Comment 83886

By Neil (registered) | Posted December 14, 2012 at 09:16:01 in reply to Comment 83868

But not just to be humourous. You were responding in a satirical way to argue a logical point. Your point was that if we ban chickens then we should also ban other potentially harmful things - which was also McHattie's point. It's a fallacy, simple as that.

The fact that we allow other potential harms is not a reason to add to the list. A bad does not justify another. Also we are increasingly curbing those other harms. Cats for instance are a huge nuisance, and today we're seeing a big push to bring cats indoors, due to the harm they cause to themselves and the environment. Similarly with bans on big dog breeds and measures to enforce animal bylaws.

From an animal welfare perspective, the proposed bylaw does not have almost zero downside. The mitigation provisions in the bylaw are intended to minimize nuisance, but are not directed to the welfare of the animals. There is no provision, for example, to ban delinquent owners from having chickens. There is no way to ensure chickens are kept healthy and taken care of. It reflects the normal view of animals as having only utility value, where the only attention paid to their welfare is at the point of slaughter and preventing disease, with no attention to their quality of life. The chickens would be in a better position than battery cages but worse than free run. Is that good for chickens?

Maybe if the bylaw had a hefty licensing fee attached that ensured regular inspection, and some measures to prevent negligent owners from owning chickens, that would be a start. But we treat animals as goods in our part of the world and it's hard to curb peoples' freedom to own goods.

Overall can anyone say that owning pets is in the best interests of pets? It's hard to say. I don't know if all the happy pugs in the world outweigh all the animals sent to kill shelters for being malnourished or violent etc.

On the other hand there is also an upside that people may become increasingly aware of animal welfare by being closer to them. But that also involves using the animals in question in what will overall be a negative way, to teach people a lesson.

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