United Poultry Concerns June 9, 2002
Letter Boston Globe: Liberty Rights For Animals
Liberty rights for animals

6/9/2002

REGARDING "The line that divides human from animal" (May 26, Books): Exciting as attorney Steven Wise's challenge is to the existing cultural status of nonhuman animals. Wise's critics are not confined to those who exploit animals. Many of us in the animal advocacy movement reject Wise's elitist categories in which nonhuman animals are patronizingly ranked according to whether or not they possess "practical autonomy" and other abstract qualities entitling them to "liberty rights."

This hierarchy reduces the majority of Earth's creatures to the level of human infanthood and mental retardation.

Do we really believe that the mentally intact, functioning adult members of other species are comparable to the least competent members of human society? Could a group of unaided 3-year-old children create a workable society comparable to that of chimpanzees in their natural habitat?

Defending animals by denigrating them distorts the fight for justice on their behalf. Consigning the majority of animals to the wasteland of foregone conclusions is cruel and unjust. The whole silly structure of "liberty rights" is more medieval than modern, and the science invoked to support it is prejudicially narrow and selective.

KAREN DAVIS

President
United Poultry Concerns Inc.
Machipongo, Va.

This story ran on page E6 of the Boston Globe on 6/9/2002.


Original Letter to the Editor

29 May 2002
Edited Version published 9 June 2002
Boston Globe
Letter@globe.com

Regarding "Between the Lines: The line that divides human from animal" by Robin Dougherty, May 26, 2002, D4:

Exciting as attorney Steven Wise's challenge is to the existing cultural status of nonhuman animals, his critics are not confined to those exploit animals. Many of us in the animal advocacy movement reject Wise's elitist categories in which nonhuman animals are patronizingly ranked according to whether or not they possess "practical autonomy" and other abstract qualities entitling them to "liberty rights." This hierarchy reduces the majority of earth's creatures to the level of human infanthood and mental retardation.

Do we really believe that the mentally intact, functioning adult members of other species are comparable to the least competent members of human society? Could a group of unaided three-year old children create a workable society comparable to that of chimpanzees in their natural habitat? For the past two weeks I've been watching a feral hen shepherd, teach, and diligently oversee the welfare of her nine chicks outside our fenced yard in the surrounding woods. She exhibits "practical autonomy" in a way that no three-year old child could begin to do.

Defending animals by denigrating them distorts the fight for justice on their behalf. Consigning the majority of animals to the wasteland of foregone conclusions is cruel and unjust. Whatever happened to a sentience-based ethic or one that seeks to relieve the preventable suffering of the greatest number of individual animals? The whole silly structure of "liberty rights" entitlement is more medieval than modern, and the science invoked to support it is prejudicially narrow and selective.

Karen Davis, PhD
President

United Poultry Concerns, Inc. is a nonprofit organization that promotes the compassionate and respectful treatment of domestic fowl. For more information, visit www.UPC-online.org.


United Poultry Concerns, Inc.
PO Box 150
Machipongo, VA 23405-0150
757-678-7875
FAX: 757-678-5070
www.upc-online.org

(Letter Boston Globe: Liberty Rights For Animals )

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