On Class B Dealers and Being Judgmental
Montcalm County has forged a deal with the devil to alleviate the expenses associated with the euthanasia and dump fees from its animal pound. In a cost-reduction effort by the county, and in exchange for the privilege to cherry pick among the facility’s still-breathing pets, R&R Research euthanizes the rest (by Co2-barrel gassing), removes all carcasses from the building, and pays all related disposal fees.
R&R is a USDA class B dealer licensed to sell “random source” animals to various research facilities. So while you and I have to pay the full adoption fee to spring a pet (and yes, that includes rescues, too – no discount for you!), R&R gets them for free-and makes a nice, tidy profit to boot.
I don't know if it means anything coming from me, but I'm sure going to e-mail the commissioners and tell them that the country is watching. Monday, January 26 is the date the contract will go to council for renewal (or not).
About Being Judgmental, I don't know about you, but I get that all the time. I'm being judgmental because I believe that killing sentient beings when you don't need to is wrong. It's not against our law, and it is morally acceptable within our culture (though there are rules about which animals are for petting and which are for eating), therefore it's morally acceptable (again, as long as you're not eating an animal who is on the list of taboo-animals-for-consumption, like, say, Golden Retrievers or whales).
How much sense does that make, by the way?
A couple of days ago, in response to hunter Mike Spies, Dan wrote (among other things, and if you have a couple of minutes the exchanges on the Cass Sunstein entry are fantastic. I had little patience for it all, which is quite obvious, but Dan and Bea and Roger made great points):
When one asserts the claim, “One ought not to judge”, such a claim is itself a judgment, and also requires a judgment as to when the claim has been violated. The claim itself is therefore logically self-contradictory and untenable. Because your brand of radical moral relativity entails such a ‘non-judgmental’ position, it is also self-contradictory and untenable.
I’ll use your judgment of me and my culture and tradition to provide a real-life example. You claim that ‘morals’ (what I call norms or customs) are derived from culture, and therefore when one judges another culture’s activities, including their ‘morals’ (norms/customs), one is judging a culture. You further claim that judging culture, including ‘morals’, norms, and customs is wrong. The Western culture, of which I am a member, is a culture whose norms and customs include judging everything under the sun. It is one of our sacred cultural traditions. So if one of your most cherished ethical claims is that one should not judge cultures, norms and traditions, who are you to judge our Western culture? It’s it blatant hypocrisy, contradictory to your own moral code, for you to judge our judging?
Further, as a practical matter, ignoring the fact that your position is self-defeating, if everybody suddenly stopped judging at any given historical moment ‘t’, it is difficult to see how anything, ethically or otherwise, could possibly have changed since moment t. Judging, ethically or otherwise, is an inherent part of human culture, without which culture would be dead and stagnant. So not only is a ban on judgment nonsensical in a self-defeating way, but it is also devastating to culture itself.
Anthropologists should reserve the expression of judgment in the field when they are studying a different culture so as not to change the very culture they are studying, but when that reservation of judgment is held as the ultimate good outside of fieldwork in anthropology, it becomes both nonsensical and pathological.