30 May 2005


Here are some essays by Matthew Scully, who, like me, is both a conservative and a proponent of animal rights.

Addendum: Here is the PDF version of "Fear Factories." Please read it.

24 May 2005

Wayne Pacelle on the Future of the Animal-Protection Movement

We are now at a new and strange juncture in human experience. Never has there been such massive exploitation of animals—from the puppy mills to the canned hunting ranches to the laboratories to the billions of animals raised on factory farms. At the same time, never have there been so many people determined to stop this exploitation. One force or the other has to prevail, and it is the goal of the animal protection movement to see the forces of kindness and mercy triumph over custom, complaisance, and selfishness, and to usher in a new era of respect and concern for animals.

The means of effecting these sweeping changes take many forms. There is enlightenment and education, and the personal transformation that occurs when people of conscience become aware of abuse and misconduct. There is direct care and relief, and the humane movement has spent the bulk of its resources during the last century and a half providing shelter, sanctuary, food and water, and other animal care services to creatures in need.

In a market-oriented economy—in which many animals are treated only as commodities—the humane movement must influence corporate practices and policies. We vote for or against animal cruelty with our dollars in the marketplace, and our ability to spur corporate policy changes has enormous implications for animals. When major corporations halted animal testing, or when fast food giants stipulated that producers had to observe basic welfare standards, these decisions affected the lives of millions of creatures.

And then there is the matter of the law. When it comes to animals, the law must speak, and set a standard in society for personal, corporate, and government conduct. Matters dealing with the treatment of animals cannot be left entirely to personal choice or conscience, since many people would knowingly flout society’s voluntary proscriptions. As elsewhere in the law, people must be held to clear standards of conduct, and those standards must be enforceable.

(Wayne Pacelle, “Law and Public Policy: Future Directions for the Animal Protection Movement,” Animal Law 11 [2005]: 1-6, at 1-2)

23 May 2005


This says it all about human arrogance. (Thanks to Michael W. Gross for the link.)

Addendum: Two faithful readers have pointed out to me that The Onion is a satirical site. I know that. I've been reading it for years. This satirical story makes fun of human arrogance. It wouldn't be funny if we didn't see the awful truth in it.

18 May 2005

Whole Foods

Here is a bizarre column about Peter Singer and Whole Foods Market.

17 May 2005

Humans and Animals

Why is it acceptable to treat nonhuman animals as mere means to human ends? Why are we deontologists with respect to humans but consequentialists with respect to animals? Why are humans morally special? Are whites morally special? Are men morally special? See here for disturbing video footage. (See here as well.) If it doesn't enrage you, then you aren't wired properly. (Thanks to Khursh Mian Acevedo, a tireless animal advocate, for the links.)

12 May 2005


If you want fresh, organic, locally produced food, see here.

04 May 2005

They Die Piece by Piece

I may have linked to this already. Think about it before you bite into that hamburger or steak. Ask yourself whether you want to support this industry.

Animal Cruelty

Sophie, Shelbie, and I take two walks every day, without fail. On weekdays, we walk around the neighborhood in the morning and around the school grounds in the evening. On weekends, we walk around the school grounds both morning and night. Dogs love to run, which my girls get to do on the school grounds. At a minimum, they need to be able to move around. For several weeks now, I’ve noticed a reddish Chow chained to a dog house in my neighborhood. The poor dog has only two or three feet of chain. It’s heartbreaking. Twenty-four hours a day, seven days a week, 365 days a year, this dog remains in the same small area. What are the dog’s owners thinking? How would they like to be confined to an area that size, with the only choice whether to stand up or lie down? The area must be covered with excrement. A few minutes ago, I called The Humane Society of North Texas, which will investigate. State law requires at least six feet of chain. I asked that the investigator request that the dog be allowed to roam freely in the back yard, which is fenced. It should be illegal to chain a dog, even with a long chain.

02 May 2005

Gary E. Varner on Hunting

When teaching the hunting issue, I find it useful to distinguish among three types of hunting in terms of the purposes hunting is taken to serve. By therapeutic hunting I mean hunting motivated by and designed to secure the aggregate welfare of the target species and/or the integrity of its ecosystem. . . . By subsistence hunting I mean hunting aimed at securing food for human beings. By sport hunting I mean hunting aimed at maintaining religious or cultural traditions, reenacting national or evolutionary history, honing certain skills, or just securing a trophy. Many would prefer to recognize a distinction within this third category between hunting for sport and hunting as a ritual. Although there may be some important differences, I class them together because both activities serve human needs (which is what distinguishes both sport and subsistence hunting from therapeutic hunting), but needs which are less fundamental (in the sense of universal) than nutrition (which is what distinguishes subsistence hunting from both ritual and sport hunting).

(Gary E. Varner, “Can Animal Rights Activists Be Environmentalists?” in People, Penguins, and Plastic Trees: Basic Issues in Environmental Ethics, 2d ed., ed. Christine Pierce and Donald VanDeVeer [Belmont, CA: Wadsworth Publishing Company, 1995], 254-73, at 257-8 [italics in original])