“We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.” – The Declaration of Independence

On this day, of all days of the year, Americans take time to celebrate these principles enshrined in the Declaration of Independence.  Living in a society that is founded on the concept that such human rights are ‘unalienable’ is a precious thing that many places in the world cannot claim.  Yet, these rights are not absolute or unbalanced by other considerations.  A person’s right to Life does not come at the expense of another’s Life.  A person’s Liberty extends to the point that it impinges on the Liberty of another person.  A person’s right to the pursuit of Happiness is not a guarantee of Happiness nor is it the right to pursue Happiness at the expense of another’s Happiness.  This freedom, this vision of Independence, is no easy thing to manage at the personal or the societal level.  It precludes the use of the quick fix or the easy answer.   Independence and these unalienable rights are messy and at their most precious when one’s actions are ‘unpopular’. 

In honor of Independance Day and of the Declaration of Independance, I would like to remind everyone of some rights that are not wrong, though they are popular targets.

  • It is the right of the individual to breed dogs as much as it is the right of the individual who wishes to participate in rescue to do so. 
  • It is the right of an individual to sell animals as much as it is the right of a rescue or shelter to sell animals.
  • It is the right of the farmer to run their business based on a non-organic business model or on an organic one. 
  • It is the right of the individual to choose to include meat in their diet, or not.
  • It is the right of the individual to choose how they care for animals they own, so long as the care does not violate legal standards of care. 
  • It is the right of the hunter to hunt animals within the bounds of the law, while it is the right of the non-hunter to not participate in hunting.
  • It is the right of an individual to choose to obtain their pet from the source they select
  • It is right of one individual to say they don’t agree with the actions of another.

 By protecting the liberties of others, even those we don’t agree with, we protect our own liberty.  By protecting the ability of others to pursue happiness, we protect our own ability to pursue happiness.By protecting the rights of others to choose, we protect our own right to choice.  Choose what makes you human(e).

Happy July 4th to you all.

Copyright 2009 by Erica Saunders   http://AR-HR.com
All rights reserved

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