31 December 2011

From Today's New York Times

To the Editor:
 
In “Hunting Deer With My Flintlock” (Op-Ed, Dec. 26), Seamus McGraw says he has a responsibility to kill deer because there are too many. He has volunteered to kill a deer cruelly, ineptly and with an outdated weapon that causes additional suffering to the deer. I assume that the use of the flintlock is to enhance his self-image as a master of the woodland.

He says he hunts out of a need to take responsibility for his family, who evidently live where the supermarkets offer no meat. He says meat tastes more precious when you’ve watched it die. May I recommend a trip to a slaughterhouse?

I’m tired of hearing people who enjoy killing justify it with specious moral platitudes. Animals suffer when killed. No pearly phrases can make that any better.

MARIE BROWN
Baldwin, N.Y., Dec. 26, 2011

To the Editor:
 
Seamus McGraw mounts all the standard defenses: I am feeding my family; there are too many deer; I kill as mercifully as possible.

But whether with a flintlock or a modern rifle, hunting cruelly takes the life of a living, sentient being that has as much right to live as any hunter or writer. It is only the prejudice of our species that justifies culling the deer population while protecting our own.

STEPHEN F. EISENMAN
Highland Park, Ill., Dec. 26, 2011

To the Editor:
 
I don’t have all the answers concerning Pennsylvania’s burgeoning deer population (most of it caused by the burgeoning human population), but I want to comment on the self-serving tone of Seamus McGraw’s article.

For a man who claims not to enjoy killing, he takes considerable pride in his bloodletting. That his flintlock rifle failed him, and more important, the doe, because he flinched is reason enough to put down his antiquated weapon. It ought to be reason enough for such a firearm to be banned entirely.

Beyond that, though, is the tragedy of the doe’s sole contact with a human: a moment that could have initiated a communion between the two was instead reduced to carnage. Nothing noble there. No art in it either.

CYNTHIA A. BRANIGAN
President, Make Peace With Animals
New Hope, Pa., Dec. 26, 2011

To the Editor:
Please give me a break. Seamus McGraw tells us he has to kill deer in his section of Pennsylvania because “with no predators to speak of—the wolves were wiped out centuries ago and the last mountain lion in the state was killed more than 70 years ago—the responsibility for trying to restore a part of that balance fell to me.”

Who wiped out the wolves and mountain lions? Hunters like him.

JIM F. BRINNING
Boston, Dec. 26, 2011

27 December 2011

The Great Climate Hoax

Suppose, for the sake of argument, that the globe is warming. What follows, as a normative matter? Nothing. As David Hume (1711-1776) pointed out long ago, you can't validly deduce an evaluative proposition from a set of factual propositions. (Put differently, there has to be at least one evaluative premise in order for there to be an evaluative conclusion.) What we should do about global warming (again, assuming it exists) depends on the consequences of global warming. Few if any changes have only good consequences or only bad consequences. Almost always, there are both good and bad consequences. Whether we should do something to stop the change, therefore, depends on which type of consequence—good or bad—predominates.

How often have you heard a dispassionate discussion of the good consequences of climate change? All you hear, day after day, is a depressing litany of bad consequences. This alone shows that global warmists are biased. They want intervention to stop climate change, so they mention only the bad consequences of climate change. A rational person with no ideological axe to grind would attend to good consequences as well as to bad consequences. For example, how many people around the world die of extreme cold as opposed to extreme heat, and how would that change if the globe warmed? What is the optimal temperature for the alleviation of suffering, for both humans and sentient nonhuman animals? How many different species of animal or plant would there be if the globe warmed, as opposed to how many there are today? What is the optimal temperature for food production? Would there be more food rather than less if the globe warmed?

Change per se is neither good nor bad. Whether a given change is good or bad, all things considered, depends on its consequences (and how these are evaluated). I wish scientists would inform the public of all the consequences of global warming, so that the public can decide for itself whether to expend its scarce resources in preventing it. That scientists have not done this is the best evidence yet that they are advocates rather than, as they purport to be, disinterested observers. Is it any wonder that they are not trusted? Do you trust people who are hell-bent on selling you something to the point where they omit relevant information? In law, this is called fraud.

01 December 2011

Statistics

This blog had 2,963 visits during November, which is an average of 98.7 visits per day. A year ago, the average was 130.0.

28 November 2011

Anniversary

This blog began life eight years ago today, with this post. There have been 214,285 visits in the past eight years. That's an average of 26,785.6 visits per year and 73.3 visits per day.

01 November 2011

Statistics

This blog had 2,767 visits during October, which is an average of 89.2 visits per day. A year ago, this blog had 95.0 visits per day.

26 October 2011

Animal Rights

I support the goal of legal rights for nonhuman animals, but this approach is wrongheaded. Instead of using the 13th Amendment, the original understanding of which did not include animals, proponents should work for a constitutional amendment, or simply for national legislation. Take it to the people.

02 October 2011

Statistics

This blog had 2,200 visits during September. That's an average of 73.3 visits per day. A year ago, the average was 78.0.

19 September 2011

W. D. Ross (1877-1971) on the Right and the Good

William David Ross (1877-1971) 2 Now when we ask what is the general nature of morally good actions, it seems quite clear that it is in virtue of the motives that they proceed from that actions are morally good. Moral goodness is quite distinct from and independent of rightness, which (as we have seen) belongs to acts not in virtue of the motives they proceed from, but in virtue of the nature of what is done. Thus a morally good action need not be the doing of a right act, and the doing of a right act need not be a morally good action. The ethical theories that stress the thing done and those that stress the motive from which it is done both have some justification, for both 'the right act' and 'the morally good action' are notions of the first importance in ethics; but the two types of theory have been at cross-purposes, because they have failed to notice that they are talking about different things. Thus Kant has tried to deduce from his conception of the nature of a morally good action rules as to what types of act are right; and others have held a view which amounts to saying that so long as our motive is good it does not matter what we do. And, on the other side, the tendency of acts to produce good or bad results has sometimes been treated as if it made them morally good or bad. The drawing of a rigid distinction between the right and the morally good frees us from such confusion.

(W. D. Ross, The Right and the Good [Indianapolis: Hackett Publishing Company, 1988], 156 [italics in original; footnote omitted] [first published in 1930])

Note from KBJ: There are four categories: (1) right and morally good (i.e., doing the right thing for the right reason); (2) right and morally bad (i.e., doing the right thing for the wrong reason); (3) wrong and morally good (i.e., doing the wrong thing for the right reason); (4) wrong and morally bad (i.e., doing the wrong thing for the wrong reason). As examples, I would give the following: (1) abstaining from meat for the sake of the animals; (2) abstaining from meat for health reasons; (3) eating meat because one believes (with, say, Roger Scruton) that doing so redounds to the benefit of the animals themselves; (4) eating meat because one likes the taste.

01 September 2011

Statistics

This blog had 1,656 visits during August, which is an average of 53.4 visits per day. The average for August 2010 was 62.7.

30 August 2011

W. D. Ross (1877-1971) on the Moral Significance of Pleasure and Pain

William David Ross (1877-1971) [T]he fact that a sentient being is in a state of pleasure is always in itself good, and the fact that a sentient being is in a state of pain always in itself bad, when this fact is not an element in a more complex fact having some other characteristic relevant to goodness or badness. And where considerations of desert or of moral good or evil do not enter, i.e. in the case of animals, the fact that a sentient being is feeling pleasure or pain is the whole fact (or the fact sufficiently described to enable us to judge of its goodness or badness), and we need not hesitate to say that the pleasure of animals is always good, and the pain of animals always bad, in itself and apart from its consequences. But when a moral being is feeling a pleasure or pain that is deserved or undeserved, or a pleasure or pain that implies a good or a bad disposition, the total fact is quite inadequately described if we say 'a sentient being is feeling pleasure, or pain'. The total fact may be that 'a sentient and moral being is feeling a pleasure that is undeserved, or that is the realization of a vicious disposition', and though the fact included in this, that 'a sentient being is feeling pleasure' would be good if it stood alone, that creates only a presumption that the total fact is good, and a presumption that is outweighed by the other element in the total fact.

(W. D. Ross, The Right and the Good [Indianapolis: Hackett Publishing Company, 1988], 137 [first published in 1930]) 

Note from KBJ: Since the concepts of desert and good or bad disposition do not apply to animals (who are not moral agents), their pleasure is intrinsically good and their pain intrinsically bad. (Animals, unlike humans, never deserve to suffer or to be happy, for they are not morally responsible for their behavior.) For beings (such as normal humans) to whom the concepts of desert and good or bad disposition apply, things are more complicated. Pleasure is good when, and only when, it is deserved. Pain is bad when, and only when, it is undeserved. We can say, therefore, that animal pleasure is always good, whereas human pleasure is only sometimes good; and also that animal pain is always bad, whereas human pain is only sometimes bad.

Animal Rights

Tibor Machan makes the common mistake of confusing moral agency with rights possession. One wonders whether he has read any of the literature. Human infants are not moral agents, yet nobody doubts that they have rights. Senile people are not moral agents, yet nobody doubts that they have rights. The severely retarded are not moral agents, yet nobody doubts that they have rights. The insane or mentally ill are not moral agents, yet nobody doubts that they have rights. Machan seems unaware of the distinction between autonomy rights, which only moral agents possess, and welfare rights, which all sentient beings possess. The most prominent welfare right is the right not to be harmed. (Being made to suffer is one type, though not the only type, of harm.) Machan can claim, truly, that animals lack autonomy rights. But then, nobody denies this. His claim, therefore, that animals lack rights is either trivially true (if he means autonomy rights) or false (if he means welfare rights).

01 August 2011

Henry Sidgwick (1838-1900) on Animals

Henry Sidgwick (1838-1900) 2 We have next to consider who the "all'' are, whose happiness is to be taken into account. Are we to extend our concern to all the beings capable of pleasure and pain whose feelings are affected by our conduct? or are we to confine our view to human happiness? The former view is the one adopted by Bentham and Mill, and (I believe) by the Utilitarian school generally: and is obviously most in accordance with the universality that is characteristic of their principle. It is the Good Universal, interpreted and defined as 'happiness' or 'pleasure,' at which a Utilitarian considers it his duty to aim: and it seems arbitrary and unreasonable to exclude from the end, as so conceived, any pleasure of any sentient being.

(Henry Sidgwick, The Methods of Ethics, 7th ed. [Indianapolis: Hackett Publishing Company, 1981], bk. IV, chap. I, sec. 2, p. 414 [italics in original] [first published in 1907; 1st ed. published in 1874])

Statistics

This blog had 1,503 visits during July, which is an average of 48.4 visits per day. A year ago, there were 64.6 visits per day.

28 July 2011

From the Mailbag

Keith,

I am writing today to ask for your help in raising awareness about the 2011 Walk for Farm Animals, a series of fun, community-focused events taking place in more than 35 cities across North America this fall to promote kindness to animals and raise vital funds to support the lifesaving work of Farm Sanctuary, the nation’s leading farm animal protection organization. Please see below for the press release. Any help you can provide in getting the word out would be deeply appreciated. Photos are available upon request. For more information on the Walk and how to register, please visit walkforfarmanimals.org.

All the best,
Meredith

19 July 2011

From Today's New York Times

To the Editor:

Re “Egg Producers and Humane Society Urging Federal Standard on Hen Cages” (Business Day, July 8):

I’m a vegetarian who turned vegan after coming to terms with the fact that just because I was eating hormone-free, antibiotic-free, even free-range organic eggs didn’t mean that egg-producing hens were living a cruelty-free life.

When I read your article, I was elated. Egg-laying hens may eventually get what is long overdue: enlarged cage space (144 square inches for each bird compared with the current 67 )—even perches, and scratching and nesting areas that allow the birds to express natural behavior. The use of wire cages isn’t being addressed, but should be in the future.

We are headed in the right direction, but need to fight to push the changes through. It could take up to 18 years for them to be phased in, if the law should pass. A factory-farmed egg-producing hen’s lifespan is less than two years.

CLAUDIA SILBERLICHT
New York, July 13, 2011

05 July 2011

From Today's New York Times

To the Editor:

Re “When Fashion Meets Fishing, the Feathers Fly” (front page, June 29), about a new trend of inserting fly fishing feathers in hair:

If you wouldn’t walk around with a cat’s paw or a dog’s tail dangling from your hair, please don’t fall for the rooster feather fad either.

Like the animals that share our homes, roosters experience pain and fear, and they don’t want to die. Many people don’t realize that roosters are confined in tiny cages for most of their lives and killed for their feathers.

There are plenty of ways to get a killer look, without killing animals.

STEVE POST
Holland, Mich., June 29, 2011

01 July 2011

Statistics

This blog had 1,873 visits during June, which is an average of 62.4 visits per day. The average for the previous month (May) was 106.0. Readership always decreases during the summer months, when people spend less time at the computer.

17 June 2011

Roger Scruton on the Duty to Eat Meat

Roger Scruton 1 A great number of animals owe their lives to our intention to eat them. And their lives are (or can easily be made to be) comfortable and satisfying in the way that few lives led in the wild could possibly be. If we value animal life and animal comfort, therefore, we should endorse our carnivorous habits, provided it really is life, and not living death, on which those habits feed. From the point of view of religion, however, the question presents a challenge. It is asking the burger-stuffer to come clean; to show just why it is that his greed should be indulged in this way, and just where he fits into the scheme of things, that he can presume to kill again and again for the sake of a solitary pleasure that creates and sustains no moral ties. To such a question it is always possible to respond with a shrug of the shoulders. But it is a real question, one of many that people now ask, as the old forms of piety dwindle. Piety is the remedy for religious guilt, and to this emotion we are all witting or unwitting heirs. And I suspect that people become vegetarians for precisely that reason: that by doing so they overcome the residue of guilt that attaches to every form of hubris, and in particular to the hubris of human freedom.

I believe, however, that there is another remedy, and one more in keeping with the Judaeo-Christian tradition. We should not abandon our meat-eating habits, but remoralize them, by incorporating them into affectionate human relations, and using them in the true Homeric manner, as instruments of hospitality, conviviality and peace. That was the remedy practised by our parents, with their traditional ‘Sunday roast’ coming always at midday, after they had given thanks. The lifestyle associated with the Sunday roast involves sacrifices that those brought up on fast food are unused to making—mealtimes, manners, dinner-table conversation and the art of cookery itself. But all those things form part of a complex human good, and I cannot help thinking that, when added to the ecological benefits of small-scale livestock farming, they secure for us an honourable place in the scheme of things, and neutralize more effectively than the vegetarian alternative, our inherited burden of guilt.

Furthermore, I would suggest not only that it is permissible for those who care about animals to eat meat; they have a duty to do so. If meat-eating should ever become confined to those who do not care about animal suffering then compassionate farming would cease. All animals would be kept in battery conditions and the righteous vegetarians would exert no economic pressure on farmers to change their ways. Where there are conscientious carnivores, however, there is a motive to raise animals kindly. And conscientious carnivores can show their depraved contemporaries that it is possible to ease one’s conscience by spending more on one’s meat. Bit by bit the news would get around, that there is a right and a wrong way to eat; and—failing some coup d’├ętat by censorious vegetarians—the process would be set in motion, that would bring battery farming to an end. Duty requires us, therefore, to eat our friends.

(Roger Scruton, A Political Philosophy [London and New York: Continuum, 2006], 61-3 [italics in original])

08 June 2011

From Today's New York Times

To the Editor:

Re “Hooked on Meat,” by Mark Bittman (column, June 2):

The other day, I asked the manager of our local chain grocery store why we were offered only Peruvian asparagus in the springtime. Remember when fresh, locally grown asparagus would come in? No longer. Why eat produce that has no flavor? Why not go next door and grab a salty, fatty burger in a bag? It’s so much easier.

Why do we eat so much meat? Mr. Bittman has some strong answers: evolutionary psychology, convenience and propaganda posing as marketing. Might we add all the misinformed diets promoting proteins while vilifying grains and carbohydrates?

Why does the whole world want to eat like us?

Doesn’t it know that our American diet is killing us and our economy? Health care skyrockets out of control mainly because we have no convenient access to fresh produce and tasty, humanely raised meat products.

Americans want to eat the good stuff, but it must be readily available. We’re busy and misinformed.

JANE McCLAREN
Southern Pines, N.C., June 6, 2011 

The writer is the author of “Honest Eating.” 

Editors’ Note: With this letter, we continue a feature in which we invite readers to respond to an interesting letter, in hopes of spurring a dialogue. (The first topic in this series was America’s energy future.) We plan to publish one or more responses, online for now, and the original writer will have a chance to reply. E-mail: letters@nytimes.com

01 June 2011

Statistics

This blog had 3,289 visits during May, which is an average of 106.0 visits per day. In April, the average was 152.1. Many of the visits, I suspect, were from students who were looking for term-paper ideas. I hope they didn't plagiarize.

01 May 2011

Statistics

This blog had 4,563 visits during April, which is an average of 152.1 visits per day. It's the second-best month ever, in the seven and a half years of the blog's existence. A month ago, the average was 134.9.

26 April 2011

Brigid Brophy (1929-1995) on Animals

Brigid Brophy (1929-1995) If I lunched on a pigeon, I should think myself immoral. If you do so, I must in honesty say I think you immoral. But I don’t think my cat immoral. I think him amoral. The whole dimension of morality doesn’t apply to him, or scarcely applies to him.

(Brigid Brophy, "The Darwinist's Dilemma," Critical Society [winter 2009/10]: 15-22, at 18 [first published in 1979])

Note from KBJ: I commend this essay to your attention. It is well written and interesting, and might even change your mind about the moral status of animals.

01 April 2011

Statistics

This blog had 4,182 visits during March, which is an average of 134.9 visits per day. There were 124.8 visits per day in February.

31 March 2011

From Today's New York Times

To the Editor:

Re “Lost Cobra May Hide for Weeks, Zoo Says” (news article, March 29):

The sideshow atmosphere surrounding the lost cobra at the Bronx Zoo has yielded online hilarity and supplied material for late-night talk show hosts, but the zoo is never fun for the animals.

By putting animals in zoos, you eliminate all that is natural to them; the zoo is where they live according to humans’ feeding and breeding regimens. Captivity in zoos causes the animals to go mad, exhibiting abnormal behaviors like swaying, rocking back and forth, head bobbing, endlessly turning in circles and even self-mutilation.

The only way to learn about animals is to observe them respectfully undisturbed in their natural environments.

SHARON FEDER
Rego Park, Queens, March 29, 2011

22 March 2011

Food

Here is a New York Times story about veggie burgers and how they are getting better with time.

05 March 2011

Henry Sidgwick (1838-1900) on Duties to Animals

Henry Sidgwick (1838-1900) 3 [I]t is not quite clear whether we owe benevolence to men alone, or to other animals also. That is, there is a general agreement that we ought to treat all animals with kindness, so far as to avoid causing them unnecessary pain; but it is questioned whether this is directly due to sentient beings as such, or merely prescribed as a means of cultivating kindly dispositions towards men. Intuitional moralists of repute have maintained this latter view: I think, however, that Common Sense is disposed to regard this as a hard-hearted paradox, and to hold with Bentham that the pain of animals is per se to be avoided.

(Henry Sidgwick, The Methods of Ethics, 7th ed. [Indianapolis: Hackett Publishing Company, 1981], bk. III, chap. IV, sec. 2, p. 241 [first published in 1907; 1st ed. published in 1874])

01 March 2011

Statistics

This blog had 3,495 visits during February, which is an average of 124.8 visits per day. The average during January was 102.9.

08 February 2011

From Today's New York Times

To the Editor:

Mark Bittman wants to outlaw confined livestock feeding operations because, he says, they harm the environment, torture animals and make meat less safe (“A Food Manifesto for the Future,” column, Feb. 2).

We take issue with him on all three points.

Yes, there were a couple of highly publicized manure spills involving hog farms in the mid-1990s. But pork producers have made changes to assure that they won’t be repeated. If they are, producers are subject to fines up to $37,500 per day under tough new federal regulations.

Modern livestock housing is temperature-controlled, well lighted and well ventilated. It keeps animals safe and comfortable and protects them from predators and disease. That’s why the incidence of key food-borne illnesses in this country is going down, not up.

As for “sustainable” alternatives, perhaps they can produce enough meat for the wealthy, but not for a world population that is growing and demanding more protein.

Randy Spronk
Chairman, Environment Committee
National Pork Producers Council
Edgerton, Minn., Feb. 4, 2011

04 February 2011

From Today's New York Times

To the Editor:

Re “A Food Manifesto for the Future” (column, Feb. 2):

Let us give thanks for Mark Bittman! He is speaking sensibly about one of the most important issues we face as a nation. Better food creates better health. And yet our government is perversely encouraging food habits that negatively affect our health and our environment.

His call for the end of factory farms (concentrated animal feeding operations) is courageous. But the vested interests are very strong, and consumers have become accustomed to artificially low prices for meat.

When we understand that these prices require “torturing animals,” we will begin to change this system and also improve our diets. His new column offers hope for animals and help for people.

Ken Swensen
Pound Ridge, N.Y., Feb. 2, 2011

Note from KBJ: Only someone who doesn't understand torture could think that meat production involves torture. Torture is the deliberate (not merely intentional) infliction of severe pain for the purpose of (1) punishing an offender, (2) securing a confession from a criminal suspect, (3) eliciting information, or (4) gratifying the sadistic desires of the torturer. Meat production may be cruel or inhumane, but it is not, literally, torturous.

01 February 2011

Statistics

This blog had 3,192 visits during January, which is an average of 102.9 visits per day. The average for December was 111.6.

16 January 2011

From Today's New York Times

To the Editor:

Re “Snake Owners See Furry Bias in Invasive Species Proposal” (news article, Jan. 9):

The Fish and Wildlife Service is right to propose a ban on the sale of nine large constricting snakes for the pet trade.

In addition to the effects of these invasive species on ecosystems, there are also compelling humane and public safety arguments for restricting trade. There is a list of human victims of captive snakes, including a 2-year-old girl who was strangled in her crib by a pet Burmese python who had escaped from its enclosure.

The trade is dangerous for people, but also for the snakes. Snakes may die during the capture and transport process, or they may be housed inhumanely in a small aquarium they can barely fit into. They may be set free once people realize they are in over their heads, ultimately facing premature death in the wild by starvation or extremes of climate.

And all of this trouble and suffering for what? You don’t take snakes for a walk or play with them in a field or let them sleep in your bed at night.

Wild animals belong in the wild, and in their native habitats.

Wayne Pacelle
President and Chief Executive
Humane Society of the United States
Washington, Jan. 10, 2011

02 January 2011

Philip E. Devine on the Overflow Principle

Philip E. Devine I propose that the moral significance of the suffering, mutilation, and death of non-human animals rests on the following, which may be called the overflow principle: Act towards that which, while not itself a person, is closely associated with personhood in a way coherent with an attitude of respect for persons. So stated, the overflow principle is intended to express a strict requirement of morality, although the principle will no doubt have ramifications within the aspirational dimension of morality as well.

One might argue for the overflow principle in a rule-consequentialist fashion, arguing that the teaching of such a principle will be ultimately conducive to the happiness of persons. But equally, the overflow principle might be made plausible by being exhibited as part of a way of life having respect for persons at its centre. In any case, the overflow principle would seem to be as well ensconced in the moral consciousness of the plain man as, say, the principle that gratitude is due to benefactors.

One application of the overflow principle is the principle of respect for the dead. Although a dead body is not a person, still the fact that it (so to speak) was a person means that it ought not to be treated like ordinary garbage. Alternatively, we may say that respect for persons overflows to the human body, which forms the visible aspect of the bulk of the persons with whom we are acquainted, and which persists when the person ceases to exist in death. Another and more controversial application is that human sexuality, since it is concerned with the generation of new persons, has a moral significance greater than that possessed by, say, pinball. Yet another application is that members of the human species who are not persons, even by virtue of their potentiality, still ought to be treated, in some respects at least, as if they were persons. Finally, those who do not accept the argument from potentiality will have to rely on the overflow principle to generate any restraints whatever on our behaviour towards the foetus, the infant, the curably or incurably mad, and even, it would seem, the deeply but reversibly unconscious (someone in dreamless sleep for example).

The application of the overflow principle to animals is as follows. Man is not only a rational being, but also an animal. More precisely, he is a rational animal, a being possessed of not only the attributes of thought and intention but also those of shape, size, health or disease, biological gender, and capacity for sensation. And while it is as rational beings that we are in the first place entitled to respect, the respect due to us as rational beings overflows to our animal nature, and to those creatures which, while 'dissociated from us by their want of reason' are nonetheless associated with us in sharing our animal capacities including the ability to suffer pain. If capacity for pain were the only feature of persons which entitled them to our consideration, then vegetarians would be right in attacking the person/animal distinction. But I see no reason to admit this premise.

This approach to animal suffering allows us to reach a happy compromise between the utilitarian and non-utilitarian approaches to the problem of cruelty to animals. Animal pain will be bad in itself, apart from any consequence of that pain to human beings, but the badness of that pain will derive from a moral principle whose ultimate reference is to persons. Thus the ethics proposed here is anthropocentric (or person-centred) though only mildly so.

(Philip E. Devine, "The Moral Basis of Vegetarianism," Philosophy 53 [October 1978]: 481-505, at 503-4 [italics in original; footnote omitted])

01 January 2011

Statistics

There were 3,461 visits to this blog during December. That's an average of 111.6 per day (down from 130.0 in November).