26 July 2004

An Enemy of Animals

The man described in this story claims to care about animals, but his willingness to endorse (use?) violence in their behalf does them no good. In fact, it alienates many people who would otherwise support the cause of animal welfare and animal liberation. What part of self-defeatingness does he not understand? Even Peter Singer, a consequentialist, believes that violence is unproductive. Defenders of animals are in the right. They have the moral high ground. They should use the most powerful tool of social change ever invented: reason. They should eschew and condemn nonrational means, such as force, coercion, and manipulation.

I hereby call upon all of my animal-respecting and animal-loving friends and colleagues to repudiate violence. Nonviolent civil disobedience is one thing, as Dr Martin Luther King Jr showed, but violence toward either person or property is unacceptable. It is unacceptable for two reasons: first, because it's intrinsically wrong (i.e., wrong in and of itself, whatever its consequences); and second, because it has bad long-term consequences. (Thanks to Dan Gifford for the link.)

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