Every morning here at Lancaster I like to take a walk down to the lake to see the ducks. I find it’s a great way to clear my head before I start my day of work.
But one morning last week my walk was disturbed by the appearance of a whole raft of new signs bolted on to the fences alongside the hockey pitches Continue reading
I recently had an enjoyable day at Lancaster House, chatting to members of the TTAC21 reading group on subjects including drone theory, armed conflict, the Prevent strategy, and the International Court of Human Rights.
As most of the participants were drawn from law departments, it was interesting as a relative ‘outsider’ to get a view on how those in the law discipline view issues such as life, death and sovereign power. One particularly interesting question that cropped up was ‘Is killing the ultimate form of control?’
Unfortunately we didn’t really have time to explore the question during the course of the day, so I thought it useful to gather a few thoughts here to open up some discussion… Continue reading
Following on from my last blog on humans, animals and the language of life and death, I thought I’d expand a little on the issues surrounding dangerous dogs, and that most outcast of all animals, the banned dangerous dog.
According to the UK government website, it is against the law to own certain types of dog. These are:
- Pit Bull Terrier
- Japanese Tosa
- Dogo Argentino
- Fila Brasiliero
It’s also against the law to:
- Sell a banned dog
- Abandon a banned dog
- Give away a banned dog
- Breed from a banned dog
If you are in possession of a banned dog, either knowingly or unknowingly, there is very little you can do. You cannot keep it, you cannot get rid of it – indeed the dog is condemned to death from its very birth. To explore the unique position held by the banned dangerous dog, we can conduct a simple thought experiment Continue reading
The language with which we refer to ourselves as human beings, relative to our ‘animal’ cousins is something that’s always fascinated me. I have always been interested in nature, and my sister, Kate, is soon to graduate as a vet, making these issues resonate all the more as I compare my own studies in philosophy with the world of animal science. Continue reading
It was with great interest that I read in the news recently tale of Jennie Platt from Prestwich, who has been so incensed at the installation of anti-homeless spikes in Manchester, that she’s covered them up with cushions. According to Ms Platt, “The building owners are treating human beings like pigeons.”
This line intrigued me, and for a number of reasons. Firstly, there is the obvious assumption on the part of Ms Platt that we are not like pigeons and should not be treated as such. Yet in reality we all know and accept that we actually are an awful lot like pigeons and share more in common with them than we like to admit. In a way this incident reminds us of the strange Orwellian ‘double-think’ that we all subscribe to on a daily basis. That is, the way that we are at once both human and animal, and define our humanity in relation to, and through the exclusion of, the ‘animal’ other. Continue reading