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Article About Property Rights!

Ah, the rare opportunity when someone in the mainstream raises the topic of property rights. Mark Robison of Reno sent me an article he wrote about Bill Chamberlain, who rescued a dog named Oshata, who is probably a wolf hybrid, after "months of torture" (and if you’re thinking Tammie Grimes, this is indeed similar). Bill, of the nonprofit United States Wolf Refuge and Adoption Center, may be charged with theft. Oshata weighed 20 pounds and should have weighed 90 (picture my boy Charles at 20 pounds!). The article/post is called: "Animals as property–how this affects the Oshata case." There are plenty of links within the post that point you to what you need to know about the case, including photos.

In my experience, animals as pets is the only usage of animals that the average person is willing to entertain and may even understand regarding property rights. They’re just not as receptive to talking about property rights and cows and meat. So now’s your chance to get in there (there is only one comment right now). My advice? Keep it short and simple. Don’t use any Latin. Avoid jargon like the plague. And be nice, for heaven’s sake!

I like what Mark did in this post; he presented core issues that set the stage for animal abuse and then rescue as theft. And he did it in an easily-followed manner. This isn’t exactly a topic being talked about at water coolers around America. Submit comments that will keep this important discussion alive, lively, respectful and respectable.


7 Comments Post a comment
  1. It strikes me as implausible that there could be a scenario in which we continue to impose domestication on other animals (wolves in this case) yet cease to own them. The question advocates are not quite ready for: When will we seriously challenge the human right to domesticate other animals?

    October 26, 2007
  2. Lee,

    From what I've seen, on my blog and others, advocates are indeed raising the topic of the domestication and also the breeding of animals like never before (which still isn't a lot, but it's better than nothing). It rarely goes well, as people don't want anyone to mess with the cats and dogs they call part of their family, and they don't want to be reminded that we created a crisis that could take decades to resolve. But some of us do venture into that most hostile of territories (pets and how they got that way), and I for one will keep chipping away at conventional notions for as long as it takes.

    My comment on Mark's post, in which I admit I tried to do too much (but I couldn't help myself from mentioning animals used for food), was:

    Though it is true that the law says nonhuman animals are property, I think that law needs to be changed. More important in the short term, though, is that individuals need to examine the place animals currently hold in their lives, and whether anything about that needs to change. In the case of pets, we take their natural lives from them and make them subject to our choices. If you don't think that's okay–if you don't think what Oshata's "owner" did was okay, you need to find the root cause of her situation: that she is someone's property. Yes, she is the property of someone who might lack a conscience, but she would have never been in that position had she not been in a position to be owned in the first place.

    Finally, animals used for food and clothing are abused in hideous ways by the billions each year (we kill 10 billion land animals for food each year). Perhaps while we are thinking about the pain dogs feel, we should broaden the discussion to the plight of other sentient beings who have the same capacity for pleasure and pain as dogs have.

    October 26, 2007
  3. Dan #

    First veganism, then abolish property rights, then abolish the "right" to domesticate. Nobody goes anywhere until everybody goes vegan (at least legally).

    October 26, 2007
  4. Dan #

    It seems as though Mark is censoring polite comments that he doesn’t want to think about. I made a rather innocuous and true statement to the effect that eliminating the property status of animals is impossible until a majority of people go vegan and urged people to go vegan if they wanted property status to be lifted and animals to catch a break. Apparently, Mark didn’t agree and moderated it out. Fortunately, it only took me about 3 minutes to write, so it was no serious loss of time.

    October 26, 2007
  5. Cláudio Godoy #

    Here is the comment I wrote in response for the revolting fourth comment, which perhaps it will be moderated out too:

    "Besides using other animals to feed her cat and to keep her dog alive, Ms. Martin also drives, so she couldn’t be considered a true vegan, since asphalt and tires have animal byproducts. And, even if she refused to drive, she would have to stop consuming most of the products she consumes today, because they involved some transportation at some point. So, in order to live her life in a consistent way, she should immediately go hunting and fishing, attend rodeos, greyhound racings and dog fights and eat foi gras and veal. And let’s don’t forget that since she lives in Florida, she is beneficing from the expelling of its original Native American people by living there, so she must strongly favor white supremacy. What a pity, because, to be consistent with her believes, she will have to quit volunteering for foster kids, because some of them don’t belong to the white race. How come such personification of evil dares to come here to educate us?

    Have a good day,

    Cláudio Godoy"

    October 26, 2007
  6. Okay, here's the deal. Mark didn't get a comment to approve or not from Dan, and he thought Claudio was abusing me in a serious way (he missed the genius of Claudio's satirical style) and calling me evil and all that, so he rejected Claudio.

    Claudio, your comment has been approved and should be published, and Dan, if you would like to post again you may, or you can do so by e-mail. I'll send you Mark's address.

    Thanks, and sorry.

    October 26, 2007
  7. Ellie #

    Well, I tried to post in the "Animals as property…." discussion, but it doesn't seem to be coming through.

    I agree, as long as there are domesticated animals, they will be property. By coincidence, I found something on the animalblawg which I find unrealistic. According to some activists, we can have a symbiotic relationship with pets in the "proper end state":

    As I understand it, this means pets would have a right to obligate humans to care for them. For example, pets would have the right to not be chained up, to not be left alone for an unreasonable amount of time, to have a healthy environment, to not to be sold, bred, or mutilated, etc. In the "proper end state" all pets would be adopted, and in sum this would require a great deal of monitoring:

    I think some of the above rights are arbitrary, eg. who decides a reasonable length of time for pets to be alone? And are adoption fees all that different from sales? It sounds utopian to me, although the right of pets to not be killed is so far not clarified. That's to say nothing of how all this could be monitored, or about penalties. Wishful thinking is not reality.

    October 27, 2007

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