Monday, September 16, 2019

Human Wildlife Conflicts

ANIMAL ‘RIGHTS' OR HUMAN ‘DUTIES'? – A JURISPRUDENTIAL QUAGMIRE ON ANIMAL RIGHTS (HUMAN RIGHTS vs. ANIMAL RIGHTS- JURISPRUDENTIAL FRONTIERS) ABSTRACT Our ecosystem is a sophisticated organization which includes multitude of flora and fauna that coexist harmoniously without disrupting the sacred equilibrium. Homo-sapiens have topped this ladder of species by virtue of the sixth sense of thought. Even though humans do possess this exceptional faculty of reason, they cannot thrive in solitude but can only sustain by placing them amongst the rest of the organization. When humans started organizing themselves, attained civilization and improved their standards of living, they unfortunately undermined the relative importance of the co-organisms which make up the system, thus giving rise to the emergence of an anthropocentric society. The Research Problem The jurisprudential quagmire is the question whether animals too require ‘rights' analogous to that of human rights. Human rights are those inalienable, universal and egalitarian fundamental rights to which a person is inherently entitled merely by reason of his or her birth as a human. In the light of this definition, â€Å"animal rights† is an absolute misnomer. In jurisprudential terminology, a right is an interest recognized and protected by law. A right unlike an interest is a valid claim or potential claim, made by a moral agent under principles that govern both the claimant and the target of the claim. It presupposes two legal persons, viz., the subject of the right and subject of the duty. Animals cannot be the bearers of such rights because the concept of rights is essentially human; it is rooted in and has force only within a human moral/legal world. Moreover, by no stretch of imagination, animals can be regarded as legal persons. In fact, it is not the interes t of the animal but the interest of the human beings that animals should also coexist with them. According to Leon Duguit, your ‘right' is a byproduct of the other person preforming his duty towards you. He says there is no right but only duty. If the other has a duty towards you, you feel like having a ‘right'. Viewed in the light of Duguit's theory, the mounting problem of protection of wildlife is actually a human rights issue and not an issue of animal rights. Animalright is, in fact, an illusion created by human beings performing their duties to animals, to the ecosystem, to the nature and to the society effectively. If law is about balancing of conflicting interests as pointed out by Rudolf Von Ihering and later developed by Roscoe Pound, the conflict involved here is the conflict between the interests of those who indiscriminately destruct the ecosystem for personal motives and of those who are concerned about the mother earth. The Scheme of the Article This article seeks to explore the true nature of the jurisprudential basis of the legal protection of wild life and endeavors to put in correct perspective the need for eco-governance. It argues that animals cannot have ‘rights' in the jurisprudential sense; that right of an animal is an illusion created because of the presence of human duty to protect it; that if human beings acquire human rights by birth, they also incur absolute human duties by birth; that the ultimate objective of wild life protection law is to save and protect the ‘animals' and not their ‘rights'. It concludes that human beings are reckoned to be morally upright species and causing pain and suffering to animals puts them in a position much lesser than that of human. ADHEENA BIJU IVth Semester B.Com., LL. B (Hons) School of Legal Studies CUSAT Kochi-22

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