Dale Jamieson, Rights of Animals and Demands of Nature



         a.      What speciesism is, implications of rejecting it (vegetarianism?)

         b.      Anti-speciesism involves moral appraisal of predation in nature

         c.      Anti-speciesism respects ideas humans part of nature, but evasions of it (and speciesism) do not

                   i.       Humans and animals share many capacities

         d.      Anti-speciesism is skeptical about restoring nature when it involves relocating or rewilding animals



3.      Definitions of speciesism

         a.      Singer “prejudice or attitude of bias in favor of interests of members of one’s own species against those of members of other species”

         b.      Like racism/sexism, a prejudice involving one’s own kind based on a shared characteristic that in itself has no moral relevance

4.      Implications of rejecting speciesism (of accepting anti-speciesism)

         a.      Primary moral relevance is individuals and properties they have, not fact members of collectives/kinds

                   i.       Being a member of Lions club or citizen of U.S. not of central moral relevance

         b.      Individual characteristics morally relevant not properties such as specie, race, or gender, but characteristics like sentience, capacity for desire and self-consciousness

5.      Anti-speciesists can prefer lives of (typical) humans to the lives of animals, as long as the reason is not simply that they are human

         a.      Anti-speciesism often characterized as: “identical interests must be given equal moral weight, regardless of species”

         b.      But equivalent interests in the sense that they play the same functional role in each creature’s overall structure of interests (e.g., interest in life–necessary for all other interests), may be of different moral urgency

                   i.       Satisfying the interests in life of a typical human more important than typical animal

                   ii.      Not because it is a human life, but the quality of the life is more valuable

6.      Anti-species can allow “species solidarity” to be a tie breaker

         a.      So here is some moral relevance to species membership?


7.      Many who say they accept anti-speciesism fail to put it into practice

         a.      They endorse animal rights but eat meat, wear fur, go to zoos and so on.

         b.      “They bob and weave in their attempts to evade its consequences” instead of confessing to weakness of will


8.      Michael Pollan in Omnivore’s Dilemma: Permissible to eat animals who are raised humanely and slaughtered painlessly–but this is only meat that a morally conscientious person should eat

         a.      “Not substantially different from Singer’s views”

                   i.       True of merely conscious being, but not self-conscious beings?

9.      Pollan falsely suggests “Quite a lot of meat eating by quite a lot of American’s is justified”

         a.      Much less than 1% of animals eaten in U.S. lead happy lives and are painlessly slaughtered

                   i.       80 of 95 million hogs slaughtered each year in U.S. intensively reared in mass confinement systems (2002)

                            (1)    Pigs raised this way never dig in dirt, experience sunshine or naturally socialize with other pigs

         b.      Not getting better but worse says Jamieson. Is this true?


10.    Implication at heart of anti-speciesism argument (=Marginal Case Argument)

         a.      “If eating a cow who is raise humanely and slaughtered painlessly is morally permissible, then so is eating a human at the same level of consciousness who is also raised humanely and slaughtered painlessly”



12.    Anti-speciesist objection to meat eating (and animal defenders generally) has trouble with natural predation

13.    Loose claims raising this objection

         a.      “Rights of animals severely limited by the natural order in which animals are embedded”

         b.      “We may have a duty to make lives of animals a little easier, especially those under our control, but we quickly run up against demands of nature”

                   i.       Foolish/absurd to go against them

         c.      Note one problematic principle for our treatment of animals: As long as we treat animals better than mother nature treats them, our treatment of animals is morally permissible

                   i.       Bentham justification of eating animals: “The death they suffer in our hands commonly is speedier and less painful than what would await them in the course of nature”

         d.      “Predation not a matter of morality/politics, but fact about way nature works”

         e.      Anti-speciesists betray a “profound ignorance about workings of nature”

         f.       Given their focus on preventing unnecessary suffering, they espouse a “world-denying” or “life-loathing” philosophy

14.    Given anti-speciesist principles, they should find predation morally troubling (says the critic)

         a.      Protect the rights of prey from the stronger?

                   i.       Absurd: Offered as a reduction ad absurdum

         b.      Mark Sagoff’s version of the argument:

                   i.       To protect their rights and interests in not suffering, animal activists should be committed to getting animals out of the wild. For example, animal activists should provide animals with contraceptive care, heat animals' dens, and put out food to keep them from freezing and starving in the winter. Animal activists should lobby to replace wilderness areas and national parks with more managed and humane environments (farms and ranches). Animal activists should try to prevent predation: One animal activists philosopher explicitly realizes this: Steve Sapontzis (editor of Between the Species) says: "We are morally obligated to prevent predation whenever we can do so without occasioning as much or more unjustified suffering than the predation would create." Need to "Policing Nature"



15.    Jamieson’s responses to idea that anti-speciesists (animal defenders) can’t properly value predation

         a.      “That something is a matter of moral concern does not mean one condemns it or commits to eliminating it”

         b.      “Only to say that moral responses/evaluations are appropriate”

                   i.       Degree of response or whether it should be promoted or discouraged, applauded or regretted still open question

         c.      Is a moral (i.e., valuational) response to predation in nature appropriate?

         d.      Much predation is affected by humans and in these cases moral evaluation clearly in order

                   i.       We have structured the encounter or predator is under our control

         e.      Moral emotions concerning predation are appropriate (required?) and possibly contradictory: Include empathy/sympathy and possibly admiration?

                   i.       See a wildebeest stalked, struck, weakened then consumed alive by a pack of hyenas

         f.       Fact predation at center of natural order does not mean we should remove if from moral appraisal


16.    Objections to being morally concerned about animal suffering in nature

         a.      World of morality a human construction

         b.      Animals occasional guests or honorary members of this human community

         c.      Real home in nature (red in tooth and claw)

         d.      Imposing moral concepts on nature’s creatures like dressing up dogs and cats for a Victorian tea party–anthropomorphism

17.    These ideas lead to these positions which Jamieson rejects

         a.      Those who want to sterilize, relocate or simply coexist with deer who eat ornamental shrubs/threaten to collide with SUVs are fanatics (He thinks these concerns are reasonable)

         b.      When people kill deer, act as nature’s agents and do so more gently than nature would (he thinks we put humans in nature when convenient and take them out of nature when inconvenient)

         c.      Results in ubiquitous view that by eating organic hamburgers or becoming the sort of “vegetarians” who eat “only” chicken and fish, we discharge our duties with respect to animals.

                   i.       He thinks lots of folks out there delude themselves that they are being respectful of animals in these ways



19.    Anti-speciesists believe humans/nonhumans part of nature in obvious/direct way

         a.      All governed by laws of nature, natural properties in virtue of which we are objects of moral concern, nature given us the moralities we practice

20.    Speciesists continually reinvent and relocate boundary separates humans from other animals

         a.      Humans different from animals who are part of nature so humans are separate from nature

         b.      Desire to celebrate humans

         c.      Nature is what humans have overcome and are exempt from

         d.      Animals are subject to demands of nature in way humans are not

         e.      If accept that humans are part of nature that is a grudging admission of human weakness and failure

21.    Darwinism shows species (including humans) evolved from each other and supports psychological continuity humans and nonhumans

         a.      Humans and their close relatives (other great apes) have common ancestors and share many traits

         b.      Those who deny human psychological continuity with other animals are espousing immaculate conception view of human psychology

22.    Animal capacities (include moral capacities and agency)

         a.      Infliction of pain, death, gratuitous suffering occurs in humans and nonhumans

                   i.       Chimpanzee wars – Jane Goodall



         b.      Love, play, cooperation, gratitude, forgiveness, compassion

                   i.       Behaviors displayed by apes, monkeys, elephants, cetaceans, cats, and canids



24.    Pine for lost world and seek to reconstitute it

         a.      Creation of Disneyland-style theme parks

         b.      Species restoration

                   i.       Reconstitute nature by manipulating animals

25.    Introducing species to areas from which purged

         a.      Relocating wild animals: Take wild animals from one region and introduce them to another that typically was part of historical range

         b.      Colorado lynx example

                   i.       ½ of 218 brought from Canada have died and no documented reproduction six years later

26.    Rewilding animals no longer fully wild

         a.      Once wild now dependent on humans (Keiko, cetacean star of movie Free Willy)

         b.      Always been domesticated, wilding rather than rewilding program

                   i.       De-domestication programs in Netherlands

                            (1)    Almost no wild animals let

                            (2)    Release domestic animals in large enclosed areas and manage them for de-domestication

                                      (a)     E.g., Withhold veterinary care and nutrition

                                      (b)    Leave them subject to bad weather, bad luck, overpopulation

27.    Goal all these programs to create self-sustaining populations of wild animals in natural surroundings


28.    Why want to do these things?

29.    Dedomestication justification?

         a.      Loosening human control of these animals is valuable (not likely to succeeds in rewilding on any reasonable time scale)

30.    False that this will improve animals welfare

         a.      Pets have higher welfare than if “re-wilded”

         b.      Reintroduced lynx may not have higher welfare than caged lynx and caged lynx not have a life worth living

31.    “Even if de-domesticated animals as a class would enjoy higher welfare than domesticated animals as a class, few individuals will live in both states and those who transition between them may have most difficult lives of all”

         a.      Is Jamieson rejecting the idea that the welfare of the future possible beings (de-domesticated cattle) counts or is relevant to morality and insisting that only the welfare of already existing individuals counts?

                   i.       Accepting prior existence view and rejecting the total view (discussed in Singer’s article?)

32.    Serious moral costs to de-domesticate some animals

         a.      Would humans accept severe reductions in their welfare so future generations can enjoy higher level of welfare than ours?

         b.      In case of nonhuman animals, decision to sacrifice for the future is being made for them, rather than by them

         c.      “Others must sacrifice so we can make a better world”

                   i.       Jamieson is skeptical of this idea


33.    Jamieson does not think ecological reasons for rewilding are important

         a.      Ecological arguments: Need these species present for proper functioning of natural systems

                   i.       E.g., restore predators to keep prey populations in check

         b.      In collapsing natural world of today, even if biodiversity is maintained, ecological functions usually lost

                   i.       Lynx in Southern Colorado will provide no improvement in ecological services

         c.      Like producing stamp collections rather than functioning postal systems


34.    Case for rewilding rests on human preferences

         a.      Not on animal welfare or ecological function concerns

         b.      Many (Jamieson too) want some parks to have some significant relation to natural world, however vestigial and degraded

                   i.       Like naturalistic zoo exhibits rather than bars and cages

35.    What about restoration for the sake of the species or ecosystem or wildness valuing

         a.      A human preference like preference for cigars? Nightclubs?

         b.      Aren’t these preferences for the sake of something other than humans?

         c.      Not preference for wild nature so that we can go look at it or even just think about it

         d.      A preference that the world not be significantly under human control is a morally worth preference of a different sort

         e.      A kind of intrinsic valuing of wild nature (something Jamieson argues in other places is of significant importance and can outweigh issues of welfare/interests/moral considerability)

36.    Two false grounds for human preference for rewilding animals

         a.      (1) Desire to return world to how it was at a better time

                   i.       Problems

                   ii.      When was the “golden age of earth’s history?” and to what extent return it?

                   iii.     Want lions, but not lions that threaten our children

                   iv.     Just nostalgia and that is not a good reason to trouble lives of humans and animals in the way of rewilding programs

         b.      (2) Desire to make world as it should be

                   i.       False believe in natural teleology (orderliness, purposefulness),

                   ii.      God has some plan for nature that we need to respect (“scratch a green and watch a pagan bleed”)

                   iii.     Darwin showed impression of purpose in world can be produced by random processes


37.    Jamieson does support genuine efforts at restoring nature/animals but with severe restrictions

38.     Human preferences have some weight (especially aes preferences, desire for variety, or even some hint of past)

39.    Can be permissible to rewild if not compromise animal welfare

40.    When human preferences to rewild and animal welfare conflict (which they usually do), side with the animals

         a.      When unclear how to calculate tradeoffs between the two

         b.      Since human exploitation of animals generally so severe and unrelenting

         c.      Precautionary principle in favor of animals --Give the nonhumans the benefit of the doubt

41.    When rewild, animal welfare concerns should be at the center of concern

42.    In so far as these projects honestly directed towards enhancing wildness and restoring ecological functions, Jamieson is sympathetic

43.    All too often really aimed at “redorcorating nature” and animals are the furniture that is being rearranged

44.    Wild nature most effectively promoted by leaving nature alone

         a.      Not by doing things and undertaking new projects

         b.      Simply refrain from the murderous activities that are part of everyday life

         c.      Often most effective way for rewilding to occur is by natural recolinization

                   i.       Lynx returning to Washington, Montana and Maine w/o humans help

                   ii.      Don’t need radio collars and free transport from Canada to U.S.

                   iii.     But protection of old growth forests that they need to survive.



46.    An rights activists don’t believe animals and humans have the same rights:

         a.      Eagles right to spread wings and fly

         b.      Human’s right to practice religion

         c.      Rights tied to capacities

47.    “Strange and illuminating that we class chimpanzees and mosquitoes together as animals and exclude ourselves form this class”