Where Have All The Rational People Gone?

[The following post is written by one my Animal Law students who prefers to remain anonymous –dnc]

I read an article recently that really offended me. The article was written on November 21, 2009 by Gary Steiner and was published in the New York Times Op-Ed section (Steiner’s piece has already been discussed  on this blog here).

The first line in this article that bothered me actually did not originate from him. He quotes Issac Bashevis Singer in his story “The Letter Writer” as saying that the killing of animals for food is the “eternal Treblinka.” For those of you who are not aware, Treblinka was a Nazi extermination camp. In one year there were 850,000 people killed there. The problem I have with Singer’s comparison is that there was no benefit whatsoever to the Nazis by killing these people. Of course many Animal Rights activists do not think it is right to kill animals for human benefit, but you would be hard pressed to find anyone who denies that the humans who do kill animals gain a benefit from them. In fact, I think the whole issue is whether it is right for humans to kill animals for their benefit. You may not feel the benefit is justified, but we are not talking about wanton slaughter like there was in Treblinka.

Please just read this short article about Treblinka at http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Treblinka_extermination_camp, and then I feel that you will agree that to even repeat this ridiculous comparison destroys any validity that could possibly have come out of this article. That is my problem with Steiner. What would possess him to read this ridiculous comparison and then quote it? Obviously he read it and said something to the effect of “hey, wait a second, that’s right. Slaughtering animals for a benefit to human’s is exactly the same as a mass extermination of humans for absolutely no reason.” And then he decided to quote it. All I can say to him is, well I think Abraham Lincoln said it best, sometimes it is “better to remain silent and be thought a fool then to open your mouth and remove all doubt.”

The next part of the article that bothered me was a line where he wrote “Let me be candid: By and large, meat-eaters are a self-righteous bunch.” I am sorry but that line is a bunch of baloney (soy baloney of course). We meat eaters are many many things, but self-righteous is not one of them. Gary Steiner spends the entire article telling us how we, as meat eaters, are trying to ease our guilt by buying free range turkeys and eggs and then proceeds to tell us that the few attempts we are making at putting our money where your mouths are is not good enough, and THEN he has the nerve to call us self-righteous. Excuse me Mr. Steiner, but how can you tell us that what we are doing is not good enough for you and in the same breath call us self-righteous. Maybe it is because of offensive people like yourself that there are not more people who care about your issues.

This reminds me of a situation where there is a pauper who goes to a rich person to collect money. As the rich person is about to give him the money the pauper starts yelling and cursing him, so of course the rich person does not give the pauper the money and the pauper then complains to anyone who will listen that the rich person doesn’t care for the poor. What you have to keep in mind is that for right or wrong, the animal rights cause is the pauper and if you are asking for the rich person’s help (i.e. the meat eaters) then insulting them is NOT the right way to go about it. We may be willing to help, but only if you can keep from insulting us long enough so that we will listen!!!

27 Responses

  1. While I don’t personally agree with Steiner’s comparison myself, I think he’s using the comparison as a platform to jumpstart a conversation about what is going on behind the doors of slaughterhouses across the country.

    One problem I had with your response to his article, however, is that you said the slaughter of animals is a completely different beast (no pun intended) because it’s committed for human benefit- which unlike the murders in the Holocaust were committed for no reason. My issues with this statement are multifold. For one, since when is slaughter for simply benefit ok? Shouldn’t it be slaughter for desperate need only? We live in a time where we know very well that we can survive without meat in our diets, yet we do it anyway. Isn’t this more like slaughter for no reason, then slaughter for human benefit?

    I also personally found that the comparison to Treblinka has more to do with what happened outside the camp, than what was happening to the people inside the camps. During the Holocaust, people everywhere were turning a blind eye to what was happening behind those closed walls. That is what is happening with slaughterhouses everywhere. Animals are being killed, in horrific, horrible ways- and the general public turns a blind eye to what is happening.

    I understand why its offensive to compare Treblinka to the slaughter of animals, but I don’t think the author was saying they are the EXACT same thing. They are just similar situations, and to a certain extent- Suffering IS suffering and Murder IS murder.

    One thing we know can’t be exactly the same about those comparisons. Approximately 11 million people died in the Holocaust. We kill 10 times that many animals, per year, in the United States.

  2. I think that you misunderstood what was clearly the impetus for Professor Steiner’s piece: the self-congratulatory air held by people who “express an interest in where the meat they eat comes from and how it was raised” as Thanksgiving approaches. He responded to them by explaining how their good intentions go awry by perceiving that “free range” meat is the solution to their dilemma. Given the reality of most so-called “humane” meat, the attitude of people who think buying such meat accords them society’s praise (a growing segment of the population, as evidenced by Wal-Mart and other stores’ entry into the market) is self-righteous.

    Pointing out hypocrisy and naiveté is a reasonable response, and sometimes it is necessary. Even activists become frustrated, particularly when people who purportedly agree with their views still fail to live in accordance with them. As with anyone else, Steiner is entitled to this emotional response. It is unfair on your part to take him to task for not writing an exclusively rational, logical article about the benefits of veganism for both humans and other animals. Both emotional and rational arguments have a place in battles like that over animal rights.

    Consider the fight for other kinds of rights, for example. Are you prepared to tell gay rights activists that they do not deserve your support unless they check their emotions at the door? What about those fighting for religious freedoms? Of course rational arguments lay at the heart of these issues, but it is foolish to deny that emotions can play any part or that activists are allowed to express their frustrations with those who threaten to (even unknowingly) block progress.

  3. The distinction the author between Treblinka and the slaughterhouse is the existence or non-existence of benefit. To be honest, I’d prefer even some kind of informed, intelligent speciesism, along the lines of Midgely or Regan, than…this. Because I think the difference is, really, just self-perception.

    Let me explain.

    Someone who followed the – abhorrent – ideology of Nazism would not believe that the Holocaust was wanton slaughter without benefit. Rather, he or she would believe that the slaughter benefited Germany, by removing a people that had been demonised and scapegoated. The nazis perceived their slaughter as beneficial. At the simplest level, it sadly was. For a time, it benefited the ruling elite. The scapegoating (and eventual killing) of minorities, including Jews and others, helped to justify nazi authority, nazi militarism, and nazi expansionism.

    As we are outside their ideology – in fact, generally, I expect, wholly opposed to it – we see it for the lie it was. It is easy for us, without the indoctrination of the nazi propaganda machine, to see that the benefits claimed were false, hollow, calculated lies.

    Now, the slaughterhouse. What is the benefit? It’s not health, although omnivores may disagree. It is pleasure, and ideology; people enjoy eating meat, and are taught that is it healthy. It is, then, the perception of health and the enjoyment of taste. And, of course, for the industries, it is profit.

    So where’s the difference? The elite benefits in both cases. The benefits are inherently tied to ideology. The killers profit in both.

    The difference is that we live inside a society that accepts the self-justifying ideology of speciesism. The accepts the benefits of killing animals as somehow valid, yet rejects the benefits of the Holocaust.

    There needs to be a harder questioning. Should people be able to kill because of benefits they perceive that they themselves will receive from killing? Is there any relevance at all to the ethical quality of killing that the killer benefits? Is there any difference between wanton and calculated killing of the innocent? And, indeed, where the benefits are solely the benefits perceived by the killer – is there even such a thing as killing without benefit?

  4. It’s tough to argue with Issac Bashevis Singer on his comparison. He did win the Nobel Prize after all. Not to mention he was Jewish. How can any of us question the validity of a Jewish Nobel-prize winner’s comparison of slaughterhouses to concentration camps?

    And the Nazis were using the flesh (and hair and rendered fat) of the people they killed in the camps. Soap was one of the products. Lampshades made of the skin of Jews as well. Hitler was definitely undertaking this project because he thought that the world (especially the German people) would benefit from their extermination. To say that concentration camps didn’t exist to benefit anyone is a serious mistake.

  5. There’s a lot of generalizing and self defensiveness in this article, which brings flaws, but I just thought I would point out the first error, which according to the author, makes the rest completely worthless.

    People who commit mass slaughter of other people believe they are doing so out of some benefit, usually to themselves and others like them. The same was true in concentration camps in WWII. Certainly we can see the flaw behind these perceived benefits, and just as many can see the flaw behind the perceived benefit of the mass slaughter of animals.

    This fact (as well as reading what the nazis did with the people they killed, including experimentation, and use of dead bodies), I’m sure you’ll agree, destroys any validity that could possibly have come out of this article.

  6. I’m just curious, and don’t intend to be juvenile, but what those who agree with Singer think about killing animals for benefits in other contexts? This goes from clothes to rat poison to pesticides for killing crop-killing pests (which make food abundant and affordable) to Obama-fly-swatting type activities. I read a sense of moral certainty in these debates (not on this thread specifically, but in related debates generally) and I can’t for the life of me see where the lines are so clearly drawn.

    Even within the meat-eating context, where is the line drawn on the spectrum from the people who eat meat primarily because have no other means of alternate nutrition, and a middle-income American who eats meat at every single meal and would never imagine doing otherwise?

    Another point I don’t intuitively grasp. People advocating for ‘cruelty-free’ meat eating make the point that there is less suffering involved, while many people seem to be dismissing these people as ‘self-righteous’ because to them, the act of killing an animal is cruelty, plain and simple. Well, anyone who believes that an embryo is a person will advance the same logic against abortion, with the same fervor and sense of moral certainty. Yes, many of them are crazy and dangerous, but so are a lot of animal-rights activists. (The majority of both groups are rational, caring people, so please don’t read more into that comparison than the narrow point just made.)

    I may be missing the point entirely, but the first analogy that comes to mind to the ‘self-righteous murderers’ camp are religious fundamentalists, particularly those who believe that everyone who isn’t a born-again Christian will burn forever. By that definition, the hell-bound would include the vast majority of humanity throughout history. What is the percentage of people who eat meat? Far more, even, than that, I imagine. An ideology that labels the vast majority of humanity, throughout history, as self-righteous murderers is not one that is going to win many converts. Variations on the same arguments both for and against meat eating have been around for a very, very long time, and in the instances where people do switch to vegetarianism seem to me based more on limited ethical (i.e., environmental) or health considerations, rather than what I would call the ‘moral’ arguments (‘meat is murder,’ etc.).

    Singer’s isn’t an illegitimate viewpoint (I often feel that everyone else is ignorant and/or selfish, though for different reasons) but I just don’t see the moral certainty, and I think that, to the average person, there is nothing about this that is intuitive or clear-cut. I believe that if people from either side use one-tenth of the time that they ordinarily spend reflexively reinforcing their beliefs or patting themselves on the back to instead try to GENUINELY understand the other perspective, there could be a genuine, fertile dialogue. (Which I believe is what this blog seeks to accomplish.)

    What i DO know is that change will never occur without that dialogue.

  7. Actually, I think many meat eaters are a self-righteous bunch who are in fact not “willing to help” at all. And what do you mean by help? Help animals, help vegetarians? How about help yourself (health and karma) and our environment (climate change, water and air pollution, H1N1) and stop using those who point out your shortcomings as an excuse to continue doing what you already suspect is the wrong thing? If you didn’t suspect it, you wouldn’t feel stopping or curtailing meat eating would help anything.

    I long ago gave up trying to convince meat eaters to change after I realized that theirs is much less a rational choice, than a thoughtless submission to a base urge. It is much like asking someone to believe in a different God or telling a person who is depressed to cheer up. In my experience, rationality will seldom come between a meat eater and his steak. If you care about yourself, the planet and the creatures we share it with (or any one of those things), you’ll do the right thing and stop eating defenseless animals essentially only for your pleasure. There are plenty of nutritional alternatives for everything animal flesh offers you and so why is all the suffering necessary exactly? I’m sure you have a favorite joke to insert here. Let me guess, something about how good meat tastes and how much that makes you care so little or maybe that trusty alternative route of the screaming broccoli?

    Sorry, but your offer to “help,” if only we would treat you better rings hollow to me. You should have taken Lincoln’s advice, whoever you are.

  8. Gotta say, Will, on this one, i respectively disagree, and strongly, for reasons posted to the blog. (under my pseudonym, ‘matthew’). Basically, I think that there are many deep, compelling arguments both for and against each side. (Some of the essays and reviews published since Jonathan Safron-Foer’s latest work are exemplary in that respect.) Rather than advocate for one of the many, many positions on this ideological spectrum, my point is that I can’t possibly see how any one of these positions is so obviously morally superior to the rest. (I have previously posted on this in more length on Prof. Cassuto’s FB page.) In fact, I think that these issues are some of the most ethically, morally, and intellectually challenging I can think of, and I think that reflexively falling back on rigid positions and name-calling is a short-cut around thought–more Bill O’Reilly than Bill Moyers.

  9. an example a “fertile dialouge” (though a bit one sided–someone who wrote a book on the topic fielding questions from merely interested folk). I appreciate his approach.

    http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/discussion/2009/11/13/DI2009111303078.html

    and a point on the Holocaust metaphors: the whole point of the extermination of the Jews was to exterminate the Jews–the experiments and incidental benefits were just that–secondary, incidental benefits. The primary ‘benefit’ was extermination, plain and simple. I’m not aware of anyone who eats meat for the sake of exterminating animals. In fact, those species may well have fallen by the evolutionary wayside were it not for domestication for food production. if the Nazis really took these incidental ‘benefits’ seriously, they would have merely enslaved the Jews. and i do think that the metaphor demeans the Holocaust, and human victims of genocide and crimes against humanity more generally. there is a whole other evil purpose and senseless suffering. analogizing these events to factory farming is strained, but not entirely displaced. analogizing them to general meat eating is, i think, both misguided and offensive.

  10. would you honestly ever approach a Holocaust survivor or someone affected by mass rape, dismemberment, torture, and slaughter, and tell them that you don’t see their plight as fundamentally different from free range chicken (or even a factory chicken?) if you feel so emboldened, you would quickly learn the consequences to this rhetoric. but go ahead and try, i may be wrong.

  11. This post should come after Matthew 6:50 pm post. I’m leaving the holocaust subject alone.

    Matt, I do feel strongly that the clear rational and moral choice is to not eat meat.

    Consider:

    1) Meat is nutritionally dispensable and probably less beneficial than a non-meat diet.

    2) How much land and water it takes to raise animals for meat and how little arable land and clean water we have left.

    3) How much more efficient it would be to use that land and water to grow food for direct human consumption.

    4) The amount of air and water pollution that could be avoided.

    5) Eliminating breeding grounds for pathogens such as swine flu, er, H1N1.

    6) And last, but certainly not least in my mind, the oxymoronic phrase, “humane slaughter.” I mean, what could be less humane than depriving an animal of its very life? Not to mention the torturous living conditions we subject them to and unavoidable terror they must experience when their time finally and mercifully comes. What exactly entitles us to behave like this? The law of the conquered perhaps?

    And as much as I admire Bill Moyers, I’m not above letting my emotions get the best of me and losing patience with self destructive human behavior. And I’m certainly not a pacifist when it comes to standing up to it.

  12. And just for the record, I admit that I am a bit of a hypocrite when it comes to animal rights and am far from immune to human failings on the matter. After all, I eat eggs and cheese and play baseball, complete with leather balls, gloves and cleats. I also buy leather belts and dress shoes, albeit as seldom as possible and the ones I own now are old and ratty, but should hold me over for another couple of years. My unsatisfactory rationale is that there are no good non-leather substitutes for these durable items (except maybe the belts) and that eggs and cheese don’t require the death or even mistreatment of an animal. Of course, this isn’t entirely true. Baby roosters are ground up alive because they don’t lay eggs and a lot of the cheese I eat I assume comes from factory farms since I eat out a lot and most restaurants don’t shop in the most conscientious way.

    But, I enjoy playing baseball and plastic balls, cleats and gloves stink and I don’t want to be seen in cheap dress shoes and I love eggs and cheese. I am exactly as bad as meat eaters on this level. And how do I justify it? I don’t. I merely take comfort in all the things I do right and try not to think about the rest. And honestly it’s not that hard. Sad though. And humbling.

    But, we are talking policy here and meat eating to me is clearly bad policy. Even if it’s hypocritical for me to say it, it’s my story and I’m sticking to it.

  13. […] – for example, I think he overstates the difficulty of veganism – but am in equal parts saddened and impressed by the furore it caused […]

  14. I am not terribly interested in the debate about the use of animals for food or related objects such as belts and shoes – I am a happy carnivore. I am unwilling to accept the increased trivialization and marginalizing of the Holocaust by aligning it to contemporary issues of infinitely lesser magnitude. And in so doing it becomes easier to look through true genocide as it exists in our world.

    The student who initiated this threat comments on the benefit versus non-benefit relationship of utilization of animals as compared to Nazi annihilation of Jews and many others (gays, Gypsies, political dissenters, physically and mentally handicapped persons). But “benefit” can not be abstracted from a moral viewpoint. Of course the Nazis sought, saw and derived a benefit from Treblinka, Auschwitz and every other site and form of murder. The benefit was to make Europe free of Jews and other “undesirables.” There can be no equivocation in decrying the “benefit” for the Nazis as an insane ideology carried to genocidal levels.

    But the use of animals, whether for food or products, is one about which there is debate and division amongst people who are largely centrist in fundamental moral values. That passions are excited by polar positions is healthy and necessary to public debate.

    Let’s not dilute transmitting to a generation that will, for most, never meet a Holocaust survivor the historical lesson of one instance of horrific evil (not the only one) in the last century and let the debate about the welfare of and rights of animals occupy its own stage.

  15. Professor Stein,

    The holocaust is only trivialized and minimized by the comparison to animal exploitation if you first trivialize and minimize the the rights that animals have to share the earth with us without being needlessly and wrongheadedly mistreated and slaughtered over little more than human pleasures and convenience. For those of us that believe animals have a right equal to that of humans to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness (or whatever it is that animals pursue), the comparison to the holocaust does less to minimize the holocaust as it does to impress upon readers how much we value all life.

  16. Mr. Hammerstein,

    All life is not equal and never will be and your approach, which you have every right to espouse, will rebound to the detriment of alleviating unnecessary animal suffering and exploitation.

    The conclusion that the use of animals is for the main part and parcel of “human pleasures and conveniences” is, at the least, reductionist and only maintainable as dogma, not logic.

    Perhaps age and experience have something to do with it but when I Iook at the postwar letter to my parents confirming the murder of my mother’s parents at Auschwitz I have some difficulty recognizing any animal welfare issue as inhabiting the same sphere of reality or concern.

  17. Professor Stein,

    There is no logic in your last comment to support the bald assertion that animal rights is only maintainable as dogma. In fact, I have difficulty finding any logic in that post.

    If you assert that certain kinds of life are unequal, and that this is relevant to ethics, you are making two grand ethical claims. Before you can dismiss the comparison on those grounds, you need to support those claims.

    Otherwise, we will simply be talking at cross purposes, as the first premises of our arguments are radically different. You won’t persuade the animal rights activist to adopt your premises; she won’t persuade you to adopt hers. Unless, of course, you both critically reflect upon your starting assumptions.

  18. Mr. Tong,

    If you reread my comment, you will see it is a specific response to Mr. Hammerstein’s statement with regard to how he views society’s usage of animals. It is to that that I ascribe the attribute of dogma.

    The fact that an organism has life does not mean it has parity with each and every other organism. As a supporter and campaigner for abortion rights for nearly forty years I have maintained that a fetus ought not be accorded any concept of right under the law. Certainly that is anathema to many including a very close friend who dismisses all abortions as murder.

    With regard to non-human animals you are quite right that I and others often talk at cross purposes because of seminal differences in values. And I am not interested in persuading an animal rights activist to change his/her views any more than I will debate an anti-choice person on the moral issues underlying elective abortion.

    So what is to be done? I suggest that there is a cogent answer in Rev. Timothy Keller’s recent book, “The Reason for God.” Essentially a fundamentalist minister who believes in the superiority of Christianity while leading a polyglot Manhattan congregation, Keller suggests that when intractable differences separate people, they should not debate them but unify on issues of joint concern. With regard to animal welfare, surely many, perhaps most, who eat meat and poultry are also amenable to discussing and implementing anti-cruelty measures. Doesn’t that make sense?

  19. The fact that an organism has life does not mean it has parity with each and every other organism. But it doesn’t mean it doesn’t either. But the theoretical existence of parity or non-parity between species does not shed any light, but again merely alludes to what you seem to believe is a self evident truth. Subtlety of language however is no substitute for logic. What do you offer for criteria be used to determine whether parity exists or not so we can all evaluate the rank of a chicken vs. a human? I’d be interested to know how you degrade any other living creature below humans, who are themselves on course to wipe out 80% of all species. In any case, you would have to admit that the “decision” to systematically exploit animals as a commodity was not the result of deep intellectual and moral deliberation. This has come to be simply by virtue of the fact that humans have the brute power to decide as arbitrarily as they wish, which animals are sacred and which are food. And all you have to do is look to different cultures to see how arbitrary that is. Try ordering a hamburger in India. And you might not want to take your dog and cat with you if you ever venture to SE Asia. Your criteria for determining parity will have to be pretty flexible.

  20. Exactly. Which is why I can’t fathom how people purport to speak with such moral clarity on this issue. When is killing an organism an immoral killing and when is it just killing an organism? It feels more wrong to kill a primate than a fly, or a rat, but there are a lot of other organisms in between. Same with eating—there is meat, seafood, dairy, insects, etc. Cannibalism has allowed desperate civilizations to survive times of hardship. As you noted, cultural differences are vast. I know people who consider their dogs to be their only immediate family members, yet would have no problem eating dog. I think we have areas of agreement as far as meat eating being bad policy. But I think that the tenor of other posts suggests that somewhere in all of this there is a clearly drawn line between moral killing/eating behavior and immoral killing/eating behavior. I keep asking people to show me where that line is, and so far no one is stepping up to the plate, but they keep using the same absolutist, moralizing language.

  21. Matt,

    For me that line is survival. If it was me and the cow on a desert island and I knew a boat was coming in 2 weeks, I’d eat the cow to save my life. That would be a moral killing in my book. It would be equally moral of a lion if a lion ate me, since the Whole Foods in his neck of the jungle isn’t open yet and he has a right to self preservation. But, to kill and eat an animal no for self preservation, but simply for the recreational benefits of enjoyable flavors, to me is immoral. That’s a pretty clear line.

  22. Also, killing rats and mice in one’s home is a kind of self preservation. Rats and mice eat electrical wires and start house fires. As for mosquitos, I swat them because I find their buzzing and bites extremely annoying. It’s not exactly self preservation in any very significant sense, but hey, I said before I am a hypocrite sometimes. At least I admit it.

  23. What we’re talking about here is speciesism. We are biased in favor of and against certain animals for reasons that have more basis in lore than in reason. I have let go of the assumption that chickens and cows are food, because I saw a film that successfully erased the line between pet and livestock, so that I felt the same sympathy for all animals that I do for my beloved pets. It deprogrammed me. It was like discovering that blacks are just as intelligent as whites, or that Pollacks aren’t stupid or that gays have a right to be treated like normal people. I’M KIDDING. But, I kid to make a point. These cultural biases that widely exist are exactly the same as species biases, because the distinctions we have been taught to assume turn out to be baseless upon even a cursory examination.

  24. Will,

    Thank you; that’s the most productive starting point I’ve seen. What I like about it is that it acknowledges that these things are context-dependent; I would also add that differences between culture complicate the issue as well, which I think you alluded to earlier.

    I don’t think that you are a hypocrite for the reasons you stated in these posts; I would suggest that you have coherent standards, but that they are more personal in nature than universal. I think that you have struck a balance between your ideals, desires, and practices, that works very well for you. Further, I would add that as you admirably seek to continue to educate yourself, your ideals and practices may evolve somewhat.

    What I would like to note, though, is that this is a highly personal, thus subjective, process. I think that most all of us can safely agree that some things are cruel. I think that what I am arguing for is respect for reasonably held, considered positions of others, and more time spent trying to reason and educate than demonstrating moral indignation for our colleagues.

    As you noted, your epiphany came when you saw a film and started to think about speciesism. If this was intuitive or obvious, you would not have needed an epiphany, or would have reached that realization much earlier.

    I think that your goal should be to help guide people to their own epiphanies, which would require you (and your colleagues) to focus on reason rather than indignation, and then to not fret if you are ultimately unsuccessful in guiding people to reach the same ideals and beliefs; rather, I’d advise you to measure your progress by the extent to which you may have influenced someone’s actual practices, or broadened her horizon. Ideas are viral, and an appealing, well-reasoned one can spread in surprising ways. Indignation and offensive metaphors, though, are not effective ways to accomplish this.

  25. I agree Matt, great points and thanks for the constructive criticism. Impatience is not a virtue, virtue is the opposite of impatience. Uh, so…I guess you could say,…”patience is a virtue.” The only thing I would like to point out in my own defense is that that impatience is the child of many a frustrating encounter with un-reflective, un-repentant meat eaters and I long ago despaired of changing anyone’s mind.

  26. […] all things, veganism. (Previously discussed on this blawg [Animal Blawg] on November 24, 2009 and November 27, 2009.) The op ed, which was written by Gary Steiner, a Professor of Philosophy at Bucknell […]

  27. There are also completely wanton slaughter of animals which do not benefit anyone. What about hunting for pleasure(you are not using the meat/hide to assuage any material need: not using them even, say, for making boots or a fur collar) or the killing of dolphins in Japan?
    Also, taking your argument to it’s logical extreme, the Nazis did put even the dead Jews to some use(pardon me for pointing this out, but it is the horrific truth): making candles out of body fat, extracting gold from their teeth, etc. So it wasn’t exactly without material ‘benefits’ was it?

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