Animal Rights and the Food Chain

An entry on the Dallas Morning News Religion Blog has sparked a small debate about animal rights. Read the blog entry if you want the whole conversation and links to the larger story about an Obama appointee who has said some reasonable but (to some folks) controversial things on the subject.

Here are my thoughts:

All things have inherent value that is independent of their usefulness to humans. With that inherent value comes certain rights which at minimum include not being needlessly harmed or destroyed. Trophy hunting, factory farming, dog/bull/cock fighting and unnecessary or torturous animal testing are clearly violations of those rights.

This does not mean all things have equal rights – the food chain is what it is. Small creatures are eaten by large creatures who are in turn eaten by larger creatures. Evolution has selected humans to be part of that food chain, and while I respect those who choose to be vegetarians, I prefer to be what I was created to be – an omnivore.

Take what you need – mindfully, respectfully, thankfully; and be aware that one day you will be taken… if not by predators, then by the microorganisms that return our dust to dust.

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About John Beckett

I’m a Druid in the Order of Bards, Ovates and Druids. I’m an ordained priest in the Universal Gnostic Fellowship. I’m the Coordinating Officer of the Denton, Texas Covenant of Unitarian Universalist Pagans. This year I’m also serving as a member of the Board of Trustees of CUUPS National. I’m a member of the Denton Unitarian Universalist Fellowship.

I write as a spiritual practice. It helps me organize my thoughts and work through ideas and concepts. It helps me evaluate my beliefs and practices against my core values and against what I know (or at least, what I think I know) to be true. It helps me interpret my experiences (religious and otherwise) in ways that are both meaningful and honest.


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