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Thread: Dual standards in animal welfare

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    Re: Dual standards in animal welfare

    I wouldn't say psychopathy is a trait of a higher life form.

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    Re: Dual standards in animal welfare

    Quote Originally Posted by magentaflame View Post
    we're the higher life forms, becuase we make the rules. The welfare or abuse of animals is in our hands or on our heads becuase WE make the rules. Its as simple as that.
    You'd better hope that if we ever meet interstellar travelers they have a higher moral sense than the median human can muster, if that's how things work.
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    Re: Dual standards in animal welfare

    Quote Originally Posted by spot View Post
    The lack of association there is distressing. It's not what proportion of serial sexual and homicidal offenders have animal torture and sexual abuse of animals in their background, it's what proportion of people with animal torture and sexual abuse of animals in their background become serial sexual and homicidal offenders. I'd suggest the second, relevant, ratio is smaller by several orders of magnitude, and this lower ratio is the association you're trying to make. It would be hard to make chiefly because very few people with animal torture and sexual abuse of animals in their background are counted, detected or known about. I'd be surprised if fewer than a million adult males in the UK had such an event in their past, while the number of serial sexual and homicidal offenders must be fewer than one in a hundred of those - in other words at least 99% failed to make the progression you've suggested.
    Depends what you define as torture. If we are just including torture of the sort in the case described I would guess it is not that common. If you include all farmworkers, hunters and fishermen it will be a lot more common. Perhaps the difference is that with farmworkers and co. pain caused is incidental to the process; in the case discussed above, pain is the point of the process. I think it is a significant difference and you are at risk of trivialising the seriousness of a case like this by equating the two.

    We are at an interesting point in history in that we can even discuss your idea of entirely synthetic food sources as a practical possibility!
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    Re: Dual standards in animal welfare

    It would not have crossed my mind to include all farmworkers, hunters and fishermen. My million was an estimate of those adults in the country who deliberately inflict intolerable cruelty on any lifeform - let's say over an ounce just to exclude small wiggly things - other than on their children or neighbours. I'm talking deliberate abuse aimed to harm or hurt dogs cats hamsters ornamental fish budgies and horses. If I were to add bloody rod-and-line weekend sportsmen who think hauling a fish out of a reservoir is a neat trick it would be a bigger total.
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    Re: Dual standards in animal welfare

    Umf.

    We'd have to start deciding what constituted serious and abnormal abuse in contrast with a child learning about the world. I can recall shutting a kitten in a box as part of a game I was playing when very small. I don't recall any desire or intent to distress or hurt the poor thing, but my Mum had to rescue it (I was too small to understand it had an independent existence of its own - it was a toy to me). I don't think of that in the same way I do someone adult or close to it torturing an animal to death. Perhaps a few might do it once without turning into a serial killer of people but when it's 21 known cases that's a different thing altogether, it seems to me.

    I don't know where precisely we draw the line between normal learning about the world and what is you and what is not you, and the conscious enjoyment of another living being's suffering, felt intensely enough to repeat and repeat and repeat and then move on to people, perhaps because they can express their suffering in more ways.

    It's a horrible truth that public executions were mass entertainment, but people lived in a much more violent society where death was a frequent visitor. Now we are taught not to hurt, to minimise suffering yet some people cannot learn that lesson, their empathy is non-existent, stunted or warped compared to the theoretical norm.

    Hmm. Pause here for a bit more thought.
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    Re: Dual standards in animal welfare

    I tried to exclude children by referring to adults. My million was an estimate of those people in the UK who have as adults deliberately inflicted intolerable cruelty on animals outside of any work setting. I think it's a reasoned estimate and the lowest figure I found credible. If I expressed the idea carelessly then I'll try harder.

    Repeatedly thrashing a dog to establish and retain dominance in the style of Bill Sykes might account for half of what I'm talking about, I couldn't say. There are some despicable people in this country. Would that constitute serious and abnormal abuse? Is it prevalent?
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    Re: Dual standards in animal welfare

    Yeah, you did exclude children (I was a bit fixated on the developmental side).

    If we are talking about thrashing a dog then at least on the surface there is a purpose to the pain other than the pain itself. I'm thinking that is probably the core difference - the dangerous cases are the ones where the purpose is the pain for itself or for sexual gratification. The same would theoretically be true in eg organised dog fighting (which crops up from time to time). I'm not defending it but I'm not sure pain is the main purpose - winning is the purpose. chuckle. Perhaps Rugby could be seen as a moral version of that principle in sport, in some ways: winning by giving and taking more pain than the opposition. Boxing too?

    So if we are looking only at cases where the purpose is pain, how many people do that on a regular basis? I have honestly no idea...
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    Re: Dual standards in animal welfare

    I don't think these vile thrashers of dogs would thrash dogs unless they enjoyed thrashing them, regardless of their claimed justification of training the brutes to attack on command or whatever they have in mind. The claimed purpose does not excuse the enjoyment.

    The tip of the iceberg is the court reports where some submissive woman goes to jail after a six month old gets its head eaten.
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    Re: Dual standards in animal welfare

    Oh, agreed, it most certainly doesn't.

    But perhaps the key point is that (in their minds) they are delivering a deserved punishment. They have not taken the step of admitting to themselves that they are doing it for pleasure or at least not mainly for pleasure. I would actually suspect that many of them have convinced themselves that any pleasure they feel is a moral one derived from administering justice, which may be the thing that stops many from taking the extra step to doing it to people. Such is the human tendency to justify itself!

    I'd also say that cases of animal cruelty by neglect do not fit this sort of case either: There must be an active infliction of extreme suffering as well as pleasure in it.

    ...god how revolting.

    You know, I really think I've had about as much as I can take of discussing this, at least in one go. It's a perfectly valid, even interesting area of discussion but I need a counter dose of fluffiness...
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    Re: Dual standards in animal welfare

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    Quote Originally Posted by Clodhopper View Post
    It's a perfectly valid, even interesting area of discussion but I need a counter dose of fluffiness...
    What puzzles me is you haven't considered that Robert Farmer, 26, thought the cats were innately evil and deserved punishment. He needn't have enjoyed it any more than your proposed dog thrasher.

    But yes, by all means let's proceed to other topics, this is well into unpleasantness.

    I do recommend Simon Amstell's mocumentary I linked to though, it's top notch.
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    When the flowers want to oxygen and nutrition, or you’re a wedding or party planner, I will help you too much.
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