Do Not Read if Already Annoyed
Roger directed me to "Ethics@Work: Animal Rights: Are they good for people?" (and yes, there’s a double colon), which I wasn’t going to write about because I was almost too annoyed by it. But then I read " A Locally Grown Diet with Fuss but No Muss," by Kim Severson in today’s New York Times, part of which was just as annoying so I figured I’d put them together, toss them to you, and perform some kind of exorcism to remove the memory of having read them.
- The Ethics@Work article at The Jerusalem Post, by Asher Meir, and the subsequent comments may cause multiple rollings of the eyeballs, so be prepared. This is a great opportunity to correct misconceptions and introduce an idea that the author has apparently never heard about–in whatever language you wish–the idea that animals aren’t ours to use. Meir writes:
Today’s animal-rights movement is strongly influenced by the utilitarian approach; a leading figure in the movement is the orthodox-utilitarian philosopher Peter Singer of Princeton, who asserts that great apes have the same cognitive level as human children and should therefore be granted comparable rights.
I perceive a philosophical fallacy in the activists’ position. They speak in the absolutist rhetoric of rights, yet the underpinning of their approach is utilitarianism, a philosophy of expediency that is ultimately incompatible with rights.
So he thinks he’s onto something and he’s the first one to notice that Singer might not be interested in animal rights.
- The real issue is the "they" that follows, as if all animal rights activists=Peter Singer, who’s not even an animal rights activist.
- "Peter Singer, the main philosophical authority behind the animal-rights movement." If you’re going to talk about animal rights, at least mention Regan or Francione, who actually address the topic. What’s funny, but not, is that Meir is a research director. You would think that one who knows how to research wouldn’t make the mistakes Meir makes.
- Then comes a hilarious bit of speciesism that I had not heard until today:
does this mean for humans? The animal-rights movement has the potential
to elevate our ethical sensitivity toward humans, because if we set the
bar at a certain level for animals, we will be inclined to raise it
even higher for humans. But it also has the potential to degrade our
ethical sensitivity toward humans. Making the statement that humans and
animals are ethically comparable can legitimate treatment of people
that would previously have been acceptable only toward beasts, or to
promote animal welfare at the expense or neglect of human welfare.
Does Meir really think that acknowledging the sentience of
certain nonhumans ("beasts?" oh, please) and respecting them accordingly would lead to worse treatment of people? Who thinks that and why?
heard the Cain and Abel interpretation for decades. Cain is evil
because he respects animals and only someone who respects animals can
slaughter his brother. The logic is breathtaking.
- Read comments at your own risk. And if you feel like you can make a difference, go for it.
Kim Severson is the author of my most-visited post "NYT Thoroughly Confused About Animal Rights," from one year ago this week, so it’s only fitting that she provides me with some fodder on this anniversary.
- Severson introduces us to "lazy locavores– city dwellers who
insist on eating food grown close to home but have no inclination to
get their hands dirty." This was inevitable, as I must admit that I’d
be growing my own food if . . . . I didn’t have to grow it. (Plus I’d
have to use some precious real estate used by the hounds, whom I’ve
discovered love all things vegetable and fruit.)
- I have no problem with locavores, unless of course they kill
animals needlessly. Like because they enjoy eating them, for instance.
grown food, even fully cooked meals, can be delivered to your door. A
share in a cow raised in a nearby field can be brought to you, ready
for the freezer — a phenomenon dubbed cow pooling. There is pork
pooling as well. At Sugar Mountain Farm in Vermont, the demand for a
half or whole rare-breed pig is so great that people will not be seeing
pork until the late fall.
My husband suggested "flesh sharing."
- At this point this article isn’t as objectionable as many, but the end doesn’t disappoint, and doesn’t even come from Severson.
author Barbara Kingsolver, whose book “Animal, Vegetable, Miracle” was
a best seller last year, did not have the lazy locavore in mind when
she wrote about the implications of making her family spend a year
eating local. But she celebrates the trend.
“As a person of rural origin who has lived much of my life in rural
places,” she said, “I can’t tell you how joyful it makes me to hear
that it’s trendy for people in Manhattan to own a part of a cow.”
can’t tell you how sad it makes me to hear that a bestselling author
and trendy people in Manhattan find it acceptable to own a part of a
cow, who will then be slaughtered for no reason other than they want to
eat her flesh and drink the milk that was meant for her children.