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The rights of animals

There is, according to Alphomism, a continuum from the predominantly physical universe which existed after the Big Bang to the predominantly mental state which prevails in Alphoma. It is suggested that there is always an element of consciousness even in the most inanimate of objects.

However, it is not supposed that stones, nor even plants, are significantly conscious. There is everything to be said for treating the materials of the world, and the flora, with a kind of respect but it would be inappropriate to invest entities which are very much at the material end of the spectrum with anything like rights.

The question is; at what point should we draw the line?

It seems entirely sensible to do so on the basis of the apparent level of perception. The objects which we call ‘inanimate’ have no pain mechanisms. Animals, on the other hand, most definitely do. It is manifestly unloving to inflict needless pain on a creature which not only has recognisable neural pain systems but which shows acute behavioural signs of deep discomfort.

Whilst many would agree that it is wrong to inflict pain on an animal, they would still argue that humane killing is acceptable to provide food for humans.

This is one of the many areas where any degree of finality is unattainable. Attitudes shift all the time. Some draw the ‘living beings for food’ line at the edge of the watery world of fish, many others set their limit at the vegetable level.

Ultimately we will have no need for ‘real’ sustenance and the problem of physical feeding will disappear. In the meantime we have to bear in the mind that we are in a tough developmental process where ideals cannot always be met. There will, for a long time yet, have to be a degree of personal choice as to how we behave towards animals. But where there are no allegedly overriding imperatives, such as the need to eat, it is surely right that, at the very least, animals should be saved from needless suffering. The code of animal rights should be drawn up with this as a priority.



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