28 January 2008

Michael Fox on Concern for Animals

Though I do not wish to digress too far here, it might be argued (and a Marxist surely would) that almost all the benefits which North Americans enjoy routinely, as part of their exorbitantly high standard of living relative to the rest of the world, depend upon the correlated and disproportionate suffering and deprivation caused others elsewhere in the world (e.g., in those countries which supply the raw materials that North American industry and consumerism devour at a staggering rate). From this perspective, the animal-rights debate seems considerably less urgent and a relatively "safe" area of controversy. One wonders why here (as elsewhere) there is so much concern for the plight of animals and evidently so little for that of humans.

(Michael Fox, "'Animal Liberation': A Critique," Ethics 88 [January 1978]: 106-18, at 109 n. 4)

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