Monday, July 14, 2008

Land Use, Smelt, & Apes

1) The attempt to control land use throughout the state based on the as yet-to-be-tested Blueprint model developed in Sacramento, runs into some very deep resistance, and rightfully so. The decisions around local land use really need to stay with local government as much as possible, based on the time tested principle of subsidiarity, that most decisions affecting people’s lives need to be made by that level of authority closest to the people whose lives will be affected, with the obvious exceptions around national decisions necessary to protect national interests such as the responsibility to protect the country.

2) A hatchery to provide more smelt as the species struggles to keep from becoming extinct is obviously a good thing to do, and along the line of other efforts humans have been doing for generations to help animals struggling with the impacts of human civilization, all are generally good to do, except when done to the level that species' needs override human needs.

3) Though I know that the deep ecology wing of the environmentalist movement thinks animal are at least equal, and probably superior to humans, I still am amazed, perplexed, and saddened, they will actually go to these lengths, pushing for a declaration granting human rights to apes, as this article notes. An excerpt.

"I am an ape," declared Pedro Pozas, a Spanish animal rights activist, in 2006. The Spanish parliament, which apparently has come to see things Pozas's way, is now poised to endorse the Great Ape Project, granting chimps, bonobos, apes, and orangutans some of the same rights that Jefferson once rooted in the human condition.

“The Great Ape Project was launched just 15 years ago by Princeton utilitarian bioethicist Peter Singer and Italian animal rights philosopher Paola Cavalieri with the stated goal of obtaining a United Nations declaration welcoming apes into a "community of equals" with humans. In a kind of parody of the Declaration of Independence, the project's "Declaration on Great Apes" asserts that "all great apes: human beings, chimpanzees, bonobos, gorillas and orangutans" have basic rights including "the right to life," the "protection of individual liberty," and the "prohibition of torture," construed to include "deliberate infliction of severe pain”…for an alleged benefit to others," clearly aimed at the use of apes in medical research.

“But why grant apes rights? After all, if the Spanish parliament deems these animals insufficiently protected, it can enact more stringent protections, as other countries have. But improving the treatment of apes--of which there are few in Spain--is not really the game that is afoot. Rather, as Pozas chortled after the environment committee of the Spanish parliament passed the resolutions committing Spain to the Great Ape Project, this precedent will be the "spear point" that breaks the "species barrier."…

“Singer and Cavalieri put it this way in the introduction to The Great Ape Project: Equality Beyond Humanity, the collection of essays they edited in 1993, with contributions by noted opponents of a human-centric ethics such as primatologist Jane Goodall and Ingrid Newkirk of People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals: “Our request comes at a special moment in history. Never before has our dominion over other animals been so pervasive and systematic. Yet this is also the moment when, within that very Western civilization that has so inexorably extended this dominion, a rational ethic has emerged challenging the moral significance of membership of our own species. This challenge seeks equal consideration for the interests of all animals, human and nonhuman.”