Killing Dogs and Civil Rights
There is an article in the current National Geographic on Animal Intelligence. There is a bill before the Missouri Senate allowing the murder of dogs who attack people without due process for the dogs. There is a belief by the Kabbalistic Jews that all living beings have souls. The soul that gives man his intelligence is called Ruach.
The evidence accumulating from science is that dogs (and 16 other animals) have some degree of sentience. The evidence accumulating from religion is that sentience must be treated with respect and fair treatment.
There is no doubt that a child 8 years of age or less would not be summarily put to death for its aberrant behavior, including violent behavior. Many dogs have that much intelligence. Is it fundamentally wrong to murder a dog who has fought with a human merely because it cannot defend itself in court? Is the euthanizing of dogs, murder? Is the forced neutering of dogs a form of genocide?
I believe that certain animals: dogs, cats, dolphins, whales, great apes like orangutangs and bonopos, and parrots and New Caledonian crows may be intelligent enough to be given rudimentary civil rights and respectful treatment equal to that of a child. The Senate Bill in Missouri is mean spirited, inhumane, genocidal, egocentric, and perhaps unconstitutional in that G-d may have created dogs as our equals. One of the points the author of the National Geographic article made is that dogs have evolved at a rapid rate since they were domesticated some 15,000 years ago. At the current rate of evolution, they will catch up with us soon.
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