There was quite an interesting post on FB recently by two Rutgers law professors, Gary L. Francione and Anna E. Charlton, that has stimulated my grey matter to no end. (See how somber and thoughtful I look in my picture.) The piece was called “The case against pets,” and its subhead–“A morally just world would have no pets, no aquaria, no zoos. No fields of sheep, no barns of cows. That’s true animal rights.”
Basically, the argument is that humes consider animals property and therefore, as slaves, with whatever nasty connotations that conjures up. I would say this is what seems to be the case. Now, I don’t recall the professors acknowledging any traditions countermanding this, but the King James version of Genesis does say that after God created Adam and Eve, he said, “Be fruitful, and multiply, and replenish the earth, and subdue it: and have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over every living thing that moveth upon the earth.”
I guess the real key is what dominion means. Many theologians agree there is a component of stewardship implied. That means my hume must care for me responsibly: clean my nose folds, my ears and my elevated butthole (can’t reach it myself). The only way I could see disallowing domestication of animals and freeing them all, would be if there were no humes around. And that would spell disaster for toy dogs such as me and my ilk. (“Dog eat dog.”) For better or worse, we have a symbiotic relationship with the two-leggers and besides, my credit is bad and I couldn’t get a bag of chicken tenderloins on my looks alone….