19 September 2004


Marc Moffett is a philosopher at The University of Wyoming. In his spare time (see here), he kills animals by shooting them with razor-tipped arrows. Why does he do this? For fun. He might say it’s for sport, recreation, entertainment, or as a diversion. That’s what I mean. For fun. He doesn’t need the meat or the hides, as Native Americans might have, and the animals he kills (or wounds) are not interfering with him in any way.

I have a question for Moffett. Do you kill humans by shooting them with arrows? If not, why not? I can think of only three answers:
1. The animals you kill don’t feel pain (whereas humans do).

2. The animals you kill don’t feel as much pain as humans do.

3. The pain of the animals you kill doesn’t count, morally speaking (whereas that of humans does).
The first two propositions are factual in nature. Both are false, as I believe Moffett would agree. The third proposition is evaluative in nature. I would be interested in hearing Moffett’s explanation of why, in his view, animal pain doesn’t count. How does saying that animal pain doesn’t count differ from saying that African-American pain doesn’t count or that Iraqi pain doesn’t count or that female pain doesn’t count or that the pain of infants and fetuses (or the elderly) doesn’t count?

No comments: