Universalis, your very own breviary in pixels...

Wednesday, 27 May 2015

Marriage Equality Now!

Peter Singer reminds us that human beasts are wont to "give less weight to the interests of nonhuman animals than they give to the similar interests of human [beasts]," (as if we needed reminding, which we do not, thanks to the courageous Danish radio host who bludgeoned a baby rabbit named Allan to death to demonstrate humanity's carnivorous "hypocrisy.")
given that some human beings – most obviously, those with profound intellectual impairment – lack this capacity, or have it to a lower degree than some nonhuman animals, it would be speciesist to claim that it is always more seriously wrong to kill a member of the species Homo sapiens than it is to kill a nonhuman animal...
If we were to compare attitudes about speciesism today with past racist attitudes, we would have to say that we are back in the days in which the slave trade was still legal, although under challenge by some enlightened voices.
Given that some animals "mate for life", as humanity clearly does not always, the supposed cruelty of breaking up a human family for commercial purposes, (so poignantly depicted in the soon to be remade Roots,) may be of no more moral weight that selling off the constituent parts of a litter or brood?
Many birds are valorous in their attachment to their offspring.
And in many species,  females tend to resist mating, with good reason.
Is horse breeding a more cruel sin than forced human eugenics, given the risk to mares? think of the poor, moaning alpacas! (and don't even bring up hyenas.)
"Female resistance has rarely been found to be effective. Male mammals and birds are usually larger than females, and the sheer size and strength difference makes this very difficult." 
Also according to Smuts, some male mammals will accept rejection from a high ranking female, but continue to pursue and harass a lower ranking one who has refused them.
Obviously, we can do nothing about rampant misbehavior in the wild, but shouldn't we put a stop to it where we can? okay, maybe that's paternalism, thwarting their self-determiniation, but in captivity, is it really up to us to declare that, say, Species X's numbers are dwindling, and more are needed, so even if a female is "playing hard to get" we should aid and abet her suitor? that's even more condescending paternalism, doncha think?

Are we indulging in classism as well as speciesism when we brush off her concerns?
Decide that "no" doesn't always mean "no"? her good swift kick is saying "yes" but her status on the endangered species list, or value as a brood mare or supplier of pandas to zoos is saying "yes"?

But if they want to, well, who's to say they shouldn't also marry?
In fact, who's to decry interspecies marriage? I mean, if they really LOVE each other....
The short film “Dolphin Lover,” about Malcolm J. Brenner’s relationship with Dolly the dolphin, will play at the prestigious 2015 Los Angeles Film Festival. Screening time is 8:45 p.m. on Monday, June 15 at the Regal Cinemas Live as part of the Shorts Program 1. For information about future screenings, please return to this web site.

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