| In order to give you proper understanding of the way in
which this right should be determined in terms of freedom,
we supply two schemes.
The first scheme shows how in practice and based on current Dutch legislation concerning animals, the keeping and killing of animals is looked upon. This is based on two viewpoints: the law on the one hand and "common sense" in society on the other. Only (active) abuse of animals is considered to be immoral and rejected by society as well as legally forbidden. Passive animal mistreatment is turned down by a majority of society, but not yet opposed to by this majority when it comes down to standing up against such practices. On this particular point the law has not yet been adapted also. The law's upholder is behind the times, considering the "brutal" border crossing by factory farming. Per situation or action the first scheme indicates whether this is or is not legally justified, and if the situation can be avoided.
In the second scheme we show how the same situations
ought to be judged if animals are entitled to a constitutional
right to freedom.
Scheme I. Animal rights in the present situation
Most situations in our companionship with animals belong to the category "avoidable", and it is up to the individual to choose to what extent he or she will go along. So far the present situation. Cells in red indicate what is considered to be "not done".
|The next scheme shows how things ought to be if we indeed
base ourselves on a reasonable interest of man, as stated
in the Health and Welfare Law for Animals. Attention:
the category "avoidable" is now qualified and
called "to be avoided". With this subtle difference
we intend to indicate that it has to be preferred to avoid
these subjects or situations, but that given the situation
the principle that animals are entitled to freedom, remains.
For example: if you are of the opinion that it is allowed
to eat animals (an avoidable situation and unnecessary),
you are nevertheless morally obliged to choose for those
animals that - during their lives before being slaughtered
- have had as much as possible the opportunity to live
up to their natural behaviour.
The animals concerned are invertebrates, fish, reptiles, amphibians, birds and mammals. In principle animal rights apply to all animals, but given the enormous variety of species we do acknowledge that differences may occur between showing full respect to every fly or every elephant.
Scheme II. Animal rights based on freedom
Thinking in terms of freedom when dealing with animal rights, has a number of consequences for farming, sport and the ways in which we let pets be our companions: these attitudes need to be curtailed.
*We would like best to see controlled hunting become
superfluous, by encouraging natural balance; possibly
by (re)introducing natural predators. By doing so it
is not necessary to discuss whether or not controlled
hunting should become forbidden.
Intentionally no definition of freedom is given. Freedom is a paradoxical concept, that by thorough elaboration becomes unworkable: "freedom defined is freedom denied".