26 April 2006

Vegan Freaks

Here is a vegan blog. I will add it to the blogroll.

From the Mailbag

Dear Keith,

Thanks again for sponsoring me 50 cents a mile in this year's Trails for TAILS bike-a-thon!!! I wanted to give you an update on my ride. I managed to complete the entire 55 miles in 3 hours and 50 minutes. The first 27.5 miles were quite easy and enjoyable with a nice tail wind. The last 27.5 miles heading back into that same 20 mph wind were quite a challenge. Fortunately, there were eight of us doing the 55-mile ride, and some of us were able to draft with each other, which made the return trip a bit more manageable.

You can mail your pledge to me at: [address omitted]

Please make your check payable to: TAILS

Thanks so much for your support. I really appreciate it. It definitely made the ride worth it!

All the best,


p.s. If you need a receipt from TAILS Humane Society for tax purposes, please let me know, and I'll see to it that they send you one. If you do desire a receipt, please furnish me the address where you would like them to send it.

24 April 2006

From Today's New York Times

To the Editor:

Re "A New Crime Fighter, for $10 in Hay and Oats" (front page, April 18):

Sherman Day Thacher, founder of the Thacher School, always said, "The outside of a horse is good for the inside of a boy." This is as true for the citizens of our cities as it is for young men and women even today.

Horses are, and have always been, magical: big, strong, beautiful, lithe—and when trained, courageous. Ironically, these fabulous beasts humanize police officers and help to lend an atmosphere of dignity and elegance to our urban streets. They are the ultimate all-terrain vehicles. They inspire awe (and fear if necessary), and nearly every kid wants to ride one, or at least pet one.

New York City is wise to make this investment. The streets will be safer; the tourists and locals will love them; the police officers will be seen for who they are: protectors, defenders and, yes, even friends.

Michael K. Mulligan
Ojai, Calif., April 18, 2006
The writer is head of school of the Thacher School.

23 April 2006

From Today's New York Times

To the Editor:

Thank you for "Salads or No, Cheap Burgers Revive McDonald's" (front page, April 19), exposing McDonald's salad scam. Calling something a salad doesn't make it healthy. Except for the apple walnut variety, all the fast-food giant's premium salads are nutrition disasters.

The bacon ranch salad with crispy chicken packs 31 grams of fat, almost half of the daily allotment and a whopping 70 percent of the daily recommended amount of salt.

Essentially, McDonald's has dumped the contents of its chicken sandwiches on top of some lettuce and served it up with a creamy dressing. Touting its premium salads gives the false impression that the company sells healthy food and that customers have choices.

This is another lawsuit waiting to happen: making people think they are eating healthy when they aren't.

Michele Simon
Founder and Director
Center for Informed Food Choices
Oakland, Calif., April 19, 2006

Deconstructing Dinner

Here is a review of a new book about food production.

19 April 2006

From the Mailbag

Dear Professor Burgess-Jackson:

I see that you are promoting a fundraising event for the Tails Humane Society. Maybe you can clear up something for me, because I've never really understood the point of animal shelters. Seems to me that humane societies help one set of animals at the expense of another set of animals. With very few exceptions, the dogs and cats that are adopted from animal shelters will live out their lives eating cows, pigs, chickens, fish, and god-knows-what-other-critters are found in commercial pet food. So what have we really gained? At best, we're killing Peter to save Paul.

Sincerely yours,
Edgar Marsalla

16 April 2006

From the Mailbag

Dear friends and former sponsors!

Five years ago each of you sponsored me in the "Trails for TAILS" bike-a-thon, all of the proceeds of which went to the TAILS Humane Society. At that time, TAILS had a dream: that of building a state-of-the-art NO KILL animal shelter. Today, thanks to your support and the support of others like you, that dream is a reality! Please check out the shelter and all of the impressive work it is doing.

Naturally, it takes money to run a shelter of this caliber, and so, once again, I turn to you for your possible support. On Saturday, April 22, I will be cycling 55 miles in the sixth annual "Trails for TAILS" bike-a-thon, all of the proceeds of which will again be donated to TAILS Humane Society. Five years ago, thanks to your help, I was able to raise $900 for TAILS. I hope to be able to raise that much again this year. Of course, to do so, I need sponsors to pledge their support. Pledges may take the form of a flat donation or a per-mile pledge. I would be extremely grateful, if any of you were willing to sponsor me 10 cents, 25 cents, 50 cents, or even $1.00 a mile (or anything in between) in this year's bike-a-thon. If you do sponsor me, your donation to TAILS Humane Society is fully tax deductible [Surely that sounds good on April 16!!!]. If you are willing to sponsor me, please drop me a short reply and let me know the amount per mile (or flat donation) that you are pledging. After I complete the ride, I will email you back with the number of miles completed [hopefully 55!], and you can send me a check made out to TAILS Humane Society for the amount that you pledged. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you!!!

My best to all of you!

Mylan Engel

Note from KBJ: Mylan and I were graduate students together at The University of Arizona. He's a good person. If you'd like to make a pledge, please click on his name immediately above this note and use the e-mail address at the bottom of his website. That way, I don't add to the amount of spam he receives. In case you're wondering, I have pledged 50¢ per mile. Go Mylan!

Second note from KBJ: Mylan writes: "Dear Keith, Thanks, thanks, thanks, thanks, and thanks! Thanks for posting my letter on your animal ethics blog, and thanks for the nice things you said about me there. I really appreciate it. [Thanks too for figuring out how to link to me without having to post my email address on your blog. I'm grateful not to have the additional spam!] Thanks very much for the 50 cent per mile pledge! And thanks for continuing to call attention to my 'The Immorality of Eating Meat'! I hope it gets some of your readers to rethink their eating habits. All the best, Mylan"

12 April 2006

The Immorality of Eating Meat

Here is the best essay I've ever read on the moral status of nonhuman animals. Please read it. If you reject the conclusion, then, to be consistent, you must either deny the validity of the argument or reject a premise. In other words, there are three ways to respond to Engel's argument:
1. Deny its validity (i.e., claim that the conclusion does not follow from the premises).
2. Reject a premise.
3. Accept the conclusion.
Read the essay carefully and choose wisely.

Of Human and Non-Human Animals

Here is a new blog.

10 April 2006

Brute Ethics

I continue to receive link requests. Here is a site called Brute Ethics.

06 April 2006

From the Mailbag

Good day, Professor,

Long time—no communication. I hope the last year has been pleasant for you—it's a new baseball season, and a new chance for your beloved Rangers (good luck!).

If you recall, the last time I corresponded with you, I expressed my consideration of [Don] Marquis's theory of the morality of murder [i.e., killing], how it applies to animals, and whether I should stop eating meat. It's been nearly a year of churning this information in my head—and alas, I have still not come to a definitive conclusion for myself. I suspect that I lean on the idea side of the immorality of killing for food. I think that I am fighting what might be obvious here because of 22 years of being a ravenous carnivore.

That being said, a week and 3 days ago, I decided to cut meat out of my diet. Though I am not 100% sold on the immorality of eating meat, I decided that 1) I ought not to continue until I have a full opinion and 2) health reasons—I realized that my years of overeating are from a hardwired distaste for wasting meat on my plate.

I must say, the first several days were extremely difficult—but I have adjusted nicely and am actually already feeling some benefits. I feel I have made a somewhat intellectual moral decision, which is good for my pride. Also—physically I feel better, as I have been able to focus very closely on my diet and improved it quite a bit. I have cut out all beef, pork, poultry, game, etc—if it walks or flies, I'm not eating it.

My apologies for the novel—I just felt I should thank you for the introduction to the world of the meatless—I think that, should I decide to stick with this, I will be better for it.

And happy birthday tomorrow—hope your semester is going well.

Regards, X

04 April 2006


Here is a new website devoted to veganism. I will add it to the blogroll.

02 April 2006

Birthday Girl

Shelbie is three years old today. See here.