27 January 2006

15 January 2006

From the Mailbag

Dear Professor Burgess-Jackson:

I'm a law professor at the University of Arizona, where I see you earned your Ph.D. in philosophy. I write to you after discovering your animal ethics blog. One of my primary areas of scholarly interest is animal rights law—I teach and write in this area. I have a couple of working papers that I'd be happy to share with you (and your blog readers) if you have the interest. One addresses the deficiencies of anticruelty statutes; the other the deficiencies of the Animal Welfare Act and the "reduce, refine, replace" approach to opposing animal experimentation. A draft of the anticruelty statute paper will be ready this week—the other in about a month or so.

In any event, it's a pleasure to learn of your interest in this area.

Warm regards,

Darian M. Ibrahim
Associate Professor of Law
University of Arizona - Rogers College of Law
1201 E. Speedway Blvd.
Tucson, AZ 85721

12 January 2006

From Today's New York Times

To the Editor:

Re "Hidden Cost of Shark Fin Soup: Its Source May Vanish" (Manta Journal, Jan. 5):

It's very disturbing knowing what these fishermen are doing to these defenseless sharks. It is bad enough that they hunt these magnificent creatures, but then to cut off their fins and throw them back into the ocean to watch them slowly sink while trying their best to swim, this is beyond cruelty—it is murderous.

These sharks die a slow and painful death all in the name of food. Shame on anyone who eats shark fin soup, and also shame on any fishermen participating in this slaughter.

Tia Triplett
Los Angeles, Jan. 6, 2006

08 January 2006

Peter Singer on the Importance of Vegetarianism

I advocate vegetarianism as something which “underpins, makes consistent, and gives meaning to all our other activities on behalf of animals” (Animal Liberation, p. 171). I remain convinced that for those concerned to change the situation of animals in our society, vegetarianism is of real practical importance. It provides an irrefutable answer to the oft-repeated claim that we need factory farms to feed our growing population. It allows the animal welfare campaigner to defeat ad hominem attacks, for instance: ‘How can you object to killing seals when you eat pigs and calves?’ By eliminating one’s personal involvement in the production of animals for food, it makes it easier to take a detached view of the animal industry, and to avoid compromising the interests of the animals with one’s own interest as a consumer of animals. Calling on the public not to buy the produce of factory farms can be an important part of a campaign against factory farming. It holds out a threatening prospect to farmers—one which is beginning to be noticed in farming magazines—and it enables those who support the campaign against factory farming to make a personal commitment which goes beyond signing petitions and writing letters to their elected representatives. One cannot convincingly ask others to do this if one does not do it oneself. (Unless one eats animal flesh in secret—which hardly seems worth the hypocrisy and risk of discovery involved.)

(Peter Singer, “Utilitarianism and Vegetarianism,” Philosophy & Public Affairs 9 [summer 1980]: 325-37, at 336-7)