Friday, 30 April 2010

Animal Rights (to Privacy)?

Brett Mills a lecturer in film studies at East Anglia University has suggested that natural history film makers are infringing the right to privacy in some of their subjects by coming up with more and more sophisticated ways of obtaining their images (http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/education/10093327.stm). It seems to me that this is further anthropomorphism of animals ('rights' to anything are basically a human invention). I am not wholly convinced by the 'shy' Narwhal that retreated under the ice so as not to be filmed. Do predators infringe the rights of their prey by watching them? It would seem to me rather sad if natural history films were banned as I tend to agree with the viewpoint that we need to understand the natural world in order to value it (but then a Biologist would say that wouldn't he?). Does it also mean that people who simply watch animals (like the above mating snails) are voyeurs? Sounds like a bag of worms to me.

1 comment:

Katherine said...

Anthropomorphizing things is probably a human predisposition. But it is linked with empathy, and like other social inclinations, probably comes with the the territory, ie the hominid body. Biologists are good at using their meta-levels.

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