Animals have a right to privacy

Last updated: March 2, 2017

We have all been captivated by documentaries about various types of animals,
be they cute and furry or extraordinarily alien. Wildlife documentaries are
a large part of the landscape of documentary TV. The filming of the wildlife
is just seen as a challenge and is never questioned on a moral basis, should we not be asking
'how can this animal be filmed?' but 'should this animal be filmed?' ?

Animals have a right to privacy
Yes because...

Animals(like humans) want moments of privacy and public exhibition

Documenters are aware of these wants. And every time an animal 'asks for privacy' by expressing certain behavior and/or going into hiding; documenters follow the animal using all sorts of gadgets and devices.

We would not appreciate being watched in the toilet/shower.
Voyeurism is something we look down upon.
And moments of privacy/intimacy with yourself is something we value for ourselves and other human beings; why not for animals?
This disgusting treatment of animals should not go on; if it isn't good enough for us then it isn't suitable for them either.
No because...
We live in an era of paranoia; of satellites and security cameras.

People 'are' watched in public bathrooms; to make sure they aren't stashing weapons/bombs there.

We might see 'Voyeurism' as a bad thing but there's no denying the fact that most of us are guilty of it; either by watching pornography/Hollywood-films/most-films-from-any-country. Watching animal documentaries isn't the half of it.

And Although we value our privacy; we go through terrific lengths to keep it. There's no paucity in 'peeping toms','neighbourhood/neighborhood watch members' 'impertinent old ladies' in every neighbourhood/neighborhood.

Animals have a right to privacy
Yes because...

They deserve to have their privacy considered

If we were to talk about documentaries and whether they are right or wrong, what we commonly cite as morally wrong is the unjustified interruption. It is for that reason that people making documentaries have to remain as unnoticed as possible. They do not want to influence the animal’s behaviour or to frighten the animal. The question of an animal’s privacy is never mentioned. This privacy is mentioned with the same aspects of human life. Giving birth, there is a large moral outcry when these kinds of documentaries are broadcast. Dying raises huge lacunas of public interest. Celebrities often ask for privacy when they are grieving. Many times, the documentaries go ahead, with the parties consent, but why is this huge debate of privacy and morality blocked out when it comes to animals. It is simply not fair to not even register the potential conflict.
No because...
The fact that we as humans take into consideration animal welfare during a documentary, the fact that we are not bulldozing into it shows that humans show respect to animal welfare. However, if we are leaving out one seemingly vital part of the ethical argument against animal documentaries, and we have done for many years, surely this shows that instinctively, we do not believe that animals have a right to privacy. Maybe this is the closest notion to whether animals do or do not have privacy comes from. How have we all come to the same conclusion? Why do we all ignore this feature of the debate? There must be an answer underlying that question, and that answer is that animals do not have a sense of privacy!

Animals have a right to privacy
No because...

Animals have no interest in privacy

Animals are not the same as humans. They have different motivations and desires. They do not want privacy in the same way that humans do. If an animal runs away from a human it is not because it wants privacy, it is because it is in fear. Humans dress in clothes, due to their privacy, animals have no interest in wearing clothes, they have no notion of the term privacy. Equality is treating like scenarios alike, but in this case, humans and animals are very much different.
Yes because...
This argument is stating that we are assigning human emotions/ideals to animals.

However, this argument is doing much the same thing. They are placing their human knowledge onto the template of an animal and assuming they are correct. However, humans can never make such assumptions as to how animals feel. In which case we should respect animals privacy because we will never know if we are offending them or not, and it is better to be safe than sorry.

Actually animals are aggressive when they are afraid or they 'play dead' to confuse the enemy.
Scurrying off should just mean they do not wish to be bothered.

Animals have a right to privacy
No because...

Humans benefit from us seeing wildlife documentaries.

Whilst some extreme animal rights' protesters may argue that animals deserve privacy, I think most of us would agree that it is a matter of degree. We need to weigh the cost and the benefit. Given that we have already weighed, above, that animals do not have the same sense of privacy that humans do, we need to analyse the benefit we obtain for minimal harm to animal welfare.

Documentaries show humans how animals live. They give us a greater insight into how animals behave and for what reasons. This in turn can lead to further research into human medicine and nature. We learn from animals. Surely this is a huge benefit which by far outweighs any notional sense of animals wanting privacy.

Um reality T.V, hidden cameras, security cameras,satellites, bugged phone conversations; Google views emails/searches, ; people are not asked before they are viewed/filmed/other-wise recorded. Actors are paid to perform; they can't perform against their own will; now can they?
Paparazzi/people photograph celebrities/people all the time without their permission.

we have learned a lot from animals in terms of camouflage, aerodynamics and spiderweb-research led to the invention bulletproof vests.

From fashion to hard science watching animals has contributed significantly all across the knowledge/development sphere.
Yes because...
How can animal documentaries play any benefit to humans?

Medicine cannot be based around animal behavior-isms.

For one, how animals behave is not reliant on medicine – unless we injected the animals and then watched – but this is an altogether more serious question into the moral viability of animal testing. This leaves us with the notion that the only real benefit that humans gain out of animal documentaries is entertainment.

When we have human actors who wish to see themselves on TV, why would we place animals on TV when we do not know if we have their consent or not. Given that the only positive we can see to animal documentaries is entertainment; this does not seem proportionate to the possibility of insulting an animal’s privacy.

Animals have a right to privacy
No because...

Benefit to animals

If you do not agree in weighing the debated restriction to animal privacy against the benefit to humans then surely you would be persuaded by the benefit obtainable by the animals themselves.

If we see documentaries on how animals give birth, how animals die, why animals die, how animal conceive then we as humans will all have a greater awareness as to how to cure these ailments should we ever be confronted by them. Not many of us would know a number to call in an emergency for animal welfare.

However, via documentaries we may be able to work out some first aid before getting the animal to the appropriate domain for care. Given that the animals themselves benefit greatly from an apparent intrusion of privacy; surely we can see this ‘intrusion’ as justified.

There was a readers' digest article on how a child saved a snakes' life because he recognized the scale-pattern to be of a non-poisonous snake; a kind often confused with a venomous
snake of the same color/colours but a different order of bands.
Animal control spared the snake's life after the child showed them the relevant portion of his book.

So yes video/photo documentaries do save animal lives. Books on cat/dog behaviors have aided pet-lovers everywhere in rearing them.
Yes because...
Take a moment to reflect upon how many animal documentaries there are. Take a minute to think about how many animals are in each documentary; of the same species of a different species.

Now think of how many pregnant animals you have come across in ordinary life. Think about how many injured animals you have seen lying in the road. Think about how many incidents you went over to help an animal and thought to yourself ‘My, I wish I had watched a documentary on this’.

The benefit to animals as I am sure you will discover then is minimal in comparison to how many animals lose their privacy.

animals do not like being watched up-close otherwise documentary makers wouldn't have to drug them and strap them with hidden cameras to get in on the good stuff.

Animals have a right to privacy
No because...

Animals do not respect their own privacy

This debate is trying to point our attention to the fact that animals are not all that different from humans and that we should not presume that they have no sense of privacy.

However, should we not take into account how an animal uses it's own privacy? If you look at how humans give birth, it is behind curtains.

Often the family will not be in the room only the father of the child and he necessary doctors. If you look at how humans mate, it is confined to the bedroom. If you look to how we go to the toilet in times where we have choice, we go behind closed doors.

Now, look at animals, animals do not hide, they show no shame. They mate in the open, they release their waste in the open and they give birth in the open. Given that this is how they treat their own privacy, why should we think that they value it? If they do not value their own privacy, why should we value it?
Yes because...
This is a mere after thought justification as opposed to one that we actively think about before we film animals. Some animal do conduct activities in private. Animals build nests, dig burrows and build all sorts of things in their power that would be to us a ‘home’. Now if the animal has gone to these lengths to keep intruders out, surely we should respect their privacy in at least this regard?

Animals 'do' hide and they do push away documentary-makers. But these people drug them and strap with hidden cameras to see their secrets worlds. Which really is wrong.

Animals have a right to privacy
No because...

Awareness of endangered species will improve respect for animals

Humans are very self-centered in the fact that until a problem arises before our eyes we are unthinking and unconcerned.

It is for this reason that animal privacy is neglected. We can never interpret whether an animal is private or not.

We will assume instead that the animal is scared as this is what we know of animals.

However, by broadcasting documentaries based upon animals we are raising human awareness of them. This brings issues into the public eye and this in turn means that humans have more regard for animal welfare.

This can help us, and has, protected endangered animals. As a result of these documentaries: People protest against animal hunters and fishermen who spoil a whale’s dinner. People take action.

This is how documentaries can ascertain a benefit to the animal themselves.
Yes because...
Revealing what animals do to get protection from cameras and countering their efforts; helps hunters track down and kill animals.

It's pretty clear that if an animal is digging itself into a hole or going into a cave to hibernate or camouflaging itself with its surroundings or has to be shot with darts to get filming equipment on it, that/then it wants to be left alone.

Animals have a right to privacy
No because...

Be aware of your surroundings and know your enemy

Say for a moment you lived in a land where you didn't know much about the creatures inhabiting the biome around you. What are you going to do? Assume theyre all safe? Assume theyre all mean? Assume the cute ones are safe and the ugly ones are mean? If you ask me, the Tasmanian Devil is a pretty cute little animal that i would not want to see in the wild. It would also be absurd to be running from a turkey vulture, which is a rather ugly animal. Point is, you don't know what to trust. These people explore the nature and gather information so we can say "Turkey Vultures, though very ugly carnivores, are safe to be around since they only eat dead bodies. But that cute little Tasmanian Devil is actually capable of tearing me to shreds!"
Yes because...

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Rights are a human fiction.

What happens is expression of powers/capabilites. What happens is agreements about the expression of powers/capabilites. What happens is expression of power as the force maintaining agreement or force as remedy for breech of agreement.