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Part IV- Humans and Animals: Possible Solutions and Justice

This is part IV in a short series of humans using animals for consumption.

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By. Joshua D. Glawson

With many of the issues previously mentioned, I have specified concerns about ‘Justice’ for animals. This includes using animals for consumption and for other practices. The best solution, however, lies not in banning the buying or selling of ivory or horns, nor in banning hunting. The most practical solution is noted by CITES and the Cato Institute. Their solution is to make the trading of these goods legal, create private land that holds these animals in an open area while providing food and water for them in regions that are conducive, and treat them as cattle. In essence, this is what helped to save the American bison from reaching extinction.

The American bison, also known as buffalo, were estimated to be in the 60 million population range throughout North America prior to 1800. By 1900 that number dwindled to a measly 300 due to over-hunting, overconsumption, disease, and predation by wolves. In the mid to late 1800s, companies were making fertilizer out of bison skulls. They also used the skins for coats. Moreover, buffalo meat is continually a revered product for meat eaters.

In the 1870s, it was clear that bison were becoming rare and their value was extremely high on the market. In 1905, American citizens came together to initiate a protection organization for bison, the American Bison Society. By 1919, it was estimated there were 12,521 bison. This number grew exponentially once private companies began breeding them as cattle for consumption. Although the original initiative was a joint effort of government and private citizens, the largest growth was via the private sector. Today, it is estimated there are around 500,000 bison in North America. That is a drastic improvement from 300.

This same process could be implemented in areas of Africa and Asia by privatizing land, building fences that can keep elephants in, providing enough food and water for them, and selling them off as cattle throughout the world for human consumption. This would decrease the value of tusks and elephant meat, while helping to maintain a larger population of elephants. A practice such as this also disincentives poachers because of decreased profits. However, it would increase the job market in that region for taking care of elephants and all of the processes necessary for a market of trade for elephant goods. This is similar to the concept of decriminalizing drugs, as it would create fewer violent criminals, but many more jobs.

Ecology cannot determine a precise number of a species. It can only specify their relations with their environment and other species. We humans naturally utilize what is around us, sometimes to the eradication of other species. I cannot say this is good, especially if more use from them would benefit us further. The world of nature is constantly in chaos, detrimentally, and in harmony, symbiotically. We are a part of that same cycle and we are able to reason far more expediently than other animals. So, if we are able to get use out of animals, we will. Same, in favor of animal rights activists, if we can get the same use out of plants as animals, that lessons the need for animal consumption. Yet, if people still choose to use animals, I cannot fault them for it.

As far as the topic of domesticated animals is concerned, the best solution for giving them anything close to a human right would be under property rights. If a dog is owned by someone, that dog is then the property of that owner and if anyone were to steal or harm the dog, the case can be taken to court. If the same dog hurts another person’s dog, the owner of the victim will have a claim against the attacking dog.

In matter of ‘Justice,’ humans can go to a court and claim their grievances, other animals are unable. If one dog attacks another, it cannot explain what took place. In order for a court to be unbiased, a jury or judge must be able to understand both sides in a human case, and the evidence must be insurmountable for either side. In order to not muddy the water of ‘Justice’ further than we already struggle with, strictly keeping domesticated animals under human property rights will be the best possible voice for animals.

Now, animal rights activists may respond that the same was once said for women, children, slaves, elderly, and the mentally disabled. They may point to so-called evidence in nature or in domesticated animals to suggest animals have “morals,” “ethics,” or a sense of “Justice.” Perhaps they have some inclinations to these things under a different meaning. But, it is not evident that all of the other species share it, and it is between their species and the species they choose to associate with, to a much less effective degree than our own species is capable of.

Thus, I revert back to the fact that only humans have “rights.” ‘Justice’ is a human construct to give protection and to ensure recompense for the individual, not a collective, and these “rights” are strictly negative in the sense that we do not directly harm other people. Rights are a moral claim to not be infringed upon by others. It is my belief that only humans have morals, ethics, rights, and Justice.

Equally so, the world will never be a perfect place and simply wishing others that do not agree with one’s agenda no longer exist makes one part of the problem. Moreover, harming others who do not agree with oneself will not solve the world’s problems. No utopia will exist by wishing away problems and ridding the world of those that use animals for consumption. Vegetarianism, veganism, and animal rights activists need to understand that they are free to make a personal preference, but forcing that on others only infuriates others. By forcefully intertwining our morals, ethics, and Justice with that of other species, it would further complicate our position as individuals in the world. It would become a constant burden in courts, and destroy the very fabric which protects each of us – ‘Justice.’


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