18 June 2004

From the Mailbag

Dear Keith Burgess-Jackson:

I'm a former philosophy grad student and freelance writer who enjoys your site. I saw your call for someone to forward Michael Moore's references to animals. As it happens, I had a copy of Herbivore magazine, issue #3, which includes "An Open Letter to Michael Moore," from Bruce Friedrich of PETA. The letter comes with a sidebar quoting two Moore passages concerning animals, which I've included below. Friedrich's letter is quite critical of Moore regarding animals. (For your amusement, if you Google PETA and Moore, you'll see they're also running a campaign making an issue of his weight.)

Unfortunately, the Herbivore article is not available online (and the actual issue of the magazine is sold out). But more information about Herbivore is available here.

Interestingly, Herbivore is a bit like Animal Ethics: both puncture stereotypes about vegetarians. You do it by writing as a conservative for animal ethics, while they do it using humour. I think both kinds of diversity are a terrific development for the animal ethics movement.

As one of your more liberal-minded admirers, I wondered if your item on Moore didn't stray a bit into the ad hominem zone. But I'm happy to see anyone get involved with animal issues, whatever their politics (I quite admired Matthew Scully's book, which I'm sure you're familiar with). Overall I think your site is terrific. I often follow up on the links to philosophical papers. I found especially valuable the recent links to Essays in Philosophy and the paper rebutting Steven Davis. I've interviewed Davis myself, and while he is very pro-animal, I've always thought someone should write a response.

For your interest, here are a couple of links to other conservatives (if libertarians count as conservatives) who are pro-animal rights:
This is a libertarian site.

And this is the blog of a writer for Reason magazine who writes about animals from time to time.
Interestingly (as you may already know), libertarian philosopher Robert Nozick also endorsed ethical vegetarianism in Anarchy, State, and Utopia. I hope it is a trend that is growing.

Keep up the great work.

[name withheld by request]
Ottawa, Ontario

P.S. I see you sometimes post emails on the blog. You're welcome to do so with all or part of this one, but I'd prefer you don't include my name if so.

From Dude, Where's My Country?
By Michael Moore

Page 190: "Vegetarianism is unhealthy. Humans need protein, and lots of it. Put down those sprouts and pick up a T-bone."

Pages 192-3: "Animals don't have rights."

"'Freeing' chickens from their factory farms is idiotic. They don't know how to survive in the wild and they're just going to get hit by a truck."

"You just look like a dumbass if you go on national TV, like PETA does, to argue that beer is better for the body than milk. This shit just makes me wanna go kick my dog."

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