Monday, May 4, 2015

Can Animals Commit Murder?

Recently, I had a dream that involved a murder scene where the suspects in question were my younger sister and a medium sized yellow dog. In the dream, the concern was whether or not the police could believe that a dog could have committed murder and seemed certain that it was my sister who had murdered the man because of their inability to see the dog as having the intelligence or capability of killing a human being. This dream confused me greatly but also reminded me of the article we read in week 4, Holsinger's "Of Pigs and Parchment." This article was the one discussing a time when animals were put on trial and executed for crimes they committed against the people and it brings up the issue of whether or not animals should be given the rights that would allow them to also have to pay for crimes that they may commit. In my dream this was debated thoroughly as the decision was placed on if the dog was to be placed under the same expectations of humans to commit murder and pay for the crime. Should animals have the same rights as humans and if so, should they have to also pay for crimes that they commit? Do animals have the capacity to understand laws like murder?


  1. I think that this is an interesting point you bring up. I guess it depends on how you think of it. In Holsinger's writing, when he talks about the animals being put on trial, I find it, for lack of a better term, strange. How is an animal to defend it's self if it cannot present a case. But also, on a similar yet slightly different note, what about trained dogs? There are trained dogs that, on command, will kill someone at their master's will. So does the dog really commit murder? Or is it the man who is the murderer? Or the man a murderer and the dog an accessory to murderer? Where do you draw the line. And also thinking along this line. Why are wild animals not put up for trial when they kill someone? For example, when a bear mauls a man in the woods; it is considered to be an accident, even though the bear was the killer? So I ask again, where do we draw the line?

  2. I personally believe that "wild animals" or any other non-human animals are not allowed a trial nowadays because they cannot express themselves the way humans can. Communication between humans and non-human animals creates a huge barrier in which we are not able to connect. It wouldn't be fair to put animals on trial under human circumstances. We do not understand them the way we should. As for the animals who "commit murder" I am not sure that it would be classified that way. Most animals see humans as a threat and are probably trying to protect themselves and it is a part of their nature. But it is a very interesting point to think about. However, I wouldn't say that animals should be accountable for their actions on a human based justice system especially since we are unable to understand them.