a fairer society


It seems that as our international society develops, we become clearer about what is useful behaviour and what is harmful behaviour. We have a Universal Declaration of Human Rights, which tells us what we should be able to expect wherever we go, such as freedom, equality, protection, education and culture. This may not be totally implemented throughout the world, but it’s the standard that was agreed on in 1948 and is still generally aimed for. So once we’ve achieved this standard, will our society be fair? Well, certainly for humans.

What comes next, gives me a case of the cringe – an involuntary reflex from my upbringing that taught me the superiority of us: the special animal made in the image of a deity. But where is the document for my dog, the force-fed geese, the brain-damaged monkeysΒ and the tortured bunny rabbits testing make-up? When did humans stop seeing the life in the sentient animal and start seeing a lump of matter ripe for exploitation? Probably round about the time that the flesh of these animals arrived anonymous and pre-prepared to our cities, with no need to glimpse their painful and meaningless lives, and their frighteningly stressful deaths.

Everything lives on the web. So I googled the animal equivalent, and someone has down the groundwork:

The ascription of moral and legal rights to animals, and their enshrinement in a United Nations Declaration of Animal Rights is the logical and inevitable progression of this principle. We introduce, therefore, the Universal Declaration of Animal Rights:

  • Inasmuch as there is ample evidence that many animal species are capable of feeling, we condemn totally the infliction of suffering upon our fellow creatures and the curtailment of their behavioural and other needs save where this is necessary for their own individual benefit.
  • We do not accept that a difference in species alone (any more than a difference in race) can justify wanton exploitation or oppression in the name of science or sport, or for use as food, for commercial profit or for other human ends.
  • We believe in the evolutionary and moral kinship of all animals and declare our belief that all sentient creatures have rights to life, liberty and natural enjoyment.
  • We therefore call for the protection of these rights.

Sounds like a fairer society to me, what about you?