Saturday, October 1, 2016

A Dog Is A Sentient Being. Are You?

In The Hot Monkey Love Trial the question boils down to this: Can Bert Gropes be prosecuted for crimes as a person when he’s different than “ordinary humans” because of the presence of a unique monkey gene (from the Libidoan monkey, unique to the Isle Libido) that was inserted into his genome in vitro?

Similar legal issues are now playing out in courts and legislatures throughout the free world. In December of 2015 France passed a law recognizing that dogs are “sentient beings” entitled to rights not to be subjected to  cruelty. Until then they were considered nothing more than “movable goods” along the order of soybeans, furniture, and bananas. How did it take so long for  dog-loving France to come to this? Mon Dieu! 

More recently in June of 2016 the Oregon Supreme Court in a landmark case held that dogs are "sentient beings" that may be tested without the consent of their owners. The dog’s owner objected to the blood being drawn from her “property” in violation of search and seizure laws. But the Oregon court concluded that because of the sentient, capable-of-suffering nature of dogs, and the rights they have to be free of abuse or cruelty, it was permissible to draw blood to detect and measure malnutrition and neglect regardless of the owner’s objection, similar to the way such testing can be conducted on children, who may have been abused, without the consent of  parents.

So what’s the takeaway here? That we are still debating whether dogs are sentient beings shows why rights should be based on sentience, not command of science, i.e., intelligence. It also proves that human beings are not too – shhh! someone who can spell may be listening – “s-m-a-r-t.”  The owner of the dog in the Oregon case, when confronted with the overwhelming evidence of animal starvation and neglect, responded by admitting that she had no dog food but – wouldn’t you know it? –  she insisted that she was just going out that very evening to buy more dog food.

See what I mean?

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