24 October 2005

Tom Regan on Factory Farming

Anyone writing on the topic of the treatment of animals must acknowledge an enormous debt to [Peter] Singer. Because of his work, as well as the pioneering work of Ruth Harrison, the gruesome details of factory farming are finding a place within the public consciousness. All of us by now know, or at least have had the opportunity to find out, that chickens are raised in incredibly crowded, unnatural environments; that veal calves are intentionally raised on an anemic diet, are unable to move enough even to clean themselves, are kept in the dark most of their lives; that other animals, including pigs and cattle, are being raised intensively in increasing numbers. Personally, I do not know how anyone pretending to the slightest sensitivity or powers of empathy can look on these practices with benign indifference or approval.

(Tom Regan, “Utilitarianism, Vegetarianism, and Animal Rights,” Philosophy & Public Affairs 9 [summer 1980]: 305-24, at 308-9 [footnote omitted])

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