The UN Universal Declaration of Human Rights is a laudable mission statement signed in 1948. It’s a worthy list of inalienable rights. Unfortunately they are self-ordained by a single self-admiring specie for a self-admiring specie. There were two billion humans alive in 1948, there were 7.6 billion by 2018. At least 70 billion animals who do not qualify for human rights will become “what’s for dinner” and other consumer products by this time next year.
Universal rights? No. Membership is limited to just one specie.
Inalienable rights? No. I can violate them each and every day, with or without impunity. At a supermarket for example.
Can you name any species as selfish, self-serving, arrogant and violent? Humans excel at both inter- and intra- species exploitation. They are toolmakers who waste no time weaponizing every clever invention they devise into a long list of engineering marvels — to serve man. Damon Knight’s story is also set at the UN and is also a curious take on human rights.
Humans domesticate every creature on this planet: inter- and intra- as well. They are toolmakers who can transmit their will at the speed of light, who recreate by watching blood sports and who domesticate their domestic realms with domestic violence. Do I hint at patriarchy here? Yes, it’s by design and by inheritance. How many matriarchal societies can you inscribe on the head of a pin?
Look at the Elephant in the Room as it looks back at you. The eyes have it.
Built-in optical systems for locating sustenance and for detecting danger are not trivial physical characteristics. Eyes are something that homo sapiens have in common with other sentient beings who developed them during the Cambrian — about half a billion years ago.
Creatures with eyes possess an astonishingly complex central nervous system that channels cognition to intention. Sentient creatures share a long list of extraordinarily similar organs, systems that pump lifeblood from the heart to each organ and back again — sentient beings possess extraordinarily similar oxygen-breathing mechanisms and waste elimination processes. Glance at the corresponding organs found in pig and in man.
If this all sounds a bit like a rant, initiating a discomfiting mood, I provide the following bit of reading material that contains much more “conventional wisdom” on the state of bacon in contemporary American thought on comfort food:
Thanks for reading.