sábado, 16 de dezembro de 2006
"In 55 BC, the Roman leader Pompey staged a combat between humans and elephants. Surrounded in the arena, the animals perceived that they had no hope of escape. According to Pliny, they then "entreated the crowd, trying to win its compassion with indescribable gestures, bewailing their plight with a sort of lamentation." The audience, moved to pity and anger by their plight, rose to curse Pompey — feeling, wrote Cicero, that the elephants had a relation of commonality (societas) with the human race.
In 2000 AD, the High Court of Kerala, in India, addressed the plight of circus animals "housed in cramped cages, subjected to fear, hunger, pain, not to mention the undignified way of life they have to live." It found those animals "beings entitled to dignified existence" within the meaning of Article 21 of the Indian Constitution, which protects the right to life with dignity. "If humans are entitled to fundamental rights, why not animals?" the court asked.
We humans share a world and its scarce resources with other intelligent creatures. As the court said, those creatures are capable of dignified existence. It is difficult to know precisely what that means, but it is rather clear what it does not mean: the conditions of the circus animals beaten and housed in filthy cramped cages, the even more horrific conditions endured by chickens, calves, and pigs raised for food in factory farming, and many other comparable conditions of deprivation, suffering, and indignity. The fact that humans act in ways that deny other animals a dignified existence appears to be an issue of justice, and an urgent one.
Indeed, there is no obvious reason why notions of basic justice, entitlement, and law cannot be extended across the species barrier, as the Indian court boldly did.
In some ways, our imaginative sympathy with the suffering of nonhuman animals must be our guide as we try to define a just relation between humans and animals. Sympathy, however, is malleable. It can all too easily be corrupted by our interest in protecting the comforts of a way of life that includes the use of other animals as objects for our own gain and pleasure. That is why we typically need philosophy and its theories of justice. Theories help us to get the best out of our own ethical intuitions, preventing self-serving distortions of our thought. They also help us extend our ethical commitments to new, less familiar cases. It seems plausible to think that we will not approach the question of justice for nonhuman animals well if we do not ask, first, what theory or theories might give us the best guidance.
In my new book, Frontiers of Justice: Disability, Nationality, Species Membership, I consider three urgent problems of justice involving large asymmetries of power: justice for people with disabilities, justice across national boundaries, and justice for nonhuman animals."
Encontram o texto integral e a referência no
Sobre Nussbaum, uma breve apresentação in
Cf. ainda o vídeo sobre a autora no programa "Do Belo e da Consolação"
Pode-se agora afirmar, sem exagero, que não existe nenhuma teoria ética relevante (do utilitarismo à deontologia) que não defenda o respeito ético pelos animais não-humanos. Fim de um ciclo teórico... em termos práticos, agora é só mesmo uma questão de tempo.