In this lesson and the next two, we will draw out some of the implications of the previous lessons about animal emotions and self-hood. Think about it for a minute, If you agree that at least some species of animals can distinguish themselves from other beings, and they have memories that gives them a sense of their history and they experience emotions, then you agree that they're self-aware. If this is your view on animals, then you'd probably also agree that they want to enjoy more of the positive experiences their lives have to offer. That also want to avoid negative experiences such as pain and suffering. We can say that animals have an interest in remaining alive as well as an interest in avoiding suffering. You can think of a right as we'll use it here, as a way of protecting interests. For example, we can say that people have an interest in expressing themselves freely, this interest is protected by the right of free speech. In the context of animals, of course, we're not talking about protecting their freedom of expression. But exactly what interests we are talking about has been the topic of debate for a long time. The idea that animals should have rights to protect their interests is the animal rights view. In this module, we'll examine the different perspectives on animal rights and welfare. In this specific lesson, we'll trace their origins in western thinking using a very broad brush. In the next lesson, we'll consider contemporary animal rights arguments. Finally, we'll examine the animal welfare view. People often conflate the animal rights perspective with the animal welfare perspective. After these lessons, you'll understand the difference and you'll also be able to determine where you stand. One good place to start is with the status of animals in the ancient Hebrew tradition. In two places, in chapter one of the book of Genesis, we learned that the Creator gave humans dominion over animals. Verse 26 tells us then God said, "let us make human beings in our image after our likeness, let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, the birds of the air, the tame animals, all the wild animals, and all the creatures that crawl on the earth." Two verses later, in case we didn't get the message, we read again after the mandate to be fruitful and multiply, have dominion over the fish of the sea, the birds of the air, and all the living things that crawl on the earth. As an aside, I'll point out that some biblical scholars have argued that the accurate translation of the word dominion is closer to stewardship, which involves care and responsibility rather than ruling over and controlling. But the idea that humans have a divine right to rule over nature and to use animals in any way that we see fit was the one that took hold in the ancient world. In the fourth century BC, Aristotle argued that animals were below humans because only animals could reason. Those with less ability to reason existed for those with more of this ability. This allows us to treat animals without the consideration we would give to people. As we'll see, this view with its emphasis on the importance of reason, still has power today. Aristotle's perspective was incorporated into the christian tradition through the 13th century theologian Thomas Aquinas, who said it doesn't matter how we treat animals, because we're not going to meet up with them in heaven. Thomas Aquinas said that because animals don't have souls, we have no direct duties to them. We might have what are known as indirect duties. Aquinas didn't think that we should go around intentionally being brutal to animals. But he thought that we had an indirect duty not to be cruel to them. Not because it was bad to be cruel to animals, but because engaging in cruelty would translate into cruel actions toward other humans, and we will meet those other humans in heaven. That's what's known as the indirect duty view. Here we see the establishment of the dominant Western tradition in which animals and the natural world in general exist for our needs. Although there were certainly individuals who hold different views. Francis of Assisi is one example, they had no impact on the dominant perspective. As we move into the modern era, the view of French philosopher and mathematician Rene Descartes plays a very important role. Descartes maintained that animals can't reason and lack the subjective awareness required to feel pain and to suffer. This view supported vivisection or experimentation on live animals, and some people still hold this view today. In the 19th century, the utilitarian philosopher Jeremy Bentham challenged the idea that reason was the criterion for consideration of moral interests. Bentham famously wrote that when it comes to animals, the question is not, can they reason? Nor can they talk? But can they suffer? Although Bentham's perspective represents a considerable paradigm shift, he did not object to our use of animals as long as we minimize their suffering. He was not an animal rights advocates. Claims about animal rights would not come along until the late 20th century.