Animal Ethics








The Expanding Lexicon of New-speak

The Journal of Animal Ethics, published by the University of Illinois Press, is on a mission to redefine the way humans talk about animals.
Well, actually, the mission is more about getting people to re-think their relationship with animals.

This re-thinking exercise begins with the language we humans use to talk about critters. Apparently, we have to stop referring to them as beasts, pests, vermin and, even pets. You see the term pets implies some form of ownership, treats the pet like a piece of furniture, something that's owned. You see, pets have owners and that's a derogatory relationship - can't have that, can we?

Clearly, pet keepers, or companions, as the Journal prefers to call them will struggle with the moral issues of sharing their lives with their cats and dogs. Placing a lead on a dog implies some kind of S&M fetish and placing the dog's food bowl on the floor degrades the companion bond. Surely, companions should all eat on the floor or at the table. Providing the food for one's animal companions also presents some problematic issues. Let's face it, dogs and cats are pretty useless at feeding themselves, they just can't open the tins. How can humans form a meaningful companionship with an animal if they patronize them on a daily basis by doing their shopping and opening their food for them.

According to the Journal of Animal Ethics, wild animals should be referred to as free ranging, free roaming, free living. So not wild but free - got it!

The Journal tells us: 'For most, "wildness" is synonymous with uncivilized, unrestrained, barbarous existence.' Language such as this prejudges the animal and stops us from thinking clearly and unless we discipline ourselves to use less than partial adjectives in our exploration of animals and our moral relations with them, we wont be able to think clearly.

Well, here at Blast-it we are crystal clear in our thinking - animals exist to provide food for humans, in the home they should only be found in the fridge, and the notion of Animal Ethics in a world where humans kill each other routinely for profit is a indulgence we can't afford.

"We have an assumption that humans have some right to privacy, so why do we not assume that for other species, particularly when they are engaging in behaviour that suggests they don't want to be seen?" Journal of Media and Cultural Studies


Minimal intrusion and disturbance

Nobody appears to know how we arrived in this land of absurdity - where a university lecturer in film studies, Brett Mills, is telling us that animals have a right to their privacy — Sir David Attenborough should take note. Perhaps Sir David might consider discussing the ethical issues surrounding consent or an appropriate fee before filming a couple of stick insects about to engage in some sexual activity. Apparently, TV wildlife documentary makers are the worst offenders, prying on animals in their most intimate moments.

Brett from the University of East Anglia tells us: "Many of these activities, in the human realm, are considered deeply private, but with other species we don't recognise that,"
The BBC took Brett's criticism seriously enough to take on a defensive posture and felt the need to explain that its prying activities were all in aid of scientific enquiry and the preservation of ecosystems - nothing to do then with all the money the BBC makes worldwide with its wildlife programmes. We can only wonder how long it will be before Mr Mills will be campaigning for a Bill of Animal Rights and then those voyeuristic bird watchers had better watch out.

He uses words like intruding and disturbing?

Brett isn’t saying that it’s easy to prove that animals demand privacy (spot the loony). He just wants to know why documentary makers are not debating ethical questions when it comes to animals. He’s making the connection between ecological problems and humans’ dismissiveness of other species. Film makers are using technology to overcome species' desire not to be seen.




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