Right to freedom for animals worked out

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 scheme below 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.
For example: "nothing" is unavoidable and legally prohibited (no example could be brought forward). Poaching is avoidable and at the same time legally prohibited.

Scheme Ia. Unavoidable in the present situation

Present situation
Legally inadmissible Nothing
Legally admissible. protesting pig Killing viruses.
Killing bacteria.
Insects as traffic victims.
Unintentional tread on insects during a walk.
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.

Scheme Ib. Animal rights in the present situation

Present situation
Avoidable Immoral / in poor taste
Poaching. Animal abuse.
Wearing fur for luxury reasons.
Attending organised animal fights or sports.
Circus animals
Eating meat
Killing flies and mosquitoes.
Caged birds.
Hunting animals for pleasure.
Factory farming.
Mammals as victims of traffic or bycatch.
Cells in red indicate what is considered to be "not done".
protesting snailThe next scheme shows how things ought to be if we indeed base ourselves on a reasonable interest of man.
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 IIa. Unavoidable when animal rights are based on freedom

Situation aimed for
Legally inadmissible / no reasonable human interest. Nothing. protesting hedgehog
Legally admissible / human interest thinkable. Killing viruses.
Killing bacteria.
Insects as traffic victims.
Unintentionally tread insects.

Scheme IIa. Animal rights based on freedom

Situation aimed for
To be avoided Immoral / in poor taste
Breeding of fur-coated animals.
Hunting animals for pleasure.
Circus animals.
Factory farming.
Experiments on animals.
Keeping exotic pets.
Caged birds.
Private zoos.
Animal abuse. Poaching.
Attending organised animal fights.
Ecological farming Eating meat.
Controlled hunting *.
Killing flies / mosquitoes.
Keeping pets **.
Mammals as traffic victims.
Wearing fur for luxury reasons ***. Bestiality

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. protesting rabbit

*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.

**Keeping pets that were not over-bred and able to behave naturally. In general one could say that when it is a pet's choice -in sheer freedom- to stay with someone, there can be nothing wrong about keeping the animal as a pet.

***Wearing fur (in coats f.e.) is a different matter than breeding fur-coated animals. To forbid people to wear fur clothes goes too far, because in order to protest against this derogation of their freedoms it may very well enlarge the number of people who buy and wear fur. Something similar applies to compelling people to eat ecologically produced meat. In the interest of these matters it is more useful to put pressure upon the public opinion.

Intentionally no definition of freedom is given. Freedom is a paradoxical concept: "freedom defined is freedom denied".

logoThis page describes one aspect of the influence that man has on the quality of life of an animal. We wish to promote the (in other countries as well) growing of awareness, that freedom is also important for an animal. An animal is not a thing, but a being that has the right to quality of a natural way of life. If you want to do something to help animals, click here for our suggestions.

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Animal Freedom Foundation.
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