If animal exploitation were wrong, it would be illegal. Discuss.
The sentence can be found on the PETA website. I think it needs to be discussed as best we can. It does actually pose some very difficult philosophical questions about human behaviour which falls between immorality and illegality. The point is you can do things which are immoral and therefore wrong but they might not be illegal because they are not sufficiently immoral to be illegal. Morals are more elastic than issues of legality. Morals can be subjective almost.
What PETA are saying in their sentence is that animal exploitation is not wrong enough in this world to be deemed to be illegal. It has to be animal abuse and animal cruelty which is one step beyond animal exploitation for a human action to be illegal.
Therefore, animal exploitation is acceptable to the general public at large across the various countries of the planet. In fact the depth of its acceptance varies from country to country. If a country becomes more refined, cultivated and, dare I say it, civilised, animal exploitation diminishes.
In countries which are developing, animal exploitation is accepted sometimes as a norm. And as the country develops there is an awakening to animal welfare and how to enhance that aspect of human life. So the country introduces animal welfare laws to protect animals. The point here is that in some countries you won’t even find effective animal welfare laws. In these countries both animal exploitation and animal cruelty is accepted and therefore not considered as wrong enough to do something about it.
An action that is wrong is not necessarily illegal but it might be immoral. This action is at the cusp sometimes of being illegal because it is wrong enough to meet that threshold. Even then, a great weakness across the planet, is that illegal acts of animal abuse are weakly enforced under the criminal law. Humankind cannot drag itself away from its exploitative attitude towards animals which it still considers as second class.
The graphic on this page is lifted (I confess) from a website which argues that the writ of habeas corpus should not apply to animals. What they’re saying is that animal rights should not match those of humans. If they did they would foresee chaos in the world. Animal advocates want greater rights for animals. If there were, acts of immorality against animals such as exploitation would probably be protected under the criminal law. The sliding scale from immorality to illegality would be moved.