The Next Meeting of Humanists of Colorado

Sunday 13 November 2016 – November: Controversy! (Animal Rights)

Our second edition of “Controversy”, led by Jerry Gilbert, will focus on animal rights, and will feature audience participation in discussing and debating the topic. Potluck at 6:00, presentation at 7:00.

Jerry writes:

Many people keep pets, mostly cats and dogs. Pet owners are willing to go to great lengths and great expense to ensure that their pets live long and happy lives. Some owners have even risked their own lives to protect the animals they love. So, it is natural to assume that we protect our animals by giving them legal rights. However, under most state and federal laws, animals primarily are regarded as property and have few or no legal rights of their own.

The Animal Welfare Act (1966) is the only Federal law in the U.S. that regulates the treatment of animals in research, exhibition, transport, and by dealers. Most states have laws which protect some animals from cruel treatment; and there are laws which designate some animals as endangered, thereby qualifying for special protection. However, the prevailing legal stance is that while human beings have some obligation to protect the welfare of animals, animals are merely the property of people.

Even those laws which protect animals are limited. What moral guidelines should we as humanists use to decide how to respond when the interests of human beings clash with the welfare of other species? We have to examine the whole area of food production in order to arrive at some fundamental principles of animal treatment. So, which animals should be protected? How much protection should we accord them? What about species that aren’t considered animals—does it make sense to protect them? Where do we draw the line?

Be prepared to think, discuss, debate, and, above all, question the attitudes we hold about other life forms.

Venue Instructions: Parking is available on the side of the building, on the street, in the lot across the alley, and in the lot across 31st street. Please do not park directly behind the building, under the stairway to the upstairs apartments.


For further information call HOC President Richard Berg at 720-256-6161.

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