Animals are useless, unless humans make use of them

Should apes have rights? Absolutely not. Rights are a human concept, premised on the idea of autonomous individuals, who should be treated equally before the law.

Animals are not autonomous. They cannot take responsibility for their own actions, and they cannot – like us humans – subordinate their individual natural drives to the interest of society as a whole. In fact, they do not have society. It is therefore nonsensical to grant animals rights.

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Battle in Print: comments on Sue Palmer’s ‘Out to Play’

The modern world is damaging children. They are cooped up inside – impassive and apathetic, and unable to create their own fun and entertainment. Their imagination is dulled by too many hours watching the TV and playing on sedentary computer games. Their minds are corrupted by commerce and advertising. They are traumatised by testing.

So we are increasingly led to believe.

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A right to play

A few years ago, in my home town of Trondheim, a five-year-old girl called Silje was beaten up by three boys of her own age, knocked unconscious and left to freeze to death in the snow. People were shocked. Teachers and childcare officers were not alone in wanting to know where the adults had been when this happened. The children, it transpired, had been playing outdoors unsupervised.

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