Archive-name: ar-faqLast-modified: 95/Apr/29Version: ar_faq.txt 2.08a -------------------------- Animal Rights Frequently Asked Questions (AR FAQ) --------------------------------------INTRODUCTION------------ Welcome to the Animal Rights Frequently Asked Questionstext (AR FAQ).This FAQ is intended to satisfy two basic goals: a) toprovide a sourceof information and encouragement for people exploring theissues involvedin the animal rights movement, and b) to answer thecommon questions andjustifications offered up by AR opponents. It isunashamedly an advocacyvehicle for animal rights. Opponents of AR are invited tocreate a FAQthat codifies their views; we do not attempt to do sohere. The FAQ restricts itself specifically to AR issues;nutrition andother vegetarian/veganism issues are intentionallyavoided because theyare already well covered in the existing vegetarianismand veganism FAQsmaintained by Michael Traub. To obtain these FAQs,contact Michael athis e-mail address given below. The FAQ was created through a collaboration of authors.The answers havebeen attributed via initials, as follows: TA Ted Altartaltar@beaufort.sfu.ca JE Jonathan Esterhazy firstname.lastname@example.org DG Donald Graft email@example.com JEH John Harrington firstname.lastname@example.org DVH Dietrich Von Haugwitz email@example.com LJ Leor Jacobileor@mellers1.psych.berkeley.edu LK Larry Kaiser firstname.lastname@example.org JK Jeremy Keens email@example.com BL Brian Luke firstname.lastname@example.org PM Peggy Madison email@example.com
BRO Brian Owen firstname.lastname@example.org JSD Janine Stanley-Dunham email@example.com JLS Jennifer Stephens firstname.lastname@example.org MT Michael Traub email@example.com AECW Allen ECW firstname.lastname@example.org The current FAQ maintainer is Donald Graft (see addressabove). Ideas andcriticisms are actively solicited and will be verygratefully received. Thematerial included here is released to the public domain.We request that itbe distributed without alteration to respect the authorattributions. This FAQ contains 96 questions. If they are not allpresent, then a mailerhas probably truncated it. Contact the FAQ maintainer fora set of split-upfiles. DG-------GENERAL------------------------------#1 What is all this Animal Rights (AR) stuff and whyshould it concern me?----------------------- The fundamental principle of the AR movement is thatnonhuman animalsdeserve to live according to their own natures, free fromharm, abuse, andexploitation. This goes further than just saying that weshould treatanimals well while we exploit them, or before we kill andeat them. Itsays animals have the RIGHT to be free from human crueltyandexploitation, just as humans possess this right. Thewithholding of thisright from the nonhuman animals based on their speciesmembership isreferred to as "speciesism". Animal rights activists try to extend the human circleof respect andcompassion beyond our species to include other animals,who are alsocapable of feeling pain, fear, hunger, thirst,loneliness, and kinship.When we try to do this, many of us come to the conclusionthat we can no
longer support factory farming, vivisection, and theexploitation ofanimals for entertainment. At the same time, there arestill areas ofdebate among animal rights supporters, for example,whether ANY researchthat harms animals is ever justified, where the lineshould be drawn forenfranchising species with rights, on what occasionscivil disobediencemay be appropriate, etc. However, these areas ofpotential disagreement donot negate the abiding principles that join us:compassion and concernfor the pain and suffering of nonhumans. One main goal of this FAQ is to address the commonjustifications thatarise when we become aware of how systematically oursociety abuses andexploits animals. Such "justifications" help remove theburden from ourconsciences, but this FAQ attempts to show that they donot excuse theharm we cause other animals. Beyond the scope of thisFAQ, more detailedarguments can be found in three classics of the ARliterature. The Case for Animal Rights, Tom Regan (ISBN 0-520-05460-1) In Defense of Animals, Peter Singer (ISBN 0-06-097044-8) Animal Liberation, Peter Singer (ISBN 0-380-71333-0,2nd Ed.) While appreciating the important contributions of Reganand Singer, manyanimal rights activists emphasize the role of empatheticcaring as theactual and most appropriate fuel for the animal rightsmovement incontradistinction to Singers and Regans philosophicalrationales. To thereader who says "Why should I care?", we can point outthe followingreasons: One cares about minimizing suffering. One cares about promoting compassion in humanaffairs. One is concerned about improving the health ofhumanity. One is concerned about human starvation andmalnutrition. One wants to prevent the radical disruption of ourplanets ecosystem. One wants to preserve animal species. One wants to preserve wilderness.
The connections between these issues and the AR agendamay not be obvious.Please read on as we attempt to clarify this. DG The day may come when the rest of the animal creationmay acquire thoserights which never could have been withholden from thembut by the handof tyranny. Jeremy Bentham(philosopher) Life is life--whether in a cat, or dog or man. There isno differencethere between a cat or a man. The idea of difference is ahumanconception for mans own advantage... Sri Aurobindo (poet andphilosopher) Non-violence leads to the highest ethics, which is thegoal of allevolution. Until we stop harming all other living beings,we are stillsavages. Thomas Edison (inventor) The time will come when men such as I will look uponthe murder ofanimals as they now look on the murder of men. Leonardo Da Vinci (artistand scientist)SEE ALSO #2-#3, #26, #87-#91-----------------------#2 Is the Animal Rights movement different from theAnimal Welfare movement? The Animal Liberation movement?----------------------- The Animal Welfare movement acknowledges the sufferingof nonhumans andattempts to reduce that suffering through "humane"treatment, but it doesnot have as a goal elimination of the use andexploitation of animals. TheAnimal Rights movement goes significantly further byrejecting theexploitation of animals and according them rights in thatregard. A personcommitted to animal welfare might be concerned that cowsget enough space,proper food, etc., but would not necessarily have anyqualms about killingand eating cows, so long as the rearing and slaughter are"humane". The Animal Welfare movement is represented by such
organizations as theSociety for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, and theHumane Society. Having said this, it should be realized that some holda broaderinterpretation of the AR movement. They would argue thatthe AW groups do,in fact, support rights for animals (e.g., a dog has theright not to bekicked). Under this interpretation, AR is viewed as abroad umbrellacovering the AW and strict AR groups. This interpretationhas the advantageof moving AR closer to the mainstream. Nevertheless,there is a validdistinction between the AW and AR groups, as described inthe first paragraph. Animal Liberation (AL) is, for many people, a synonymfor Animal Rights(but see below). Some people prefer the term "liberation"because it bringsto mind images of other successful liberation movements,such as the movementfor liberation of slaves and liberation of women, whereasthe term "rights"often encounters resistance when an attempt is made toapply it to nonhumans.The phrase "Animal Liberation" became popular with thepublication of PeterSingers classic book of the same name. This use of the term liberation should be distinguishedfrom the literalmeaning discussed in question #88, i.e., an AnimalLiberationist is notnecessarily one who engages in forceful civildisobedience or unlawfulactions. Finally, intellectual honesty compels us to acknowledgethat the accountgiven here is rendered in broad strokes (but is at leastapproximatelycorrect), and purposely avoids describing ongoing debateabout the meaningof the terms "Animal Rights", "Animal Liberation", and"Animal Welfare",debate about the history of these movements, and debateabout the actualpositions of the prominent thinkers. To depict the flavorof such debates,the following text describes one coherent position.Naturally, it will beattacked from all sides! Some might suggest that a subtle distinction can bemade between the AnimalLiberation and Animal Rights movements. The Animal Rightsmovement, at leastas propounded by Regan and his adherents, is said torequire total abolitionof such practices as experimentation on animals. The
Animal Liberationmovement, as propounded by Singer and his adherents, issaid to reject theabsolutist view and assert that in some cases, suchexperimentation can bemorally defensible. Because such cases could also justifysome experimentson humans, however, it is not clear that the distinctiondescribed reflectsa difference between the liberation and rights views, somuch as it does abroader difference of ethical theory, i.e., absolutismversus utilitarianism. DG Historically, animal welfare groups have attempted toimprove the lot ofanimals in society. They worked against the popularWestern concept ofanimals as lacking souls and not being at all worthy ofany ethicalconsideration. The animal rights movement set itself upas an abolitionistalternative to the reform-minded animal welfarists. Asthe animal rightsmovement has become larger and more influential, theanimal exploiters havefinally been forced to respond to it. Perhaps inspired bythe efforts of TomRegan to distinguish AR from AW, industry groups intenton maintaining thestatus quo have embraced the term "animal welfare". Pro-vivisection,hunting, trapping, agribusiness, and animal entertainmentgroups now referto themselves as "animal welfare" supporters. Severalumbrella groups whosegoal is to defend these practices have also arisen. This classic case of public-relations doublespeakacknowledges the issueof cruelty to animals in name only, while allowing forthe continued use andabuse of animals. The propaganda effect is to stigmatizeanimal rightssupporters as being extreme while attempting to portraythemselves as thereasonable moderates. Nowadays, the cause of "animalwelfare" is invoked bythe animal industry at least as often as it is used byanimal protectiongroups. LJSEE ALSO: #1, #3, #87-#88-----------------------#3 What exactly are rights and what rights can we giveanimals?-----------------------
Despite arguably being the foundation of the Westernliberal tradition,the concept of "rights" has been a source of controversyand confusionin the debate over AR. A common objection to the notionthat animals haverights involves questioning the origin of those rights.One such argumentmight proceed as follows: Where do these rights come from? Are you in specialcommunication with God, and he has told you that animals haverights? Have the rights been granted by law? Arent rights somethingthat humans must grant? It is true that the concept of "rights" needs to becarefully explicated.It is also true that the concept of "natural rights" isfraught withphilosophical difficulties. Complicating things furtheris the confusionbetween legal rights and moral rights. One attempt to avoid this objection is to accept it,but argue thatif it is not an obstacle for thinking of humans as havingrights, then itshould not be an obstacle for thinking of animals ashaving rights. HenrySalt wrote: Have the lower animals "rights?" Undoubtedly--if menhave. That is the point I wish to make evident in this openingchapter... The fitness of this nomenclature is disputed, but theexistence of some real principle of the kind can hardly be called inquestion; so that the controversy concerning "rights" is little elsethan an academic battle over words, which leads to no practicalconclusion. I shall assume, therefore, that men are possessed of"rights," in the sense of Herbert Spencers definition; and if any of myreaders object to this qualified use of the term, I can only say that Ishall be perfectly willing to change the word as soon as amore appropriate one is forthcoming. The immediate question thatclaims our attention is this--if men have rights, have animals theirrights also?
Satisfying though this argument may be, it still leavesus unable torespond to the sceptic who disavows the notion of rightseven for humans.Fortunately, however, there is a straightforwardinterpretation of"rights" that is plausible and allows us to avoid thecontroversialrights rhetoric and underpinnings. It is the notion thata "right" is theflip side of a moral imperative. If, ethically, we mustrefrain from an act performed on a being, then that beingcan be said tohave a "right" that the act not be performed. Forexample, if our ethicstells us that we must not kill another, then the otherhas a right not tobe killed by us. This interpretation of rights is, infact, an intuitiveone that people both understand and readily endorse. (Ofcourse, rights sointerpreted can be codified as legal rights throughappropriatelegislation.) It is important to realize that, although there is abasis for speakingof animals as having rights, that does not imply orrequire that theypossess all the rights that humans possess, or even thathumans possess allthe rights that animals possess. Consider the human rightto vote. (On theview taken here, this would derive from an ethicalimperative to give humansinfluence over actions that influence their lives.) Sinceanimals lack thecapacity to rationally consider actions and theirimplications, and tounderstand the concept of democracy and voting, they lackthe capacity tovote. There is, therefore, no ethical imperative to allowthem to do so,and thus they do not possess the right to vote. Similarly, some fowls have a strong biological need toextend and flaptheir wings; right-thinking people feel an ethicalimperative to makeit possible for them to do so. Thus, it can be said thatfowl have the rightto flap their wings. Obviously, such a right need not beextended to humans. The rights that animals and humans possess, then, aredetermined by theirinterests and capacities. Animals have an interest inliving, avoiding pain,and even in pursuing happiness (as do humans). As aresult of the ethicalimperatives, they have rights to these things (as dohumans). They can
exercise these rights by living their lives free ofexploitation andabuse at the hands of humans. DGSEE ALSO: #1-#2-----------------------#4 Isnt AR hypocritical, e.g., because you dont giverights to insects or plants?----------------------- The general hypocrisy argument appears in many forms. Atypical formis as follows: "It is hypocritical to assert rights for a cow butnot for a plant; therefore, cows cannot have rights." Arguments of this type are frequently used against AR.Not muchanalysis is required to see that they carry littleweight. First, onecan assert an hypothesis A that would carry as acorollary hypothesisB. If one then fails to assert B, one is hypocritical,but this doesnot necessarily make A false. Certainly, to assert A andnot B wouldcall into question ones credibility, but it entailsnothing about thevalidity of A. Second, the factual assertion of hypocrisy is oftenunwarranted. Inthe above example, there are grounds for distinguishingbetween cowsand plants (plants do not have a central nervous system),so the chargeof hypocrisy is unjustified. One may disagree with thecriteria, butassertion of such criteria nullifies the charge ofhypocrisy. Finally, the charge of hypocrisy can be reduced in mostcases tosimple speciesism. For example, the quote above can berecast as: "It is hypocritical to assert rights for a human butnot for a plant; therefore, humans cannot have rights." To escape from this reductio ad absurdum of the firstquote, onemust produce a crucial relevant difference between cowsand humans,in other words, one must justify the speciesistassignment of rights
to humans but not to cows. (In question #24, we apply asimilar reductionto the charge of hypocrisy related to abortion. Forquestions dealingspecifically with insects and plants, refer to questions#39 through #46.) Finally, we must ask ourselves who the real hypocritesare. The followingquotation from Michael W. Fox describes the grosslyhypocritical treatmentof exploited versus companion animals. DG Farm animals can be kept five to a cage two feetsquare, tied upconstantly by a two-foot-long tether, castrated withoutanesthesia, orbranded with a hot iron. A pet owner would be no lessthan prosecuted fortreating a companion animal in such a manner; an Americanpresident was, infact, morally censured merely for pulling the ears of histwo beagles. Michael W. Fox (VicePresident of HSUS)SEE ALSO: #24, #39-#46-----------------------#5 What right do AR people have to impose their beliefson others?----------------------- There is a not-so-subtle distinction between impositionof ones viewsand advertising them. AR supporters are certainly notimposing their viewsin the sense that, say, the Spanish Inquisition imposedits views, or theChurch imposed its views on Galileo. We do, however, feela moral duty topresent our case to the public, and often to our friendsand acquaintances.There is ample precedent for this: protests againstslavery, protestsagainst the Vietnam War, condemnation of racism, etc. One might point out that the gravest imposition is thatof the exploiterof animals upon his innocent and defenseless victims. DG If liberty means anything at all, it means the right totell people whatthey do not want to hear. George Orwell (author) I never give them hell. I just tell the truth and theythink its hell. Harry S. Truman (33rd U.S.
President)SEE ALSO: #11, #87-#91-----------------------#6 Isnt AR just another facet of politicalcorrectness?----------------------- If only that were true! The term "politically correct"generally refersto a view that is in sync with the societal mainstreambut which some mightbe inclined to disagree with. For example, some peoplemight be inclinedto dismiss equal treatment for the races as mere"political correctness".The AR agenda is, currently, far from being a mainstreamidea. Also, it is ridiculous to suppose that a viewsvalidity can beoverturned simply by attaching the label "politicallycorrect" or"politically incorrect". DG-----------------------#7 Isnt AR just another religion?----------------------- No. The dictionary defines "religion" as the appeal toa supernaturalpower. (An alternate definition refers to devotion to acause; that isa virtue that the AR movement would be happy to avow.) People who support Animal Rights come from manydifferent religionsand many different philosophies. What they share is abelief in theimportance of showing compassion for other individuals,whetherhuman or nonhuman. LK-----------------------#8 Doesnt it demean humans to give rights to animals?----------------------- A tongue-in-cheek, though valid, answer to thisquestion is given byDavid Cowles-Hamar: "Humans are animals, so animal rightsare human rights!" In a more serious vein, we can observe that givingrights to women andblack people does not demean white males. By analogy,then, giving rights tononhumans does not demean humans. If anything, by beingmorally consistent,and widening the circle of compassion to deserving
nonhumans, we ennoblehumans. (Refer to question #26 for other relevantarguments.) DG The greatness of a nation and its moral progress can bejudged by the wayits animals are treated. Mahatma Gandhi (statesmanand philosopher) It is mans sympathy with all creatures that firstmakes him truly a man. Albert Schweitzer(statesman, Nobel 1952) For as long as men massacre animals, they will killeach other. Indeed, hewho sows the seed of murder and pain cannot reap joy andlove. Pythagoras (mathematician)SEE ALSO: #26-----------------------#9 Werent Hitler and Goebbels in favor of animalrights?----------------------- This argument is absurd and almost unworthy of seriousconsideration.The questioner implies that since Hitler and Goebbelsallegedly held viewssupportive of animal rights (e.g., Hitler was avegetarian for some time),the animal rights viewpoint must be wrong or dubious. The problem for this argument is simple: bad people andgood people canboth believe things correctly. Or put in another way,just because a personholds one bad belief (e.g., Nazism), that doesnt makeall his beliefswrong. A few examples suffice to illustrate this. TheNazis undertook smokingreduction campaigns. Is it therefore dubious todiscourage smoking?Early Americans withheld respect and liberty for blackpeople. Does thatmean that they were wrong in giving respect and libertyto others? Technically, this argument is an "ignoratio elenchusfallacy", arguingfrom irrelevance. Finally, many scholars are doubtful that Hitler andGoebbels supportedAR in any meaningful way. DGSEE ALSO: #54
-----------------------#10 Do you really believe that "a rat is a pig is a dogis a boy"?----------------------- Taken alone and literally, this notion is absurd.However, thisquote has been shamelessly removed from its originalcontext andmisrepresented by AR opponents. The original context ofthe quote isgiven below. Viewed within its context, it is clear thatthe quoteis neither remarkable nor absurd. DG When it comes to having a central nervous system, andthe ability tofeel pain, hunger, and thirst, a rat is a pig is a dog isa boy. Ingrid Newkirk (ARactivist)SEE ALSO: #47--------------------ANIMALS AND MORALITY-------------------------------------------#11 There is no correct or incorrect in morals; you haveyours and I have mine, right?----------------------- This position, known as moral relativism, is quiteancient but becamefashionable at the turn of the century, as reports on thecustoms ofsocieties alien to those found in Europe becameavailable. It fell out offashion, after the Second World War, although it isoccasionally revived.Ethical propositions, we are asked to believe, are nomore than statementsof personal opinion and, therefore, cannot carry absoluteweight. The main problem with this position is that ethicalrelativists areunable to denounce execrable ethical practices, such asracism. On whatgrounds can they condemn (if at all) Hitlers ideas onracial purity?Are we to believe that he was uttering an ethical truthwhen advocatingthe Final Solution? In addition to the inability to denounce practices of
other societies,the relativists are unable to counter the arguments ofeven those whosesociety they share. They cannot berate someone whoproposes to raiseand kill infants for industrial pet food consumption, forexample,if that person sees it as morally sound. Indeed, theycannot articulatethe concept of societal moral progress, since they lack abasis forjudging progress. There is no point in turning to therelativists foradvice on ethical issues such as euthanasia, infanticide,or the use offetuses in research. Faced with such arguments, ethical relativistssometimes argue thatethical truth is based on the beliefs of a society;ethical truth isseen as nothing more than a reflection of societalcustoms and habits.Butchering animals is acceptable in the West, they wouldsay, becausethe majority of people think it so. They are on no firmer ground here. Are we to acceptthat chattelslavery was right before the US Civil War and wrongthereafter? Can allethical decisions be decided by conducting opinion polls? It is true that different societies have differentpractices thatmight be seen as ethical by one and unethical by theother. However,these differences result from differing circumstances.For example, ina society where mere survival is key, the diversion oflimited food toan infant could detract significantly from the well-beingof theexisting family members that contribute to foodgathering. Given that,infanticide may be the ethically correct course. The conclusion is that there is such a thing as ethicaltruth(otherwise, ethics becomes vacuous and devoid ofproscriptive force).The continuity of thought, then, between those who rejectthe evils ofslavery, racial discrimination, and gender bias, andthose who denouncethe evils of speciesism becomes striking. AECW Many AR advocates (including myself) believe thatmorality is relative.We believe that AR is much more cogently argued when itis argued from thestandpoint of your opponents morality, not some
mythical, hard-to-defineuniversal morality. In arguing against moral absolutism,there is a verysimple objection: Where does this absolute morality comefrom? Moralabsolutism is an argument from authority, a tautology. Ifthere were sucha thing as "ethical truth", then there must be a way ofdetermining it, andobviously there isnt. In the absence of a known proof of"ethical truth",I dont know how AECW can conclude it exists. An example of the method of leveraging a personsmorality is to ask theperson why he has compassion for human beings. Almostalways he will agreethat his compassion does not stem from the fact that: 1)humans use language,2) humans compose symphonies, 3) humans can plan in thefar future, 4) humanshave a written, technological culture, etc. Instead, hewill agree that itstems from the fact that humans can suffer, feel pain, beharmed, etc. It isthen quite easy to show that nonhuman animals can alsosuffer, feel pain, beharmed, etc. The persons arbitrary inconsistency in notaccording moralstatus to nonhumans then stands out starkly. JEH There is a middle ground between the positions of AECWand JEH. One canassert that just as mathematics is necessarily built upona set ofunprovable axioms, so is a system of ethics. At thefoundation of a systemof ethics are moral axioms, such as "unnecessary pain iswrong". Giventhe set of axioms, methods of reasoning (such asdeduction and induction),and empirical facts, it is possible to derive ethicalhypotheses. It isin this sense that an ethical statement can be said to betrue. Of course,one can disagree about the axioms, and certainly suchdisagreement rendersethics "relative", but the concept of ethical truth isnot meaningless. Fortunately, the most fundamental ethical axioms seemto be nearlyuniversally accepted, usually because they are necessaryfor societies tofunction. Where differences exist, they can be elucidatedand discussed,in a style similar to the "leveraging" described by JEH. DG To a man whose mind is free there is something even
more intolerablein the sufferings of animals than in the sufferings ofman. For with thelatter it is at least admitted that suffering is evil andthat the manwho causes it is a criminal. But thousands of animals areuselesslybutchered every day without a shadow of remorse. If anyman were torefer to it, he would be thought ridiculous. And that isthe unpardonablecrime. Romain Rolland (author,Nobel 1915)SEE ALSO: #5-----------------------#12 The animals are raised to be eaten; so what is wrongwith that?----------------------- This question has always seemed to me to be a fancyversion of "Butwe want to do these things, so what is wrong with that?"The idea thatan act, by virtue of an intention of ours, can beexonerated morally istotally illogical. But worse than that, however, is the fact that such abelief is adangerous position to take because it can enable one tojustify somepractices that are universally condemned. To see how thisis so,consider the following restatement of the basis of thequestion:"Suffering can be excused so long as we breed them forthe purpose."Now, cannot an analogous argument be used to defend agroup ofslave holders who breed and enslave humans and justify itby saying "buttheyre bred to be our workers"? Could not the Nazisdefend theirmurder of the Jews by saying "but we rounded them up tobe killed"? DG Shame on such a morality that is worthy of pariahs, andthat fails torecognize the eternal essence that exists in every livingthing, andshines forth with inscrutable significance from all eyesthat seethe sun! Arthur Schopenhauer(philosopher)
SEE ALSO: #13, #61-----------------------#13 But isnt it true that the animals wouldnt exist ifwe didnt raise them for slaughter?----------------------- There are two ways to interpret this question. First,the questionermay be referring to "the animals" as a species, in whichcase the argumentmight be more accurately phrased as follows: "The ecological niche of cows is to be farmed; theyget continued survival in this niche in return for our usingthem."Second, the questioner may be referring to "the animals"as individuals,in which case the phrasing might be: "The individual cows that we raise to eat would nothave had a life had we not done so."We deal first with the species interpretation and thenwith theindividuals interpretation. The questioners argumentappliespresumably to all species of animals; to make things moreconcrete,we will take cows as an example in the following text. It is incorrect to assert that cows could continue toexist only ifwe farm them for human consumption. First, today in manyparts of Indiaand elsewhere, humans and cows are engaged in areciprocal and reverentialrelationship. It is only in recent human history thatthis relationshiphas been corrupted into the one-sided exploitation thatwe see today.There IS a niche for cows between slaughter/consumptionand extinction.(The interested reader may find the book Beyond Beef byJeremy Rifkinquite enlightening on this subject.) Second, several organizations have programs for savinganimalsfrom extinction. There is no reason to suppose that cowswould notqualify. The species argument is also flawed because, in fact,our intensivefarming of cattle results in habitat destruction and theloss of otherspecies. For example, clearing of rain forests for
pasture has led tothe extinction of countless species. Cattle farming isdestroyinghabitats on six continents. Why is the questioner soconcerned aboutthe cow species while being unconcerned about these otherspecies?Could it have anything to do with the fact that he wantsto continueto eat the cows? Finally, a strong case can be made against the speciesargument fromethical theory. Arguments similar to the questionerscould bedeveloped that would ask us to accept practices that areuniversallycondemned. For example, consider a society that breeds aspecial raceof humans for use as slaves. They argue that the racewould not existif they did not breed them for use as slaves. Does thereader acceptthis justification? Now we move on to the individuals interpretation of thequestion. Oneattempt to refute the argument is to answer as follows: "It is better not to be born than to be born into alife of misery and early death."To many, this is sufficient. However, one could arguethat the fact that thelife is miserable before death is not necessary. Supposethat the cows aretreated well before being killed painlessly and eaten. Isit not true thatthe individual cows would not have enjoyed their shortlife had we notraised them for consumption? Furthermore, what if wecompensate the takingof the life by bringing a new life into being? Peter Singer originally believed that this argument wasabsurd becausethere are no cow souls waiting around to be born. Manypeople accept thisview and consider it sufficient, but Singer now rejectsit because he acceptsthat to bring a being to a pleasant life does confer abenefit on that being.(There is extensive discussion of this issue in thesecond edition of AnimalLiberation.) How then are we to proceed? The key is that the AR movement asserts that humans andnonhumans have aright to not be killed by humans. The ethical problem canbe seen clearlyby applying the argument to humans. Consider the case ofa couple that gives
birth to an infant and eats it at the age of nine months,just when theirnext infant is born. A 9-month old baby has no morerational knowledge ofits situation or future plans than does a cow, so thereis no reason todistinguish the two cases. Yet, certainly, we wouldcondemn the couple. Wecondemn them because the infant is an individual to whomwe confer the rightnot to be killed. Why is this right not accorded to thecow? I think theanswer is that the questioner wants to eat it. DG It were much better that a sentient being should neverhave existed,than that it should have existed only to endureunmitigated misery. Percy Bysshe Shelley(poet)SEE ALSO: #12-----------------------#14 Dont the animals we use have a happier life sincethey are fed and protected?----------------------- The questioner makes two assumptions here. First, thathappiness orcontentment accrues from being fed and protected, andsecond, thatthe animals are, in fact, fed and protected. Both ofthese premises canbe questioned. Certainly the animals are fed; after all, they must befattened forconsumption. It is very difficult to see any way that,say,factory-farmed chickens are "protected". They are notprotected frommutilation, because they are painfully debeaked. They arenot protectedfrom psychological distress, because they are crowdedtogether inunnatural conditions. And finally, they are not protectedfrom predation,because they are slaughtered and eaten by humans. We can also question the notion that happiness accruesfrom feedingand protection alone. The Roman galley slaves were fedand protectedfrom the elements; nevertheless, they would presumablytrade theircondition for one of greater uncertainty to obtainhappiness. The samecan be said of the slaves of earlier America.
Finally, an ethical argument is relevant here. Consideragain thecouple of question #13. They will feed and protect theirinfant up tothe point at which they consume it. We would not acceptthis as ajustification. Why should we accept it for the chicken? DGSEE ALSO: #13-----------------------#15 Is the use of service animals and beasts of burdenconsidered exploitative?----------------------- A simple approach to this question might be to suggestthat we all mustwork for a living and it should be no different foranimals. The problem isthat we want to look at the animals as like children,i.e., worthy of thesame protections and rights, and, like them, incapable ofbeing morallyresponsible. But we dont force children into labor! Onecan make adistinction, however, that goes something like this: Theanimals arepermanently in their diminished state (i.e., incapable ofvoluntarilyassenting to work); children are not. We do not impose achoice of work forchildren because they need the time to develop into theirfull adult andmoral selves. With the animals, we choose for them a rolethat allows themto contribute; in return, we do not abuse them by eatingthem, etc. If thisis done with true concern that their work conditions areappropriate and notof a sweat-shop nature, that they get enough rest andleisure time, etc.,this would constitute a form of stewardship that isacceptable and beneficialto both sides, and one that is not at odds with ARphilosophy. DG-----------------------#16 Doesnt the Bible give Humanity dominion over theanimals?----------------------- It is true that the Bible contains a passage thatconfers on humanitydominion over the animals. The import of this factderives from theassumption that the Bible is the word of God, and that
God is the ultimatemoral authority. Leaving aside for the momentconsideration of the meaningof dominion, we can take issue with the idea of seekingmoral authority fromthe Bible. First, there are serious problems with theinterpretation ofBiblical passages, with many verses contradicting oneanother, and withmany scholars differing dramatically over the meaning ofgiven verses. Second, there are many claims to God-hood among thediverse cultures ofthis world; some of these Gods implore us to respect alllife and to notkill unnecessarily. Whose God are we to take as theultimate moralauthority? Finally, as Tom Regan observes, many people do notbelieve in a God andso appeals to His moral authority are empty for suchpeople. For suchpeople, the validity of judgments of the supposed Godmust be cross-checkedwith other methods of determining reasonableness. Whatare the cross-checksfor the Biblical assertions? These remarks apply equally to other assertions ofBiblical approval ofhuman practices (such as the consumption of animals). Even if we accept that the God of the Bible is a moralauthority, wecan point out that "dominion" is a vague term, meaning"stewardship" or"control over". It is quite easy to argue thatappropriate stewardshipor control consists of respecting the life of animals andtheir rightto live according to their own nature. The jump fromdominion to approvalof our brutal exploitation of animals is not contained inthe citedBiblical passage, either explicitly or implicitly. DG-----------------------#17 Morals are a purely human construction (animalsdont understand morals); doesnt that mean it is not rational toapply our morality to animals?----------------------- The fallaciousness of this argument can be easilydemonstrated by makinga simple substitution: Infants and young children dontunderstand morals,doesnt that mean it is not rational to apply ourmorality to them? Of course
not. We refrain from harming infants and children for thesame reasons thatwe do so for adults. That they are incapable ofconceptualizing a system ofmorals and its benefits is irrelevant. The relevant distinction is formalized in the conceptof "moral agents"versus "moral patients". A moral agent is an individualpossessing thesophisticated conceptual ability to bring moralprinciples to bear indeciding what to do, and having made such a decision,having the free willto choose to act that way. By virtue of these abilities,it is fair to holdmoral agents accountable for their acts. The paradigmaticmoral agent is thenormal adult human being. Moral patients, in contrast, lack the capacities ofmoral agents and thuscannot fairly be held accountable for their acts. Theydo, however, possessthe capacity to suffer harm and therefore are properobjects of considerationfor moral agents. Human infants, young children, thementally deficient orderanged, and nonhuman animals are instances of moralpatienthood. Given that nonhuman animals are moral patients, theyfall within thepurview of moral consideration, and therefore it is quiterational to accordthem the same moral consideration that we accord toourselves. DGSEE ALSO: #19, #23, #36-----------------------#18 If AR people are so worried about killing, why dontthey become fruitarians?----------------------- Killing, per se, is not the central concern of ARphilosophy, which isconcerned with the avoidance of unnecessary pain andsuffering. Thus, becauseplants neither feel pain nor suffer, AR philosophy doesnot mandatefruitarianism (a diet in which only fruits are eatenbecause they can beharvested without killing the plant from which theyissue). DGSEE ALSO: #42-#46-----------------------
#19 Animals dont care about us; why should we careabout them?----------------------- The questioners position--that, in essence, we shouldgive rights onlyto those able to respect ours--is known as thereciprocity argument. It isunconvincing both as an account of the way our societyworks and as aprescription for the way it should work. Its descriptive power is undermined by the simpleobservation that wegive rights to a large number of individuals who cannotrespect ours.These include some elderly people, some people sufferingfrom degenerativediseases, some people suffering from irreversible braindamage, theseverely retarded, infants, and young children. Aninstitution that, forexample, routinely sacrificed such individuals to test anew fertilizerwould certainly be considered to be grievously violatingtheir rights. The original statement fares no better as an ethicalprescription.Future generations are unable to reciprocate our concern,for example, sothere would be no ethical harm done, under such a view,in dismissingconcerns for environmental damage that adversely impactsfuturegenerations. The key failing of the questioners position lies inthe failure toproperly distinguish between the following capacities: The capacity to understand and respect others rights(moral agency). The capacity to benefit from rights (moralpatienthood). An individual can be a beneficiary of rights withoutbeing a moralagent. Under this view, one justifies a difference oftreatments of twoindividuals (human or nonhuman) with an objectivedifference that isRELEVANT to the difference of treatment. For example, ifwe wished toexclude a person from an academic course of study, wecould not cite thefact that they have freckles. We could cite the fact thatthey lackcertain academic prerequisites. The former is irrelevant;the latter isrelevant. Similarly, when considering the right to befree of pain and
suffering, moral agency is irrelevant; moral patienthoodIS relevant. AECW The assumption that animals dont care about us canalso bequestioned. Companion animals have been known to summonaid whentheir owners are in trouble. They have been known tooffer comfortwhen their owners are distressed. They show grief whentheir humancompanions die. DGSEE ALSO: #17, #23, #36-----------------------#20 A house is on fire and a dog and a baby are inside.Which do you save first?----------------------- The one I choose to save first tells us nothing aboutthe ethicaldecisions we face. I might decide to save my child beforeI saved yours,but this certainly does not mean that I should be able toexperiment onyour child, or exploit your child in some other way. Weare not in anemergency situation like a fire anyway. In everyday life,we can choose toact in ways that protect the rights of both dogs andbabies. LK Like anyone else in this situation, I would probablysave the one towhich I am emotionally more attached. Most likely itwould be the child.Someone might prefer to save his own beloved dog beforesaving the babyof a stranger. However, as LK states above, this tells usnothing aboutany ethical principles. DVH-----------------------#21 What if I made use of an animal that was alreadydead?----------------------- There are two ways to interpret this question. First,the questionermight really be making the excuse "but I didnt kill theanimal", orsecond, he could be asking about the morality of using ananimal that
has died naturally (or due to a cause unassociated withthe demand foranimal products, such as a road kill). For the firstinterpretation, wemust reject the excuse. The killing of animals for meat,for example,is done at the request (through market demand), and withthe financialsupport (through payment), of the end consumers. Theircomplicity isinescapable. Society does not excuse the receiver ofstolen goods becausehe "didnt do the burglary". For the second interpretation, the use of naturallykilled animals,there seems to be no moral difficulty involved. Manywould, for estheticreasons, still not use animal products thus obtained.(Would you use thebodies of departed humans?) Certainly, natural killscannot satisfy thegreat demand for animal products that exists today; non-animal andsynthetic sources are required. Other people may avoid use of naturally killed animalproducts becausethey feel that it might encourage a demand in others foranimal products,a demand that might not be so innocently satisfied. DG This can be viewed as a question of respect for thedead. We feelinnate revulsion at the idea of grave desecration forthis reason.Naturally killed animals should, at the very least, beleft alone ratherthan recycled as part of an industrial process. This wascommonlypracticed in the past, e.g., Egyptians used to mummifytheir cats. AECW You have just dined, and however scrupulously theslaughterhouse isconcealed in the graceful distance of miles, there iscomplicity. Ralph Waldo Emerson(author)-----------------------#22 Where should one draw the line: animals, insects,bacteria?----------------------- AR philosophy asserts that rights are to be accorded tocreatures thathave the capacity to experience pain, to suffer, and tobe a "subject of
a life". Such a capacity is definitely not found inbacteria. It isdefinitely found in mammals. There is debate about suchanimals as molluscsand arthropods (including insects). One should decide,based upon availableevidence and ones own conscience, where the line shouldbe drawn to adhereto the principle of AR described in the first sentence. Questions #39 and #43 discuss some of the evidencerelevant to drawingthe line. DGSEE ALSO: #39, #43-----------------------#23 If the killing is wrong, shouldnt you stoppredators from killing other animals?----------------------- This is one of the more interesting arguments againstanimal rights. Weprevent human moral patients from harming others, e.g.,we prevent childrenfrom hitting each other, so why shouldnt we do the samefor nonhuman moralpatients (refer to question #17 for a definition of moralpatienthood)? Ifanything, the duty to do so might be considered moreserious becausepredation results in a serious harm--death. A first answer entails pointing out that predators mustkill to survive;to stop them from killing is, in effect, to kill them. Of course, we could argue that intervening on a massivescale to preventpredation is totally impractical or impossible, but thatis not morallypersuasive. Suppose we accept that we should stop a cat fromkilling a bird. Then werealize that the bird is the killer of many snakes.Should we now reasonthat, in fact, we shouldnt stop the cat? The point isthat humans lack thebroad vision to make all these calculations anddeterminations. The real answer is that intervening to stop predationwould destroy theecosystems upon which the biosphere depends, harming allof life on earth.Over millions of years, the biosphere has evolved complexecosystems thatdepend upon predation for their continued functioning andstability. Massiveintervention by humans to stop predation would inflictserious and
incalculable harm on these ecosystems, with devastatingresults for all life. Even if we accept that we should prevent predation (andwe dont acceptthat), it does not follow that, because we do not, we aretherefore justifiedin exploiting moral patients ourselves. When we fail tostop widespreadslaughter of human beings in foreign countries, it doesnot follow that we,ourselves, believe it appropriate to participate in suchslaughter. Similarly,our failure to prevent predation cannot be taken asjustification of ourexploitation of animals. DGSEE ALSO: #17, #19, #36, #64-----------------------#24 Is the AR movement against abortion? If not, isntthat hypocritical?----------------------- Attempts are frequently made to tie Animal Rightsexponents to one sideor the other of the abortion debate. Such attempts aremisguided. Claimsthat adherence to the ethics of AR determine onesposition on embryorights are plainly counter-intuitive, unless one is alsoprepared to arguethat being a defender of human rights compels one to aparticular positionon abortion. Is it the case that one cannot consistentlydespise torture,serfdom, and other barbaric practices without coming to aparticularconclusion on abortion? AR defenders demand that the rights currently held byhumans be extendedto all creatures similar in morally relevant ways. Forexample, sincesociety does not accept that mature, sentient human moralpatients (referto question #17 for a brief description of thedistinction between patientsand agents) may be routinely annihilated in the name ofscience, itlogically follows that comparable nonhuman animals shouldbe given the sameprotection. On the other hand, abortion is still a mootpoint. It isplainly illogical to expect the AR movement to reflectanything other thanthe full spectrum of opinion found in society at large onthe abortion issue. Fundamentally, AR philosophers are content withsubmitting sufficient
conditions for the attribution of rights to individuals,conditions thatexplain the noncontroversial protections afforded todayto humans. Theyneither encourage nor discourage attempts to widen thecircle of protectionto fetuses. AECW There is a range of views among AR supporters on theissue of abortionversus animal rights. Many people believe, as does AECW,that the issuesof abortion and AR are unrelated, and that the questionis irrelevant to thevalidity of AR. Others, such as myself, feel thatabortion certainly isrelevant to AR. After all, the granting of rights toanimals (and humans)is based on their capacity to suffer and to be a subject-of-a-life. Itseems clear that late-term fetuses can suffer from theabortion procedure.Certain physiological responses, such as elevated heartrates, and theexistence of a functioning nervous system support thisview. It also can be argued that the fetus is on a course tobecome asubject-of-a-life, and that by aborting the fetus wetherefore harm it.Some counter this latter argument by claiming that the"potential" tobecome subject-of-a-life is an invalid grounds forassigning rights, butthis is a fine philosophical point that is itself subjectto attack. Forexample, suppose a person is in a coma that, given enoughtime, willdissipate--the person has the potential to be sentientagain. Does theperson lose his rights while in the coma? While the arguments adduced may show that abortion isnot irrelevantto AR, they do not show that abortion is necessarilywrong. The reasonis that it is possible to argue that the rights of thefetus are inconflict with the rights of the woman, and that therights of the womandominate. All may not agree with this trade-off, but itis a consistent,non-hypocritical stance that is not in conflict with ARphilosophy. See question #4 for an analysis of hypocrisy argumentsin general. DGSEE ALSO: #4
-----------------------#25 Doesnt the ethical theory of contractarianism showthat animals have no rights?----------------------- Contractarianism is an ethical theory that attempts toaccount for ourmorality by appealing to implicit mutually beneficialagreements, orcontracts. For example, it would explain our refusal tostrike each otherby asserting that we have an implied contract: "You donthit me and Iwont hit you." The relevance of contractarianism to ARstems from thesupposition that nonhuman animals are incapable ofentering into suchcontracts, coupled with the assertion that rights can beattributed onlyto those individuals that can enter into such contracts.Roughly, animalscant have rights because they lack the rational capacityto assent to acontract requiring them to respect our rights. Contractarianism is perhaps the most impressive attemptto refute the ARposition; therefore, it is important to consider it insome detail. It iseasily possible to write a large volume on the subject.We must limitourselves to considering the basic arguments and problemswith them. Thosereaders finding this incomplete or nonrigorous areadvised to consult theprimary literature. We begin by observing that contractarianism fails tooffer a compellingaccount of our moral behavior and motives. If the averageperson is asked whythey think it wrong to steal from their neighbor, they donot answer that byrefraining from it they ensure that their neighbor willnot steal from them.Nor do they answer that they have an implicit mutualcontract with theirneighbor. Instead of invoking contracts, people typicallyassert some variantof the harm principle; e.g., they dont steal because itwould harm theneighbor. Similarly, we do not teach children that thereason why they shouldnot steal is because then people will not steal fromthem. Another way to point up the mismatch between the theoryof contractarianismand our actual moral behavior is to ask if, upon riskingyour own life to
save my child from drowning, you have done this as aresult of a contractualobligation. Certainly, one performs such acts as aresponse to the distressof another being, not as a result of contractualobligations. Contractarianism can thus be seen as a theory thatfails to account for ourmoral behavior. At best, it is a theory that itsproponents would recommendto us as preferable. (Is it seen as preferable because itdenies rights toanimals, and because it seems to justify continuedexploitation of animals?) Arguably the most serious objection to contractarianismis that it can beused to sanction arrangements that would be almostuniversally condemned.Consider a group of very rich people that assemble andcreate a contractamong themselves the effect of which is to ensure thatwealth remains intheir control. They agree by contract that evenrepressive tactics can beused to ensure that the masses remain in poverty. Theyargue that, by virtueof the existence of their contract, that they do nowrong. Similar contractscould be drawn up to exclude other races, sexes, etc. John Rawls attempts to overcome this problem bysupposing that thecontractors must begin from an "initial position" inwhich they are not yetincarnated as beings and must form the contract inignorance of their finalincarnation. Thus, it is argued, since a given individualin the startingposition does not know whether, for example, she will beincarnated as a richwoman or a poor woman, that individual will not formcontracts that are basedon such criteria. In response, one can begin to wonder atthe lengths towhich some will go in creating ad hoc adjustments to adeficient theory. Butmore to the point, one can turn around this ad hocdefense to support the ARposition. For surely, if individuals in the initialposition are to be trulyignorant of their destiny, they must assume that they maybe incarnated asanimals. Given that, the contract that is reached islikely to include strongprotections for animals! Another problem with Rawls device is thatprobabilities can be such that,even given ignorance, contracts can result that mostpeople would see asunjust. If the chance of being incarnated as a slave
holder is 90 percent, acontract allowing slavery could well result because mostindividuals wouldfeel they had a better chance of being incarnated as aslave holder. Thus,Rawls device fails even to achieve its purpose. It is hard to see how contractarianism can permitmovement from the statusquo. How did alleged contracts that denied liberty toslaves and excludedwomen from voting come to be renegotiated? Contractarianism also is unable to adequately accountfor the rights wegive to those unable to form contracts, i.e., infants,children, senilepeople, mental deficients, and even animals to someextent. Various meanshave been advanced to try to account for the attributionof rights to suchindividuals. We have no space to deal with all of them.Instead, we brieflyaddress a few. One attempt involves appealing to the interests of truerights holders.For example, I dont eat your baby because you have aninterest in it and Iwouldnt want you violating such an interest of mine. Butwhat if no-onecared about a given infant? Would that make it fair gamefor any use orabuse? Certainly not. Another problem here is that manypeople express aninterest in the protection of all animals. That wouldseem to require othersto refrain from using or abusing animals. While thisresult is attractive tothe AR community, it certainly weakens the argument thatcontractarianismjustifies our use of animals. Others want to let individuals "ride" until they arecapable of respectingthe contract. But what of those that will never becapable of doing so, e.g.,senile people? And why can we not let animals ride? Some argue a "reduced-rights" case. Children get areduced rights setdesigned to protect them from themselves, etc. Theproblem here is that withanimals the rights reduction is way out of proportion. Weaccept that wecannot experiment on infants or kill and eat them due totheir reduced rightsset. Why then are such extreme uses acceptable fornonhumans? Some argue that it is irrelevant whether a givenindividual can enter intoa contract; what is important is their theoreticalcapacity to do so. But,future generations have the capacity but clearly cannot
interact reciprocallywith us, so the basis of contractarianism is gutted(unless we assert that wehave no moral obligations to leave a habitable world forfuture generations).Peter Singer asks "Why limit morality to those who havethe capacity to enterinto agreements, if in fact there is no possibility oftheir ever doing so?" There are practical problems with contractarianism aswell. For example,what can be our response if an individual renouncesparticipation in anyimplied moral contracts, and states that he is thereforejustified inengaging in what others would call immoral acts? Is thereany way for us toreproach him? And what are we to do about violations ofthe contract? If anindividual steals from us, he has broken the contract andwe should thereforebe released from it. Are we then morally justified instealing from him? Orworse? In summary, contractarianism fails because a) it failsto accurately accountfor our actual, real-world moral acts and motives, b) itsanctions contractualarrangements that most people would see as unjust, c) itfails to account forthe considerations we accord to individuals unable toenter into contracts,and d) it has some impractical consequences. Finally,there is a betterfoundation for ethics--the harm principle. It is simple,universalizable,devoid of ad hoc devices, and matches our real moralthinking. TA/DGSEE ALSO: #11, #17, #19, #96----------------PRACTICAL ISSUES---------------------------------------#26 Surely there are more pressing practical problemsthan AR, such as homelessness; havent you got better things to do?----------------------- Inherent in this question is an assumption that it ismore importantto help humans than to help nonhumans. Some would dismissthis as aspeciesist position (see question #1). It is possible,however, to
invoke the scale-of-life notion and argue that there isgreater sufferingand loss associated with cruelty and neglect of humansthan with animals.This might appear to constitute a prima-facie case forexpending onesenergies for humans rather than nonhumans. However, evenif we acceptthe scale-of-life notion, there are sound reasons forexpending timeand energy on the issue of rights for nonhuman animals. Many of the consequences of carrying out the AR agendaare highlybeneficial to humans. For example, stopping theproduction and consumptionof animal products would result in a significantimprovement of thegeneral health of the human population, and destructionof the environmentwould be greatly reduced. Fostering compassion for animals is likely to paydividends in termsof a general increase of compassion in human affairs. TomRegan puts itthis way: ...the animal rights movement is a part of, notantagonistic to, the human rights movement. The theory that rationallygrounds the rights of animals also grounds the rights of humans.Thus those involved in the animal rights movement are partners inthe struggle to secure respect for human rights--the rights ofwomen, for example, or minorities, or workers. The animal rightsmovement is cut from the same moral cloth as these. Finally, the behavior asked for by the AR agendainvolves littleexpenditure of energy. We are asking people to NOT dothings: donteat meat, dont exploit animals for entertainment, dontwear furs.These negative actions dont interfere with our abilityto care forhumans. In some cases, they may actually make more timeavailable fordoing so (e.g., time spent hunting or visiting zoos andcircuses). DG Living cruelty-free is not a full-time job; rather,its a way of life.When I shop, I check ingredients and I consider if theproduct is testedon animals. These things only consume a few minutes of
the day. There isample time left for helping both humans and nonhumans. JLS I am in favor of animal rights as well as human rights.That is theway of a whole human being. Abraham Lincoln (16th U.S.President) To my mind, the life of a lamb is no less precious thanthat of ahuman being. Mahatma Gandhi (statesmanand philosopher) Our task must be to free ourselves...by widening ourcircle of compassionto embrace all living creatures and the whole of natureand its beauty. Albert Einstein(physicist, Nobel 1921)SEE ALSO: #1, #87, #95-----------------------#27 If everyone became vegetarian and gave up keepingpets, what would happen to all the animals?----------------------- As vegetarianism grows, the number of animals bred forfood graduallywill decline, since the market will no longer exist forthem.Similarly, a gradual decrease would accompany thelessening demand forthe breeding of companion animals. In both cases, thoseanimals thatremain will be better cared for by a more compassionatesociety. LKSEE ALSO: #75-----------------------#28 Grazing animals on land not suited for agricultureincreases the food supply; how can that be considered wrong?----------------------- There are areas in the world where grazing of livestockis possible butagriculture is not. If conditions are such that peopleliving in theseareas cannot trade for crops and must raise livestock tosurvive, fewwould question the practice. However, such areas are verysmall in
comparison to the fertile and semi-arid regions currentlyutilized forintensive grazing, and they do not appreciably contributeto the worldfood supply. (Some would argue that it is morallypreferable not to live insuch areas.) The real issue is the intensive grazing in the fertileand semi-aridregions. The use of such areas for livestock raisingreduces the worldfood supply. Keith Acker writes as follows in his "AVegetarianSourcebook": Land, energy, and water resources for livestockagriculture range anywhere from 10 to 1000 times greater than thosenecessary to produce an equivalent amount of plant foods. Andlivestock agriculture does not merely use these resources, itdepletes them. This is a matter of historical record. Most of theworlds soil, erosion, groundwater depletion, and deforestation--factors now threatening the very basis of our food system--arethe result of this particularly destructive form of food production. Livestock agriculture is also the single greatest causeof world-widedeforestation both historically and currently (between1967 and 1975,two-thirds of 70 million acres of lost forest went tograzing). Between1950 and 1975 the area of human-created pasture land inCentral Americamore than doubled, almost all of it at the expense ofrain forests.Although this trend has slowed down, it still continuesat an alarming andinexorable pace. Grazing requires large tracts of land and theconsequences ofovergrazing and soil erosion are very serious ecologicalproblems. Byconservative estimates, 60 percent of all U.S. grasslandsare overgrazed,resulting in billions of tons of soil lost each year. Theamount of U.S.topsoil lost to date is about 75 percent, and 85 percentof that isdirectly associated with livestock grazing. Overgrazinghas been thesingle largest cause of human-made deserts. One could argue that grazing is being replaced by the"feedlot
paradigm". These systems graze the livestock prior totransport to afeedlot for final "fattening" with grains grown on croplands. Althoughthis does reduce grazing somewhat, it is not eliminated,and the feedlotpart of the paradigm still constitutes a highlyinefficient use of crops(to feed a human with livestock requires 16 times thegrain that would benecessary if the grain was consumed directly). It hasbeen estimated thatin the U.S., 80 percent of the corn and 95 percent of theoats grown arefed to livestock. TA I grew up in cattle country--thats why I became avegetarian. Meat stinks,for the animals, the environment, and your health. k.d. lang (musician)-----------------------#29 If we try to eliminate all animals products, wellbe moving back to the Stone Age; who wants that?----------------------- On the contrary! It is a dependency upon animalproducts that could beseen as returning us to the technologies and mind set ofthe Stone Age.For example, Stone Age people had to wear furs inNorthern climates toavoid freezing. That is no longer the case, thanks tocentral heatingand the ready availability of plenty of good plant andhuman-made fabrics.If we are to characterize the modern age, it could be interms of thegreater freedoms and options made possible bytechnological advance andsocial progress. The Stone Age people had few options andso were forcedto rely upon animals for food, clothing, and materialsfor their implements.Today, we have an abundance of choices for better foods,warmer clothing,and more efficient materials, none of which need dependupon the killingof animals. TA It seems to me that the only Stone Age we are in anydanger of enteringis that constituted by the continuous destruction ofanimals habitatsin favor of the Portland-cement concrete jungle! DG
SEE ALSO: #60, #62, #95-----------------------#30 Its virtually impossible to eliminate all animalproducts from ones consumption; whats the point if you still causeanimal death without knowing it?----------------------- Yes, it is very difficult to eliminate all animalproducts from onesconsumption, just as it is impossible to eliminate allaccidental killingand infliction of harm that results from our activities.But this cannotjustify making it "open season" for any kind of abuse ofanimals. Thereasonable goal, given the realities, is to minimize theharms one causes.The point, then, is that a great deal of suffering isprevented. DGSEE ALSO: #57-#58-----------------------#31 Wouldnt many customs and traditions, as well asjobs, be lost if we stopped using animals?----------------------- Consider first the issue of customs and traditions. Theplain truth isthat some customs and traditions deserve to die out.Examples aboundthroughout history: slavery, Roman gladiatorial contests,torture, publicexecutions, witch burning, racism. To these the ARsupporter adds animalexploitation and enslavement. The human animal is an almost infinitely adaptableorganism. The loss ofthe customs listed above has not resulted in any lastingharm tohumankind. The same can be confidently predicted for theelimination ofanimal exploitation. In fact, humankind would likelybenefit from aquantum leap of compassion in human affairs. As far as jobs are concerned, the economic aspects arediscussed inquestion #32. It remains to point out that for a human,what is at stake isa job, which can be replaced with one less morallydubious. What is atstake for an animal is the elimination of torture andexploitation, and
the possibility for a life of happiness, free from humanoppression andbrutality. DG People often say that humans have always eaten animals,as if this is ajustification for continuing the practice. According tothis logic, weshould not try to prevent people from murdering otherpeople, since thishas also been done since the earliest of times. Isaac Bashevis Singer(author, Nobel 1978)SEE ALSO: #32-----------------------#32 The animal product industries are big business;wouldnt the economy be crippled if they all stopped?----------------------- One cannot justify an action based on itsprofitability. Many crimes andpractices that we view as repugnant have been or continueto beprofitable: the slave trade, sale of child brides, drugdealing, scams ofall sorts, prostitution, child pornography. A good example of this, and one that points up anotherkeyconsideration, is the tobacco industry. It is amultibillion-dollarindustry, yet vigorous efforts are proceeding on manyfronts to put it outof business. The main problem with it lies in its side-effects, i.e., themassive health consequences and deaths that it produces,which easilyoutweigh the immediate profitability. There are sideeffects to animalexploitation also. Among the most significant are thepollution anddeforestation associated with large-scale animal farming.As we see inquestion #28, these current practices constitute anonsustainable use ofthe planets resources. It is more likely true that theeconomy will becrippled if the practices continue! Finally, the profits associated with the animalindustries stem frommarket demand and affluence. There is no reason tosuppose that thisdemand cannot be gradually redirected into otherindustries. Instead ofprime beef, we can have prime artichokes, or prime pasta,etc. Humanitys
demand for gourmet food will not vanish with the meat.Similarly, thejobs associated with the animal industries can begradually redirectedinto the industries that would spring up to replace theanimalindustries. (Vice President Gore made a similar point inreference tocomplaints concerning loss of jobs if logging was halted.He commentedthat the environmental movement would open up a huge areafor jobs thathad heretofore been unavailable.) DG It is my view that the vegetarian manner of living byits purely physicaleffect on the human temperament would most beneficiallyinfluence the lot ofmankind. Albert Einstein(physicist, Nobel 1921)SEE ALSO: #28, #31----------------------ARGUMENTS FROM BIOLOGY---------------------------------------------#33 Humans are at the pinnacle of evolution; doesntthat give them the right to use animals as they wish?----------------------- This is one of many arguments that attempt to drawethical conclusionsfrom scientific observations. In this case, the scienceis shaky, and theethical conclusion is dubious. Let us first examine thescience. The questioners view is that evolution has created alinear ranking ofgeneral fitness, a ladder if you will, with insects andother "lower"species at the bottom, and humans (of course!) at thetop. This ideaoriginated as part of a wider, now discreditedevolutionary system calledLamarckism. Charles Darwins discovery of naturalselection overturnedthis system. Darwins picture, instead, is of a"radiating bush" ofspecies, with each evolving to adapt more closely to itsenvironment,along its own radius. Under this view, the idea of apinnacle becomesunclear: yes, humans have adapted well to their niche
(though many woulddispute this, asserting the nonsustainable nature of ouruse of theplanets resources), but so have bacteria adapted well totheir niche. Canwe really say that humans are better adapted to theirniche than bacteria,and would it mean anything when the niches are sodifferent? Probably, what the questioner has in mind in using theword "pinnacle"is that humans excel in some particular trait, and that ascale can becreated relative to this trait. For example, on a scaleof mentalcapability, humans stand well above bacteria. But adifferent choice oftraits can lead to very different results. Bacteria stand"at thepinnacle" when one looks at reproductive fecundity. Birdsstand "atthe pinnacle" when one looks at flight. Now let us examine the ethics. Leaving aside thedubious idea of apinnacle of evolution, let us accept that humans areranked at the top ona scale of intelligence. Does this give us the right todo as we pleasewith animals, simply on account of their being lessbrainy? If we say yes,we open a Pandoras box of problems for ourselves. Doesthis mean thatmore intelligent humans can also exploit less intelligenthumans as theywish (shall we all be slaves to the Einsteins of theworld)? Consideringa different trait, can the physically superior abuse theweak? Only amorally callous person would agree with this generalprinciple. AECWSEE ALSO: #34, #37-----------------------#34 Humans are at the top of the food chain; arent theytherefore justified in killing and eating anything?----------------------- No; otherwise, potential cannibals in our society couldclaim the samedefense for their practice. That we can do something doesnot mean that itis right to do so. We have a lot of power over othercreatures, but withgreat powers come even greater responsibilities, as anyparent willtestify.
Humans are at the top of the food chain because theyCHOOSE to eatnonhuman animals. There is thus a suggestion of tautologyin thequestioners position. If we chose not to eat animals, wewould not beat the top of the food chain. The idea that superiority in a trait confers rightsover the inferior isdisposed of in question #33. AECWSEE ALSO: #33-----------------------#35 Animals are just machines; why worry about them?----------------------- Centuries ago, the philosopher Rene Descartes developedthe idea thatall nonhuman animals are automatons that cannot feelpain. Followers ofDescartes believed that if an animal cried out this wasjust a reflex,the sort of reaction one might get from a mechanicaldoll. Consequently,they saw no reason not to experiment on animals withoutanesthetics.Horrified observers were admonished to pay no attentionto the screamsof the animal subjects. This idea is now refuted by modern science. Animals areno more "meremachines" than are human beings. Everything science haslearned aboutother species points out the biological similaritiesbetween humans andnonhumans. As Charles Darwin wrote, the differencesbetween humans andother animals are differences of degree, not differencesof kind. Sinceboth humans and nonhumans evolved over millions of yearsand sharesimilar nervous systems and other organs, there is noreason to thinkwe do not share a similar mental and emotional life withother animalspecies (especially mammals). LK-----------------------#36 In Nature, animals kill and eat each other; so whyshould it be wrong for humans?----------------------- Predatory animals must kill to eat. Humans, incontrast, have a choice;they need not eat meat to survive.
Humans differ from nonhuman animals in being capable ofconceiving of, andacting in accordance with, a system of morals; therefore,we cannot seekmoral guidance or precedent from nonhuman animals. The ARphilosophy assertsthat it is just as wrong for a human to kill and eat asentient nonhuman asit is to kill and eat a sentient human. To demonstrate the absurdity of seeking moralprecedents from nonhumananimals, consider the following variants of the question: "In Nature, animals steal food from each other; sowhy should it be wrong for humans [to steal]?" "In Nature, animals kill and eat humans; so whyshould it be wrong for humans [to kill and eat humans]?" DGSEE ALSO: #23, #34, #64-----------------------#37 Natural selection and Darwinism are at work in theworld; doesnt that mean its unrealistic to try to overcome suchforces?----------------------- Assuming that Animal Rights concepts somehow clash withDarwinian forces,the questioner must stand accused of selective moralfatalism: our sense ofmorality is clearly not modeled on the laws of naturalselection. Why,then, feel helpless before some of its effects and notbefore others? Male-dominance, xenophobia, and war-mongering arepresent in many humansocieties. Should we venture that some mysterious,universal forces must beat work behind them, and that all attempts at quellingsuch tendencies shouldbe abandoned? Or, more directly, when people become sick,do we abandon thembecause "survival of the fittest" demands it? We do notabandon them; and wedo not agonize about trying to overcome naturalselection. There is no reason to believe that the practicalimplications of the AnimalRights philosophy are maladaptive for humans. On thecontrary, and forreasons explained elsewhere in this FAQ, respecting therights of animalswould yield beneficial side-effects for humans, such asmore-sustainable
agricultural practices, and better environmental andhealth-care policies. AECW The advent of Darwinism led to a substitution of theidea of individualorganisms for the old idea of immutable species. Themoral individualismimplied by AR philosophy substitutes the idea thatorganisms should betreated according to their individual capacities for the(old) idea that itis the species of the animal that counts. Thus, moralindividualism actuallyfits well with evolutionary theory. DGSEE ALSO: #63-62-----------------------#38 Isnt AR opposed to environmental philosophy (asdescribed, for example, in "Deep Ecology")?----------------------- No. It should be clear from many of the answersincluded in this FAQ, andfrom perusal of many of the books referenced in question#92, that thephilosophy and goals of AR are complementary to the goalsof the mainstreamenvironmental movement. Michael W. Fox sees AR andenvironmentalism astwo aspects of a dialectic that reconciles concerns forthe rights ofindividuals (human and nonhuman) with concerns for theintegrity of thebiosphere. Some argue that a morality based on individual rightsis necessarilyopposed to one based on holistic environmental views,e.g., the sanctityof the biosphere. However, an environmental ethic thatattributes someform of rights to all individuals, including inanimateones, can bedeveloped. Such an ethic, by showing respect for theindividuals that makeup the biosphere, would also show respect for thebiosphere as a whole, thusachieving the aims of holistic environmentalism. It isclear that a rightsview is not necessarily in conflict with a holistic view. In reference to the concept of deep ecology and theclaim that it bearsnegatively on AR, Fox believes such claims to beunfounded. The followingtext is excerpted from "Inhumane Society", by Michael W.Fox.
DG Deep ecologists support the philosophy of preservingthe naturalabundance and diversity of plants and animals in naturalecosystems...The deep ecologists should oppose the industrialized,nonsubsistenceexploitation of wildlife because...it is fundamentallyunsound ecologically,because by favoring some species over others, populationimbalances andextinctions of undesired species would be inevitable. In their book "Deep Ecology", authors Bill Devall andGeorge Sessions...take to task animal rights philosopher Tom Regan, whowith others of likemind "expressed concern that a holistic ecologicalethic...results in akind of totalitarianism or ecological fascism"...In anappendix, however,George Sessions does suggest that philosophers need towork towardnontotalitarian solutions...and that "in all likelihood,this will requiresome kind of holistic ecological ethic in which theintegrity of allindividuals (human and nonhuman) is respected". Ironically, while the authors are so critical of theanimal rightsmovement, they quote Arne Naess (...arguably the founderof the deepecology movement)...For instance, Naess states: "Theintuition ofbiocentric equality is that all things in the biospherehave an equalright to live and blossom and to reach their own forms ofunfolding andself-realization..." Michael W. Fox (VicePresident of HSUS)SEE ALSO: #28, #59------------------INSECTS AND PLANTS-----------------------------------------#39 What about insects? Do they have rights too?----------------------- Before considering the issue of rights, let us firstaddress thequestion "What about insects?". Strictly speaking,insects are smallinvertebrate animals of the class Insecta, having anadult stage
characterized by three pairs of legs, a segmented bodywith three majordivisions, and usually two pairs of wings. Well adoptthe looserdefinition, which includes similar invertebrate animalssuch as spiders,centipedes, and ticks. Insects have a ganglionic nervous system, in contrastto the centralnervous system of vertebrates. Such a system ischaracterized by localaggregates of neurons, called ganglia, that areassociated with, andspecialized for, the body segment with which they are co-located. Thereare interconnections between ganglia but theseconnections function not somuch as a global integrating pathway, but rather forlocal segmentalcoordination. For example, the waves of leg motion thatpropagate alongthe body of a centipede are mediated by theintersegmental connections. In some species the cephalic ganglia are large andcomplex enough tosupport very complex behavior (e.g., the lobster andoctopus). Thecuttlefish (not an insect but another invertebrate with aganglionicnervous system) is claimed by some to be about asintelligent as a dog. Insects are capable of primitive learning and doexhibit what many wouldcharacterize as intelligence. Spiders are known for theirskills andcraftiness; whether this can all be dismissed as instinctis arguable.Certainly, bees can learn in a limited way. When offereda reward from aperch of a certain color, they return first to perches ofthat color. Theyalso learn the location of food and transmit thatinformation to theircolleagues. The learning, however, tends to be highlyspecialized andapplicable to only limited domains. In addition to a primitive mental life as describedabove, there is someevidence that insects can experience pain and suffering.The earthwormnervous system, for example, secretes an opiate substancewhen theearthworm is injured. Similar responses are seen invertebrates and aregenerally accepted to be a mechanism for the attenuationof pain. On theother hand, the opiates are also implicated in functionsnot associatedwith analgesia, such as thermoregulation and appetite
control. Nevertheless,the association of secretion with tissue injury is highlysuggestive. Earthworms also wriggle quite vigorously when impaledon a hook. Inpossible opposition to this are other observations. Forexample, theabdomen of a feeding wasp can be clipped off and the headmay go onsucking (presumably in no distress?). Singer quotes three criteria for deciding if anorganism has thecapacity to suffer from pain: 1) there are behavioralindications, 2)there is an appropriate nervous system, and 3) there isan evolutionaryusefulness for the experience of pain. These criteriaseem to satisfiedfor insects, if only in a primitive way. Now we are equipped to tackle the issue of insectrights. First, onemight argue that the issue is not so compelling as forother animalsbecause industries are not built around the exploitationof insects. Butthis is untrue; large industries are built around honeyproduction, silkproduction, and cochineal/carmine production, and, ofcourse, mass insectdeath results from our use of insecticides. Even if theargument weretrue, it should not prevent us from attempting to beconsistent in theapplication of our principles to all animals. Insects area part of theAnimal Kingdom and some special arguments would berequired to excludethem from the general AR argument. Some would draw a line at some level of complexity ofthe nervoussystem, e.g., only animals capable of operantconditioning need beenfranchised. Others may quarrel with this line and placeit elsewhere.Some may postulate a scale of life with an ascendingcapacity to feel painand suffer. They might also mark a cut-off on the scale,below whichrights are not actively asserted. Is the cut-off aboveinsects and thelower invertebrates? Or should there be no cut-off? Thisis one of theissues still being actively debated in the AR community. People who strive to live without cruelty will attemptto push the lineback as far as possible, giving the benefit of the doubtwhere there isdoubt. Certainly, one can avoid unnecessary cruelty toinsects.
The practical issues involved in enfranchising insectsare dealt with inthe following two questions. DG I want to realize brotherhood or identity not merelywith the beingscalled human, but I want to realize identity with alllife, even withsuch things as crawl upon earth. Mahatma Gandhi (statesmanand philosopher) What is it that should trace the insuperable line?...The questionis not, Can they reason? nor, Can they talk? but, Canthey suffer? Jeremy Bentham(philosopher)SEE ALSO: #22, #40-#41, #47-----------------------#40 Do I have to be careful not to walk on ants?----------------------- The Jains of India would say yes! Some of their moredevout memberswear gauze masks to avoid inhaling and killing smallinsects andmicrobes. Regardless of how careful we are, we will cause somesuffering as aside-effect of living. The goal is to avoid unnecessarysuffering andto minimize the suffering we cause. This is a far cryfrom wanton,intentional infliction of cruelty. I refer here to thehabit of some ofpulling off insects wings for fun, or of torching acongregation ofants for pleasure. This question is an issue for the individual conscienceto decide. Perhapsone need not walk around looking out for ants on theground, but should onebe seen and it is easy to alter ones stride to avoid it,where is the harmin doing so? DGSEE ALSO: #39, #41-----------------------#41 There is some evidence of consciousness in insects;arent you descending to absurdity to tell people not to killinsects?-----------------------
Enfranchising insects does not mean it is neverjustifiable to killthem. As with all threats to a being, the rule of self-defense applies.If insects are threatening ones well-being in anontrivial way, ARphilosophy would not assert that it is wrong to eliminatethem. Pesticides and herbicides are often used for massdestruction of insectpopulations. While this might be defended on the self-defense principle,one should be aware of the significant adverse impact onthe environment,on other non-threatening animals, and indeed on our ownhealth. (Refer toquestion #59 for more on the use of insecticides.) It is not absurd to attempt to minimize the amount ofsufferingthat we inflict or cause. DG We should begin to feel for the flies and other insectsstruggling tobe free from sticky fly paper. There are humanealternatives. Michael W. Fox (VicePresident of HSUS)SEE ALSO: #39-#40, #59-----------------------#42 Isnt it hypocritical to kill and eat plants?----------------------- It would be hypocritical IF the same criteria ormorally relevantattributes that are used to justify animal rights alsoapplied toplants. The criteria cited by the AR movement are "painand suffering"and being "subjects-of-a-life". An assessment of howplants measure upto these criteria leads to the following conclusions. First, our best science to date shows that plants lackany semblanceof a central nervous system or any other system designfor such complexcapacities as that of conscious suffering from felt pain. Second, plants simply have no evolutionary need to feelpain. Animalsbeing mobile would benefit from the ability to sensepain; plants wouldnot. Nature does not gratuitously create such complexcapacities as thatof feeling pain unless there is some benefit for theorganismssurvival.
The first point is dealt with in more detail inquestions #43 and #44.The general hypocrisy argument is discussed in question#4. TASEE ALSO: #4, #39-#44-----------------------#43 But how can you prove that plants dont feel pain?----------------------- Lest we forget the ultimate point of what follows, letus not forget thecentral thesis of AR. Simply stated: to the extent otheranimals sharewith us certain morally relevant attributes, then to thatextent we conferupon them due regard and concern. The two attributes thatare arguablyrelevant are: a) our capacity for pain and suffering, andb) the capacityfor being the "subject-of-a-life", i.e., being such thatit matters to onewhether ones life fares well or ill. Both of these qualities require the existence of mentalstates. Alsonote that in order to speak of "mental states" proper, wewould denote, ascommon usage would dictate, that such states are markedby consciousness.It is insufficient to mark off mental states by only theapparent presenceof purposefulness or intentionality since, as we shallsee below, manymaterial objects possess purposeful-looking behaviors. So then, how do we properly attribute the existence ofmental states toother animals, or even to ourselves for that matter? Wecannot infer thepresence of felt pain simply by the presence of a classof behaviors thatare functional for an organisms amelioration oravoidance of noxiousstimuli. Thermostats obviously react to thermal changesin the environmentand respond in a functionally appropriate manner torestore an initial"preferred" state. We would be foolish, however, toattribute tothermostats a capability to "sense" or "feel" some kindof thermal "pain".Even placing quotes around our terms doesnt protect usfrom absurdity. Clearly, the behavioral criterion of even functionalavoidance/defensereactions is simply not sufficient nor even necessary forthe properattribution of pain as a felt mental state.
Science, including the biological sciences, arecommitted to the workingassumption of scientific materialism or physicalism (see"The MetaphysicalFoundations of Modern Science", E. A. Burtt, 1924). Wemust then startwith the generally accepted scientific assumption thatmatter is the onlyexistent or real primordial constituent of the universe. Let it be said at the outset that scientificmaterialism as such doesnot preclude the existence of emergent or functionalqualities like thatof mind, consciousness, and feeling (or even, dare I sayit, free will),but all such qualities are dependent upon the existenceof organizedmatter. If there is no hardware, there is nothing for thesoftware to runon. If there is no intact, living brain, there is nomind. It should alsobe said that even contemporary versions of dualism ormind-stuff theorieswill also make embodiment of mental states dependent onthe presence ofsufficiently organized matter. To briefly state the case, cognitive functions likeconsciousness andmind are seen as emergent properties of sufficientlyorganized matter.Just as breathing is a function of a complex system oforgans referred toas the respiratory system, so too is consciousness afunction of theimmensely complex information-processing capabilities ofa central nervoussystem. It is possible, in theory, that future computers,given asufficiently complex and orderly organization of hardwareand cleversoftware, could exhibit the requisite emergent qualities.While suchcomputers do not exist, we DO know that certain livingorganisms on thisplanet possess the requisite complexity of specializedand highlyorganized structure for the emergence of mental states. In theory, plants could possess a mental state likepain, but if, andonly if, there were a requisite complexity of organizedplant tissue thatcould serve to instantiate the higher order mental statesof consciousnessand felt pain. There is no morphological evidence that such acomplexity of tissueexists in plants. Plants lack the specialized structuresrequired foremergence of mental states. This is not to say that they
cannot exhibitcomplex reactions, but we are simply over-interpretingsuch reactions ifwe designate them as "felt pain". With respect to all mammals, birds, and reptiles, weknow that theypossess a sufficiently complex neural structure to enablefelt pain plusan evolutionary need for such consciously felt states.They possesscomplex and specialized sense organs, they possesscomplex and specializedstructures for processing information and for centrallyorchestratingappropriate behaviors in accordance with mentalrepresentations,integrations, and reorganizations of that information.The properattribution of felt pain in these animals is welljustified. It is not forplants, by any stretch of the imagination. TA The absurdity (and often disingenuity) of the plant-pain promoters can beeasily exposed by asking them the following twoquestions: 1) Do you agree that animals like dogs and catsshould receive pain-killing drugs prior to surgery? 2) Do you believe that plants should receive pain-killing drugs prior to pruning? DGSEE ALSO: #42, #44-----------------------#44 Arent there studies that show that plants canscream, etc.?----------------------- How can something without vocal apparatus scream?Perhaps the questionerintends to suggest that plants somehow express feelingsor emotions. Thisnotion is popularized in the book "The Secret Life ofPlants", by Tompkinsand Bird, 1972. The book describes "experiments" in whichplants areclaimed to respond to injury and even to the thoughts andemotions ofnearby humans. The responses consist of changes in theelectricalconductivity of their leaves. The truth is, however, thatnothing but adismal failure has resulted from attempts to replicatethese experiments.
For some definitive reviews, see Science, 1975, 189:478and The SkepticalInquirer, 1978, 2(2):57. But what about plant responses to insect invasion? Doesthis suggestthat plants "feel" pain? No published book or paper in ascientificjournal has been cited as indeed making this claim that"plants feelpain". There is interesting data suggesting that plantsreact to localtissue damage and even emit signaling molecules servingto stimulatechemical defenses of nearby plants. But how is thisrelevant to the claimthat plants feel and suffer from pain? Where are thereplicatedexperiments and peer-reviewed citations for this putativefact? There arenone. Let us, for the sake of argument, consider the form oflogic employed bythe plant-pain promoters: premise 1: Plants are responsive to "sense"impressions. premise 2: As defined in the dictionary, anything responsive to sense impressions issentient. conclusion 1: Plants are sentient. premise 3: Sentient beings are conscious of senseimpressions. conclusion 2: Plants are conscious of senseimpressions. premise 4: To be conscious of a noxious stimuli isunpleasant. conclusion 3: Noxious stimuli to plants areunpleasant, i.e., painful. There is a major logical sleight-of-hand here. Themeaning of the term"sentient" changes between premise 2 ("responsive tosense impressions")and premise 3 ("conscious of sense impressions"). Thus,equivocation onthe usage of "sentient" is used to bootleg the falseconclusion 3. Thereis also an equivocation on the meaning of "painful"("unpleasant" versusthe commonly understood meaning). TA If we can bring ourselves to momentarily assume(falsely) that plantsfeel pain, then we can easily argue that by eliminatinganimal farming,we reduce the total pain inflicted on plants, leading tothe ironicconclusion that plant pain supports the AR position. This
is discussedin more detail in question #46. DGSEE ALSO: #42-#43, #46-----------------------#45 But even if plants dont feel pain, arent youdepriving them of their life? Why isnt that enough to accord moralstatus to plants?----------------------- The philosophy of Animal Rights is generally regardedas encompassingonly sentient creatures. Plants are just one of many non-sentient, livingcreatures. To remain consistent, granting moral status toplants wouldlead one to grant it to all life. It may be thought thata philosophyencompassing all life would be best, but granting moralstatus to allliving creatures leads to rather implausible views. For example, concern for life would lead one to opposethe distributionof spermicides, even to overpopulated Third worldcountries. The moralityof any sexual intercourse could be questioned as well,since thousands ofsperm cells die in each act. Also, the sheer variety oflife forms createsdifficulties; for example, arguments have been made toshow that somecomputer programs--such as computer viruses--may well becalled alive.Should one grant them moral status? There are questions even in the case of plants. The useof weed-killersin a garden would need defending. And if killing plantsis wrong, whyisnt merely damaging them in some other way also wrong?Is trimminghedgerows wrong? The problems raised above are not attempts todiscourage efforts todevelop an ethics of the environment. They simply pointout that accordingmoral status to all living creatures is fraught withdifficulties. Nevertheless, some people do, indeed, argue that thetaking of lifeshould be minimized where possible; this constitutes akind of moralstatus for life. Interestingly, such a view, far fromundermining the ARview, actually supports it. To see why, refer to question#46. AECW
SEE ALSO: #46, #59-----------------------#46 Isnt it better to eat animals, because that way youkill the least number of living beings.----------------------- There are at least two problems with this question.First, there is theassumption that killing is the factor sought to beminimized, but asexplained in question #18, killing is not the centralconcern of AR; rather,it is pain and suffering, neither of which can beattributed to plants. Second, the questioner overlooks that livestock must beraised on a dietof plant foods, so consumption of animals is actually aonce-removedconsumption of plants. The twist, of course, is thatpassing plants throughanimals is a very inefficient process; losses of up to80-90 percent aretypical. Thus, it could be argued that, if ones concernis for killing,per se, then the vegetarian diet is preferable (at leastfor todayspredominant feedlot paradigm). DGSEE ALSO: #18, #28, #45-----------------------#47 Nature is a continuum; doesnt that mean you cannotdraw a line, and where you draw yours is no better than where I drawmine?----------------------- Most people will accept that the diversity of Nature issuch that one iseffectively faced with a continuum. Charles Darwin wasright to state thatdifferences are of degree, not of kind. One should take issue, however, with the belief thatthis means that aline cannot be drawn for the purpose of granting rights.For example,while there is a continuum in the use of force, from thegentle nudge ofthe adoring mother to the hellish treatment visited uponconcentrationcamp prisoners, clearly, human rights are violated in onecase and not theother. People accept that the ethical buck stopssomewhere between the twoextremes.
Similarly, while it is true that the qualities relevantto theattribution of rights are found to varying extents inmembers of theanimal kingdom, one is entitled to draw the linesomewhere. After all,society does it as well; today, it draws the line justbelow humans. Now, such a line (below humans) cannot be logicallydefensible, sincesome creatures are excluded that possess the relevantqualities to agreater degree than current rights-holders (for example,a normal adultchimpanzee has a "higher" mental life than a human in acoma, yet we stillprotect only the human from medical experimentation).Therefore, any linethat is drawn must allow some nonhuman animals to qualifyasrights-holders. Moreover, the difficulty of drawing a line does not byitself justifydrawing one at the wrong place. On the contrary, thisdifficulty meansthat from an ethical point of view, the line should bedrawn a) carefully,and b) conservatively. Because the speciesist line heldby AR opponentsviolates moral precepts held as critical for theviability of any ethicalsystem, and because some mature nonhumans possess morallyrelevantcharacteristics comparable to some human rights-bearers,one must come tothe conclusion that the status quo fails on both counts,and that thearrow of progress points toward a moral outlook thatencompasses nonhumanas well as human creatures. In addition, it should be noted that when a new line isdrawn that ismore in step with ethical truth (something quite easy todo), in no wayshould one feel that the wanton destruction of nonrights-holders isthereby encouraged. It is desirable that a moral climatebe created thatgives due consideration to the interests and welfare ofall creatures,whether they are rights-holders or not. AECW The idea that a continuum makes drawing a lineimpossible or that oneline is therefore no better than another is easilyrefuted. For example,the alcohol concentration in the blood is a continuum,but society draws
a line at 0.10 percent for drunk driving, and clearlythat is a betterline than one drawn at, say, 0.00000001 percent. DGSEE ALSO: #22, #39-#41-------FARMING------------------------------#48 The animals are killed so fast that they dont feelany pain or even know theyre being killed; whats wrong withthat?----------------------- This view can only be maintained by those unfamiliarwith modern meatproduction methods. Great stress occurs during transportin whichmillions die miserably each year. And the conveyor-beltapproach to theslaughtering process causes the animals to struggle fortheir lives asthey experience the agony of the fear of death. Onlypeople who have neverwatched the process can believe that they dont feel anypain or arentaware that theyre being killed. One point that many people are unaware of is thatpoultry is exempted fromthe requirements of the Humane Slaughter Act. Egg-layinghens are typicallynot stunned before slaughter. Also exempt from the actare animals killedunder Kosher conditions (see question #49). But even if no suffering were involved, the killing ofsensitive,intelligent animals on a vast scale (over six billioneach year in theU.S. alone) cannot be regarded as morally correct,especially since todayit is demonstrably clear that eating animal flesh is notonly unnecessarybut even harmful for people. Fellow-mammals are not likecorn or carrots.To treat them as if they were is to perpetuate animpoverished moralitywhich is based not on rationality but merely tradition. DVH Even the climactic killing process itself is not soclean as one is ledto believe. Every method carries strong doubts about its"humaneness".For example, consider electrocution. We routinely give
anesthetics topeople receiving electro-shock therapy due to its painfuleffects.Consider the pole-axe. It requires great skill to delivera perfect,instantly fatal blow. Few possess the skill, and manyanimals suffer fromthe ineptness with which the process is administered.Consider Kosherslaughter, where an animal is hoisted and bled to deathwithout priorstunning. Often joints are ruptured during the hoisting,and the death isa slow, conscious one. The idea of a clean, painless killis a fantasypromulgated by those with a vested interest in thecontinuance of thepractices. DG-----------------------#49 What is factory farming, and what is wrong with it?----------------------- Factory farming is an industrial process that appliesthe philosophy andpractices of mass production to animal farming. Animalsare considered not asindividual sentient beings, but rather as a means to anend--eggs, meat,leather, etc. The objective is to maximize output andprofit. The animalsare manipulated through breeding, feeding, confinement,and chemicals tolay eggs faster, fatten more quickly, or make leanermeat. Costs areminimized by recycling carcasses through feed, minimizingunit space, notproviding bedding (which gets soiled and needs cleaning),and otherpractices. Battery-hen egg production is perhaps the mostpublicized form. Hens are"maintained" in cages of minimal size, allowing forlittle or no movementand no expression of natural behavior patterns. Hens arepainfully debeakedand sometimes declawed to protect others in the crampedcage. There are nofloors to the cages, so that excrement can fall throughonto a tray--the henstherefore are standing on wire. Cages are stacked on topof each other inlong rows, and are kept inside a climate-controlled barn.The hens are thenused as a mechanism for turning feed into eggs. After ashort, miserable lifethey are processed as boiler chickens or recycled. Other typical factory farming techniques are used in
pig production, whereanimals are kept in concrete pens with no straw or earth,unable to move morethan a few inches, to ensure the "best" pork. When sowslitter, piglets arekept so the only contact between the sow and piglets isaccess to the teats.The production of veal calves is a similar restrainingprocess. The calves arekept in narrow crates which prevent them from turning;they can only stand orlie down. They are kept in the dark with no contact withother animals. Factory farming distresses people because of thetreatment of the animals;they are kept in unnatural conditions in terms of space,possible behaviors,and interactions with other animals. Keeping animals inthese circumstancesis not only cruel to the animals, but diminishes thehumanity of thoseinvolved, from production to consumption. In addition, the use of chemicals and hormones tomaximize yields, reducehealth problems in the animals, and speed production mayalso be harmful tohuman consumers. JKSEE ALSO: #12, #14, #32, #48, #50-----------------------#50 But cattle cant be factory-farmed, so I can eatthem, right?----------------------- At this time, cattle farming has not progressed to theextremes inflictedon some other animals--cows still have to graze. However,the proponents offactory farming are always considering the possibilitiesof extending theirtechniques, as the old-style small farm becomes a fadedmemory and farmingbecomes a larger and more complex industry, competing forfinance fromconsumers and lenders. Cattle farming practices such asincreasing cattledensities on feedlots, diet supplementation, andcontrolled breeding arealready being implemented. Other developments will beintroduced. However, as discussed in question #49, it is not onlythe method offarming that is of concern. Transport to theslaughterhouse, often a longjourney in crowded conditions without access to food andwater, and the waitat the slaughterhouse followed by the slaughtering
process are themselvesbrutal and harmful. And the actual killing process isitself not necessarilyclean or painless (see question #48). JK We can challenge the claim that cattle cannot befactory-farmed; it justisnt true. We can also challenge the claim that if itwere true, it wouldjustify killing and eating cattle. A broad view of factory farming includes practices thatforce adaptations(often through breeding) that increase the "productivity"of animal farming.Such increases in productivity are invariably achieved atthe expense ofincreased suffering of the animals concerned. Thisbroader view definitelyincludes cattle, both that raised for meat and for dairyproduction. Veal production is paradigmatic factory farming. DavidCowles-Hamardescribes it as follows: "Veal calves are kept inisolation in 5x2 cratesin which they are unable even to turn around. They arekept in darkness muchof the time. They are given no bedding (in case they tryto eat it) and arefed only a liquid diet devoid of iron and fiber to keeptheir flesh anemicand pale. After 3-5 months they are slaughtered." Dairy farming also qualifies as factory-farming. Hereare some salientfacts: * Calves are taken away at 1-3 days causing terribledistress to both the cows and the calves; many calves go for vealproduction. * Over 170,000 calves die each year due to poorhusbandry and appalling treatment at markets. * Cows are milked for 10 months and produce 10 timesthe milk a calf would take naturally. Mastitis (udder inflammation)frequently results. * Cows are fed a high-protein diet to increase yield;often even this is not enough and the cow is forced to break down bodytissues, leading to acidosis and consequent lameness. About 25percent of cows are afflicted. * At about 5 years of age, the cow is spent and
exhausted and is slaughtered. The normal life span is about 20years. Finally, we cannot accept that even if it were notpossible to factory-farmcattle, that therefore it is morally acceptable to killand eat them. DavidCowles-Hamar puts it this way: "The suggestion thatanimals should pay fortheir freedom with their lives is moral nonsense." DGSEE ALSO: #14, #48-#49-----------------------#51 But isnt it true that cows wont produce milk (orchickens lay eggs) if they are not content?----------------------- This is simply untrue. Lactation is a physiologicalresponse thatfollows giving birth. The cow cannot avoid giving milkany more thanshe can avoid producing urine. The same is true ofchickens and egg-laying;the egg output is manipulated to a high level byselective breeding,carefully regulated conditions that simulate a continuoussummer season,and a carefully controlled diet. To drive this point home further, consider that overthe last fivedecades, the conditions for egg-laying chickens havebecome increasinglyunnatural and confining (see question #49), yet the eggoutput has increasedmany times over. Chickens will even continue to lay whenseverely injured;they simply cannot help it. DGSEE ALSO: #49, #52, #55-----------------------#52 Dont hens lay unfertilized eggs that wouldotherwise be wasted?----------------------- Yes, but that is no justification for imposing barbaricand cruel regimeson them designed to artificially boost their eggproduction. If thequestioner is wondering if it is OK to use eggs left byfree-range chickens"to go cold", then the answer from the AR side is thatfree-range eggproduction is not so idyllic as one might like to think
(see question #55).Also, such a source of eggs can satisfy only a tinyfraction of the demand. DGSEE ALSO: #49, #51, #55-----------------------#53 But isnt it true that the animals have never knownanything better?----------------------- If someone bred a race of humans for slavery, would youaccept theirexcuse that the slaves have never known anything better?The point is thatthere IS something better, and they are being deprived ofit. DG Not having known anything better does not alleviate thesuffering of theanimal. Its fundamental desires remain and it is thefrustration of thosedesires that is a great part of its suffering. There areso many examples:the dairy cow who is never allowed to raise her young,the battery hen whocan never walk or stretch her wings, the sow who cannever build a nest orroot for food in the forest litter, etc. Eventually wefrustrate the animalsmost fundamental desire of all--to live. David Cowles-Hamar-----------------------#54 Dont farmers know better than city-dwelling peopleabout how to treat animals?----------------------- This view is often put forward by farmers (and theirfamily members).Typically they claim that, by virtue of proximity totheir farmed animals,they possess some special knowledge. When pressed topresent thisknowledge, and to show how it can justify theirexploitation of animalsor discount the animals pain and suffering, only thetired argumentsaddressed in this FAQ come forth. In short, there is no"special knowledge". One should also remember that those farmers who exploitanimals have astrong vested interest in the continuance of theirpractices. Would oneassert that a logger knows best about how the forestsshould be treated?
Technically, this argument is an instance of the"genetic fallacy". Ideasshould be evaluated on their own terms, not by referenceto the originators. DG-----------------------#55 Cant we just eat free-range products?----------------------- The term "free-range" is used to indicate a productionmethod in which theanimals are (allegedly) not factory-farmed but, instead,are provided withconditions that allow them to fully express their naturalbehavior. Somepeople feel that free-range products are thus ethicallyacceptable. Thereare two cases to be considered: first, the case where thefree-range animalitself is slaughtered for use, and second, the case wherethe free-rangeanimal provides a product (typically, hens providingeggs, or cows providingmilk). Common to both cases is a problem withmisrepresentation of conditions as"free-range". Much of what passes for free-range ishardly any better thanstandard factory-farming; a visit to a large "free-rangeegg farm" makesthat obvious (and see MTs comments below). Nutritionally, free-range products are no better thantheir factory-farmedequivalents, which are wholly or partly responsible for alist of diseases aslong as your arm. For the case of free-range animals slaughtered for use,we must ask whyshould a free-range animal be any more deserving of anunnecessary death thanany other animal? Throughout this FAQ, we have arguedthat animals have aright to live free from human brutality. Our brutalitycannot be excused byour provision of a short happy life. David Cowles-Hamarputs it this way:"The suggestion that animals should pay for their freedomwith their livesis moral nonsense." Another thing to think about is thecouple describedat the end of question #13. Their babies are free-range,so its OK toeat them, right? For the case of products from free-range animals, wecan identify at leastfour problems: 1) it remains an inefficient use of foodresources, 2) it isstill environmentally damaging, 3) animals are killed off
as soon as theybecome "unproductive", and 4) the animals must bereplaced; the nonproductivemales are killed or go to factory farms (the worstinstance of this is thefate of male calves born to dairy cows; many go for vealproduction). BRO Whats wrong with free-range eggs? To get laying hensyou must havefertile eggs and half of the eggs will hatch into malechicks. These arekilled at once (by gassing, crushing, suffocation,decompression, ordrowning), or raised as "table birds" (usually in broilerhouses) andslaughtered as soon as they reach an economic weight. So,for everyfree-range hen scratching around the garden or farm (who,if she were able tobargain, might pay rent with her daily infertile egg), acorresponding malefrom her batch is enduring life in a broiler house or hasalready beensubjected to slaughter or thrown away to die. Every yearin Britain alone,more than 35 million day-old male chicks are killed. Theyare mainly used forfertilizer or dumped in landfill sites. The hens are slaughtered as soon as their productiondrops (usually aftertwo years; their natural life span is 5-7 years). Also,be aware that manysites classified as free-range arent really free-range;they are justmassive barns with access to the outside. Since the foodand light areinside, the hens rarely venture outside. MTSEE ALSO: #13, #49-#50, #52-----------------------#56 Anything wrong with honey?----------------------- Bees are often killed in the production of honey, inthe worst case thewhole hive may be destroyed if the keeper doesnt wish toprotect them overthe winter. Not all beekeepers do this, but the generalpractice is one thatembodies the attitude that living things are merematerial and have nointrinsic value of their own other than what commercialvalue we can wrenchfrom them. Artificial insemination involving death of themale is now also
the norm for generation of new queen bees. The favoredmethod of obtainingbee sperm is by pulling off the insects head(decapitation sends anelectrical impulse to the nervous system which causessexual arousal). Thelower half of the headless bee is then squeezed to makeit ejaculate. Theresulting liquid is collected in a hypodermic syringe. MTSEE ALSO: #22, #39-#41-----------------------#57 Dont crop harvest techniques and transportation,etc., lead to the death of animals?----------------------- The questioners probable follow-up is to assert thatsince we performactions that result in the death of animals for producingcrops, a form offood, we should therefore not condemn actions (i.e.,raising and slaughter)that result in the death of animals for producing meat,another form offood. How do we confront this argument? It is clear that incidental (or accidental, unintended)deaths of animalsresult from crop agriculture. It is equally clear thatintentional deaths ofanimals result from animal agriculture. Our acceptance ofacts that lead toincidental deaths does not require the acceptance of actsthat lead tointentional deaths. (A possible measure of intentionalityis to ask if thesuccess of the enterprise is measured by the extent ofthe result. In ourcase, the success of crop agriculture is not measured bythe number ofaccidental deaths; in animal agriculture, conversely, thesuccess of theenterprise is directly measured by the number of animalsproduced forslaughter and consumption.) Having shown that the movement from incidental tointentional is notjustified, we can still ask what justifies evenincidental deaths. We mustrealize that the question does not bear on Animal Rightsspecifically, butapplies to morality generally. The answer, stripped toits essentials, isthat the rights of innocents can be overridden in certaincircumstances.If rights are genuinely in conflict, a reasonableprinciple is to violate
the rights of the fewest. Nevertheless, when such an overriding of the rights ofinnocents isdone, there is a responsibility to ensure that the harmis minimized.Certainly, crop agriculture is preferable to animalagriculture in thisregard. In the latter case, we have the added incidentalharm due tothe much greater amount of crops needed to produceanimals (versus feedingthe crops directly to people), AND the intentional deathsof the producedanimals themselves. Finally, many argue for organic and more labor-intensive methods of cropagriculture that reduce incidental deaths. As one wagputs it, we have aresponsibility to survive, but we can also surviveresponsibly! DGSEE ALSO: #58-#59-----------------------#58 Modern agriculture requires us to push animals offland to convert it to crops; isnt this a violation of the animalsrights?----------------------- Pushing animals off their habitats to pursueagriculture is a lessserious instance of the actions discussed in question#57, which deals withanimal death as a result of agriculture. Refer to thatquestion forrelevant discussion. An abiding theme is that vegetarianism versus meateating, and cropagriculture versus animal agriculture, tend to minimizethe amount ofsuffering. For example, more acreage is required tosupport animalproduction than to support crop production (for the samenutritionalcapability). Thus, animal production encroaches more onwildlife than doescrop agriculture. We cannot eliminate our adverseeffects, but we cantry to minimize them. DGSEE ALSO: #57, #59-----------------------#59 Dont farmers have to kill pests?-----------------------
We could simply say that less pests are killed on avegetarian diet andthat killing is not even necessary for pest management,but because theissue is interesting, we answer more fully! This question is similar to question #57 in that thequestioners likelyfollow-up is to ask why it is acceptable to kill pestsfor food but not tokill animals for food. It differs from question #57 inthat the defensethat the killing is incidental is not available becausepests are killedintentionally. We can respond to this argument in twoways. First, we canargue that the killing is justifiable, and second, we canargue that itis not necessary and should be avoided. Lets look atthese in turn. Our moral systems typically allow for exceptions to therequirement thatwe not harm others. One major exception is for self-defense. If we arethreatened, we have the right to use force to resist thethreat. To theextent that pests are a threat to our food supplies, ourhabitats, orour health, we are justified in defending ourselves. Wehave theresponsibility to use appropriate force, but sometimesthis requiresaction fatal to the threatening creatures. Even if the killing of pests is seen as wrong despitethe self-defenseargument, we can argue that crop agriculture should bepreferred overanimal agriculture because it involves the minimizationof the requiredkilling of pests (for reasons described in question #57). Possibly overshadowing these moral arguments, however,is the argument thatthe use of pesticides, synthetic fertilizers, andherbicides is not onlynot necessary but extremely damaging to the planet, andshould thereforebe avoided. Let us first look at the issue of necessity,followed by theissue of environmental damage. David Cowles-Hamar writes: "For thousands of years,peoples all over theworld have used farming methods based on naturalecosystems where potentialpest populations are self-regulating. These ideas are nowbeing exploredin organic farming and permaculture." Michael W. Foxwrites: "Integratedpest management and better conservation of wildernessareas around crop landsin order to provide natural predators for crop pests are
more ecologicallysensible alternatives to the continuous use ofpesticides." The point isthat there are effective alternatives to the agrichemicaltreadmill. In addition to the agricultural methods describedabove, many pestproblems can be prevented, certainly the most effectiveapproach. Forexample, some major pest threats are the result ofaccidental or intentionalhuman introduction of animals into a habitat. We need tobe more carefulin this regard. Another example is the use ofrodenticides. More effectiveand less harmful to the environment would be an approachthat relies onmaintenance of clean conditions, plugging of entry holes,and nonlethaltrapping followed by release into the wild. The effects of the intensive use of agrichemicals onthe environment arevery serious. It results in nation-wide ground waterpollution. It resultsin the deaths of beneficial non-target species. Thedevelopment ofresistant strains requires the use of stronger chemicalswith resultingmore serious effects on the environment. Agrichemicalsare generally morehighly concentrated in animal products than invegetables. It is thusenlightened self-interest to eschew animal consumption! Organic farming and related methods eschewagrichemicals in favor ofnatural, sustainable methods. DGSEE ALSO: #57-#58-------------------------LEATHER, FUR, AND FASHION------------------------------------------------#60 What is wrong with leather and how can we do withoutit?----------------------- Most leather goods are made from the byproducts of theslaughterhouse, andsome is purpose-made, i.e., the animal is grown andslaughtered purely forits skin. So, by buying leather products, you will becontributing to theprofits of these establishments and augmenting theeconomic demand forslaughter.
The Nov/Dec 1991 issue of the Vegetarian Journal hasthis to say aboutleather: "Environmentally turning animal hides intoleather is an energyintensive and polluting practice. Production of leatherbasically involvessoaking (beamhouse), tanning, dyeing, drying, andfinishing. Over 95 percentof all leather produced in the U.S. is chrome-tanned. Theeffluent that mustbe treated is primarily related to the beamhouse andtanning operations. Themost difficult to treat is effluent from the tanningprocess. All wastescontaining chromium are considered hazardous by the U.S.EnvironmentalProtection Agency (EPA). Many other pollutants involvedin the processingof leather are associated with environmental and healthrisks. In terms ofdisposal, one would think that leather products would bebiodegradable, butthe primary function for a tanning agent is to stabilizethe collagen orprotein fibers so that they are no longer biodegradable." MT For alternatives to leather, consult the excellentLeather Alternatives FAQmaintained by Tom Swiss (email@example.com). DG-----------------------#61 I can accept that trapping is inhumane, but whatabout fur ranches?----------------------- Leaving aside the raw fact that the animals mustsacrifice theirlives for human vanity, we are left with many objectionsto fur ranching. A common misconception about fur "ranches" is that theanimals do notsuffer. This is entirely untrue. These animals suffer alife of miseryand frustration, deprived of their most basic needs. Theyare kept inwire-mesh cages that are tiny, overcrowded, and filthy.Here they aremalnourished, suffer contagious diseases, and enduresevere stress. On these farms, the animals are forced to forfeit theirnaturalinstincts. Beavers, who live in water in the wild, mustexist on cementfloors. Minks in the wild, too, spend much of their timein water,which keeps their salivation, respiration, and bodytemperature
stable. They are also, by nature, solitary animals.However, on thesefarms, they are forced to live in close contact withother animals.This often leads to self-destructive behavior, such aspelt and tailbiting. They often resort to cannibalism. The methods used on these farms reflect not theinterests and welfareof the animals but the furriers primary interest--profit. The end ofthe suffering of these animals comes only with death,which, in orderto preserve the quality of the fur, is inflicted withextreme crueltyand brutality. Engine exhaust is often pumped into a boxof animals.This exhaust is not always lethal, and the animalssometimes writhe inpain as they are skinned alive. Another common executionpractice,often used on larger animals, is anal electrocution. Thefarmers attachclamps to an animals lips and insert metal rods into itsanus. Theanimal is then electrocuted. Decompression chambers,neck snapping,and poison are also used. The raising of animals by humans to serve a specificpurpose cannotdiscount or excuse the lifetime of pain and sufferingthat theseanimals endure. JLS Cruelty is one fashion statement we can all do without. Rue McClanahan (actress) The recklessness with which we sacrifice our sense ofdecency tomaximize profit in the factory farming process sets apattern for crueltyto our own kind. Jonathan Kozol (author)SEE ALSO: #12, #14, #48-#49-----------------------#62 Anything wrong with wool, silk, down?----------------------- Whats wrong with wool? Scientists over the years havebred a Merino sheepwhich is exaggeratedly wrinkled. The more wrinkles, themore wool.Unfortunately, greater profits are rarely in the sheepsbest interests. InAustralia, more wrinkles mean more perspiration andgreater susceptibility to
fly-strike, a ghastly condition resulting from maggotinfestation in thesweaty folds of the sheeps over-wrinkled skin. Tocounteract this, farmersperform an operation without anesthetic called"mulesing", in which sectionsof flesh around the anus are sliced away, leaving apainful, bloody wound. Without human interference, sheep would grow justenough wool to protectthem from the weather, but scientific breeding techniqueshave ensured thatthese animals have become wool-producing monstrosities. Their unnatural overload of wool (often half their bodyweight) bringsadded misery during summer months when they often diefrom heat exhaustion.Also, one million sheep die in Australia alone each yearfrom exposure tocold after shearing. Every year, in Australia alone, about ten million lambsdie before theyare more than a few days old. This is due largely tounmanageable numbers ofsheep and inadequate stockpersons. Of UK wool, 27 percent is "skin wool", pulled from theskins of slaughteredsheep and lambs. Whats wrong with silk? It is the practice to boil thecocoons that stillcontain the living moth larvae in order to obtain thesilk. This produceslonger silk threads than if the moth was allowed toemerge. The silkworm cancertainly feel pain and will recoil and writhe wheninjured. Whats wrong with down? The process of live-plucking iswidespread. Theterrified birds are lifted by their necks, with theirlegs tied, and thenhave all their body feathers ripped out. The strugglinggeese sustaininjuries and after their ordeal are thrown back to jointheir fellow victimsuntil their turn comes round again. This torture, whichhas been described as"extremely cruel" by veterinary surgeons, and even geesebreeders, beginswhen the geese are only eight weeks old. It is thenrepeated at eight-weekintervals for two or three more sessions. The birds arethen slaughtered. The "lucky" birds are plucked dead, i.e., they arekilled first and thenplucked. MT-------------------
HUNTING AND FISHING------------------------------------------#63 Humans are natural hunter/gatherers; arent youtrying to repress natural human behavior?----------------------- Yes. Failing to repress certain "natural behaviors"would create anuncivilized society. Consider this: It would be anexpression of naturalbehavior to hunt anything that moves (e.g., my neighborsdogs or horses)and to gather anything I desire (e.g., my employersmoney or furniture).It would even be natural behavior to indulge inunrestrained sexualappetites or to injure a person in a fit of rage orjealousy. In a civilized society, we restrain our naturalimpulses by two codes:the written law of the land, and the unwritten law ofmorality. And thisalso applies to hunting. It is unlawful in many placesand at many times,and the majority of Americans regard sport hunting asimmoral. DVH Many would question the supposition that humans arenatural hunters.In many societies, the people live quite happily withouthunting. Inour own society, the majority do not hunt, not becausethey are repressingtheir nature--they simply have no desire to do so. Thosethat do hunt oftenshow internal conflicts about it, as evidenced by themyths and ritualsthat serve to legitimize hunting, cleanse the hunter,etc. This suggeststhat hunting is not natural, but actually goes against adeeper part ofour nature, a desire not to do harm. BL The squirrel that you kill in jest, dies in earnest. Henry David Thoreau(essayist and poet)SEE ALSO: #37, #64-#67-----------------------#64 The world is made up of predators and prey; arentwe just another predator?-----------------------
No. Our behavior is far worse than that of "justanother predator". Wekill others not just for nourishment but also for sport(recreation!), forthe satisfaction of our curiosity, for fashion, forentertainment, forcomfort, and for convenience. We also kill each other bythe millions forterritory, wealth, and power. We often torture andtorment others beforekilling them. We conduct wholesale slaughter of vastproportions, on landand in the oceans. No other species behaves in acomparable manner, andonly humans are destroying the balance of nature. At the same time, our killing of nonhuman animals isunnecessary, whereasnonhuman predators kill and consume only what isnecessary for theirsurvival. They have no choice: kill or starve. The one thing that really separates us from the otheranimals is ourmoral capacity, and that has the potential to elevate usabove the statusof "just another predator". Nonhumans lack this capacity,so we shouldntlook to them for moral inspiration and guidance. DVHSEE ALSO: #37, #63, #67-----------------------#65 Doesnt hunting control wildlife populations thatwould otherwise get out of hand?----------------------- Hunters often assert that their practices benefit theirvictims. Avariation on the theme is their common assertion thattheir actions keeppopulations in check so that animals do not die ofstarvation ("a cleanbullet in the brain is preferable to a slow death bystarvation"). Followingare some facts and questions about hunting and "wildlifemanagement" thatreveal what is really happening. Game animals, such as deer, are physiologically adaptedto cope withseasonal food shortages. It is the young that bear thebrunt of starvation.Among adults, elderly and sick animals also starve. Butthe hunters do notseek out and kill only these animals at risk ofstarvation; rather, they seekthe strongest and most beautiful animals (for maximummeat or trophy
potential). The hunters thus recruit the forces ofnatural selection againstthe species that they claim to be defending. The hunters restrict their activities to only thosespecies that areattractive for their meat or trophy potential. If thehunters were trulyconcerned with protecting species from starvation, why dothey not performtheir "service" for the skunk, or the field mouse? Andwhy is hunting notlimited to times when starvation occurs, if hunting hasas a goal theprevention of starvation? (The reason that deer arenthunted in early springor late winter--when starvation occurs--is that thecarcasses would containless fat, and hence, be far less desirable to meatconsumers. Also, huntingthen would be unpopular to hunters due to the snow, mud,and insects.) So-called "game management" policies are actuallyprograms designedto eliminate predators of the game species and toartificially provideadditional habitat and resources for the game species.Why are these predatorspecies eliminated when they would provide a natural andecologically soundmechanism for controlling the population of game species?Why are suchactivities as burning, clear-cutting, chemicaldefoliation, flooding, andbulldozing employed to increase the populations of gameanimals, if huntinghas as its goal the reduction of populations to preventstarvation? The truthis that the management agencies actually try to attain amaximum sustainableyield, or harvest, of game animals. The wildlife managers and hunters preferentially killmale animals, apolicy designed to keep populations high. Ifoverpopulation were really aconcern, they would preferentially kill females. Another common practice that belies the claim thatwildlife management hasas a goal the reduction of populations to preventstarvation is the practiceof game stocking. For example, in the state of New Yorkthe Department ofEnvironmental Conservation obtains pheasants raised incaptivity and thenreleases them in areas frequented by hunters. For every animal killed by a hunter, two are seriouslyinjured and leftto die a slow death. Given these statistics, it is clearthat hunting failseven in its proclaimed goal--the reduction of suffering.
The species targeted by hunters, both the game animalsand their predators,have survived in balance for millions of years, yet nowwildlife managersand hunters insist they need to be "managed". Thelegitimate task of wildlifemanagement should be to preserve viable, natural wildlifepopulations andecosystems. In addition to the animal toll, hunters kill hundredsof human beingsevery year. Finally, there is an ethical argument to consider.Thousands of humanbeings die from starvation each and every day. Should weassume that thereader will one day be one of them, and dispatch himstraight away?Definitely not. AR ethics asserts that this sameconsideration should beaccorded to the deer. DG Unless hunting is part of a controlled culling process,it is unlikely tobe of benefit in any population maintenance. The numberand distribution ofanimals slaughtered is unrelated to any perceivedmaldistribution of species,but is more closely related to the predilections of thehunters. Indeed, hunting, whether for "pleasure" or profit, hasa history moreclosely associated with bringing animals close to, orinto, extinction, ratherthan protecting from overpopulation. Examples include thebuffalo and thepassenger pigeon. With the advent of modern "wildlifemanagement", we seea transition to systems designed to artificially increasethe populationsof certain species to sustain a yield or harvest forhunters. The need for population control of animals generallyarises either from theintroduction of species that have become pests or fromindigenous animalsthat are competing for resources (such as the kangaroo,which competes withsheep and cattle). These imbalances usually have a humanbase. It is moreappropriate to examine our resource uses andrequirements, and to act moreresponsibly in our relationship with the environment,than to seek a"solution" to self-created problems through the morallydubious practice ofhunting. JK
...the American public is footing the bill forpredator-control programsthat cause the systematic slaughter of refuge animals.Raccoons and red fox,squirrel and skunks are but a few of the many egg-eatingpredators trappedand destroyed in the name of "wildlife managementprograms". Sea gulls areshot, fox pups poisoned, and coyotes killed by aerialgunners in low-flyingaircraft. This wholesale destruction is taking place onthe only Federallands set aside to protect Americas wildlife! Humane Society of theUnited States The creed of maximum sustainable yield unmasks therhetoric about "humaneservice" to animals. It must be a perverse distortion ofthe ideal of humaneservice to accept or engage in practices the explicitgoal of which is toinsure that there will be a larger, rather than asmaller, number of animalsto kill! With "humane friends" like that, wild animalscertainly do not needany enemies. Tom Regan (philosopher andAR activist) The real cure for our environmental problems is tounderstand that our jobis to salvage Mother Nature...We are facing a formidableenemy in thisfield. It is the hunters...and to convince them to leavetheir guns on thewall is going to be very difficult. Jacques Cousteau(oceanographer)SEE ALSO: #66------------------------------#66 Arent hunting fees the major source of revenue forwildlife management and habitat restoration?------------------------------ We have seen in question #65 that practices describedas "wildlifemanagement" are actually designed to increase thepopulations of game speciesdesirable to hunters. Viewed in this light, theconnection between huntingfees and the wildlife agencies looks more like anincestuous relationshipthan a constructive one designed to protect the generalpublics interests.
Following are some more facts of interest in this regard. Only 7 percent of the population hunt, yet all pay viataxation for huntingprograms and services. Licenses account for only afraction of the cost ofhunting programs at the national level. For example, theUS Fish and WildlifeService programs get up to 90 percent of their revenuesfrom general taxrevenues. At the state level, hunting fees make up thelargest part, and asignificant part is obtained from Federal funds obtainedfrom excise taxes onguns and ammunition. These funds are distributed to thestates based on thenumber of hunters in the state! It is easy to see, then,how the programs aredesigned to appease and satisfy hunters. It is important to remember that state game officialsare appointed, notelected, and their salaries are paid through the purchaseof hunting fees.This ensures that these officials regard the hunters astheir constituents.David Favre, Professor of Wildlife Law at the DetroitCollege of Law,describes the situation as follows: The primary question asked by many within thesespecial [state] agencies would be something like, "How do we provide the besthunting experience for the hunters of our state?" The literature isreplete with surveys of hunter desires and preferences in an attempt to servethese constituents. ...Three factors support the status quo within theagency. First, as with most bureaucracies, individuals are hesitant toquestion their own on-going programs...Second, besides the normalbureaucratics, most state game agencies have a substantial group of individualswho are strong advocates for the hunters of the state. They are notneutral but very supportive of the hunting ethic and would not beexpected to raise broader questions. Finally, and in many ways mostimportantly, is the funding mechanism...Since a large proportion of the fundswhich run the department and pay the salaries are from hunters and fishermen,there is a strong tendency for the agency to consider itself not asrepresenting and working for the general public but that they need only servetheir financial sponsors, the hunters and fishermen of the state. If
your financial support is dependent on the activity of hunting,obviously very few are going to question the ecological or ethical problemstherewith. Many would argue that these funding arrangementsconstitute a prostitutionof the public lands for the benefit of the few. We canenvision possiblealternatives to these arrangements. Other users of parksand naturalresources, such as hikers, bird watchers, wildlifeenthusiasts, eco-tourists,etc., can provide access to funds necessary for realhabitat restoration andwildlife management, not the perverted brand that catersto the desires ofhunters. As far as acquisition and protection of land isconcerned,organizations such as the Nature Conservancy play animportant role. Theycan do much more with even a fraction of the fundingcurrently earmarked tosubsidize hunting ($500 million per year). DG/JKSEE ALSO: #65-----------------------#67 Isnt hunting OK as long as we eat what we kill?----------------------- Some vegetarians accept that where farmers or smalllandholders breed,maintain, and then kill their own livestock there is anargument for theireating that meat. There would need, at all stages, to bea humane life anddeath involved. Hunting seems not to fit within thisargument because thekill is often not "clean", and the hunter has not had anyinvolvement in thebirth and growth of the animal. As the arguments in the FAQ demonstrate, however, thereis a wider contextin which these actions have to be considered. Animals aresentient creatureswho share many of our characteristics. The question isnot only whether it isacceptable to eat an animal (which we perhaps hunted andkilled), but if itis an appropriate action to take--stalking and murderinganother animal,or eating the product of someone elses killing. Is it aproper action fora supposedly rational and ethical man or woman? JK
This question reminds one of question #12, where it issuggested thatkilling and eating an animal is justified because theanimal is raised forthat purpose. The process leading up to the eating isused to justify theeating. In this question, the eating is used to justifythe process leadingup to it. Both attempts are totally illogical. Imaginetelling the police notto worry that you have just stalked and killed a personbecause you ate theperson! DGSEE ALSO: #12, #21, #63-#64-----------------------#68 Fish are dumb like insects; whats wrong withfishing?----------------------- Fish are not "dumb" except in the sense that they areunable to speak.They have a complex nervous system based around a brainand spinal cordsimilar to other vertebrates. They are not as intelligentas humans interms of functioning in our social and physicalenvironment, but they arevery successful and effective in their own environment.Behavioral studiesindicate that they exhibit complex forms of learning,such as operantconditioning, serial reversal learning, probabilitylearning, and avoidancelearning. Many authorities doubt that there is asignificant qualitativedifference between learning in fishes and that in rats. Many people who fish talk about the challenge offishing, and the contestbetween themselves and the fish (on a one-to-one basis,not in relation totrawling or other net fishing). This implies an awarenessand intelligencein the hunted of a level at least sufficient to challengethe hunter. The death inflicted by fishing--a slow asphyxiationeither in a net orafter an extended period fighting against a barbed hookwedged somewherein their head--is painful and distressing to a sentientanimal. Those thatdoubt that fish feel pain must explain why it is thattheir brains containendogenous opiates and receptors for them; these areaccepted as mechanismsfor the attenuation of pain in other vertebrates. JK
Some people believe that it is OK to catch fish as longas they arereturned to the water. But, when you think about it, itsas if one isplaying with the fish. Also, handling the fish wipes offan importantdisease-fighting coating on their scales. The hook can beswallowed, leadingto serious complications, and even if it isnt, pullingit out of their mouthleaves a lesion that is open to infection. JSDSEE ALSO: #22, #39-------------------------ANIMALS FOR ENTERTAINMENT------------------------------------------------#69 Dont zoos contribute to the saving of species fromextinction?----------------------- Zoos often claim that they are "arks", which canpreserve species whosehabitat has been destroyed, or which were wiped out inthe wild for otherreasons (such as hunting). They suggest that they canmaintain the speciesin captivity until the cause of the creaturesextirpation is remedied, andthen successfully reintroduce the animals to the wild,resulting in a healthy,self-sustaining population. Zoos often defend theirexistence againstchallenges from the AR movement on these grounds. There are several problems with this argument, however.First, the numberof animals required to maintain a viable gene pool can bequite high, and isnever known for certain. If the captive gene pool is toosmall, theninbreeding can result in increased susceptibility todisease, birth defects,and mutations; the species can be so weakened that itwould never be viablein the wild. Some species are extremely difficult to breed incaptivity: marine mammals,many bird species, and so on. Pandas, which have been thesustained focus ofcaptive breeding efforts for several decades in zoosaround the world, arenotoriously difficult to breed in captivity. With suchspecies, the zoos,by taking animals from the wild to supply their breeding
programs, constitutea net drain on wild populations. The whole concept of habitat restoration is mired inserious difficulties.Animals threatened by poaching (elephants, rhinos,pandas, bears and more)will never be safe in the wild as long as firearms,material needs, and awillingness to consume animal parts coincide. Speciesthreatened by chemicalcontamination (such as bird species vulnerable topesticides and lead shot)will not be candidates for release until we stop usingthe offendingsubstances, and enough time has passed for the toxins tobe processed out ofthe environment. Since heavy metals and some pesticidesare both persistentand bioaccumulative, this could mean decades or centuriesbefore it is safeto reintroduce the animals. Even if these problems can be overcome, there are stilldifficulties withthe process of reintroduction. Problems such as humanimprinting, the need toteach animals to fly, hunt, build dens, and raise theiryoung are seriousobstacles, and must be solved individually for eachspecies. There is a small limit to the number of species theglobal network of zooscan preserve under even the most optimistic assumptions.Profound constraintsare imposed by the lack of space in zoos, their limitedfinancial resources,and the requirement that viable gene pools of eachspecies be preserved. Fewzoos, for instance, ever keep more than two individualsof large mammalspecies. The need to preserve scores or hundreds of aparticular specieswould be beyond the resources of even the largest zoos,and even the wholeworld zoo community would be hard-pressed to preserveeven a few dozenspecies in this manner. Contrast this with the efficiency of large habitatpreserves, which canmaintain viable populations of whole complexes of specieswith minimal humanintervention. Large preserves maintain every species inthe ecosystem in apredominantly self-sufficient manner, while keeping thecreatures in thenatural habitat unmolested. If the financial resources(both government andcharitable), and the biological expertise currentlyconsumed by zoos, wereredirected to habitat preservation and management, we
would have far fewerworries about habitat restoration or preserving specieswhose habitat is gone. Choosing zoos as a means for species preservation, inaddition to beingexpensive and of dubious effectiveness, has seriousethical problems. Keepinganimals in zoos harms them, by denying them freedom ofmovement andassociation, which is important to social animals, andfrustrates many oftheir natural behavioral patterns, leaving them at leastbored, and at worstseriously neurotic. While humans may feel there is somejustifying benefitto their captivity (that the species is being preserved,and may somedaybe reintroduced into the wild), this is no compensatingbenefit to theindividual animals. Attempts to preserve species by meansof captivity havebeen described as sacrificing the individual gorilla tothe abstract Gorilla(i.e., to the abstract conception of the gorilla). JE-----------------------#70 Dont animals live longer in zoos than they would inthe wild?----------------------- In some cases, this is true. But it is irrelevant.Suppose a zoo decidesto exhibit human beings. They snatch a peasant from aless-developed countryand put her on display. Due to the regular feedings andhealth care that thezoo provides, the peasant will live longer in captivity.Is this practiceacceptable? A tradeoff of quantity of life versus quality of lifeis not always decidedin favor of quantity. DG-----------------------#71 How will people see wild animals and learn aboutthem without zoos?----------------------- To gain true and complete knowledge of wild animals,one must observethem in their natural habitats. The conditions underwhich animals arekept in zoos typically distorts their behaviorsignificantly. There are several practical alternatives to zoos foreducationalpurposes. There are many nature documentaries shown
regularly ontelevision as well as available on video cassettes.Specials on publictelevision networks, as well as several cable channels,such as TheDiscovery Channel, provide accurate information onanimals in theirnatural habitats. Magazines such as National Geographicprovidesuperb illustrated articles, as well. And, of course,public librariesare a gold-mine of information. Zoos often mistreat animals, keeping them in small pensor cages.This is unfair and cruel. The natural instincts andbehavior of theseanimals are suppressed by force. How can anyone observewild animalsunder such circumstances and believe that one has beeneducated? JLS All good things are wild, and free. Henry David Thoreau(essayist and poet)SEE ALSO: #69-#70-----------------------#72 What is wrong with circuses and rodeos?----------------------- To treat animals as objects for our amusement is totreat them withoutthe respect they deserve. When we degrade the mostintelligent fellowmammals in this way, we act as our ancestors acted informer centuries.They knew nothing about the animals intelligence,sensitivities,emotions, and social needs; they saw only brute beasts.To continue suchancient traditions, even if no cruelty were involved,means that we insiston remaining ignorant and insensitive. But the cruelty does exist and is inherent in thesespectacles. Inrodeos, there is no show unless the animal is frightenedor in pain. Incircuses, animals suffer most before and after the show.They endurepunishment during training and are subjected to physicaland emotionalhardships during transportation. They are forced totravel tens ofthousands of miles each year, often in extreme heat orcold, with tigersliving in cramped cages and elephants chained in filthyrailroad cars. To
the entrepreneurs, animals are merely stock in trade, tobe replaced whenthey are used up. DVH David Cowles-Hamar writes about circuses as follows inhis "The Manualof Animal Rights": Not surprisingly, a considerable amount of"persuasion" is required to achieve these performances, and to this end,circuses employ various techniques. These include deprivation offood, deprivation of company, intimidation, muzzling, drugs, punishmentand reward systems, shackling, whips, electronic goads, sticks,and the noise of guns...Circus animals suffer similar mental andphysical problems to zoo animals, displaying stereotypicalbehavior...Physical symptoms include shackle sores, herpes, liver failure, kidneydisease, and sometimes death...Many of the animals become bothphysically and mentally ill. DG The American rodeo consists of roping, bucking, andsteer wrestlingevents. While the public witnesses only the 8 seconds orso that theanimals perform, there are hundreds of hours ofunsupervised practicesessions. Also, the stress of constant travel, often inimproperlyventilated vehicles, and poor enforcement of properunloading, feeding,and watering of animals during travel contribute to alife of misery forthese animals. As half a riders score is based on the performance ofthe bucking horseor bull, riders encourage a wild ride by tugging on abucking strap thatis squeezed tightly around the animals loins. Electricprods and rakingspurs are also used to stimulate wild behavior. Injuriesrange frombruises and broken bones to paralysis, severed tracheas,and death. Spinalcords of calves can be severed when forced to an abruptstop whiletraveling at 30 mph. The practice of slamming theseanimals to the groundduring these events has caused the rupture of internalorgans, leading to a
slow, agonizing death. Dr. C. G. Haber, a veterinarian with thirty yearsexperience as a meatinspector for the USDA, says: "The rodeo folks send theiranimals to thepacking houses where...I have seen cattle so extensivelybruised that theonly areas in which the skin was attached was the head,neck, legs, andbelly. I have seen animals with six to eight ribs brokenfrom the spineand at times puncturing the lungs. I have seen as much astwo and threegallons of free blood accumulated under the detachedskin." JSD-----------------------#73 But isnt it true that animals are well cared forand wouldnt perform if they werent happy?----------------------- Refer to questions #72 and #74 to see thatentertainment animals aregenerally not well cared for. For centuries people have known that punishment caninduce animals toperform. The criminal justice system is based on thehuman rationality inconnecting the act of a crime or wrongdoing with apunishment. Manyreligions are also based, among other aspects, on a fearof punishment.Fear leads most of us to act correctly, on the whole. The same is true for other animals. Many years ofunnecessary andrepetitive psychology experiments with Skinner boxes(among other gadgets)have demonstrated that animals will learn to do things,or act in certainways (that is, be conditioned) to avoid electric shocksor other punishment. Animals do need to have their basic food requirementsmet, otherwise theysicken and die, but they dont need to be "happy" toperform certain acts;fear or desire for a reward (such as food) will make themdo it. JKSEE ALSO: #14, #51, #72, #74-----------------------#74 What about horse or greyhound racing?----------------------- Racing is an example of human abuse of animals merelyfor entertainment
and pleasure, regardless of the needs or condition of theanimals. Thepleasure derives primarily from gambling on the outcomeof the race. Whilesome punters express an interest in the animal side ofthe equation, mostpeople interested in racing are not interested in theanimals but in betting;attendance at race meetings has fallen dramatically asoff-course bettingoptions became available. While some of the top dogs and horses may be kept ingood conditions, forthe majority of animals, this is not the case. Whileminimum living standardshave to be met, other factors are introduced to gain thebest performances(or in some cases to fix a race by ensuring a loss):drugs, electricalstimuli, whips, etc. While many of these practices areoutlawed (includingdog blooding), there are regular reports of variousillegal techniques beingused. Logic would suggest that where the volume of moneybeing moved aroundis as large as it is in racing, there are hugetemptations to massage theoutcomes. For horses, especially, the track itself poses dangers;falls and fracturesare common in both flat and jump races. Often, lamehorses are doped toallow them to continue to race, with the risk of seriousinjury. And at the end of it all, if the animal is not asuccess, or does notperform as brilliantly as hoped, it is disposed of.Horses are lucky in thatthey occasionally go to a home where they are welltreated and respected, butthe knackery is a common option (a knackery is a purveyorof products derivedfrom worn-out and old livestock). (Recently, a newpractice has come to light:owners of race horses sometimes murder horses that do notreach their"potential", or which are past their "prime", and thenfile fraudulentinsurance claims.) The likely homes for a greyhound arefew and far between. JK Race horses are prone to a disease called exercise-induced pulmonaryhemorrhage (EIPH). It is characterized by the presence ofblood in the lungsand windpipe of the horse following intense exercise. AnAustralian studyfound 42 percent of 1,180 horses to be suffering from
EIPH. A large percentage of race horses suffer from lameness.Fractures of theknee are common, as are ligament sprain, joint sprain,and shin soreness. Steeple chasing is designed to make the horses fallwhich sometimes resultsin the death of the horse either though a broken neck oran "incurable"injury for which the horse is killed by a veterinarian. David Cowles-HamarSEE ALSO: #72-#73-----------------COMPANION ANIMALS----------------------------------------#75 What about keeping pets?----------------------- In a perfect world, all of our efforts would go towardprotecting thehabitats of other species on the planet and we would beable to maintain a"hands off" approach in which we did not take otherspecies into ourfamily units, but allowed them to develop on their own inthe wild. However,we are far from such a Utopia and as responsible humansmust deal with theresults of the domestication of animals. Since manyanimals domesticatedto be pets have been bred but have no homes, most ARsupporters seenothing wrong with having them as companion animals. As amatter of fact,the AR supporter may well provide homes for more unwantedcompanionanimals than does the average person! Similarly, animalsdomesticated foragricultural purposes should be cared for. However, animals in the wild should be left there andnot brought intohomes as companions. A cage in someones house is anunnaturalenvironment for an exotic bird, fish, or mammal. When thenovelty wearsoff, wild pets usually end up at shelters, zoos, orresearch labs. Wildanimals have the right to be treated with respect, andthat includesleaving them in their natural surroundings. LK A loving relationship with a proper companion animal, arelationship
that adequately provides for the animals physical andpsychological needs,is not at all inconsistent with the principles andadvocacy of animal rights. Indeed, animal rights advocates have been leaders indrawing attention tosome of the abuses and neglects of our "beloved" pets.Many of the taken forgranted practices do need to be reexamined and changed.The questions thatanimal rights raises about companion animals areimportant questions: * Can we maintain animals as companions and stillproperly address their needs? Obviously, we cant do this for all animals.For example, keeping birds in cages denies those creatures theircapacity and inherent need to fly. * Is manipulating companion animals for our needs inthe the best interests of the nonhuman animal as well? Taildocking would thus be a practice to condemn in this regard. * Might some of our taken-for-granted practices ofpet keeping be really a form of exploitation? Animals in circuses orpanhandlers using animals on the street to get money from passersbywould arguably be cases of exploitation. * Which attitudes of human caretakers are trulyexpressions of our respect and love towards these animals, and whichmight not be? Exotic breeding is one example of this kind ofabuse, especially when the breeding results in animals that are at agreater risk for certain diseases or biological defects. All that animal rights is really asking is that weconsider more deeplyand authentically the practice at hand and whether or notit truly meetsthe benchmark that BOTH the needs of human AND nonhumananimals beconsidered. TA The following points should be considered whenselecting a companionanimal. Get a companion animal appropriate to your situation--dont keep a big dog
in a flat or small garden. Dont get an animal that willbe keptunnecessarily confined--birds, fish, etc. However, it isa good policy totry to keep cats inside as much as possible, especiallyat night, to protectboth the cat and local wildlife. Get your dog or cat froma local pound oranimal group; thousands of animals are destroyed eachyear by groups such asthe RSPCA. The majority are animals who are lost ordumped. Vicious animalsare not adopted out. By getting an animal from such asource you will besaving its life and reducing the reliance on breeders. Finally, get your companion neutered. There is nobehavioral or biologicalbenefit from being fertile or from having a litter. Andevery pup or kittenthat is produced will need to find a home. JKSEE ALSO: #76-----------------------#76 What about spaying and neutering?----------------------- Ingrid Newkirk writes: "Whats happening to our best friends should neverhappen even to our worst enemies. With an estimated 80 to 100 millioncats and dogs in this country already, 3,000 to 5,000 more puppies andkittens are born every hour in the United States--far more than can everfind good homes. Unwanted animals are dumped at the local pound orabandoned in woods and on city streets, where they suffer fromstarvation, lack of shelter and veterinary care, and abuse. Most die fromdisease, starvation, and mistreatment, or, if theyre lucky are put to sleepforever at an animal shelter." The point is that the practice of neutering and spayingprevents far moresuffering and harm than it imposes on the neutered orspayed animals. Thenet harm is minimized. DGSEE ALSO: #75------------------
LABORATORY ANIMALS-----------------------------------------#77 What is wrong with experimentation on animals?----------------------- The claimed large gains from using animals in researchmakes the practicethe most significant challenge to AR philosophy. While itis easy to dismissmeat production as a trivial indulgence of the tastebuds, such a dismissalis not so easily accomplished for animal research. First, a definition. We refer to as "vivisection" anyuse of animals inscience or research that exploits and harms them. Thisdefinition acknowledgesthat there is some research using animals that is morallyacceptable under ARphilosophy (see question #80). The case against vivisection is built upon threeplanks. They are: PLANK A. Vivisection is immoral and should beabolished. PLANK B. Abolition of vivisection is notantiscience or antiresearch. PLANK C. The consequences of abolition areacceptable. It is easy to misunderstand the AR philosophy regardingvivisection. Often,scientists will debate endlessly about the scientificvalidity of research,and sometimes AR people engage in those debates. Suchissues are part ofPLANK C, which asserts that much research is misleading,wrong, or misguided.However, the key to the AR position is PLANK A, whichasserts an objection tovivisection on ethical grounds. We seek to reassurepeople about the effectsabolition will have on future medical progress via PLANKSB and C. In the material that follows, each piece of text isidentified with apreceding tag such as [PLANK A]. The idea is to show howthe text fragmentsfit into the overall case. There is some overlap betweenPLANKs B and C, sothe assignment may look arbitrary in a few cases. DG[PLANK A] Over 100 million animals are used in experimentsworldwide every year.A few of the more egregious examples of vivisection may
be enlightening forthe uninformed (taken from R. Ryders "Victims ofScience"):* Psychologists gave electric shocks to the feet of1042 mice. They then caused convulsions by giving more intense shocksthrough cup-shaped electrodes applied to the animals eyes orthrough spring clips attached to their ears.* In Japan, starved rats with electrodes in their necksand electrodes in their eyeballs were forced to run in treadmillsfor four hours at a time.* A group of 64 monkeys was addicted to drugs byautomatic injection in their jugular veins. When the supply of drugs wasabruptly withdrawn, some of the monkeys were observed to die inconvulsions. Before dying, some monkeys plucked out all their hair or bit offtheir own fingers and toes. Basic ethical objections to this type of "science" arepresented hereand in questions #79 and #85. Some technical objectionsare found inquestions #78 and #80. Question #92 contains a list ofbooks on vivisection;refer to them for further examples of the excesses ofvivisection, as wellas more detailed discussion of its technical merits. VIVISECTION TREATS ANIMALS AS TOOLS. Vivisectioneffectively reducessentient beings to the status of disposable tools, to beused and discardedfor the benefit of others. This forgets that each animalhas an inherentvalue, a value that does not rise and fall depending onthe interests ofothers. Those doubting this should ponder theimplications of their viewsfor humans: would they support the breeding of humanslaves for the exclusiveuse of experimenters? VIVISECTION IS SPECIESIST. Most animal experimenterswould not usenonconsenting humans in invasive research. In making thisconcession, theyreveal the importance they attach to species membership,a biological linethat is as morally relevant as that of race or gender,that is, not relevantat all.
VIVISECTION DEMEANS SCIENCE. Its barbaric practices arean insult to thosewho feel that science should provide humans with theopportunity to riseabove the harsher laws of nature. The words of Tom Regan summarize the feelings of manyAR activists: "Thelaudatory achievements of science, including the manygenuine benefitsobtained for both humans and animals, do not justify theunjust means usedto secure them. As in other cases, so in the present one,the rights viewdoes not call for the cessation of scientific research.Such researchshould go on--but not at the expense of laboratoryanimals." AECW Atrocities are not less atrocities when they occur inlaboratories andare called medical research. George Bernard Shaw(playwright, Nobel 1925) Vivisection is the blackest of all the black crimesthat a man is atpresent committing against God and his fair creation. Mahatma Gandhi (statesmanand philosopher) What I think about vivisection is that if people admitthat they have theright to take or endanger the life of living beings forthe benefit of many,there will be no limit for their cruelty. Leo Tolstoy (author) I am not interested to know whether vivisectionproduces results thatare profitable to the human race or doesnt...The painwhich it inflictsupon unconsenting animals is the basis of my enmitytoward it, andit is to me sufficient justification of the enmitywithout lookingfurther. Mark Twain (author)SEE ALSO: #78-#82, #85-#86-----------------------#78 Do AR people accept that vivisection has led tovaluable medical advances?-----------------------[PLANK A] AR advocates generally believe that vivisection has
played a contributing,if not necessarily essential, role in some valuablemedical advances.However, AR philosophy asserts that the end does notjustify the means, andthat therefore the answer cannot decide the legitimacy ofthe stance againstvivisection.[PLANK C] That said, many people, including former vivisectorsand medical historians,will readily state that there is ample scientific andhistorical evidenceshowing that most vivisection is futile, and oftenharmful to those itpretends to serve. On statistical grounds, vivisection does not deliver:despite the use of144,000,000 animals in Britain since 1950, life-expectancy in Britain for themiddle-aged has not changed since this date. Some 85percent of the labanimals killed between the 1890s and the 1990s died after1950, but the fallin death rate during these 100 years was 92 percentcomplete by 1950. Consider, for a specific example, these figures forcancer:--------------------------------------------------------- CANCER DEATH RATE PER MILLION MEN IN BRITAIN [FOR THOSE > 100 PER MILLION]---------------------------------------------------------Cancer type 1971-1975 1976-1980 % change---------------------------------------------------------Bladder 118 123 + 4.2Pancreas 118 125 + 5.9Prostate 177 199 + 12.4Stomach 298 278 - 6.7Colorectal 311 320 + 2.9Lung, Trachea, 1091 1125 + 3.1Bronchus...[data for women excised for space reasons]Gains in the war against cancer are sadly lacking,despite the vast numbers ofanimals sacrificed for cancer research. When such analyses are performed across the spectrum ofhealth issues, itbecomes clear that, at best, the contribution ofvivisection to our healthmust be considered quite modest. The dramatic declines indeath rates for oldkiller diseases, such as, tuberculosis, pneumonia,typhoid, whooping cough,and cholera, came from improvements in housing, inworking conditions, in thequantity and quality of food and water supplies, and in
hygiene. Chemotherapyand immunization cannot logically be given much credithere, since they onlybecame available, chronologically, after most of thedeclines were achieved. Consider the particular example of penicillin: it wasdiscoveredaccidentally by Fleming in 1928. He tested on rabbits,and when they failedto react (we now know that they excrete penicillinrapidly), he lost interestin his substance. Still, two scientists followed up onhis work, successfullytried on mice and stated: "...mice were tried in the initial toxicity testsbecause of their small size, but what a lucky chance it was, for in thisrespect man is like the mouse and not the guinea pig. If we had used guineapigs exclusively we should have said that the penicillin was toxic, andwe probably should not have proceeded to try to overcome the difficulties ofproducing the substance for trial in man."Vivisection generally fails because: * Human medicine cannot be based on veterinarymedicine. This is because animals are different histologically, anatomically,genetically, immunologically, and physiologically. * Animals and humans react differently to substances.For example, some drugs are carcinogenic in humans but not inanimals, or vice-versa. * Naturally occurring diseases (e.g., in patients)and artificially induced diseases (e.g., in lab animals) oftendiffer substantially.All this manifests itself in examples such as the onebelow:--------------------------------------------------- SPECIES DIFFERENCE IN TESTS FOR BIRTH DEFECTS---------------------------------------------------Chemical Teratogen (i.e., causes birth defects) ----------------------------------- yes no---------------------------------------------------aspirin rats, mice, monkeys, humans guinea pigs, cats, dogs
aminopterin humans monkeysazathioprine rabbits ratscaffeine rats, mice rabbitscortisone mice, rabbits ratsthalidomide humans rats, mice, hamsterstriamcilanone mice humans--------------------------------------------------- There are countless examples, old and recent, of themisleading effectsof vivisection, and there are countless statements fromreputable scientistswho see vivisection for what it is: bad science.Following are just a few ofthem. AECW The uselessness of most of the animal models is lesswell-known. Forexample, the discovery of chemotherapeutic agents for thetreatment of humancancer is widely heralded as a triumph due to use ofanimal model systems.However, here again, these exaggerated claims are comingfrom or are endorsedby the same people who get the federal dollars for animalresearch. There islittle, if any, factual evidence that would support theseclaims. Indeed whileconflicting animal results have often delayed andhampered advances in the waron cancer, they have never produced a single substantialadvance in theprevention or treatment of human cancer. For instance,practically all of thechemotherapeutic agents which are of value in thetreatment of human cancerwere found in a clinical context rather than in animalstudies. Dr. Irwin Bross 1981 Congressionaltestimony Indeed even while these [clinical] studies werestarting, warning voiceswere suggesting that data from research on animals couldnot be used todevelop a treatment for human tumors. British Medical Journal,1982 Vivisection is barbaric, useless, and a hindrance to
scientific progress. Dr. Werner Hartinger Chief Surgeon, WestGermany, 1988 ...many vivisectors still claim that what they do helpssave human lives.They are lying. The truth is that animal experiments killpeople, and animalresearchers are responsible for the deaths of thousandsof men, women andchildren every year. Dr. Vernon Coleman Fellow of the RoyalSociety of Medicine, UK-----------------------#79 How can you justify losing medical advances thatwould save human lives by stopping vivisection?-----------------------[PLANK A] The same way we justify not performing forcibleresearch on unwillinghumans! A lot of even more relevant information iscurrently foregoneowing to our strictures against human experimentation. Iflife-savingmedical advances are to be sought at all cost, why shouldnonhuman animalsbe singled out for ill-treatment? We must accept thatthere is such athing as "ill-gotten gains", and that the potentialfruits of vivisectionqualify as such. This question might be regarded as a veiled insult tothe creativityand resourcefulness of scientists. Although humans havenever set foot onPluto, scientists have still garnered a lot of valuablescientificinformation concerning it. Why couldnt such feats ofingenuity be repeatedin other fields? AECW[PLANK B] Forcible experimentation on humans is not the onlyalternative. Manyhumans would be glad to participate in experiments thatoffer the hope ofa cure for their afflictions, or for the afflictions ofothers. Ifindividual choice were allowed, there might be no needfor animalexperimentation. The stumbling block is governmentregulations that forbidthese choices. Similarly, government regulations are the
reason manyanimals are sacrificed for product testing, oftenunnecessarily. PMSEE ALSO: #77-#78, #80-#82, #85-#86-----------------------#80 Arent there instances where there are noalternatives to the use of animals?-----------------------[PLANK A] The reply to the question here is succinct: "If so, sowhat?". Let us recallthat we are happy enough (today) to forego knowledge thatwould be acquiredat the expense of commandeering humans into service, andthat we includechildren, the mentally diminished and even peoplesuffering from types ofdisease for which animal models are unsatisfactory (suchas AIDS). That is,a prior ethical decision was made that rules them outfrom experimentation,and that foregoes any potential knowledge so derived. Now the Animal Rights argument is consistent: since nomorally relevantdifference can be produced that separates humans sparedexperimentation fromtest animals (those that are subjects-of-a-life),vivisection is exposed asimmoral, and the practice must be abandoned. Just as the insights offered by the Nazis experimentson concentrationcamp prisoners were morally illicit, so are any and allbenefits traceable tovivisection. As Tom Regan put it: "Since, whatever our gains, they are ill-gotten, wemust bring an end to [such] research, whatever our losses."[PLANK B]The argument above makes the search for alternativesmorally imperative, andif it is objected that this "just isnt possible", oneshould reply thatbelittling the ingenuity of scientists will not do. Therehave been caseswhere alternatives to vivisection had to be sought, and--of course--they werefound. For example, Sharpe writes in The Human Cost ofAnimal Experimentation:"Historically, a classic example is the conquest ofyellow fever. In 1900, noanimal was known to be susceptible, prompting studieswith human volunteers
which proved that mosquitoes did indeed transmit thedisease. Theseobservations led to improved sanitation and quarantinemeasures in Havanawhere yellow fever, once rife, was eradicated."[PLANK C] We now cite a few alternatives to animal models ofhuman diseases. Twotraditional types are: a) Clinical studies: these areessential for athorough understanding of any disease. Anesthetics,artificial respiration,the stethoscope, electrocardiographs, blood pressuremeasurements, etc.,resulted from careful clinical studies. b) Epidemiologystudies: i.e., thestudy of diseases of whole populations. They, and notanimal tests, haveidentified most of the substances known to cause cancerin humans. Typicalexample: Why is cancer of the colon so frequent in Europeand North America,infrequent in Japan, but common in Japanese immigrants toNorth America? More recent technological advances now allow a host ofother investigativemethods to be applied, including: * Tissue cultures: Human cells and tissues can bekept alive in cultures and used for biomedical research. Since humanmaterial is used, extrapolation problems are short-circuited. Suchcultures have been used in cancer research by FDA scientists, forexample, and according to them: "[they] offer the possibility of studyingnot only the biology of cancer cell growth and invasion into normalhuman tissue, but also provide a method for evaluating the effects of avariety of potentially important antitumor agents." * Physico-chemical methods: For example, liquidchromatographs and mass spectrophotometers allow researchers to identifysubstances in biological substances. For example, a bioassay forvitamin D used to involve inducing rickets in rats and feeding themvitamin-D-rich substances. Now, liquid chromatography allows suchbioassays to be conducted quicker and at reduced cost. * Computer simulations: According to Dr. Walker atthe University of
Texas: "... computer simulations offer a wide rangeof advantages over live animal experiments in the physiology andpharmacology laboratory. These include: savings in animal procurement andhousing costs; nearly unlimited availability to meet student schedules;the opportunity to correct errors and repeat parts of the experimentperformed incorrectly or misinterpreted; speed of operation and efficientuse of students time and consistency with knowledge learnedelsewhere." * Computer-aided drug design: Such methods have beenused in cancer and sickle-cell anemia drug research, for example.Here, 3D computer graphics and the theoretical field of quantumpharmacology are combined to help in designing drugs according to requiredspecifications. * Mechanical models: For example, an artificial neckhas been developed by General Motors for use in car-crash simulations.Indeed, the well-known "crash dummies" are much more accurateand effective than the primates previously employed.This list is by no means exhaustive.[PLANK B] There are instances where the benefits ofexperimentation accrue directlyto the individual concerned; for example, the trial of anew plastic heartmay be proposed to someone suffering from heart disease,or a new surgicaltechnique may be attempted to save a nonhuman animal.This may qualify, inthe mind of the questioner, as an instance of use ofanimals. The positionhere is simple: The Animal Rights position does notcondemn experimentationwhere it is conducted for the benefit of the individualpatient. Clinicaltrials of new drugs, for example, often fall in thiscategory, and so doessome veterinary research, such as the clinical study ofalready sick animals.Another example of acceptable animal research isethology, i.e. the studyof animals in their natural habitat. AECW[PLANK B]
Following is a list of alternatives to much, if notall, vivisection: * Cell, tissue, and organ cultures * Clinical observation * Human volunteers (sick and well) * Autopsies * Material from natural deaths * Noninvasive imaging in clinical settings * Post-market surveillance * Statistical inference * Computer models * Substitution with plants These alternatives, and others not yet conceived, willensure thatscientific research will not come to a halt uponabolition of vivisection. DG-----------------------#81 But what if animals also benefit, e.g., throughadvance of veterinary science?-----------------------[PLANK A] The Animal Rights philosophy is species-neutral, so thearguments developedelsewhere in this section apply with equal force. Theimmorality ofrights-violative practices is not attenuated by claimingthat the victimsand beneficiaries are of the same species. AECW-----------------------#82 Should people refuse medical treatments obtainedthrough vivisection?-----------------------[PLANK A] This is a favorite question for the defenders ofvivisection. Theimplication is that the AR position is inconsistent orirrational becauseAR people partake of some fruits of vivisection. As a first answer, we can point out that for existingtreatments derivedfrom vivisection, the damage has already been done.Nothing is gained byrefusing the treatment. Vivisectors counter that thesituation is analogousto our refusal to eat meat sold at the grocery; thedamage has been done,so why not eat the meat? But there is a crucialdifference. Knowledge isa permanent commodity; unlike meat, it is abstract, itdoesnt rot. Consider
a piece of knowledge obtained through vivisection. Ifvivisection wereabolished, the knowledge could be used repeatedly withoutendorsing orfurther supporting vivisection. With meat consumption,the practice ofslaughter must continue if the fruits are to continue tobe enjoyed. Another point is that, had the vivisection notoccurred, the knowledgemight well have been obtained through alternative, moralmethods. Are weto permanently foreclose the use of an abstract piece ofknowledge due to thepast folly of a vivisector? The same cannot be said ofmeat; it cannot beobtained without slaughter. If the reader finds this unpersuasive, she shouldconsider that the ARmovement sincerely wants to abolish vivisection,eliminating ill-gottenfruits. If this is achieved, the original questionbecomes moot, becausethere will be no such fruits. DG[PLANK A] This is another "where should I draw the line"question, with the addedtwist that ones personal health may be on the line. Assuch, the rightanswer is likely to depend a good deal on personalcircumstances and judgment.It is certainly beyond the call of duty to make anabsolute pledge, since theprinciple of self-defense may ultimately apply(particularly in life-or deathcases). Still, many people will be prepared to makestatements against animaloppression, even at considerable cost to their well-being. For these, thefollowing issues might be worth considering.[PLANK C] WHAT IS THE TRUE CONTRIBUTION OF ANIMAL EXPERIMENTATIONTO THE DEVELOPMENTOF THE TREATMENT? Most treatments owe nothing to animalexperimentation atall, or were developed in spite of animal experimentationrather than thanksto it. Insulin is one good example. The really importantdiscoveries did notproceed from the celebrated experiments of Banting andBest on dogs but fromclinical discoveries: According to Dr. Sharpe: "The linkbetween diabetes andthe pancreas was first demonstrated by Thomas Cawley in1788 when he examined
a patient who had died from the disease. Furtherautopsies confirmed thatdiabetes is indeed linked with degeneration of thepancreas but, partlybecause physiologists, including the notorious ClaudeBernard, had failed toproduce a diabetic state in animals...the idea was notaccepted for manyyears." One had to wait until 1889 for the link to beaccepted, the date atwhich two researchers, Mering and Minkowski, managed toinduce a form ofdiabetes in dogs by removing their entire pancreas.Autopsies furtherrevealed that some parts of the pancreas of diabeticswere damaged, givingbirth to the idea that administering pancreatic extractsto patients mighthelp. Other examples of treatments owing nothing tovivisection include the heartdrug digitalis, quinine (used against malaria), morphine(a pain killer),ether (an anesthetic), sulfanilimide (a diuretic),cortisone (used to relievearthritic pains, for example), aspirin, fluoride (intoothpastes), etc. Incidentally, some of these indisputably useful drugswould find it hardto pass these so-called animal safety tests. Insulincauses birth defects inchickens, rabbits, and mice but not in man; morphinesedates man butstimulates cats; doses of aspirin used in humantherapeutics poison cats (anddo nothing for fever in horses); the widespread use ofdigitalis was sloweddown by confounding results from animal studies (andlegitimized by clinicalstudies, as ever), and so on. IS THE TREATMENT REALLY SAFE? The nefarious effects ofmany newly-developed,"safe" compounds often take some time to be acknowledged.For example, evenserious side-effects can sometimes go under-reported. Inthe UK, only a dozenof the 3500 deaths eventually linked to the use ofisoprenaline aerosolinhalers were reported by doctors. Similarly, it took 4years forthe side-effects of the heart drug Eraldine (whichincluded eye damage) to beacknowledged. The use of these drugs were, evidently,approved followingextensive animal testing. WILL THE TREATMENT REALLY HELP? This question is not asincongruous as itmay appear. A 1967 official enquiry suggested that onethird of the most
prescribed drugs in the UK were "undesirablepreparations". Many new drugsprovide no advantage over existing compounds: in 1977,the US FDA released astudy of 1,935 drugs introduced up to April 1977 whichsuggested that 79.4percent of them provided "little or no [therapeutic]gain". About 80 percentof new introductions in the UK are reformulations, orduplications ofexisting drugs. A 1980 survey by the Medicines Divisionof UK Department forHealth and Social Security states : "[new drugs] havelargely been introducedinto therapeutic areas already heavily oversubscribedand...for conditionswhich are common, largely chronic and occur principallyin the affluentWestern society. Innovation is therefore largely directedtoward commercialreturns rather than therapeutic needs."[PLANK B] ARE THERE ALTERNATIVES TO THE TREATMENT? A betterappreciation of thebenefits of "alternative" practices has developed inrecent years. Often,dietary or lifestyle changes can be effective treatmentson their own.Adult-onset diabetes has been linked to obesity, forinstance, and can oftenbe cured simply by weight-loss and sensible dieting.Other types ofalternative medicine, such as acupuncture, have provenuseful in stressrelief, and against insomnia and back pains. AECW[PLANK A] In modern society, I think it would be almostimpossible NOT to use medicalinformation gained through animal research at some stage--drug testing beingthe most obvious consideration--without opting out ofhealth care altogether.It is important, therefore, that we emphasize the need tostop now. The pastis irretrievable. JK-----------------------#83 Farmers have to kill pests to protect our foodsupply. Given that, whats wrong with killing a few more rats for medicalresearch?-----------------------[PLANK A] First, we object to the casual attitude of the
questioner to the killingof rights holders. A nonspeciesist philosophy, such asthat of Animal Rights,sees that as no different from suggesting: Humans are killed legitimately every day. Given that,whats wrong with killing a few more humans for medical research? Hopefully, the reply is now obvious: in the originalquestion, the fateof pests is an irrelevant consideration (here), and thecase for theliberation of laboratory animals must be evaluated on itsown. Seeking todilute a number of immoral killings into a greater numberof arguablydefensible ones is a creative but illogical attempt atethical reasoning. AECWSEE ALSO: #59-----------------------#84 What about dissection; isnt it necessary for acomplete education?-----------------------[PLANK A] Dissection refers to the practice of performingexploratory surgery onanimals (both killed and live) in an educational context.The averagepersons experience of this practice consists ofdissecting a frog ina high-school biology class, but fetal chipmunks, mice,rabbits, dogs,cats, pigs, and other animals are also used. Dissection accounts for the death of about 7 millionanimals per year.Many of these animals are bred in factory-farmconditions. Others aretaken from their natural habitats. Often, strayedcompanion animals endup in the hands of dissectors. These animals suffer frominhumaneconfinement and transport, and are finally killed bymeans of gassing,neck-snapping, and other "inexpensive" methods. The practice of dissection is repulsive to manystudents andhigh-schoolers have begun to speak out against it. Somehave even engagedin litigation (and won!) to assert a right to notparticipate in suchunnecessary cruelty. California has a law giving students(through highschool) the right to refuse dissection. The law requiresan alternative to
be offered and that the student suffer no sanctions forexercising thisright. Having dealt with the sub-question "What isdissection?", letsconsider whether it is necessary for a completeeducation.[PLANK B] There are several very effective alternatives todissection. In somecases, these alternatives are more effective thandissection itself.Larger-than-life models, films and videos, and computersimulations areall viable methods of teaching biological principles. Thelatter option,computer simulation, has the advantage of offering anadditionalinteractive facility that has shown great value in othereducationalcontexts. These alternative methods are often cheaperthan the traditionalpractice of dissection. A computer program can be usedindefinitely fora one-time purchase cost; the practice of dissectionpresents an ongoingexpense. In view of these effective alternatives, and theeconomic gains associatedtherewith, the practice of dissection begins to look moreand more likea rite of passage into the world of animal abuse, almosta fraternityinitiation for future vivisectors. This practicedesensitizesstudents to animal suffering and teaches them thatanimals can beused and discarded without respect for their lives. Isthis the kind oflesson we want to teach our children? JLS/DG[PLANK C] Dissecting animals is often described as necessary forthe completeeducation of surgeons. This is nonsense. Numeroussurgeons have statedthat practicing on animals does not provide adequateskills for humansurgery. For example, dogs are the favorite test animalof surgerystudents, yet their body shape is different, the internalarrangement oftheir organs is different, the elasticity of theirtissues under the scalpelis different, and postoperative effects are different(they are less proneto infection, for one thing). Also, many surgeons have
suggested thatpracticing on animals may induce in the mind of thestudent a casualattitude to suffering. Following are the thoughts of several prestigioussurgeons on this issue. AECW ...wounds of animals are so different from those of[humans] that theconclusions of vivisection are absolutely worthless. Theyhave done farmore harm than good in surgery. Lawson Tait Any person who had to endure certain experimentscarried out on animalswhich perish slowly in the laboratories would regarddeath by burning at thestake as a happy deliverance. Like every one else in myprofession, I usedto be of the opinion that we owe nearly all our knowledgeof medical andsurgical science to animal experiments. Today I know thatprecisely theopposite is the case. In surgery especially, they are ofno help to thepractitioner, indeed he is often led astray by them. Professor Bigelow ...the aim should be to train the surgeon using humanpatients by movinggradually from stage to stage of difficulty andexplicitly rejecting theacquisition of skills by practicing on animals...which isuseless anddangerous in the training of a thoracic surgeon. Professor R. J. Belcher Practice on dogs probably makes a good veterinarian, ifthat is the kindof practitioner you want for your family. William Held[End surgeon quotes] Animal life, somber mystery. All nature protestsagainst thebarbarity of man, who misapprehends, who humiliates, whotortureshis inferior brethren. Jules Michelet (historian) Mutilating animals and calling it science condemnsthe human speciesto moral and intellectual hell...this hideous Dark Age ofthe mindlesstorture of animals must be overcome. Grace Slick (musician)
SEE ALSO: #77-#81, #92-----------------------#85 What is wrong with product testing on animals?-----------------------[PLANK A] The practice of product testing on animals treatsanimals as discardableand renewable resources, as replaceable clones with noindividual lives,no interests, and no aspirations of their own. Itcallously enlistshapless creatures into the service of humans. It assumesthat the risksincurred by one class of individuals can be forciblytransferred ontoanother. Product testing is also unbelievably cruel. Onenotorious method oftesting is the Draize irritancy test, in whichpotentially harmfulproducts are dripped into the eyes of test animals(usually rabbits). Theharmfulness of the product is then (subjectively)assessed depending onthe size of the area injured, the opacity of the cornea,and the degreeof redness, swelling and discharge of the conjunctivae,and in moresevere cases, on the blistering or gross destruction ofthe cornea.[PLANK C] The use of animals in medicine is often challenged onscientificgrounds, and product tests are no exception. For example,one widely usedtest is the so-called LD50 (Lethal Dose 50 percent) test.The toxicity levelof a product is assessed by force-feeding it to a numberof animals until 50percent of them die. Death may come after a few days orweeks, and is oftenpreceded by convulsions, vomiting, breathingdifficulties, and more. Often,this test reveals nothing at all; animals die simplybecause of the volumeof product administered, through the rupture of internalorgans. How such savage practices could provide any useful datais a mystery, andnot just to AR activists. It is seen as dubious by manytoxicologists, andeven by some Government advisers. Animal models oftenproduce misleadingresults, or produce no useful results at all, and producttesting is no
exception. One toxicologist writes: "It is surely time,therefore, that weceased to use as an index of the toxic action of foodadditives the LD50value, which is imprecise (varying considerably withdifferent species, withdifferent strains of the same species, with sex, withnutritional status,environmental status, and even with the concentration atwhich the substanceis administered) and which is valueless in the planningof further studies."[PLANK B] The truth is that animal lives could be spared in manyways. For example,duplication of experiments could be avoided by setting updatabases ofresults. Also, a host of humane alternatives to suchtests are alreadyavailable, and the considerable sums spent on breeding orkeeping testanimals could be usefully redirected into researching newones. AECW The animal rights view calls for the abolition of allanimal toxicitytests. Animals are not our tasters. We are not theirkings. Tom Regan (philosopher andAR activist)SEE ALSO: #86-----------------------#86 How do I know if a product has been tested onanimals?----------------------- There are two easy ways to determine whether a productuses animal productsor is tested on animals. First, most companies provide atoll-free telephonenumber for inquiring about their products. This is themost reliable methodfor obtaining up-to-date information. Second, severalexcellent guides areavailable that provide listings of companies andproducts. The sectionentitled "Guides, Handbooks, and Reference" in question#92 lists severalexcellent guides to cruelty-free shopping. For maximumconvenience, you canobtain a wallet-sized listing from PETA. Send a stamped,self-addressedenvelope with your request for the "PETA Cruelty-FreeShopping Guide" toPETA, P.O. Box 42516, Washington, DC 20015.
Another thing to think about is the possibility ofavoiding products bymaking safe, ecologically sound alternative productsyourself! Several ofthe guides described in question #92 explain how to dothis. DGSEE ALSO: #85, #92-----------AR ACTIVISM----------------------------------#87 What are the forms of animal rights activism?----------------------- Let us first adopt a broad definition of activism asthe processof acting in support of a cause, as opposed to privatelylamentingand bemoaning the current state of affairs. Given that,AR activismspans a broad spectrum, with relatively simple andinnocuous actionsat one end, and difficult and politico-legally chargedactions at theother. Each individual must make a personal decisionabout whereto reside on the spectrum. For some, forceful or unlawfulaction isa moral imperative; others may condemn it, or it may beimpractical(for example, a lawyer may serve animals better throughthe legislativeprocess than by going on raids and possibly gettingdisbarred).Following is a brief sampling of AR activism, beginningatthe low end of the spectrum. The spectrum of action can be divided conveniently intofour zones:personal actions, proselytizing, organizing, and civildisobedience.Consider first personal actions. Here are some of thepersonal actionsyou can take in support of AR: Learning -- Educate yourself about the issuesinvolved. Vegetarianism and Veganism -- Become one. Cruelty-Free Shopping -- Avoid products involvetesting on animals. Cruelty-Free Fashion -- Avoid leather and fur. Investing with Conscience -- Avoid companies thatexploit animals. Animal-Friendly Habits -- Avoid pesticides,
detergents, etc. The Golden Rule -- Apply it to all creatures and liveby it. Proselytizing is the process of "spreading the word".Here are some ofthe ways that it can be done: Tell your family and friends about your beliefs. Write letters to lawmakers, newspapers, magazines,etc. Write books and articles. Create documentary films and videos. Perform leafletting and "tabling". Give lectures at schools and other organizations. Speak at stockholders meetings. Join Animal Review Committees that oversee research onanimals. Picket, boycott, demonstrate, and protest. Organizing is a form of meta-proselytizing--helpingothers to spreadthe word. Here are some of the ways to do it: Join an AR-related organization. Contribute time and money to an AR-relatedorganization. Found an AR organization. Get involved in politics or law and act directly forAR. The last category of action, civil disobedience, is themostcontentious and the remaining questions in this sectiondeal furtherwith it. Some draw the line here; others do not. It is apersonaldecision. Here are some of the methods used to moreforcefully assertthe rights of animals: Sit-ins and occupations. Obstruction and harassment of people in their animal-exploitation activities (e.g., foxhunt sabotage). The idea is tomake it more difficult and/or embarrassing for people to continuethese activities. Spying and infiltration of animal-exploitationindustries and organizations. The information and evidence gatheredcan be a powerful weapon for AR activists. Destruction of property related to exploitation andabuse of animals (laboratory equipment, meat and clothes instores, etc.). The idea is to make it more costly and less
profitable for these animal industries. Sabotage of the animal-exploitation industries (e.g.,destruction of vehicles and buildings). The idea is to make theactivities impossible. Raids on premises associated with animal exploitation(to gather evidence, to sabotage, to liberate animals). It can be seen from the foregoing material that ARactivism spans awide range of activities that includes both actions thatwould beconventionally regarded as law-abiding and non-threatening, and actionsthat are unlawful and threatening to the animal-exploitation industries.Most AR activism falls into the former category and,indeed, one cansupport these actions while condemning the lattercategory of actions.People who are thinking, with some trepidation, of goingfor the firsttime to a meeting of an AR group need have no fear offinding themselvesinvolved with extremists, or of being coerced intoextreme activism.They would find a group of exceedingly law-abidingcomputer programmers,teachers, artists, etc. (The extreme activists areessentially unorganizedand cannot afford to meet in public groups due to theunwelcome attentionof law-enforcement agencies.) DG One person can make all the difference in theworld...For the first time inrecorded human history, we have the fate of the wholeplanet in our hands. Chrissie Hynde (musician) This is the true joy in life; being used for a purposerecognized byyourself as a mighty one, and being a force of natureinstead of afeverish, selfish little clod. George Bernard Shaw(playwright, Nobel 1925) Nothing is more powerful than an individual acting outof hisconscience, thus helping to bring the collectiveconscience to life. Norman Cousins (author)SEE ALSO: #5, #88-#93, #95
-----------------------#88 Isnt liberation just a token action because thereis no way to give homes to all the animals?----------------------- If one thinks of a liberation action solely in terms ofliberation goals,there is some validity in viewing it as a token, orsymbolic, action. Itis true that liberation actions could not succeed applieden masse,because there arent enough homes for all the animals,and even ifthere were, distribution channels do not exist forrelocating them.Having said this, however, one needs to remember that forthe fewanimals that are liberated, the action is far from atoken one. Thereis a world of difference between spending ones life in aloving homeor a sanctuary and spending it imprisoned in a cagewaiting for abrutal end. Liberation actions need to be viewed with a lessliteral mind set. AsPeter Singer points out, raids are effective in obtainingevidence ofanimal abuse that could not otherwise have come to light.For example,a raid on Thomas Gennarellis laboratory at theUniversity of Pennsylvaniaobtained videotapes that convinced the Secretary forHealth and HumanServices to stop his experiments. One might also bear in mind that symbolic actions havebeen some ofthe most powerful ones seen throughout history. DG All that is necessary for the triumph of evil is forgood mento do nothing. Edmund Burke (statesmanand author)SEE ALSO: #89-#91-----------------------#89 Isnt AR activism terrorism because it harassespeople, destroys property, and threatens humans with injury or death?----------------------- The answer to question #87 should make it clear thatmost AR activismcannot be described as extreme and, furthermore, that not
even allacts described as extreme could be thought of as"terrorism". Forexample, a peaceful sit-in is highly unlikely to putothers in astate of intense fear. Thus, it is not correct tocharacterize ARactivism generally as terrorism. One of the fundamental guidelines of the extremeactivists is thatgreat care must be taken not to inflict harm in carryingout the acts.This has been borne out in practice. On the very rareoccasions whenharm has occurred, the mainstream AR groups havecondemned the acts.In some cases, the authors of the acts have beensuspected to be thoseallied against the AR movement; their motives would notrequire deepthought to decipher. The dictionary defines "terrorism" as the systematicuse of violenceor acts that instill intense fear to achieve an end.Certainly,harassment of fur wearers, or shouting "meat is murder"outside abutcher shop, could not be considered to be terrorism.Even destructionof property would not qualify under the definition if itisdone without harming others. Certainly, the Boston TeaParty raidersdid not consider themselves terrorists. The real terrorists are the people and industries thatinflict painand suffering on millions of innocent animals for trivialpurposes eachand every day. DG If I repent of anything it is likely to be my goodbehavior. Henry David Thoreau(essayist and poet) I am in earnest--I will not equivocate--I will notexcuse--I will notretreat a single inch and I will be heard. William Lloyd Garrison(author)SEE ALSO: #87-#88, #90-#91-----------------------#90 Isnt extreme activism involving breaking the law(e.g., destruction of property) wrong?-----------------------
Great men and women have demonstrated throughouthistory that lawscan be immoral, and that we can be justified in breakingthem. Thosewho object to law-breaking under all circumstances wouldhave tocondemn: The Tiananmen Square demonstrators. The Boston Tea Party participants. Mahatma Gandhi and his followers. World War II resistance fighters. The Polish Solidarity Movement. Vietnam War draft card burners.The list could be continued almost indefinitely. Conversely, laws sometimes dont reflect our moralbeliefs. AfterWorld War II, the allies had to hastily write new laws tofully prosecutethe Nazi war criminals at Nuremburg. Dave Foreman pointsout that thereis a distinction to be made between morality and thestatutes of agovernment in power. It could be argued that the principle we are talkingabout does not apply.Specifically, the law against destruction of property isnot immoral,and we therefore should not break it. However, a relatedprinciple canbe asserted. If a law is invoked to defend immoralpractices, or toattempt to limit or interfere with our ability to fightan immoralsituation, then justification might be claimed forbreaking that law. In the final analysis, this is a personal decision foreach personto make in consultation with their own conscience. DG Certainly one of the highest duties of the citizen is ascrupulousobedience to the laws of the nation. But it is not thehighest duty. Thomas Jefferson (3rd U.S.President) I say, break the law. Henry David Thoreau(essayist and poet)SEE ALSO: #89, #91-----------------------#91 Doesnt extreme activism give the AR movement a badname?
----------------------- This is a significant argument that must bethoughtfully considered.In essence, the argument says that if your actions can becharacterizedas extremist, then you are besmirching the actions ofthose who aremoderate, and you are creating a backlash that can negatethe advancesmade by more moderate voices. The appeal to the "backlash" has historical precedent.Martin LutherKing heard such warnings when he organized civil-disobedience protestsagainst segregation. Had Dr. King yielded to this appeal,would theCivil Rights and Voting Rights Acts have been passed? Dave Foreman, writing in "Confessions of an Eco-Warrior", points outthat radicals in the anti-Vietnam War movement wereblamed for prolongingthe war and for damaging the "respectable" opposition.Yet the fear ofincreasingly militant demonstrations kept President Nixonfrom escalatingthe war effort, and the stridency eventually wore downthe pro-warestablishment. The backlash argument is a standard one that willalways be trotted outby the opponents of a movement. Backlash can be expectedwhenever thestatus quo is challenged, regardless of whether extremeactions areemployed. The real question to ask is: Does the addedbacklash outweighthe gains achieved through extreme action? The answerhere is not clearand well leave it to the informed reader to make ajudgement. Twobooks that might help in assessing this are "Free theAnimals" byIngrid Newkirk, and "In Defense of Animals" by PeterSinger. The following argument is paraphrased from DaveForeman: Extreme actionis a sophisticated political tactic that dramatizesissues and places thembefore the public when they otherwise would be ignored inthe media,applies pressure to corporations and government agenciesthat otherwiseare able to resist "legitimate" pressure from law-abidingorganizations,and broadens the spectrum of activism so that lobbying bymainstreamgroups is not considered "extremist". DG
My doctrine is this, that if we see cruelty or wrongthat we havethe power to stop, and do nothing, we make ourselvessharers inthe guilt. Anna Sewell (author) If there is no struggle, there is no progress. Thosewho profess tofavour freedom, and yet deprecate agitation, are peoplewho want rainwithout thunder and lightning. They want the oceanwithout the roar ofits many waters. Power concedes nothing without a demand.It never didand it never will. Frederick Douglass(abolitionist)SEE ALSO: #87-#90--------------------------------AR INFORMATION AND ORGANIZATIONS-------------------------------------------------------#92 What are appropriate books and periodicals to readfor more information on AR issues?----------------------- There are hundreds of books that could be recommended.We provide onlya sampling of books and periodicals below. Please referto question #94for further book references and reviews. Spacelimitations forced us toavoid childrens books. Refer to the guide books listedfor fullbibliographies. TA/DG/JLS/AECWAnimal Production and Factory Farming-------------------------------------"Animal Factories", Jim Mason and Peter Singer, AAVS, 801Old York Rd, Suite 204, Jenkintown, PA 19046-1685, $12.95. Factsand photos on farms that mass produce animals for meat, milk, and eggs.[1980, 1990]"Factory Farming: The Experiment That Failed", AnimalWelfare Institute, P.O. Box 3650, Washington, DC 20007. Fact-packedindictment of factory-farming on welfare and economic grounds.
"Waste of the West: Public Lands Ranching", Lynn Jacobs,P.O. Box 5784, Tucson, AZ 85703."Do Hens Suffer in Battery Cages?", Michael Appleby, TheAthene Trust, 5a Charles St, Petersfield, Hants GU32 3EH.Scientific evidence of hen suffering. "Alternative to Factory Farming", Paul Carnell, EarthResources Research Publishers, London. Factory farming challenged oneconomic grounds. "Chicken and Egg: Who pays the price?", Clare Druce,Green Print Publishers, London. A criticism of the poultry industry. "Taking Stock: Animal Farming and The Environment", AlanDurning and Holly Brough, Worldwatch Paper 103, WorldWatchInstitute, 1776 Mass. Avenue N.W., Washington, DC 20036-1904.The environmental cost of animal farming. "Assault and Battery", Mark Gold, Pluton Publishers,London. Effects of farming on animals, humans and the environment."Animal Machines", Ruth Harrison, Vincent StuartPublishers, London. The first book on factory farming. "Facts about Furs", G. Nilsson, et. al., Animal WelfareInstitute, (op. cit.). On fur-farming and trapping. "Pulling the Wool", Christine Townend, Hale andIronmonger Publishers, Sydney, Australia. The Australian wool and sheepindustry. Animal Rights History---------------------"All Heaven in a Rage", E. S. Turner. Provides a historyof the animal protection movement up to the 1960s. "Animal Warfare", David Henshaw, Fontana Publishers,London. The rise of direct action for Animal Rights. 
"History of the Humane Movement", Charles D. Niven,Johnson Publishers, London. From antiquity to today. "Animal Revolution", Richard Ryder, Blackwell Publishers,Oxford. Overview of the history of AW and AR movements. "The Animal Liberation Movement: Its Philosophy, ItsAchievements and Its Future", Peter Singer, Old Hammond Press Publishers,Nottingham, "Man and the Natural World", Keith Thomas, Penguin,London. History from 1500 AD to 1800 AD. Animal Rights Legislation-------------------------"Animals and their Legal Rights", The Animal WelfareInstitute, Washington D.C. "Animal Rights, Human Wrongs", S. Jenkins, LennardPublishings, Harpenden, UK. An RSPCA officers experiences demonstrate thelack of adequate animal legislation. "Up against the Law", J. J. Roberts, Arc Print, London.1986 Public Order Act and its implications for Animal Rights protests."Animals and Cruelty and Law", Noel Sweeney, Alibi,Bristol UK. A practicing barrister argues for Animal Rights from the legalstandpoint. Animal Rights Philosophy------------------------"The Case for Animal Rights", Tom Regan, University ofCalifornia Press. "The Struggle for Animal Rights", Tom Regan,International Society for Animal Rights, Inc., Clarks Summit, PA. "Animal Liberation", Peter Singer, PETA Merchandise, P.O.Box 42400, Washington, D.C. 20015, $3.00 post-paid. The bookthat popularized Animal Rights. [1975, 1990]
"In Defense of Animals", Peter Singer."Animals Rights", Henry Salt, AAVS (op. cit.), $6.95.Written a century ago, a true classic, anticipates many of todaysarguments."No Room, Save in the Heart: Poetry and Prose onReverence for Life--Animals, Nature and Humankind", Ann CottrellFree, AAVS (op. cit.), $8.95."The Unheeded Cry: Animal Consciousness, Animal Pain andScience", Bernard Rollin. "Created from Animals: The Moral Implications ofDarwinism", James Rachels. "Morals, Reason and Animals, Steve Sapontzis. "Political Theory and Animal Rights", Clarke and Lindzey(Eds.). This book provides interesting excepts from thinkers sincePlato to Regan on the issue of our relations and duties towards animals."The Nature of the Beast: Are Animals Moral?", StephenClark."Animals, Men and Morals", Godlovitch et. al. "Fettered Kingdoms", John Bryant, Fox Press Publishers,Winchester. Includes a well-known indictment of pet keeping."The Moral Status of Animals", Stephen Clark, OxfordUniversity Press Publishers, Oxford. The roots of humans treatment ofanimals in sentimental fantasy. "The Savour of Salt--A Henry Salt Anthology", G. and W.Hendrick, Centaur Press Publishers, Fontwell. "Animals and Why They Matter: A Journey Around theSpecies Barrier", Mary Midgley, Penguin Publishers, London. "Beast and Man", Mary Midgley, Harvester PressPublishers, Brighton. "Animal Rights--A Symposium", David Paterson and Richard
Ryder, Centaur Press Publishers, Fontwell. "Inhumane Society: The American Way of ExploitingAnimals", Michael W. Fox, St. Martins Press, New York. "The Sexual Politics of Meat: A Feminist-VegetarianCritical Theory", Carol J. Adams. "Rape of the Wild: Mans Violence against Animals and theEarth", Andree Collard with Joyce Contrucci. "The Dreaded Comparison: Human and Animal Slavery",Marjorie Spiegel, Mirror Books, NY. Animal Rights Theology----------------------"Christianity and the Rights of Animals", Andrew Linzey,Crossroad, New York. "Animal Sacrifices -- Religious Perspectives on the Useof Animals in Science", Tom Regan (Ed.), Temple University Press,PA. Circuses, Rodeos, and Zoos--------------------------"The Rose-Tinted Menagerie", William Johnson, PETA (op.cit.), $16.50. Describes behind-the-scenes action in circuses,aquariums, and zoos."Animals in Circuses and Zoos--Chirons World?", MartheKiley-Worthington, Little Eco Farms Publishing, Basildon, UK.Investigation into the treatment of animals by zoos and circuses. "The Last Great Wild Beast Show", Bill Jordan and StefanOrmrod, Constable Publishers, London. How animals aresnatched from the wild to be shipped to zoos worldwide. "Beyond the Bars", Virginia McKenna, William Travers,Jonathan Wray (eds.), Thorsons Publishers, Wellingborough, UK. Theimmorality of animal captivity. 
Diet Ethics-----------"Diet for a New America", John Robbins, PETA (op. cit.), $12.50 post-paid. Examines problems with animal-basedfood systems with solutions, info on the link between diet anddisease."Compassion: The Ultimate Ethic", V. Moran, AmericanVegan Society, NJ, USA. Exploration of veganism: its roots in easternand western philosophy. "Food: Need, Greed and Myopia", G. Yates, Earthright,Ryton UK. World food problem seen from a vegetarian/vegan standpoint."Radical Vegetarianism", Mark Braunstein, PanjandrumBooks, Los Angeles. Guides, Handbooks, and Reference--------------------------------"Save the Animals! 101 Easy Things You Can Do", IngridNewkirk, PETA (op. cit.), $4.95."67 Ways to Save the Animals", Anna Sequoia, HarperPerennial, $4.95. "The Animal Rights Handbook -- Everyday Ways to SaveAnimal Lives", Berkley Books, New York, $4.50. "PETAs Shopping Guide for Caring Consumers", PETA (op.cit.), $4.95. A must have! Lists names and addresses of cruelty-free companies."Keyguide to Information Sources in Animal Rights",Charles R.Magel, AAVS (op. cit.), $24.95."A Shoppers Guide to Cruelty-Free Products", Lori Cook,Bantam Books, New York, $4.99. "Animal Rights: A Beginners Guide", Amy Achor, WritewareInc., Yellow Springs, OH, $14.95. "The PETA Guide to Action for Animals", PETA (op. cit.),
$4.00."The Extended Circle: A Commonplace Book of AnimalRights", Wynne-Tyson (Ed.). Provides hundreds of quotes and short exceptsfrom thinkers throughout history. "The Animal-Free Shopper", R. Farhall, R. Lucas, and A.Rofe A. (Eds.), The Vegan Society, 7 Battle Road, St. Leonards onSea, East Sussex, TN37 7AA, UK. "The Animal Welfare Handbook", C. Clough and B. Kew, 4thEstate, London, UK Laboratory Animals and Product Testing--------------------------------------"Vivisection and Dissection in the Classroom: A Guide toConscientious Objection", Gary L. Francione and Anna E. Charlton,AAVS (op. cit.), $7.95. Legal citings, sample pleadings, and letters."Animals in Education: The Facts, Issues andImplications", Lisa Ann Hepner, Richmond Publishers, Albuquerque NM. "Entering the Gates of Hell: Laboratory Cruelty You WereNot Meant to See", Brian Gunn, AAVS (op. cit.), $10.00."Animal Experimentation: The Consensus Changes", GillLangley (Ed.), MacMillan Publishers, London. Collection of essaysoutlining the change in morality. "Slaughter of the Innocent", Hans Ruesch, CivitasPublications, Swaine, NY. "Naked Empress: The Great Medical Fraud", Hans Ruesch,CIVIS, Klosters, Switzerland. Why vivisection is a major cause ofhuman disease. "Victims of Science: The Use of Animals in Research",Richard Ryder, National Anti-Vivisection Society, Centaur PressPublishers, Fontwell. Classic denunciation of vivisection. "The Cruel Deception: The Use of Animals in MedicalResearch", Robert
Sharpe, Thorsons Publishers, Wellingborough, UK.Detailed study of the barbarity and uselessness of vivisection. "Free the Animals!", Ingrid Newkirk, PETA (op. cit.),$14.00. Story of the Animal Liberation Front in America.Periodicals-----------"Animals Magazine", 350 Huntington Ave., Boston, MA02130."The Animals Agenda", P.O. Box 6809, Syracuse, NY 13217-9953."Animal People", P.O. Box 205, Shushan, NY 12873."The Animals Voice", P.O. Box 341-347, Los Angeles, CA90034."Between the Species", P.O. Box 254, Berkeley, CA 94701."Bunny Huggers Gazette", P.O. Box 601, Temple, TX 76503-0601.Wildife-------"The Politics of Extinction", L. Regenstein, Collier-Macmillan, London. Classic denunciation of the wildlife carnage. "Wildlife and the Atom", L. Veal, London Greenpeace, 5Caledonian Road, London N1 9DX, UK. The use of animals by the nuclearindustry. SEE ALSO: #1, #94-----------------------#93 What organizations can I join to support AR?----------------------- There are hundreds of AR-related organizationsscattered around theglobe. In addition, there are many vegetarian and vegangroups. ThisFAQ is already too long to list all of these groups. ThisFAQ gives onlyAR-related groups in the United States and the UnitedKingdom. Latereditions of the FAQ may cover other countries. For a fulllisting ofvegetarian and vegan groups worldwide, refer to theexcellent FAQs
maintained by Michael Traub (Internet firstname.lastname@example.org). The following data on US organizations comes from thebook "The AnimalRights Handbook", Berkley Books, New York, 1993, ISBN 0-425-13762-7. DG/AECW-------------UNITED STATES-------------Multi-Issue-----------Alliance for Animals, P.O. Box 909, Boston, MA 02103American Humane Association, 63 Inverness Drive East,Englewood, CO 80112-5117American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals(ASPCA), 424 E. 92nd St., New York, NY 10128Animal Allies, P.O. Box 35063, Los Angeles, CA 90035Animal Liberation Network, P.O. Box 983, Hunt Valley, MD21030Animal Protection Institute of America, P.O. Box 22505,Sacramento, CA 95822Animal Rights Mobilization, P.O. Box 1553, Williamsport,PA 17703Animal Welfare Institute, P.O. Box 3650, Washington, DC20007Citizens to End Animal Suffering and Exploitation(CEASE), P.O. Box 27, Cambridge, MA 02238Defenders of Animals, P. O. Box 5634, Weybosset HillStation, Providence, RI 02903, (401) 738-3710Doris Day Animal League (DDAL), 227 Massachusetts Ave.NE, Suite 100, Washington, DC 20002Focus on Animals, P.O. Box 150, Trumbull, CT 06611Friends of Animals, P.O. Box 1244, Norwalk, CT 06856The Fund for Animals, 200 West 57th St., New York, NY10019
Humane Society of the United States, 2100 L St., NW,Washington, DC 20037People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA), 501Front Street, Norfolk, VA 23510World Society for the Protection of Animals, 29 PerkinsSt., P.O. Box 190, Boston, MA 02130Companion Animals-----------------The Anti-Cruelty Society, 157 W. Grand Ave., Chicago, IL60616Massachusetts Society for the Prevention of Cruelty toAnimals (MSPCA), 350 S. Huntington Ave., Boston, MA 02130Progressive Animal Welfare Society (PAWS), 15305 44thAve. W, P.O. Box 1037, Lynnwood, WA 98046San Francisco Society for the Prevention of Cruelty toAnimals (SFSPCA), 2500 16th St., San Francisco, CA 94103Sports and Entertainment------------------------Committee to Abolish Sport Hunting, P.O. Box 44, TomkinsCove, NY 10986Performing Animal Welfare Society, 11435 Simmerhorn Rd.,Galt, CA 95632Farm Animals------------Food Animal Concerns Trust (FACT), P.O. Box 14599,Chicago, IL 60614Farm Animals Reform Movement (FARM), 10101 AshburtonLane, Bethesda, MD 20817Farm Sanctuary, PO Box 150, Watkins Glen, NY 14891Humane Farming Association, 1550 California Street, Suite6, San Francisco, CA 94109United Animal Defenders, Inc., P.O. Box 33086, Cleveland,OH 44133
United Poultry Concerns, PO Box 59367, Potomac, MD 20889Laboratory Animals------------------Alternatives to Animals, P.O. Box 7177, San Jose, CA95150American Anti-Vivisection Society, 801 Old York Rd.,Suite 204, Jenkintown, PA 19046In Defense of Animals, 21 Tamal Vista Blvd., No. 140,Corte Madera, CA 94925Last Chance for Animals, 18653 Venture Blvd., No. 356,Tarzana, CA 91356National Anti-Vivisection Society, 53 W.Jackson Blvd.,Suite 1550, Chicago, IL 60604New England Anti-Vivisection Society, 333 Washinton St.,Boston, MA 02135Professional Organizations--------------------------Animal Legal Defense Fund (ALDF), 1363 Lincoln Ave., SanRaphael, CA 94901Association of Veterinarians for Animal Rights, 15 DutchSt., Suite 500-A, New York, NY 10038National Association of Nurses Against Vivisection, P.O.Box 42110, Washington, DC 20015Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine, P.O. Box6322, Washington, DC 20015Psychologists for the Ethical Treatment of Animals, P.O.Box 1297, Washington Grove, MD 20880-1297Scientists Center for Animal Welfare, 4805 St. Elmo Ave.,Bethesda, MD 20814Scientists Group for Reform of Animal Experimentation,147-01 3rd Ave., Whitestone, NY 11357
Legislative Organizations-------------------------Committee for Humane Legislation, 30 Haviland, SouthNorwalk, CT 06856The National Alliance for Animal Legislation, P.O. Box75116, Washington, DC 20013-5116United Action for Animals, 205 E. 42nd St., New York, NY10017Marine Life Preservation------------------------American Cetacean Society, P.O. Box 2639, San Pedro, CA90731Center for Marine Conservation, 1725 DeSales St., NW,Washington, DC 20036Greenpeace, P.O. Box 3720, 1436 U St., NW, Washinton, DC20007Marine Mammal Fund, Fort Mason Center, Bldg. E, SanFrancisco, CA 94123Wildlife--------Defenders of Wildlife, 1244 19th St., NW, Washington, DC20036Earth Island Institute, 300 Broadway, Suite 28, SanFrancisco, CA 94133International Fund for Animal Welfare, P.O. Box 193,Yarmouth Port, MA 02675Rainforest Action Network, 301 Broadway, Suite A, SanFrancisco, CA 94133Wildlife Information Center, Inc., 629 Green St.,Allentown, PA 18102Specific Animals----------------American Horse Protection Association, 1000 29th St., NW,Suite T100, Washington DC 20007
Bat Conservation International, P.O., Box 162603, Austin,TX 78716The Beaver Defenders, Unexpected Wildlife Refuge, Inc.,Newfield, NJ 08344Friends of the Sea Otter, P.O. Box 221220, Carmel, CA93922Greyhound Friends, 167 Saddle Hill Rd., Hopkinton, MA01748International Primate Protection League, P.O. Box 766,Summerville, SC 29484Mountain Lion Preservation Foundation, P.O. Box 1896,Sacramento, CA 95809Primarily Primates, P.O. Box 15306, San Antonio, TX 78212Save the Manatee Club, 500 N. Maitland Ave., Suite 210,Maitland, FL 32751Special Interest----------------Feminists for Animal Rights. P.O. Box 16425, Chapel Hill,NC 27516International Network for Religion and Animals, P.O. Box1335, North Wales, PA 19454Jews for Animal Rights, 255 Humphrey St., Marblehead, MA01945Student Action Corps for Animals (SACA), P.O. Box 15588,Washington, DC 20003-0588--------------UNITED KINGDOM--------------Animal Aid, 7 Castle Street, Tonbridge, Kent TN9 1BH, UKAnimal Concern, 62 Old Dumbarton road, Glasgow G3 8RE, UKAnimal Liberation Front Supporters Group, BM 1160, LondonWC1N 3XX, UKAnimal Research Kills, P.O. Box 82, Kingswood, BristolBS15 1YF, UKAthene Trust, 5a Charles Street, Petersfield, Hants GU32
3EH, UKBeauty Without Cruelty, 57 King Henrys Walk, London N14NH, UKBlue Cross Field Centre, Home Close Farm, Shilton Road,Burford, Oxfordshire OX18 4PF, UKBorn Free Foundation, Cherry Tree Cottage, Coldharbour,Dorking, Surrey RH5 6HA, UKBritish Hedgehog Preservation Society, Knowbury House,Knowbury, Ludlow, Shropshire SY8 3LQ, UKBritish Trust For Ornithology, The Nunnery, NunneryPlace, Thetford, Norfolk IP24 2PU, UKBritish Union for the Abolition of Vivisection, 16a CraneGrove, Islington, London N7 8LB, UKCampaign for the Abolition of Angling, P.O. Box 130,Sevenoaks, Kent TN14 5NR, UKCampaign for the Advancement of Rueschs Expose, 23Dunster Gardens, London NW6 7NG, UKCampaign to End Fraudulent Medical Research, P.O. Box302, London N8 9HD, UKCats Protection League, 17 Kings Road, Horsham, WestSussex RH13 5PN, UKCIVIS, P.O. Box 338, London E8 2AL, UKDisabled Against Animal Research and Exploitation, P.O.Box 8, Daventry, Northamptonshire NN11 4QR, UKDonkey Sanctuary, Slade House Farm, Salcombe Regis,Sidmouth, Devon EX10 0NUDr. Hadwen Trust for Humane Research, 6c Brand Street,Hitchin, Hertfortshire SG5 1HX, UKEarthkind, Humane Education Centre, Bounds Green Road,London N22 4EU, UKElefriends, Cherry Tree Cottage, Coldharbour, NR Dorking,Surrey RH5 6HA, UK
Environmental Investigation Agency, 2 Pear Tree Court,London EC1R 0DS, UKFund for the Replacement of Animals in MedicalExperiments, Eastgate House, 34 Stoney Street, Nottingham NG1 1NB, UKGreen Party Animal Rights Working Party, 23 HighfieldSouth, Rock Ferry, Wirral L42 4NA, UKHorses and Ponies Protection Association, Happa House, 64Station Road, Padiham, N. Burnley, Lancashire BB12 8EF, UKHumane Research Trust, Brook House, 29 Bramhall LaneSouth, Bramhall, Stockport, Cheshire SK7 2DN, UKHunt Saboteurs Association, P.O. Box 1, Carlton,Nottingham NG4 2JY, UKInternational Association Against Painful Experiments onAnimals, P.O. Box 215, St Albans, Herts AL3 4PU, UKInternational Primate Protection League, 116 Judd Street,London WC1H 9NS, UKLeague Against Cruel Sports, 83-87 Union Street, LondonSE1 1SG, UKInternational League of Doctors for the Abolition ofVivisection, UK Office, Lynmouth, Devon EX35 6EE, UKNational Anti-Vivisection Society, Ravenside, 261Goldhawk Road, London W12 9PE, UKNational Canine Defence League, 1 Pratt Mews, London NW10AD, UKPeople for the Ethical Treatment of Animals, P.O. Box3169, London NW6 2QF, UKRoyal Society for the Protection of Birds, The Lodge,Sandy, Bedfordshire SG19 2DL, UKRoyal Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals,Causeway, Horsham, West Sussex RH12 1HG, UKStudent Campaign For Animal Rights, P.O. Box 155,Manchester M60 1FT, UKTeachers For Animal Rights, 29 Lynwood Road. London SW17
8SB, UKWhale and Dolphin Conservation Society, 19A James Street,Bath, Avon BA1 2BT, UKZoocheck, Cherry Tree Cottage, Coldharbour, Dorking,Surrey CR0 2TF, UK-----------------------#94 Can you give a brief Whos Who of the AR movement?-----------------------TOM REGAN -- Professor of Philosophy at North CarolinaState University.His book "The Case For Animal Rights" is arguably thesingle best recentwork on animal rights. It is a demanding text but onethat is well worththe effort to read and study carefully. Everybody thatis seriouslyinterested in the issues should read this rigorouslyargued case for AR.It starts with some core concepts of inherent valuetheory, the sameconcepts that played an important and significant role inthe progress ofhuman civil liberties since the 17th century and whichbegan to beextended to nonhumans during the 19th century. The notionof inherentvalue continues to be vital and important for progress inboth human andanimal rights. A less demanding but still informativebook by Regan is"The Struggle for Animal Rights". One might wish tofirst read this bookbefore tackling Regans more difficult text.PETER SINGER -- Professor of Philosophy at MonashUniversity, Melbourne.Singer is best known for his book "Animal Liberation",probably the mostwidely read book on AR philosophy. Singer, unlike Regan,is not anabolitionist as many people incorrectly surmise. Hisutilitarian positionallows for the possibility or necessity of killinganimals under certaincircumstances. What is often lost sight of is that theobvious and patentabuses of animals covers so much ground that both Reganand Singer sharecommon views on far more issues than those on which theydiffer. Otherimportant books by Singer include "In Defense of Animals"and "AnimalFactories".
MARY MIDGLEY -- Senior Lecturer of Philosophy at theUniversity of Newcastle.Midgleys book "Beast and Man" has not been given theattention that itdeserves. She deals with the contemporary facts ofbiology and ethologyhead-on to provide an ethical argument for the respectfultreatment ofanimals that takes seriously scientific discoveries andthoughts aboutanimals. The "Humean fork" (or so-called logical divide)between facts andvalues is here carefully crossed by observing that we areforemost"animals" ourselves and that the similarities betweenourselves and otheranimals is more important and relevant for our ethics andself-understanding than are the often over-inflateddifferences.CAROL ADAMS -- Author.Adams book "The Sexual Politics of Meat" has made avaluable contributionin combining cultural and ethical analysis by pointingout the politicalimplications of the metaphors we unthinkingly employ. Theprimarymetaphors she analyses in her book relate to meat. Suchmetaphors havebeen applied to women, but the most insidious aspect ofthe metaphors isthe way that they hide the life that is killed to producemeat. Instead of"cow", we have "beef" on our plates. Adams argues thatthe system thatkills animals is the same system that oppresses women;hence, there is animportant and striking connection between vegetarianismand feminism.RICHARD RYDER -- Senior Clinical Psychologist atWarneford Hospital, Oxford.Ryder is the originator of the key term "speciesism".Ryders book"Animal Revolution" provides both an historicalperspective and acritical analysis of animal welfare and attitudes towardsanimals.HENRY SALT -- 1851-1939.Salt was a remarkable social reformer who championed thehumane reform ofschools, prisons, society, and our treatment of animals.He also exerted acritical and important influence upon Gandhi. His book"Animals Rights"was the first to use that title and therein he gives
voice to almost allof the essential arguments for AR that we see beingadvanced and refinedtoday. The book provides an excellent biography ofearlier Europeanwriters on animal issues during the 18th and 19thcenturies.VICTORIA MORAN -- Author.Morans book "Compassion the Ultimate Ethic" makes a finecontributionregarding the less discursive but perhaps morefundamental intuitive basisfor animal rights.MARJORIE SPIEGEL -- Author.Spiegels book "The Dreaded Comparison" is a slim butcourageous volumecomparing the treatment of African-American slaves andthe treatment ofnonhuman animals. In text and pictures, Spiegel disclosesremarkablesimilarities between the two systems. A picture of slavespacked intoa slave ship is matched with a photograph of batteryhens. A pictureof a woman in a muzzle is paired with a picture of a dogin a muzzle.The parallels are striking and revealing. Few otherwriters have beenas open or as unequivocal as Spiegel in likening crueltyto animals totraffic in human beings. TA It is hard to keep a Whos-Who list at a reasonablelength. Here area few other prominent people:STEPHEN R. L. CLARK -- Professor of Philosophy atLiverpool University.MICHAEL W. FOX -- Vice President of Humane Society of theUS, nationally known veterinarian, and AR activist.RONNIE LEE -- Founder of the Animal Liberation Front(ALF).JIM MASON -- Attorney and journalist.INGRID NEWKIRK -- Co-founder of People for the EthicalTreatment of Animals (PETA); prominent activist.ALEX PACHECO -- Co-founder of PETA; exposer of the SilverSpring monkeys abuses."VALERIE" -- Founder of ALF in the United States. DG-----------------------#95 What can I do in my daily life to help animals?
----------------------- Indeed, the buck must first stop here in our own dailylives with theelimination or reduction of actions that contribute tothe abuse andexploitation of animals. Probably the single most important thing you can do tosave animals,help the ecology of the planet, and even improve your ownhealth, is toBECOME A VEGETARIAN. It is said that "we are what weeat". Moreaccurately, "we are what we do" and what we do in orderto eat has aprofound consequence on our self-definition as acompassionate person. Aslong as we eat meat, we share complicity in theintentional slaughter ofcountless animals and destruction of the environment forclearly trivialpurposes. Why trivial? No human has died from want of satisfyinga so-called "MacAttack", but countless cows have died in order to satisfyour palates.On a more positive note, vegetarians report that onestaste and enjoymentof food is actually enhanced by eliminating animalproducts. Indeed, avegetarian diet is not a diet of deprivation; far fromit. Vegetariansactually eat a GREATER variety of foods than do meat-eaters. Maybe thebest kept culinary secret is that the really "boring"diet actually turnsout to be the traditional meat-centered diet. Next, STOP BUYING ANIMAL PRODUCTS LIKE FUR OR LEATHER.There are plentyof good plant and synthetic materials that serve asexcellent materialsfor fabrics and shoes. Indeed, all the major brands ofhigh-qualityrunning shoes are now turning to the use of human-madematerials. (Why?Because they are lighter than leather and dont warp orget stiff aftergetting wet.) There are many less obvious animal products that arebeing used in manyof our everyday household and personal products. Afterfirst attending tothose obvious and most visible products like leather andfur, thenconsider what you can do to reduce or eliminate yourdependency onproducts that may contain needless animal ingredients orwere brought tomarket using animal testing. Two very good product guides
are: Shopping Guide for the Caring Consumer, PETA, 1994. A Shoppers Guide to Cruelty-Free Products, LoriCook, 1991. Then GET INFORMED AND READ AS MUCH AS YOU CAN ON THEISSUE OF ANIMALRIGHTS. Besides reading about animal rights from themajor theorists,also read practical guides and periodicals. Question #92lists manyappropriate books and periodicals. Finally, you can GET INVOLVED IN A LOCAL ANIMAL RIGHTSOR ANIMAL WELFAREORGANIZATION. Alternatively, if you lack the time,consider givingdonations to those organizations whose good work onbehalf ofanimals is something you appreciate and wish tomaterially support. TASEE ALSO: #87, #92-#93----------FINALLY...---------------------------------#96 I have read this FAQ and I am not convinced. Humansare humans, animals are animals; is it so difficult to see that?----------------------- This FAQ cannot reflect the full variety of paths whichhave led peopleto support the concept of Animal Rights. A more completecompilation wouldinclude, for instance, religious arguments. For example,some Easternreligions stress the importance of the duties of humanstoward animals. AChristian case for Animal Rights has been presented.Also, legal argumentshave been put forward, by some barristers in the UK, forinstance. Still, some people may remain skeptical about theviability of all of theseother approaches as well. For those people, here is ashort quiz: What is wrong with cannibalism? What is wrong with slavery? What is wrong with racial prejudice? What is wrong with sexual discrimination? What is wrong with killing children or the mentallyill?
What is wrong with the Nazi experiments on humans? Animal Rights proponents can reply instantly and consistently. Can you? Do your answers involve qualities that, if you are objective about it, can be seen to apply to animals? For example, were the Nazi experiments wrong because the subjects were human, or because the subjects were harmed??? AECW It is not difficult to see that humans are humans and animals are animals. What is difficult to see is how this amounts to anything more than an empty tautology! If there are relevant differences that justify differences in treatment, then lets hear them. AR opponents have consistently failed to support the differences in treatment of humans versus animals with relevant differences in capacities. Yes, an animal is an animal, but it can still suffer terribly from our brutality and lack of compassion. DG I am in favor of animal rights as well as human rights. That is the way of a whole human being. Abraham Lincoln (16th U.S. President) [The day should come when] all of the forms of life...will stand before the court--the pileated woodpecker as well as the coyote and bear, the lemmings as well as the trout in the streams. William O. Douglas (late U.S. Supreme Court Justice)Brought to you by: animal-rights.com