Following up my series on liberating ourselves from moralists, meddlers, and others who want to impose their subjective values on us in the name of objective truth in the realm of food, let’s continue with animal rights, the next on my list of a few days ago.
I confess I don’t know much about animal rights, so I won’t say much today. I distinguish between reasons not to eat meat based in animal rights from reasons based in animal cruelty. The former seems to propose a set of rules for people to follow. The latter seems based on an individual’s personal feelings.
As I understand animal rights, people don’t suggest giving animals legal rights, like to sue or vote. I understand the concept of animals rights to create laws that people have to follow with respect to animals. I may misunderstand.
If we are talking about laws for people to follow, I guess I would support people following laws passed by a reasonably democratic and legal process the same as other laws. I’m sure we have laws regulating treatment of animals now, though I doubt any over what people can eat. If people break laws legislated democratically and legally, I don’t have a problem with the government enforcing them.
The American legal system seems to say you choose yourself what laws to follow and face consequences for the ones you break. It doesn’t punish other people for laws you break.
With that kind of personal responsibility, animal rights reasons don’t seem to give ammunition for one person to tell another what to do or not. The choice remains personal.
(I expect I would nonetheless support legislation preventing cruelty to animals. If it passed I would support enforcing it. If it didn’t, I would accept the law, assuming it passed through a reasonably legal and democratic process.)