David Graham and Nathan Nobis review Tibor Machan's treatise Putting Human's First: Why We Are Nature's Favorite, which is neo-Objectivist attack on the animal right's crowd. The review is somewhat critical. The authors are not impressed by Machan's arguments and they go so far as to accuse Machan of taking an ambiguous stance. At one point in his treatise, Machan writes:
"Should there ... be laws against certain kinds of cruelty to animals? This is not something I am willing to address fully here. Suffice it to say that, for my part, I would not necessarily take exception if someone were to rescue an animal being treated with cruelty, even if this amounted to invading someone's private property. If one spotted a neighbor torturing a cat, albeit on his own private property, one could well be morally remiss in failing to invade the place and rescue the animal."
This is a curious statement coming from someone arguing against animal rights from an Objectivist standpoint. It suggests that Machan feels a certain ambivalence about the subject. It further suggests conceptual poverty of Objectivist views on morality, politics, and justice. In the real world, things aren't so simple as the Objectivist would like them to be. Normal decent human beings are appalled by anyone who receives pleasure from torturing animals. To frame the whole issue in terms of human beings, who are the only creatures entitled to rights and may do anything with their property, and animals who have no rights and are the merely the property which human beings can do anything with, clearly misses the full reality of the issue.
The illustrate the inadequacy of the Objectivist view, take the recent case of two brothers who were sentenced ten years for torturing a puppy. From an Objectivist standpoint, this sentence is an act of injustice. Animals have no rights and while it may be immoral to torture them it should not be illegal. Yet this viewpoint lacks basic common sense. The fact is that any individual who is so destitute of common humanity that he takes pleasure in torturing animals poses a threat to society. Such an individual simply cannot be trusted. Who is to say that in the future he won't take pleasure in torturing human beings as well? Hence there is a kind of justice, or at least a kind of wisdom, in removing him from society.