Animals and the NAP

The Facebook page “V is for Voluntary” asked the question, “Do you extend the NAP to animals? Why or why not?” And I responded,

Personally, in a way, yes. I don’t think we should go around half-killing animals and then letting them suffer toward either health or death. If there’s a more humane way to kill your food, you should use that way as a matter of personal choice. I’m certainly not saying that animals have rights; consider it an appeal to personal integrity.

And Zachary Silva responded,

I think a pretty good standard for animals would be a MAP (minimal aggression principle), if it’s living, treat it well, if you’re going to eat it, kill it humanely.

I like that, the Minimal-Aggression Principle. And why not? Why should you not adhere to the MAP? Unless you’re a really deranged person, why not treat animals as humanely as possible? Can’t really think of a good reason myself. And as I asked in “Voluntaryism Transcends Anarchism,”

For anyone concerned about improving themselves, becoming a better person, a better friend, a better neighbor, how will using force [or in this case, abusing animals], even when justified, affect my own spiritual development?

What would treating animals inhumanely do to me? Transform me into? Interesting questions.


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Founder and editor of and, Skyler is a husband and unschooling father of three beautiful children. His writings include the column series “One Voluntaryist’s Perspective” and “One Improved Unit,” and blog series “Two Cents“. Skyler also wrote the books No Hitting! and Toward a Free Society, and edited the books Everything Voluntary and Unschooling Dads. You can hear Skyler chatting away on his podcasts, Everything Voluntary and Thinking & Doing.