Animals’ “Right to Privacy”


Do animals have a “right to privacy”? Or are such “animal-hugger” claims the logical consequence of evolutionary views only?

According to University of East Anglia film and television studies lecturer Brett Mills, animals’ right to privacy should be taken into consideration in the production of nature documentaries. “We see it as unethical and wrong to secretly film people—we say it’s not allowed,” he explained. But “what does it say about our assumptions about animals [in that we have no such prohibition]?” he asks.

While Mills is okay with filming “public” activities such as hunting, he mentions the use of hidden cameras and the practice of shoving cameras into animal nests and burrows as questionable. Mills argues that animal behavior itself shows that they make a distinction between “public” and “private” arenas.

Is Mills’ idea wacky? Does it stem from an evolutionary worldview that insists humans are simply animals, and that only relative intelligence separates us? Although the Bible is clear that humans are fundamentally set apart from animals, having been made in the image of God (Genesis 1:27), this does not imply that we may treat animals however we wish; God made mankind stewards of earth and life on it (Genesis 1:28). The Bible is clear that there is morality underlying the treatment of animals (Proverbs 12:10).

That certainly does not mean animals deserve the same rights as humans, and we’re not saying we necessarily agree with Mills. Rather, we’re emphasizing that creationists should not dismiss the topic of what are appropriate animal rights—whether for pets, pests, livestock, or wildlife—without careful thought and biblically minded consideration.

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