, the forum would be even better without redundant threads AND sarcastic asshats.

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When people hunt, they usually do it for sport, for the same reason someone would do any other kind of sport.

Having grown up in West Virginia, where hunting season for most hunters means bringing in food for the winter, I'd like to see the statistics backing up this apparently unsubstantiated assertion.

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Having grown up in West Virginia, where hunting season for most hunters means bringing in food for the winter, I'd like to see the statistics backing up this apparently unsubstantiated assertion.

I second that. I grew up on venison because we couldn't always afford to buy meat from the store. Of the hunters that I grew up around you didn't hunt animals unless you intended to eat what you killed.

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On the first question about torturing animals, I agree with Tanaka "There are aspects of the human mind which are objectively beneficial to a person's life, and aspects which are objectively harmful." If the scientific/statistical link can or has been proven that torturing animals leads to self-destruction, either in the form of self-inflicted guilt or by society's vengeance, than reason confirms that it is an act of self-destruction and thereby immoral. If a man, using his reason and capable of understanding that torturing animals would ultimately lead to his own destruction, than it would be immoral (against reason) to continue to torture animals. I think ... even when arguing the Objectivist side, it would be easy to allow emotion to place too much emphasis on the fact that this torturing of animals might lead to more cruel, more frequent acts of torture to animals, and that this is why it is so immoral. But the focus, from my understanding of an objective perspective, would be solely on the self-destructive nature of the act itself upon the perpetrator.

Emotions do dictate how I will treat a sadist who abuses animals though. I won't violate his rights, of course, but the reason why I would shun him isn't just that he is being self-destructive: it's that his actions disgust me. The reason why his actions disgust me is somewhat complex. It's not purely or mainly the animal's suffering. Animals suffer in the wild. I don't hate lions, even though they sometimes eat their prey while still alive. The reason why I am repulsed by the torturer is a combination of his irrational values and empathy for his victim (empathy caused by a sense of injustice, I should add).

Obviously, the question is: Does my empathy for a tortured animal have a rational basis? You could say animals don't make conscious decisions, therefor justice doesn't come into how they're treated. But punishing an animal (looking for emotional satisfaction by punishing someone or something for an imagined wrong is what motivates sadists to act) is still a perversion of justice. And animals do suffer from it, they're not senseless objects.

Not to mention that a sadist's perversion of justice when abusing an animal is just a sign of things to come. It's not like he will differentiate between the morality of punishing an animal and punishing a defenseless child for instance. His rationalization for the abuse isn't the rationalization people around here tend to come up with ("It's just an animal, and I get pleasure out of torturing it, so why not?"). That line of reasoning would not ordinarily cause someone to abuse an animal, because it just assumes there's pleasure, it doesn't address where that pleasure comes from to begin with. The sadist's rationalization is "The animal wronged me, and I will punish it.". The pleasure comes from satisfying his ego by accomplishing that goal. The only thing that would stop him, temporarily, from also harming a human for the same reason, is cowardice. So I don't think my general revulsion is misplaced at all.

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Animals do not have rights and exist for the use of rational beings. Since we can kill animals for fun and food, and enslave them, why can't we torture them purely for pleasure?

You have NO right to hurt another life, unless doing so is the only action that determines your survival. Hurting or killing for the sake of hurting or killing is a purely destructive action that serves no rational purpose. If we cannot justify an animal's right to live and not be harmed, then we cannot justify a human's right to live and not be harmed because a human is also an animal and cannot be rationally proven to be more deserving of life and happiness.

You cannot rationalize a right by saying "because"

Edited by HollowApollo

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You have NO right to hurt another life, unless doing so is the only action that determines your survival. Hurting or killing for the sake of hurting or killing is a purely destructive action that serves no rational purpose. If we cannot justify an animal's right to live and not be harmed, then we cannot justify a human's right to live and not be harmed because a human is also an animal and cannot be rationally proven to be more deserving of life and happiness.

You cannot rationalize a right by saying "because"

Actually we can rationally justify a human's right to life and it is not contingent on whether animals have rights. Have you read or studied the Objectivist reasoning for the justification of rights?

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You have NO right to hurt another life, unless doing so is the only action that determines your survival. Hurting or killing for the sake of hurting or killing is a purely destructive action that serves no rational purpose. If we cannot justify an animal's right to live and not be harmed, then we cannot justify a human's right to live and not be harmed because a human is also an animal and cannot be rationally proven to be more deserving of life and happiness.

You cannot rationalize a right by saying "because"

HollowApollo, there is only one fundamental right: the right to life. Liberty, property and happiness are corollaries of this right. I think it may help you to understand as to why man has this fundamental right to life, while other animals do not. One way to start learning about man's right to life is to read these passages: Individual Rights

"A “right” is a moral principle defining and sanctioning a man’s freedom of action in a social context. There is only one fundamental right (all the others are its consequences or corollaries): a man’s right to his own life. Life is a process of self-sustaining and self-generated action; the right to life means the right to engage in self-sustaining and self-generated action—which means: the freedom to take all the actions required by the nature of a rational being for the support, the furtherance, the fulfillment and the enjoyment of his own life. (Such is the meaning of the right to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.)" -Ayn Rand

It is only after you have this understanding of why man, the rational animal, has the right to life while other animals do not, that one can see trying to uphold animals with a right to life, will as a consequence, lower the life of man. Have you asked yourself what would follow if the government, rather than upholding individual rights, would instead push legislation to prevent the harming,killing and "inhumane acts" used of animals? The only way to do this, be it by environmental groups or a PETA member is through the use of force.

Edited by brianleepainter

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