Many noted theorists such as Tom Regan, Julian Franklin, Evelyn B. Pluhar, Paola Cavalieri, Mark Rowlands and Gary Francione have made critical contributions to the cause of animal rights. The issue of animal rights involve many legal dilemmas about the direction of changes in the law, the degree of animal welfare must be sought, animal suffering-reduction, compulsory animal rights education and the nature of proto-rights for all animals. The purpose of the essay is to look at the possibilities of broadly defining rights theory in order to recognise the rights of nonhuman animals. The Background: Human-Nonhuman Animal Relations and Postmaterial Society Inglehart’s (1977) theoretical elaboration of the concept postmaterialism well captures the changes occurred in the last fifty years, especially with the developed countries. Postmaterialism also involves the changes brought about in the realm of human-nonhuman relations. Postmaterialism mainly deals with the value changes in the society as result of the profound transformations. Inglehart’s major point is that “the new “value-orientations” among people born after World War II yield better empirical purchase in the study of political movements than the “interests” at issue in the commonly deployed class-based theories. Referring to “quality of life” rather than to the instrumentally economic rationality typical of modernization, “Postmaterial values” arose from the conditions that liberated most people in developed countries from spending their lives on basic material demands and that opened new opportunities for self-expression and aesthetic satisfaction” (Franklin, Tranter and White, 2001, p. 129). Scarcity and socialisation are the basic themes which Inglehart follows in defining the attitude change towards animal rights. It is important to note that people can have differing opinions based on the resourcefulness of their background. Inglehart’s notion of existential security highlights the “the fundamental difference between growing up with an awareness that survival is precarious, and growing up with the feeling that one’s survival can be taken for granted” (Inglehart, 1997, p. 31). It does not mean that there is no place for materialism in the developed countries; materialism certainly could come to the forefront but postmaterialism is the dominant trend in the lives of the people in the advanced Western countries. Sica (1988) too has forcefully asserted that postmaterilaism is also essentially a product of postmodernisation. No more the societies in the developed world are determined by the forces of materialism either class based or rational-legal. Present world is increasingly characterised by cultural differences in which lifestyles play a prominent role in defining distinct social groups. Human-animal relations too are being completely reconstituted by the postmaterialist values. It is argued that “one of the most significant postmaterialist values that emerged on several fronts concerned the extension of civil rights and social inclusiveness, the breaking down of boundaries drawn on the basis of ethnicity, gender, sexual preference, and age.
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The purpose of the essay “Rights for the Non-human Animals” is to look at the possibilities of broadly defining rights theory in order to recognise the rights of nonhuman animals. The issue of animal rights involve many legal dilemmas about the direction of changes in the law…
What duties, if any, do we have to non-human animals?
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