Animals and whether or not they have rights continues to be a point of debate in society. Fernando Fernández-Savater Martín is a Spanish philosopher, philosophy professor and writer. He stands out in the field of essays and journalistic articles and is a winner of the planet prize and the national essay prize.
During the first European Animal Welfare Symposium organized by the interprofessionals Interovic, Provacuno and JTT, the philosopher spoke of the importance of not «humanizing» animals and stressed the fact that they have neither rights nor duties «since they are not in the world of moral obligations».
«Animals have no rights because they have no duties, that is, they are not in the world of moral obligations, but that does not mean that they can be treated in any way. Animals need care, and somehow humans take care of them in their own way because an animal is not a stone or a tree. Animals demand a form of care and a form of generosity on our part. » – concluded the writer.
In this way and before more than two hundred attendees, the philosopher emphasized treating different beings according to their own reality: «We cannot treat an animal as if it were a stone just as we cannot treat a Velázquez painting as if it were a rag hanging on the wall. Distinguishing and discerning is what ethics is all about» and he went on to affirm that animals are living beings, «but they are not human, so to apply our same guidelines to them would be to alter their essence».
According to Fernando Savater, humans know pain, just like the rest of the animals, but also suffering, something that becomes one of our exclusives:
«There are people who, out of sentimentality or religion, do not want to eat certain foods and this is totally free. What is not free is to impose this as the only social life and on traditional ways of life and, furthermore, to do so in the name of ethics, as if morality demanded this type of behavior. I have been a professor of ethics and morals for 40 years and I can tell you that it is not true. Morality does not demand such things.» Savater reaffirmed during the event.
Today, European society continues to evolve towards new models of consumption based on concern for the welfare of animals in production chains. During this first Europe-wide symposium, scientists, technicians and different stakeholders from throughout the production chain were able to debate, offer different opinions and learn about the latest scientific and technical advances in animal welfare in production animals.