OWL recommends voting AGAINST the at-vote resolution, "The Commission on Sentient and Sapient Rights". The Delegate has been asked to cast their vote accordingly.
Please find below the Office's Analysis for an examination of the resolution and the reasons for the final recommendation.
"The Commission on Sentient and Sapient Rights" seeks to recognize several inalienable (un-cedable) rights of sentient and sapient beings, namely the rights to life and freedom from undue suffering. To support this, it establishes a WA subcommittee, the Subcommittee for Ethical Animal Sourcing (SEAS), tasked with overseeing breaches and exemptions from those rights.
While the Office is generally supportive of recognizing such rights, we believe that this specific implementation is too overreaching. The granting of the rights is followed by long lists of exceptions, which are quite general and generous at times, and are entirely subject to the interpretation by SEAS. Thereby, SEAS ‒ nominally only a subcommittee, yet through this resolution an incredibly important body ‒ is given vast authority over the implementation of the proposal's mandates, without any specific guidelines on how to enforce these exemptions for the infinite number of different legal and moral standpoints. Due to all this, it's almost impossible to truly know the extent of the intendedly inalienable rights recognized for sentients and sapients by this proposal.
Several absurd consequences also arise from the intertwined nature of the proposal ‒ for example, Clause I(c) and II(a) together would grant convicts sentenced to imprisonment for life access to veterinary care for themselves, and Clause 1(a)(iii) forbids carnivorous animals to feed themselves as long as they're not actually on the brink of starvation. It could be argued that SEAS would counteract such interpretations, but leaving a subcommittee to patch up holes or nonsensical mandates should not be the approach to take, as this only makes the law more unclear. It is therefore our opinion that, compared to the current version of the proposal, the members of the WA would be able to more effectively protect the rights outlined, rather than an over-bloated subcommittee with little-to-no guidelines, yet overwhelming powers of enforcement.
Thus, OWL recommends a vote AGAINST the at-vote resolution, "The Commission on Sentient and Sapient Rights".