Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Welfare vs. Rights

A lot of people who want to seem, umm, sympathetic to animal causes without coming across as crazy wackos say they align themselves with a philosophy of "Animal Welfare" instead of "Animal Rights".

I say it's all semantics, and any approach that lets government in is bad. Government exists to protect the rights of the individual. When government steps outside of that boundary, the rights of the individual are limited.

As an individual pet owner, I am the only person qualified to accurately define what is best for the welfare of my individual animal. If you don't like it, you may try to educate me. Or you may get try something extreme and leave a jury of your peers to determine if it was a worthwhile venture.

Sadly most people opt to use government to force their likes and dislikes on me. And you.

Case Study, (formerly Great) Britain.

Government guidelines will tell owners exactly how they must care for their pets.

Margaret Beckett, the Environment Secretary, is to produce detailed codes of conduct telling pet owners how to feed their animals and where they should go to the toilet, along with ways of providing “mental stimulation”. Owners of “sociable” pets should provide them with playmates, the codes will say.

The 18-page A4 document, drafted for MPs scrutinising the Bill, warns cat owners of the dangers of dogs. It reads: “Dogs should be introduced to cats very carefully. The dog should be on a lead at first so that it cannot chase the cat.”

This following turn of phrase is disturbing. Five Freedoms? Does freedom here mean the owner has a bit of leway to act within the bounds of the legislation?

The five freedoms laid down by the Animal Welfare Bill are: appropriate diet, suitable living conditions, companionship or solitude as appropriate, monitoring for abnormal behaviour and protection from pain, suffering, injury and disease.

What is an appropriate diet? Is a Raw Diet considered appropriate? When is solitude appropriate? Is chasing a cat abnormal behavior? But that's already prohibited.

So you see, we could parse this from here to eternity. I don't think there is any need to do that. The fact that living prescriptions of this nature are even contemplated in the halls of government is sufficient verification of it's evilness.

These regulations will be enforced at gunpoint. Private property rights are set aside.

"CATS, dogs and other family pets are to have five statutory “freedoms” enshrined in law — and owners who flout the regulations could face jail or a fine of up to £5,000 after a visit from the “pet police”."

"Although any breach of these codes is not an offence in itself, failure to observe elements of the code will count against defendants in court. "

"The law will be enforced by “pet police”; council employees with powers to enter property and seize animals. "

Could this happen to us? Who would be our Pet Police? The AKC might want that job. But they are pet owners friends, right? The AKC monitoring such legislation would ensure that only cases of blatant animal abuse were prosecuted. Right?

But not this.

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