Common sense as a basis for morality in Animal Rights

Use your sense of justice, when you judge nonhuman animals, use your common sense, when you judge animals.

When natural scientist make findings about how an animal brain works, how animal psychology works, cognition, consciousness, it means they will do 1. invasive research at some point, and 2. they will be using parameters that are strictly homoncentric, meaning the frame of reference they apply moves only within a “human” framework of “objectivity”.

A real Animal Rights revolution would require people to step back from human parameters. A real Animal Rights revolution would mean we as humans are able to face nonhuman animals on the level where we allow them to be different but still respect their untouchable integrity in this natural world that we all live in and are born into.

When we want to give nonhuman animals our definitions, we should as Animal Rights people make sure we don’t impose a worldview onto them and their concerns, that is not theirs (and thus not in THEIR interest). If we can’t accept that animals have their own views of the world, then we deny them real and autonomous subjectivity, and then we deny them personhood in a sense that we should respect.

We don’t need scientific proof and scientific arguments, what we need is to learn to accept common sense as a basis for morality and moral judgment in Animal Rights issues as much as we accept our basic common sense to be enough when we talk about each other or internal human concerns.


Arts and homocentrism: Pesi Girsch’s “Nature Morte”


Pesi Girsch aestheticises the corpses of dead animals on some of her photography. (accessed 23rd April 08 )

On her bio she portrays herself with a baby kitten nevertheless: (accessed 23rd April 08 ), so one can assume that she sees some qualitative difference between being amongst the living or being amongst the (I assume) somehow made-to-be-dead. I guess I rightly assume that the ducks and the weasel type of animal on the dead animal photos of hers, did not die from natural causes.

One could say that it gives the dead animal a dignity to be draped into becoming a display for a photo taken by a human for them animals to look aesthetical while dead. But I wouldn’t agree with that. I see a type of typical encryption here, which turns art into a tool for viewing the real with the specific attempt to find an objective standpoint, instead of arts as a way to only relate to the real in a subjective way, which would put an emphasis on a more free and autonomous thinking.

Why does the arranged corpse of an individual animal has to become an object of a photo?

Why are the dead animals displayed in a sterile, soft and clean – a seemingly peaceful or mute – context on Peri Girsch’s photos, when the real death of the animals had – and this is my assumption – been taking place in a wholly different context that preceded this type of setting.

What matters to me is the perspective of the animals, and I automatically imagine that they didn’t want to die through the hands of humans (the photos leave it factually unclarified how the animals came to death). The set up encryption subtly suggests that I need not care about these individual animals as a viewer. That they only matter now that they have been given a meaning in an anthropocentric context.

Both is depressing: the imagination of the death and seeing the animals displayed in this way of peaceful, aestheticized “bizarreness” on the photos. Worst of all is to imagine that the lives, i.e. the form of existence of beings other than humans, doesn’t matter as lives to the photographer. Pesi Girsch arranges the condition of being dead in these animals in a way that is demeaning to their selfness and to their otherness from us.

More that I wrote about speciesism and art can be found at these locations : ,