Faith in “animal rights”

Alberto Benitez
4 min readNov 28, 2017

Because a political faction want animals to have rights is what they have them. His desire is sustained by the wish and the will to be an authority. Only to the extent that people who want to be that authority gain strength and influence is it possible to reach a situation where there is something like “animal rights”.

No doubt granting “rights” to animals would represent a change in the world. Also if all of humanity suddenly go lefty: the changes would be spectacular. Or, as in Saramago’s fantasy -the Essay on Blindness- if we all woke up blind, for sure dramatic changes would occur in the world. But an spectacular change not mean that it is good or fair. A dramatic change can be unfair, or banal and insignificant. To be spectacular is not equivalent to the be significant or the be valuable. As in the case of the imposition of a religion, the world changes dramatically when a group manages to impose its doctrine. Thus, Mexico-Tenochtitlan taken by the Spanish, or Constantinople taken by the Muslims. If the dictator imposes his religion in his domain, and punishes those who disobey him, that act of force shows that the doctrine imposed does not have a grain of truth. The only benefit of obeying the religious dictator is to save us from his violence.

If by obeying the tyrant we avoids his violence and the suffering imposed, many people can believe that that this obedience is a benefit. But that isn’t truth. Not suffering at the hands of the tyrant is not a benefit. To believe that it is a benefit not to suffer the violence of the tyrant, to believe that morality is reduced to obedience to power, to believe that morality is limited to avoiding pain is a dangerous error that we must learn to contest here and now.

When animals are given rights, unlike when rights are given to groups of people, a group loses while it is alleged that the other-the animals-wins. Although the profit or benefit that is presumed can not be proven. Politics is to reach a situation in which the groups all win something, but the policy of animal rights or animal policy seeks that a group loses rights to give benefits impossible to corroborate, verify or messure. The so-called “animal rights” cause verifiable, measurable and visible losses, and in return they leave benefits that are matters of faith alone.

Benefits that only those who share that doctrine believe. These imaginary benefits are well illustrated by the same creator of the animalist doctrine, Peter Singer. Quote Bernard Shaw in chapter 4 of his book Animal Liberation:

“George Bernard Shaw once said that his grave would be followed by a flock of sheep, cows, pigs, chickens and a real school of fish, all in gratitude for having forgiven them for their death due to their vegetarian diet.”

Although it is evident that what Shaw narrates and Singer uses as a pseudo argument never happened and can not happen, we must be said it: it is not true that hundreds of animals attend to the grave of any vegan to pay him homage or gratitude. It is not true that vegetarians are going to receive homage from the animals. As in the case of any cult, this is only wanted by their addicts, and only their addicts believe that it is valuable to believe it. Other cults believe it is valuable to believe in apparitions of angels or aliens. Believe is the price of membership. In any case, the adept to the doctrine does expect two things: either receive the homage of his co-religionists or escape their recriminations: both always effective mechanisms of social control.

There would be a way, however, that the benefit of giving “rights” to animals could be measured. Since the animals do not want anything, they would be appointed representatives. These representatives would watch out and punish the disrespects of “rights” of animals. Not the animals, but the believers in animal “rights”. To believe is to gain authority. Having animal “rights” would create new authorities: inspectors, tax collectors, policemen… All new, but olds and well know.

If the subjects of such right, the animals, were asked, they could not say anything. Then the representatives would be those who implemented the evaluations of respect for those “rights”. If the animals are in the conditions that they like to the believers, then those representatives claim that the animal “rights” are being respected. “Rights” that the believers have defined. “Rights” that believers have invented. “Rights” of which those represented can not say anything. Something similar to the times when women were subject to their parents and husbands: they defined when and how and with whom women could go out, whether they had property or not, what clothes they wore, whether or not they could work, etc., etc. Men defined what was good for women, just as the believers in animal “rights” want to define what is good for animals.

If human are animals to, this have immediate political consequences. Churches whose faith feeds on themselves have given proof of enduring. We must believe then that the doctrine of animal “rights” has a long history ahead.