Title may be misleading as I do not have an appropriate title yet.
A discussion I was having with my friends about animal rights was whether it is right for people to feed stray dogs with biscuits when many people are starving. In my locality in Mumbai, I find a number of animal lovers buying 1 kg biscuits dily to feed stray dogs. Ofcourse, I have a very valid and different reason to hate this practice, but I still feel they are within their rights to feed the dogs.
Actually, it is not about dogs. Let me put it this way. These people are spending their hard-earned and legally earned (i.e. after paying taxes to the Govt.) money and they have every right to spend it the way they wish without any moral obligations as long as it does not compromise on any other person's rights. (It would be wrong for them to buy a bomb and blast it in a crowded market-place) And since it is their personal income, one should not take offence to it saying that a lot of people are starving, so the resources would be better spent on them. My reason to hate the dog-feeders is because the stray dogs are encouraged to stay on in the locality and they are at best, a nuisance who bark at niht and disturb sleep, and at worst, dangerous as they bite many an unsuspecting pedestrian and represent a real danger to children. I would like the govt. to either gun these dogs down or round them all up and leave them in the jungle away form humans. But I digress.
A second point that was made here was that killing of the dogs is wrong and that they should be neutered and/or vaccinated against rabies. I have nothing against the poor dogs, but here, again, the individual is well within his/her rights to neuter the dog or vaccinate it with his/her money, but when the govt. money is used, the most efficient approach should be used (efficient and cost-effective is to kill the dog) and no one should have any objection to that, because the poor people actually deserve the state's money (The taxpayer's money should go to provide the optimal benefits for the citizens) and every penny needs to be wisely spent without personal ethics taking any precedence.
The discussion then took a small turn and we started discussing about the rights of animal-rights organisations to stage protest marches and physically stop research using animals as guinea pigs (pun!!!) for their experiments.
My take on the same: The animal-rights organisations are well within their rights to protest against the experiments, but to disrupt and physically stop people from doing them is wrong, simply because the people doing this are not harming them. Secondly, the honest tax-payers money is being utilized for the projects, no individual has the right to disrupt it. If you really want to stop the practice, file legal proceedings.
Update: (29MAR2007) : A 6 month old baby killed by strays in Hyderabad