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  • New Atheism, Moral Realism, and Animal Rights: Some Preliminary Reflections - Animal Rights: The Abolitionist Approach
    normative notions and the very same unprovable beliefs some pejoratively dismiss First let s start with the claim we ought to be rational without regard for what rationality requires us to do or to believe Why Why ought we to be rational at all Why ought we to believe Y if we believe If X then Y and X How can we prove these ought statements The short answer is that we can t prove them They like the axioms of mathematics cannot be proved and have to be accepted as true That is the claim we ought to be rational is a normative position no more secured than the claim we ought to be kind to and love each other Now a comeback might be that although we cannot prove the truth of the claim we ought to be rational this claim must be true because without it we could not make claims or have arguments in the first place But that is simply not the case Even if we did not recognize the objective truth of rationality we could still make claims and have arguments that would be valid or invalid We could just not maintain that someone who did not accept the conclusion of sound argument was being irrational So this reply still leaves an ought to explain at the most basic level Second even if we ignore the foregoing concerns and we accept that we ought to choose the means most conducive to our ends or that we ought to hold beliefs that are consistent with our other beliefs what does rationality have to say about what ends we choose and what beliefs we have The answer nothing Nothing at all Rationality is a formal requirement at best and cannot serve to identify what ends we ought to choose or what beliefs we ought to have For example engaging in conduct that will bring about the end of the world is irrational if you do not see the extinction of life as a desirable end But for those who think extinction is valuable because they regard humans as a blight on the earth or who do not care about future generations or who value things that cause damage to the planet environmentally destructive behavior may be perfectly rational Rationality cannot decide the issue of whether humankind is a blight upon the earth and should be extinguished or whether we have an obligation to ensure that the planet is healthy for future generations because humans have moral value Similarly if I believe all humans have equal inherent value and I accept that the members of group X are in fact human then rationality of belief requires that I conclude that members of group X have inherent value equal to other humans But despite philosopher Immanuel Kant s view that reason requires the recognition of equal inherent value for humans I may reject egalitarianism because I believe that those humans who excel at art or music have greater inherent value than the rest of us because they enrich our lives in a way that others do not I may take the position that these special humans do not act wrongly if they treat others in a wholly instrumental way Although Kant makes compelling arguments about equality that I argue in my own work should be extended to nonhumans there is simply no way that we can using rationality alone prove that Kant is right Kant s theory with or without my modifications requires that we hold certain moral beliefs about membership in the moral community and no objective rationality can compel us to hold those views The choice of ends to value or of moral beliefs to hold involves something beyond rationality And there is no way that anyone can avoid that New Atheists Hitchens and Harris and Chris Hedges are all rational people in that they accept that their beliefs ought to be consistent with each other But they have very different moral beliefs It is interesting to note that some of the most prominent New Atheists believe as did Ayn Rand that rational atheistic thought leads us in a direction that just happens to fit with a right wing world view As mentioned previously Hitchens was a strong defender of the Iraq war and held a number of right wing views and Sam Harris tells us that we are at war with Islam and states The link between belief and behavior raises the stakes considerably Some propositions are so dangerous that it may even be ethical to kill people for believing them Indeed Harris purports to demonstrate that we can scientifically prove that Islam is a morally bad religion Whether or not one agrees with these views I certainly do not it is rather silly to deny that they reflect belief in certain moral notions that cannot be proved true in some objective or non controversial way Chris Hedges disagrees with these views and it is not because he is irrational He simply accepts a different set of moral principles The debate between the New Atheists who have all sorts of belief in a variety of normative notions and people like Hedges cannot be resolved by any appeal to rationality it can only be resolved by deciding whose vision of morality you share Noam Chomsky describes Harris and Hitchens as religious fanatics who believe in the religion of the state in that they argue we have to defend the violence and atrocities of the state because it s being done to ensure human progress and to achieve other wonderful consequences This notion that the world is moving in a positive direction also finds expression in Dawkins who defends some complete gibberish called the moral Zeitgeist that he describes as a broad liberal consensus of ethical principles that we are moving toward and that is not driven by religion and that develops despite religion Putting aside that some of the values he describes positively have been driven primarily by nonviolent interpretations of religious and spiritual traditions some of the arguments he makes to show that things are getting better are quite remarkable For example he tells us that Hitler would not have stood out in the time of Caligula or Ghengis Khan He acknowledges that there have been civilian casualties in Iraq but they are orders of magnitude lower than comparable numbers for the Second World War Putting aside that Dawkins judges wars morally by the number of casualties should we just say invade countries that have no armies that would certainly reduce casualties the moral Zeitgeist is on the move because fewer people died in a fabricated preventative war against a nonthreatening adversary Saddam Hussein than died in a war against Hitler who was himself a big step forward from Caligula Frankly I find Dawkins views here to be reactionary in a breathtaking way Interestingly Sam Harris claims to be a moral realist But just as my claiming to President of the United States does not make me President Harris claiming to be a moral realist does not make it so Moral realism is in the words of Russ Schafer Landau in his book Moral Realism A Defence Oxford 2003 the belief that there are moral truths that obtain independently of any preferred perspective in the sense that the moral standards that fix the moral facts are not made true by virtue of their ratification within any given actual or hypothetical perspective It does not appear to me that Harris is a realist in this sense Although Harris is not clear he appears to be arguing that because of the sorts of beings we are we cannot help but value well being which we treat as objectively valuable and regard ourselves as morally obligated to generate as much well being as possible That would make Harris a constructivist in that what he is saying on this interpretation is that well being is made to be a true moral value as a result of our perspective Alternatively Harris may be claiming that as a matter of the meaning of language claims about morality are really descriptive claims about well being and science can tell us whether those claims are true or false That is just as we say that we cannot engage in science without valuing a certain sort of evidence coherence etc because that is just what is by definition to do science we cannot engage in moral activity without valuing well being because that is by definition what it is to engage in moral activity Therefore when we say John ought to do action A what we mean is that If John does A well being will likely happen Science can tell us whether and to what extent A will produce well being But that involves a simple semantic deflation Harris says that moral statements are identical to factual statements about well being and allows Harris to avoid in his view the is ought problem There is no appeal to any ultimate normative standard as objectively true This is not a position of moral realism If Harris is read as saying that that well being is valuable in the sort of stance independent way that Shafer Landau contemplates and that we are obligated to maximize it then he is just another consequentialist thinker and adds nothing new to ethical theory except perhaps for introducing the notion that we can scientifically prove his ethnocentric and xenophobic pronouncements such as that Islam is a morally bad religion Getting an Ought from the Is Claims of Science The New Atheists or some of them tell us that notions of objective or stance independent moral truth or spiritual or religious beliefs cannot tell us what is Only science can tell us what the real facts are Science provides objective Truth Everything else is something less than Truth Again this view ignores that the metatheories that establish what is regarded as science are like the axioms of mathematics or the position that rationality is a formal requirement things that must be accepted as true and cannot be proved to be true Although those subscribing to New Atheism might accept this as an abstract proposition they fail to understand its meaning for their enterprise Thomas Kuhn in The Structure of Scientific Revolutions probably the most influential book on the philosophy of science written in the 20th century popularized the use of paradigm to describe the scientific achievements that serve for some period of time to determine what is to be observed what sorts of questions are to be asked how any investigations are to be structured and how results of investigations are to be interpreted Kuhn argued persuasively that paradigms could not be proved true or false and that it was naive to view science as Truth Different paradigms represent different worldviews different points of view Paul Feyerabend in works such as Against Method pushed this notion even further arguing against the rationalist idea there are identifiable rules of scientific method that determine what science is good science Feyerabend promoted the notion that science involves more myth than scientists want to acknowledge and that success by scientists has often involved non scientific elements including inspiration from mythical or religious sources Feryerabend made clear that the line with science on one side and religion myth magic and everything else on the other side is as much of a myth as what scientists claim to reject as myth But even if you do not accept what Kuhn Feyerabend and many others have said about the assumptions that science must make and that cannot be proved or that there is no bright line between science and religion it cannot be seriously believed that science as practiced is somehow separate from political and social institutions As Richard Levins and Richard Lewontin pointed out in their groundbreaking book The Dialectical Biologist science occurs within a social context and reflects an inherently political perspective To understand this point let us look at an example involving Richard Dawkins 1976 book The Selfish Gene Is Dawkins making a scientific claim about the facts of genes or is he instead focusing on human selfishness and altruism and using these human behaviors to provide a supposedly scientific description of the evolutionary process as a general matter which he then uses to explain human selfishness and altruism I believe with philosopher Mary Midgley and others that the position that Dawkins proposes is a hypothesis that relies more on the reductive individualism of the Enlightenment than it does on Darwin s views which as Midgley argues involved interaction and cooperation and that the selfish gene is not some fact of nature It is fascinating to note that Dawkins book became popular precisely at the time that the Reagan Thatcher notions about the desirability of selfishness independence and individualism became popular Sam Harris states explicitly as a fact that we are at war with Islam Does that fact represent an objectively true is statement or does it merely reflect Harris adherence to certain political beliefs that determine how he interprets what is happening in the world and the facts that he finds Harris claims that the Taliban morality is bad from the point of view of science Science tells us that we ought to believe what the evidence appears to show That is itself a normative claim But let s assume that we ought to believe what the evidence shows What counts as evidence The answer is that certain evidence which is consistent with the assumptions of the scientific paradigm counts but all other evidence is excluded and ignored There can be completely different sorts of empiricism the theory that all knowledge comes from the senses as opposed to being innate It is incorrect to say that moral realism or all spiritual traditions are unconcerned with evidence or that there is no evidence for them There is a concern for evidence and there is evidence it is just not recognized as scientific knowledge because science rejects that sort of evidence from the outset There are many things to measure science measures only some and even defines how measurement can proceed Everything else is ignored And as William James maintained we may be justified in having spiritual or religious beliefs even though we do not have evidence for those beliefs The New Atheists offer an incomplete and impoverished choice a false dichotomy between religious fundamentalism and what is in effect scientism or an exaggerated trust in the efficacy of the methods of natural science applied to all areas of investigation as in philosophy the social sciences and the humanities But assuming that science can provide us with some uncontroversial is statements we can t get any ought statements from those is statements As Chris Hedges notes The belief that rational and quantifiable disciplines such as science can be used to perfect human society is no less absurd than a belief in magic angels and divine intervention The belief that science provides us with true answers to significant moral questions has been shown repeatedly to have the most profoundly disturbing results Science told us that women would be physically damaged if they had too much education indeed science has repeatedly been used to justify discrimination on the basis of sex Science told us that people of color were physically and cognitively different from white people as a factual basis for the justification of human slavery There are countless examples of how science has been used to justify a great deal of violence and a wide range of discrimination A critic may counter that science has been used to support good moral ends as well For example scientists eventually abandoned scientific claims about the supposed physical inferiority of women But that s the point It s not science that drives morality it s morality and immorality that drives the science To take a very loose analogy from quantum theory our moral consciousness determines the reality we see Atheism and Animal Rights Many animal advocates claim to be atheists They are in error if they think that there is some notion of objective rationality or some combination of rationality and scientific facts which though rejecting moral premises can secure the moral conclusion that we ought to stop exploiting animals The abolitionist philosophy that I have developed certainly relies on rational argument but ultimately rests on a foundation of moral realism For example when I state it is wrong to inflict suffering on a sentient being without an adequate justification I mean that to be a principle that represents a moral fact From this principle together with the logical premise that the moral notion is meaningless if an adequate justification can include the pleasure amusement or convenience of the person s imposing the suffering I argue rationally to the conclusion that we cannot justify most animal use however humane it might be I have other arguments against any animal use that is not ruled out by the necessity argument So the theory or that part of it rests on logic and rationality and certain nonmoral facts about animal sentience But you cannot get to any normative conclusion if you don t agree with the moral fact that it is wrong to inflict suffering on another sentient being without an adequate justification If you ask me to prove the truth of that moral fact using a framework prescribed by science or in a way that every rational person would be compelled to accept I can t That does not mean that it is wrong to inflict suffering on animals without an adequate justification is not a moral fact it does not mean that no evidence supports it My views are based on moral intuitions which involve beliefs that are based in experience but which cannot be proved with the sort of evidence that is used in the prevailing paradigm of science I would however maintain that the truth of the

    Original URL path: http://www.abolitionistapproach.com/new-atheism-and-animal-ethics-some-reflections/ (2016-05-02)
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  • Replacing One Cage With Another - Animal Rights: The Abolitionist Approach
    address the welfare issues raised by the traditional battery cage But that was then and now is now and big animal groups like CIWF need to be able to declare a victory even when there isn t one And so CIWF is joining with Singer declaring victory and praising the EU ban that is not a ban I have in my writing cautioned against the use of the word ban to apply to welfare reforms using as an example that a requirement of a larger cage could be characterized very wrongly in my view as a ban on the smaller cage On that interpretation anything could be construed as a ban The EU ban on battery cages is a dramatic example of the problem I identified But what is so terribly tragic about all of this is that the so called father of the animal rights movement regards the products of tortured animals to be ethical eggs Even if like Singer you think that chickens do not have a morally significant interest in living and that killing them for human purposes is not itself morally wrong a key point of disagreement between me and Singer how could you possibly regard the EU ban that is not a ban as an indication that Europe has stuck a blow for civilization The EU ban is not doing anything to make our culture more civilized It is however furthering the very dangerous idea that there are compassionate ways to torture and exploit nonhuman animals The ban is furthering the idea that continuing to consume eggs is morally defensible as long as we eat ethical eggs that have been laid by hens who are in an enriched cage or who are otherwise being tortured The egg industry is I am sure very grateful to Singer and to all of those welfarists who are cheerleading for the idea that we can be ethical while we consume eggs just as the meat and dairy industries are delighted about the endorsement and active promotion of the happy meat and animal products movement This is an example of what I refer to as the partnership that animal advocates have with institutionalized animal exploiters There need not be an explicit agreement of partnership although in many cases exploiters and animal advocates conduct joint campaigns animal advocates give awards to institutionalized users promote happy meat dairy labels etc All that is necessary is that animal advocates promote what is ultimately best for industry and what will perpetuate as a social matter the consumption and exploitation of nonhuman animals If anyone thinks that measures such as the EU ban and the fact that animal advocates are campaigning for and praising such measures are doing anything but making the public more comfortable about consuming animals and animal products I disagree No one can credibly deny that Singer s comments are not an explicit endorsement for Europe s ethical eggs No one can deny that such an endorsement will matter to those who

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  • The Paradigm Shift Requires Clarity About the Moral Baseline: Veganism - Animal Rights: The Abolitionist Approach
    is no coherent distinction between flesh and other animal products They are all the same and we cannot justify consuming any of them To say that you do not eat flesh but that you eat dairy or eggs or whatever or that you don t wear fur but you wear leather or wool is like saying that you eat the meat from spotted cows but not from brown cows it makes no sense whatsoever The supposed line between meat and everything else is just a fantasy an arbitrary distinction that is made to enable some exploitation to be segmented off and regarded as better or as morally acceptable This is not a condemnation of vegetarians who are not vegans it is however a plea to those people to recognize their actions do not conform with a moral principle that they claim to accept and that all animal products are the result of imposing suffering and death on sentient beings It is not a matter of judging individuals it is however a matter of judging practices and institutions And that is a necessary component of ethical living If we take the position that an assessment that veganism is morally preferable to vegetarianism is not possible because we are all on our own journey then moral assessment becomes completely impossible or is speciesist It is impossible because if we are all on our own journey then there is nothing to say to the racist sexist anti semite homophobe etc If we say that those forms of discrimination are morally bad but with respect to animals we are all on our own journey and we cannot make moral assessments about for instance dairy consumption then we are simply being speciesist and not applying the same moral analysis to nonhumans that we apply to the human context When we discuss veganism with vegetarians or other consumers of animal products we should never convey the message that we think that they are bad people We should instead focus on how any form of animal exploitation is inconsistent with the moral principle that they themselves claim to hold namely that animals are members of the moral community and that the imposition of suffering and death on any member of that community human or nonhuman requires a compelling justification And whatever constitutes a compelling justification taste preferences convenience fashion sense etc do not Finally we should always be clear that animal exploitation is wrong because it involves speciesism And speciesism is wrong because like racism sexism homophobia antisemitism classism and all other forms of human discrimination speciesism involves violence inflicted on members of the moral community where that infliction of violence cannot be morally justified But that means that those of us who oppose speciesism necessarily oppose discrimination against humans It makes no sense to say that speciesism is wrong because it is like racism or any other form of discrimination but that we do not have a position about racism We do We should be opposed

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  • Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall: Right About British Rose Veal - Animal Rights: The Abolitionist Approach
    be honest if you drink milk or eat cheese it s crueller not to eat it He is completely correct The distinction between meat and other animal products is total nonsense Vegetarianism is a morally incoherent position If you regard animals as members of the moral community you really don t have a choice but to go vegan If you are not vegan please consider going vegan It s a matter of nonviolence Being vegan is your statement that you reject violence to other sentient beings to yourself and to the environment on which all sentient beings depend The World is Vegan If you want it Gary L Francione Professor Rutgers University 2012 Gary L Francione Related posts Blessing Exploitation Some Thoughts for Mother s Day 2012 Commentary Vegan Education Advocacy Forcing Others to Go Vegan and Animal Ethics as Involving Obligation and Not Choice Response to George Monbiot The Paradigm Shift Requires Clarity About the Moral Baseline Veganism Share this entry Share on Facebook Share on Twitter Share on Google Share on Pinterest Share on Linkedin Share on Tumblr Share on Vk Share on Reddit Share by Mail Français Visitez notre site miroir français Recent Posts Guest Essay This is Why New Welfarists Should Stop Equivocating on Moral Principles Concerning Animals A Response to Mercy For Animals Incremental Reform in the Human Context Is Not Analogous to Welfare Reform and Single Issue Campaigns in the Nonhuman Context The Animals Need YOU A Report from the Intersectional Justice Conference Why Welfare Reform Campaigns and Single Issue Campaigns Necessarily Promote Animal Exploitation When Intersectional Justice Means Promoting Meat Fish Dairy Imagine If There Were a Real Animal Rights Movement Challenging Peter Singer s Paternity Claim Business As Usual VegfestUK and the Animal Welfare Industry The Vegan Society Senior Officer of Advocacy

    Original URL path: http://www.abolitionistapproach.com/hugh-fearnley-whittingstall-right-about-british-rose-veal/ (2016-05-02)
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  • Animal Rights, Animal Welfare, and the Slavery Analogy - Animal Rights: The Abolitionist Approach
    needed And that is precisely the thinking that motivates the happy meat animal products movement and the entire welfarist enterprise of trying to make animal use more humane more compassionate etc I have argued that this sort of thinking is problematic in at least two regards First the notion that nonhuman animals do not have an interest in continued existence that they do not have an interest in their lives involves relying on a speciesist concept of what sort of self awareness matters morally I have argued that every sentient being necessarily has an interest in continued existence every sentient being values her or his life and that to say that only those animals human animals who have a particular sort of self awareness have an interest in not being treated as commodities begs the fundamental moral question Even if as some maintain nonhuman animals live in an eternal present and I think that is empirically not the case at the very least for most of the nonhumans we routinely exploit who do have memories of the past and a sense of the future they have in each moment an interest in continuing to exist To say that this does not count morally is simply speciesist Second even if animals do not have an interest in continuing to live and only have interests in not suffering the notion that as a practical matter we will ever be able to accord those interests the morally required weight is simply fantasy The notion that we property owners are ever going to accord any sort of significant weight to the interests of property in not suffering is simply unrealistic Is it possible in theory Yes Is it possible as a matter of practicality in the real world Absolutely not Welfarists often talk about treating farmed animals in the way that we treat dogs and cats whom we love and regard as members of our family Does anyone really think that is practically possible The fact that we would not think of eating our dogs and cats is some indication that it is not Moreover a central thesis of my work has been that because animals are chattel property they are economic commodities we will generally protect animal interests only when we get an economic benefit from doing so This means that the standard of animal welfare will always be very low as it is presently and despite all of the happy and compassionate exploitation nonsense and welfare reforms will generally increase production efficiency that is we will protect animal interests in situations where treatment is economically inefficient and welfare reforms will for the most part do little more than correct those inefficiencies For example the use of gestation crates for sows is economically inefficient there are supposedly more humane alternatives that actually increase production efficiency Similarly gassing chickens is more economically efficient than electrical stunning So I understand why welfarists have a problem with the slavery analogy I think that they are wrong

    Original URL path: http://www.abolitionistapproach.com/animal-rights-animal-welfare-and-the-slavery-analogy/ (2016-05-02)
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  • Celebrate Peace This Holiday Season - Animal Rights: The Abolitionist Approach
    in these very difficult times Or use that money to provide vegan food or non wool blankets to those at a local Occupy site Second if you are not vegan go vegan and stop eating wearing or consuming animal products There is no justification for it And spend a portion of each day engaged in creative non violent vegan education Educational efforts can take many different forms Third adopt a homeless animal There are so many who need you If you do not have the room or resources for a dog or cat adopt a hamster rabbit or fish There is a nonhuman refugee out there who will fit with your life And if you adopt one or more you will not only save the life of another but you will enrich your own life immeasurably Gary L Francione Professor Rutgers University 2011 Gary L Francione Related posts A Note About Our Virtual Billboard Some Thoughts on Vegan Education German Version of Pamphlet Now Available Human Rights and Animal Rights Perfect Together Commercializing THE WORLD IS VEGAN If you want it Share this entry Share on Facebook Share on Twitter Share on Google Share on Pinterest Share on Linkedin Share on Tumblr Share on Vk Share on Reddit Share by Mail Français Visitez notre site miroir français Recent Posts Guest Essay This is Why New Welfarists Should Stop Equivocating on Moral Principles Concerning Animals A Response to Mercy For Animals Incremental Reform in the Human Context Is Not Analogous to Welfare Reform and Single Issue Campaigns in the Nonhuman Context The Animals Need YOU A Report from the Intersectional Justice Conference Why Welfare Reform Campaigns and Single Issue Campaigns Necessarily Promote Animal Exploitation When Intersectional Justice Means Promoting Meat Fish Dairy Imagine If There Were a Real Animal Rights Movement

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  • Debate on Animal Rights with Libertarian Philosopher Tibor Machan - Animal Rights: The Abolitionist Approach
    fellow at the Hoover Institution at Stanford University and an adjunct scholar at the Cato Institute Machan is a prominent opponent of animal rights The debate will take place at Rutgers University School of Law in Newark New Jersey I hope to be able to post a video of the debate here If you are not vegan please consider going vegan It s easy to go vegan it s better for your health and for the planet and most important it s the morally right thing to do The World is Vegan If you want it Gary L Francione Professor Rutgers University 2011 Gary L Francione Related posts My Debate with Libertarian Philosopher Tibor Machan Debate The Use of Nonhuman Animals in Biomedical Research A Moral Justification Commentary 21 The Animal Rights Debate the Abolitionist Approach Discussion Forum and a Response to Nicolette Hahn Niman New York Times Debate on the Legal Rights of Animals Upcoming Debate Abolition vs Regulation Share this entry Share on Facebook Share on Twitter Share on Google Share on Pinterest Share on Linkedin Share on Tumblr Share on Vk Share on Reddit Share by Mail Français Visitez notre site miroir français Recent Posts Guest Essay This is Why New Welfarists Should Stop Equivocating on Moral Principles Concerning Animals A Response to Mercy For Animals Incremental Reform in the Human Context Is Not Analogous to Welfare Reform and Single Issue Campaigns in the Nonhuman Context The Animals Need YOU A Report from the Intersectional Justice Conference Why Welfare Reform Campaigns and Single Issue Campaigns Necessarily Promote Animal Exploitation When Intersectional Justice Means Promoting Meat Fish Dairy Imagine If There Were a Real Animal Rights Movement Challenging Peter Singer s Paternity Claim Business As Usual VegfestUK and the Animal Welfare Industry The Vegan Society Senior Officer of

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  • Killing Animals and Making Animals Suffer - Animal Rights: The Abolitionist Approach
    make animal exploitation less morally objectionable The public can continue to consume animals and feel good about being compassionate We should not be surprised that more and more people feel comfortable about consuming animal products After all they are being assured by the experts that suffering is being decreased and they can buy happy meat free range eggs etc These products even come with labels approved of by animal organizations The animal welfare movement is actually encouraging the compassionate consumption of animal products Animal welfare reforms do very little to increase the protection given to animal interests because of the economics involved animals are property They are things that have no intrinsic or moral value This means that welfare standards whether for animals used as foods in experiments or for any other purpose will be low and linked to the level of welfare needed to exploit the animal in an economically efficient way for the particular purpose Put simply we generally protect animal interests only to the extent we get an economic benefit from doing so The concept of unnecessary suffering is understood as that level of suffering that will frustrate the particular use And that can be a great deal of suffering But the animal welfare position that that it is the suffering of animals and not their killing per se that raises a moral question begs a very important question it assumes that because animal minds are different from human minds animals unlike humans do not have the sort of self awareness that translates into having an interest in continuing to live The welfare position necessarily assumes that animal life has a lesser moral value than does human life And welfarists explicitly agree with this as is clear in my book The Animal Rights Debate Abolition or Regulation A major focus of my work has been to challenge that welfarist assumption and to argue that the only non speciesist position to take is that any sentient being any being who is perceptually aware and has subjective states of awareness has an interest in continuing to live Any other view accords an arbitrary preference to human cognition It is speciesist to maintain that animal life has a a lesser value than human life This does not necessarily mean that we must treat nonhumans the way we treat humans for all purposes It does however mean that for the purpose of being treated exclusively as a resource for others all sentient beings are equal and we cannot justify treating any sentient being as a resource If animals have an interest in continuing to live as I maintain they do simply by virtue of being sentient and if that interest matters morally which I argue that it must do then there is only one plausible conclusion any use however humane is unjust If you are not vegan please consider going vegan It s easy to go vegan it s better for your health and for the planet and most important it

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