When we extend our
point of view to industrial farming, it inevitably
has to be concluded that intensive, industrial farming
and the export of its products will have to be given up.
A side-advantage of such a development is that by doing
so other (environmental) problems too are finally solved
as well (manure surplusses f.e.).
Eating meat in the current quantities is not necessary
and we are able to come up with both tasty and healthy
alternatives. Therefore it's time for a historical breach
in our attitude towards nature and the animal as sources
When animal rights are being established legally, then it must be possible
to enforce such rights.
Without such a possibility, a right has no value.
Of course an animal cannot and does not have to make
an appeal to its rights all by itself. Animal rights
exist for people, to enable them to make other people
answer for their deeds.
The legal position of an animal ought to be comparable
to the position
of a child. Some sort of institute that can be compared
with the national societies for child protection, should
be given the authority to actually intervene when the
well-being of the animal is in danger. The legal representatives
of animal interests should be able to act more vigorous.
Now they have to await developments and prove that well-being
is at stake, while the fatal border has since long been
crossed. Also when far in advance it can be predicted
that the animal will start to suffer as a consequence
of an extreme limitation of its freedom, even then it
is not permitted to intervene.
The impression is created that the government
wants to withdraw
itself from its responsibility.
The government wants two things that are incompatible:
on the one hand keep the consumer satisfied by low marketprices,
and on the other hand keep the manufacturer happy by letting
him earn a high income. By leaving the welfare of animals
up to the "self-regulating" influence of the
industry, the agrarian community or to the hunting-associations,
the government damns
Only the consumer can, by selective purchases, in fact
slightly adjust developments then.
In human administration of justice too, we would shudder
at the thought that our rights would exclusively be a
matter of money or public opinion.
Of course we realize that handling a notion such as
freedom requires further completion and realization
before it can become applicable in legal
practice. The extensibility of the notion "freedom"
is, however, no plea against its inclusion in the law
or a reason to call for postponement, but on the contrary
it adds a challenge. Once the limitations of animal
freedom have been laid down in the law, it becomes easier
to confirm any case of depriving an animal of its freedom.
In nature, freedom of movement for animals is innate
for several million years. Apart from man there is hardly
any other creature that takes
away the freedom of an other creature (for such
a long period of time and in such extreme ways), in
order to make it serve as a consumption-article in the
Humanity has an experience of many thousands of years
in embedding and defending its freedom on legal grounds. Aren't we ready then to get by something similar for animals?