I heard several weeks ago that Ringling Brothers and Barnum & Bailey Circus will be closing this May. The Circus is the oldest continuous running circus in the world, billed as the Greatest Show on Earth. While many factors no doubt affected the decline of the Circus, the final blow was the decision to retire the elephants as a result of a lawsuit by so called "animal rights" people. Even though the company won the lawsuit, the cost of doing so spelled doom for the Circus.
But the fate of a company, even as storied a one as Ringling Brothers and Barnum & Bailey is not what this is about. What this is about is yet another Leftist notion that is largely unexamined, and which is accepted as true because it appeals to their emotions. But a little rational examination will prove that animal rights do not exist.
Let us first look at human rights. The traditional human rights are Life, Liberty, and Property. But each human right as corresponding human responsibilities. The right to Life, for instance also requires us not to take a life unjustifiably. What are justifications? Well, self defense would be one. If someone is trying to take your life, you have the right, indeed the obligation to defend your life. Similarly, if someone takes something of yours without proper compensation, that person is accused of stealing, and is punished. The right to property carries with the the obligation not to steal.
Presumably, if animals have rights, then they also must have responsibilities, is this not so? Presumably also, an animal's rights mirror our own: Life, Liberty, and Property. Now, I have observed my well fed cats go out and catch a small animal, a field mouse or a chipmunk, disable it, then play with it for a time before killing the poor thing. Clearly the cat was not hungry, or it would have eaten its prey. But it did not eat its prey, and besides, there was plenty of food still in its bowl. No, the cat did this for the entertainment value alone. Is the cat a murderer, deserving to be executed for its crime? Or, is this behavior simply in the cat's nature?
And here we come to tje truth of it. For no one would suggest that the cat be executed, or even punished. Anyone would say that the cat was just doing what a cat does. It was, in other words, in the cat's nature. The cat therefore has no responsibility, and can not be held to account. But if a cat has no responsibilities, it also has no rights. What are bandied about as "animal rights" are in fact human responsibilities. Man has a responsibility to treat all of nature with respect. We are not supposed to be cruel or greedy. But at the same time, we also may use the earth, the animals, and all the earth has to offer. It is called being a good steward.
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