Category Archives: Commentaries

Regarding the Last Frontier of Bigotry – David DeGrazia

David DeGrazia is Professor of Philosophy at George Washington University, where he has taught since 1989. Among his publications are Taking Animals Seriously: Mental Life and Moral Status (Cambrige University Press, 1996) and Human Identity and Bioethics (Cambridge University Press, 2005). This article is from http://www.logosjournal.com/issue_4.2/degrazia.htm

The lunch provided for participants at an ethics conference includes no vegetarian entrée—even though you specified in accepting the invitation that you would need one. You ask the head of the catering team what vegetarians are supposed to eat. He says, “Oh, no problem. There’s a salad”—as if those who try to eat cruelty-free are not entitled to a main course (even at an ethics conference). • • •

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Why Weren’t We Told? – Clive Phillips

Clive Phillips, Professor of Animal Welfare in the School of Veterinary Science at the University of Queensland in Australia. Original article at Compassion For World Farming, http://www.philiplymbery.com/2014/10/why-werent-we-told/.

Can the public be excused for not knowing about the circumstances of food animal production? We were first warned about the inhumanity of using animals as machines 50 years ago, but dietary habits change slowly. Then intensive animal production was in its infancy. Now most of us live in cities and animals are crowded into sheds far away, and the public rely mostly on the media rather than first-hand knowledge for information about farming. • • •

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Interview with Patty Mark of Animal Liberation Victoria

Patty Mark has been on the Australian animal rights scene for well over 30 years. She’s the one who started the concept of open rescues, which are now done around the world. She has fought for animal rights against farmers, politicians, police, and the RSPCA.

The following interview comes from Abolitionist-Online and I’d like to thank Claudette for allow me to use it.

Abolitionist: It shouldn’t be underestimated that you and the rescue teams unflinching resolve in bringing to Australian’s attention, albeit the world’s attention, through undercover footage the atrocities occurring in the modern factory farm today. Please talk about this. • • •

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Consider the Lobster – David Foster Wallace

A classic essay from a renowned essayist. Originally Published August 2004 in Gourmet magazine.

For 56 years, the Maine Lobster Festival has been drawing crowds with the promise of sun, fun, and fine food. One visitor would argue that the celebration involves a whole lot more.

The enormous, pungent, and extremely well marketed Maine Lobster Festival is held every late July in the state’s midcoast region, meaning the western side of Penobscot Bay, the nerve stem of Maine’s lobster industry. What’s called the midcoast runs from Owl’s Head and Thomaston in the south to Belfast in the north. (Actually, it might extend all the way up to Bucksport, but we were never able to get farther north than Belfast on Route 1, whose summer traffic is, as you can imagine, unimaginable.) The region’s two main communities are Camden, with its very old money and yachty harbor and five-star restaurants and phenomenal B&Bs, and Rockland, a serious old fishing town that hosts the Festival every summer in historic Harbor Park, right along the water. • • •

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If Pigs Could Swim – B. R. Myers

Why our farm animals would be better off on the other side of the Atlantic

George Orwell once wrote that the Spanish are cruel to animals, but he added, “such things don’t matter.” Over the years the second generalization has probably startled more readers than the first. Whether or not Kant was right that hardness to animals causes hardness to people, we tend to think the two go together, and no one wants a matador for a babysitter. But among the eloquent essays compiled by Cass Sunstein and Martha Nussbaum in the new book Animal Rights is one by Richard A. • • •

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Hard to Swallow – B. R. Myers

The gourmet’s ongoing failure to think in moral terms

For centuries civilized society took a dim view of food lovers, calling them “gourmands” and “gluttons” and placing them on a moral par with lechers. They were even assigned their own place in hell, and I don’t mean a table near the kitchen: They were to be force-fed for eternity. Not until halfway through the Industrial Revolution did the word gourmet come into use. Those who have since applied it to themselves have done a fine job of converting the world’s scorn to respect. The pleasures of the oral cavity (though we must say “palate” instead) are now widely regarded as more important, more intrinsically moral, and a more vital part of civilized tradition than any other pleasures. • • •

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The Moral Crusade Against Foodies – B. R. Myers

Gluttony dressed up as foodie-ism is still gluttony.

We have all dined with him in restaurants: the host who insists on calling his special friend out of the kitchen for some awkward small talk. The publishing industry also wants us to meet a few chefs, only these are in no hurry to get back to work. Anthony Bourdain’s new book, his 10th, is Medium Raw: A Bloody Valentine to the World of Food and the People Who Cook. In it he announces, in his trademark thuggish style, that “it is now time to make the idea of not cooking ‘un-cool’—and, in the harshest possible way short of physical brutality, drive that message home.” Having finished the book, I think I’d rather have absorbed a few punches and had the rest of the evening to myself. • • •

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Darwin and the Animals – Peter Singer

The following is from a talk Peter Singer gave at the Ideas Festival in Bristol, 2009

What I will do is say a little bit about Darwin and his impact on our thinking about animals, then say a little bit about how in light of Darwin we should be thinking about animals.

We start with the before-Darwin perceptions that we have because I think its important to look at what people were saying about animals to understand the difference that Darwin’s thought made. Obviously one of the classic texts is the pre-Darwinian account of the origins of the various animals in the classic verse of Genesis. • • •

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Inteview with Gail Eisnitz, author of Slaughterhouse

“The United States Department of Agriculture isn’t simply relinquishing its humane-slaughtering oversight to the meat industry, but is, without the knowledge and consent of Congress, abandoning the function altogether.”
— Gail Eisnitz

In April of last year Gail Eisnitz from the Humane Farming Association in America headed a major expose through the prestigious Washington Post newspaper. It was based on the unspeakable and gut-wrenching torture and death that goes on behind closed doors in modern day slaughterhouses.

If ever there was an excellent reason why animal rightists have maintained that welfarism (old and new) doesn’t work, can’t work and won’t work this interview will leave the reader in no doubt whatsoever as to the facts of the matter. • • •

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They Die Piece by Piece – Washington Post

They die piece by piece: Investigation reveals rampant cruelty in industrial slaughterhouses

by Joby Warrick, Washington Post Staff Writer

Washington Post, April 10, 2001

blink

In the blink of an eye: A secret video made by a worker at a meatpacking plant in Pasco, Wash., showed that this steer, which supposedly had been stunned, had blinking reflexes, indicating it was still conscious.

It takes 25 minutes to turn a live steer into steak at the modern slaughterhouse where Ramon Moreno works. For 20 years, his post was “second-legger,” a job that entails cutting hocks off carcasses as they whirl past at a rate of 309 an hour. • • •

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Ethics and Animals – Peter Singer

Text is from one of the four lectures Singer gave for the 10th Dasan Memorial Lectures, Korea, in 2007

Throughout Western civilization, nonhuman animals have been seen as beings of no ethical significance, or at best, of very minor significance. Aristotle thought that animals exist for the sake of more rational humans, to provide them with food and clothing. In the book of Genesis, man is given dominion over the animals, and only humans are made in God’s image. St Paul asked “Doth God care for oxen?” but it was a rhetorical question – he assumed that the answer was obviously no. • • •

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Pork’s Dirty Secret – Rolling Stone

deadpigs

Rollingstone.com 14 December 2006

America’s top pork producer churns out a sea of waste that has destroyed rivers, killed millions of fish and generated one of the largest fines in EPA history. Welcome to the dark side of the other white meat.

By Jeff Tietz

Smithfield Foods, the largest and most profitable pork processor in the world, killed 27 million hogs last year. That’s a number worth considering. A slaughter-weight hog is fifty percent heavier than a person. The logistical challenge of processing that many pigs each year is roughly equivalent to butchering and boxing the entire human populations of New York, Los Angeles, Chicago, Houston, Philadelphia, Phoenix, San Antonio, San Diego, Dallas, San Jose, Detroit, Indianapolis, Jacksonville, San Francisco, Columbus, Austin, Memphis, Baltimore, Fort Worth, Charlotte, El Paso, Milwaukee, Seattle, Boston, Denver, Louisville, Washington, D.C., Nashville, Las Vegas, Portland, Oklahoma City and Tucson. • • •

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Exposing the Beast – J.M. Coetzee

J.M. Coetzee won the Nobel Prize for literature in 2003. This is an edited version of a speech he gave on February 22, 2007, in Australia.

Exposing the Beast: Factory Farming Must be Called to the Slaughterhouse

To any thinking person, it must be obvious there is something terribly wrong with relations between human beings and the animals they rely on for food. It must also be obvious that in the past 100 or 150 years, whatever is wrong has become wrong on a huge scale, as traditional animal husbandry has been turned into an industry using industrial methods of production. • • •

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