Dada is the sun, Dada is the egg. Dada is the Police of the Police.

3/14/2006

Reactionaries

Look, I get that people don't like PETA, that they're offended by the group's habit of invoking historic tragedies like slavery or the Holocaust to draw comparisons with the way animals are treated.  But an " Eat Meat Day" to protest PETA's tactics is just stupid.  Don't take your anger with PETA out on innocent animals; the way animals are treated in factory farms is a serious moral offense, and the fact that PETA is staffed by a bunch of jokers doesn't change that.

Also silly is rhetoric like this:

I think what PeTA's moral equivalence shows us is how easy it would be to justify another Holocaust — after all, if humans aren't any more worthy of special ethical consideration than other animals, what is the moral argument against once again creating concentration camps and ovens to dispense with those undesirables who won't toe the ideological line for the greater moral good?

Whatever you might think about the Holocaust analogy, it's clear that the purpose of it is not to denigrate human beings by suggesting that they ought to be treated "like animals"; it's to make the point that the interests of animals ought to be accorded the same level of respect granted to the interest of humans (in theory, anyway; in practice, our "respect for human life" is quite often thrown right out).  Humans aren't intrinsically "more worthy of special ethical consideration than other animals," as mere membership in a species buys you almost nothing, morally speaking.  In most cases, the interests of humans are given more weight than those of animals because we think that certain characteristics of humans - their ability to have future goals, to conceptualize themselves as persons, etc. - warrant such special consideration.  But it is these characteristics, which cannot be reduced to membership in the human species, that are doing all the work. 

Animals can suffer, and that fact alone makes them worthy of moral consideration.  How anyone could look at the mass suffering inflicted upon animals by the meat industry and not be repulsed is beyond me; even those who believe that it is OK in principle for humans to eat animals cannot approve of this.  This isn't about which life is worth more, a human or an animal; it's about the duty to refrain from needless cruelty. 

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