Gary L. Francione on Philosophy Bites

Spencer Lo

Professor Gary L. Francione recently appeared in a Philosophy Bites podcast interview and discussed his abolitionist approach to animal rights. Despite the short length of the interview (around 15 minutes), many topics were covered, including:

  • The ideology of animal welfare: Jeremy Bentham and Peter Singer
  • Veganism as a moral requirement
  • Moral status of animals: sentience and cognitive characteristics
  • Achieving abolitionism via welfare reforms
  • Alleged differences between factory farming and humane farming (e.g., free range, “happy meat,” “compassionate consumption”).
  • Domestication, pets and non-vegan cats
  • Unintended harms of a vegan diet
  • Eating road kill
  • Veganism and its relation to the modern animal rights movement

(For interested readers, I left some comments about some of the above).

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More Philosophy Bites podcasts pertaining to animal ethics: Peter Singer on using animals, Jeff McMahan  on moral vegetarianism, Tim Crane on animal minds, and Paul Snowdon on persons and animals.

One Response

  1. You got me at “non-vegan cats” (I have two) and I just listened to this podcast.

    G.F.: “I draw the line between justification and excuse. Domestication throws up a lot of ugly dilemmas…I don’t think that feeding meat to cats is morally justifiable, it’s morally excusable. …I have to do something morally wrong to do the right thing.”

    That’s what I tell myself every time I fill their bowls. We saved their lives by adopting them (a morally right act); now I have to do the right thing for them. (Had we been vegan 10 years ago when we adopted them, I wonder how that might have played out?!? Though, indeed, we were vegetarian at the time.) Still, it’s unsettling to acknowledge that the ones we name and love will always take precedence over the nameless billions whose suffering is equal to that of cats and dogs, yet whose bodies we serve up to our domestic companions…even while acknowledging that, because cats are obligate carnivores, there’s no other choice. Thanks for posting this. “Morally excusable” works for me–in this case.

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