United Poultry Concerns Pokes Claim that Animals Can’t Have Rights
In “Animals not calling for rights,” Nov. 3, 2008, New Haven Register (Conn.) Science Editor Abram Katz ridiculed California’s Proposition 2, designed to give egg-laying hens, pregnant sows and baby calves a degree of required confinement space as of 2015. Katz said the law (which passed by 63% of the vote on Nov. 4) is illogical because only humans can conceive of and exercise rights and unfair because laws protecting animals limit the human right to use and make money off animals. UPC president Karen Davis responded with the following letter:
“A lack of graciousness toward one’s fellow beings” by UPC President Karen Davis, New Haven Register, Nov. 7, 2008.
Science Editor Abram Katz says in his column the passage of California’s Prevention of Farm Animal Cruelty Act, or Proposition 2, will confer rights on veal calves, chickens and other confined domestic animals.
Pregnant pigs, egg-laying hens and calves in California’s farm[ed] animal confinement systems will be legally afforded the “right” to stand up, turn around and sit still without bumping into other animals, walls and bars. The need for such legislation shows how harshly these animals are typically treated without any laws to protect them.
We all depend on laws to protect us against abuses. Industrial farming shows how inhumane people can become when victims have no recourse. Proposition 2 is an extremely mild response to a very big problem.
A creature’s need to move muscles, stand up straight and freely extend limbs is a basic biological reality. The nature of muscles is movement, and correct posture is inscribed in the skeletal system. Chronic immobility of a creature, be it a chicken or a human, causes atrophy and deformity of body and spirit, to say nothing of the pain of unrelieved cramping.
In short, biology supports the ethic that upholds the bodily right of a bird or other animal to be able to stand up, turn around, sit down and extend limbs in a portion of unoccupied personal space. To say otherwise reveals a cramped spirit and a lack of graciousness toward one’s fellow beings. Karen Davis, United Poultry Concerns
For more on UPC’s position on Proposition 2 and related concerns:
www.upc-online.org/battery_hens/101308prop2.html (New York Times Letter)