02 September 2016
01 September 2016
25 August 2016
While [Peter] Singer's and [Tom] Regan's theoretical approaches are fundamentally different, they converge on a number of important points. First, both argue that all conscious, sentient animals with desires and interests deserve equal moral consideration (regardless of whether these animals are human or nonhuman). The practical implications of their views also converge. Both approaches entail that most contemporary uses of animals—factory farming of animals for meat, eggs, and milk; animal experimentation; use of animals for entertainment in zoos and circuses; hunting and trapping animals in the wild; and so on—are morally unjustified and should be eliminated. Both authors consider the attitudes of most people toward animals to be nothing more than an arbitrary prejudice in favor of our own kind that many now refer to pejoratively as "speciesism" (a term coined by Richard Ryder). Singer, in particular, likens speciesism to racism and sexism, and uses the analogy to argue that a new liberation movement is needed to combat this deep-seated but unjustified prejudice and the many forms of animal exploitation that flow from it.
(Mylan Engel Jr and Kathie Jenni, The Philosophy of Animal Rights: A Brief Introduction for Students and Teachers [New York: Lantern Books, 2010], 27)
Posted by Keith Burgess-Jackson at 5:52 PM
01 August 2016
01 July 2016
07 June 2016
To the editor:
The gorilla Harambe’s killing at the Cincinnati Zoo surely calls our society to ask if it is moral or just to keep animals in a prison to be used, at worst, as objects of entertainment or, at best, under the guise of “education.” (“Harambe the gorilla dies, meat-eaters grieve,” Opinion, June 5)
Is there no accountability on the part of the parents of the child who found himself in the gorilla exhibit? The zoo, surely, carries responsibility for deficiencies in its enclosure. In light of this horrible incident, is it right for the zoo to carry on a breeding program that subjects more animals to such unnatural lives?
Finally, what of the audience? The hysteria of the crowd surely played a part in escalating an already frightening situation. Further, did those who reacted so strongly to Harambe’s killing go home and serve meat to their children?
This horrible incident has raised some tough questions indeed. In my opinion, neither Harambe nor the child should ever have been at the zoo.
M. Michelle Nadon, Aurora, Canada
To the editor:
Bars? What? Have op-ed article writers Peter Singer and Karen Dawn not seen the beautiful natural habitat at the L.A. Zoo?
It is estimated that due to conflicts with humans, the bushmeat and body parts trade, disease and habitat destruction, large mammals in Africa may be extinct by the end of this century. Many sanctuaries do not permit breeding.
As an intelligent primate, I’d much rather be an ambassador for my species in a secure environment—served the best food and tended to by top-notch veterinarians—than take my chances in a national park where poverty and corruption result in little or no protection for the non-human residents.
Lisa Edmondson, Los Angeles
Posted by Keith Burgess-Jackson at 12:27 PM
05 June 2016
Addendum: The argument seems to be as follows:
- It is inconsistent both (a) to eat meat and (b) to condemn (or mourn) the killing of Harambe;
- I condemn (or mourn) the killing of Harambe; therefore,
- I may no longer eat meat.
Here are some objections:
- The first premise is false.
- The first premise is true, but I don't care about inconsistency.
- The first premise is true and I care about inconsistency, but, since I am going to continue to eat meat, I no longer condemn (or mourn) the killing of Harambe.
Singer and his coauthor do nothing to reply to these (obvious) objections. They should have addressed at least the third objection, for I suspect that most readers of their op-ed column, if forced to choose, would stop condemning (or mourning) the killing of Harambe rather than stop eating meat.
Posted by Keith Burgess-Jackson at 5:21 PM