Not Even Now, Not Even Only the “Wet” Markets

Many wildlife and conservation groups view the Covid-19 pandemic as a great opportune moment to close down live animal markets (‘wet markets’), if not all wildlife trade.
These claims have received some tailwind from some politicians, lawmakers, and health officials who called the World Health Organization to order a shutdown of live animal markets. Of course much of that is due to political interests related to the U.S.-China trade war, as many American politicians focused solely on Chinese live animal markets instead of all of them, or all the wildlife trade. But anyway The WHO pushed back on the calls to ban these markets, saying that they need to be “well regulated and managed”, not closed down.

Many animal liberation groups also view this pandemic as a great opportune moment, but obviously they are making a much broader and more accurate connection between pandemics and animal consumption, calling to close down all the factory farms as they are the ideal environment for zoonotic pathogens (animal-borne pathogens that can infect humans) to develop and spread.

Another motive of animal liberation groups might be the fear that if only live animals markets would be closed down, since humans’ desire for animal flesh won’t go down with it, that means that at least some of the humans who consume animals’ flesh in these markets would get more of it from factory farms. So this call might actually end up increasing animal suffering.

But there is no need to rack your brains over this as none of it is going to happen. Even the current pandemic won’t make humanity decide to close down the live animal markets, not to mention stop consuming animal based food. No matter what the results of this pandemic are, even the live animal markets won’t be closed down permanently, and certainly not factory farms.
It is highly unlikely that even the live animal markets in New York City – one of the greatest epicenters of the pandemic (and where there are more than 80 of those) – will be closed down, not to mention the rest of the world.
In fact, in China, including in Wuhan itself, as soon as the lockdown was lifted after the Chinese authorities have gotten a better handle on the outbreak in their territory, people began repurchasing animals’ flesh from live animal markets.
An unnamed source was reported saying that “The markets have gone back to operating in exactly the same way as they did before coronavirus. The only difference is that security guards try to stop anyone taking pictures which would never have happened before.”
That was the situation during the two months since the lockdown was lifted and until two weeks ago, when finally a decision regarding wet markets was announced. However it wasn’t to close all of them down. The new regulations are merely regarding the ones of Wuhan, merely regarding terrestrial animals (and not marine animals which are a significant part of these markets), merely regarding wild animals (and not “farm animals” which are also a significant part of these markets), and merely temporarily (for 5 years only).
And the worst thing about these new regulations, in an historical and global perspective, is that this meager change would probably be the greatest one following this pandemic.

Mark Jones from the Born Free Foundation said “Once Covid-19 is hopefully behind us, returning to business as usual cannot be an option.” But when it comes to humans, not returning to business as usual is not an option. Nothing was learned from past pandemics or other global crises. During the 2008 financial crisis, many people made similar statements, claiming that once this crisis is behind us, returning to business as usual is not an option. But apparently it is. In many senses business has returned to usual.

Another seemingly optimistic news is that according to some surveys conducted in Asia, about 90% of people support closing down markets, but only illegal and unregulated ones, not live animal markets in general, and definitely not factory farms. And even that tone is going to change once this pandemic is behind us. Best case scenario is that in the first few months these markets would be more regulated, and then even that would fade. It is hardly likely that anything significant would change for the better.

Many activists are seizing the moment and are asking isn’t the Coronavirus, along with Swine flu, Bird flu, Salmonella, heart diseases and etc., sufficient for people to understand? When will people realize that animal consumption is harmful in so many ways? The answer is that it is the wrong question. It is not about realizing the truth, it is about wanting to act accordingly. The problem is not of awareness. The relevant question, given that people know that animal consumption is harmful in so many ways, is – when would they ever stop consuming animals? And the answer to that is probably never.
Even though the origin of most of the pandemics is animal exploitation, and that by far the most prevalent way for diseases to develop and spread is through the food industry, people would not stop exploiting and eating animals.

However, activists are right that this pandemic is a great opportune moment. It is an opportune moment to realize how low is humanity’s potential for making changes in its cruel habits (despite how essential and obvious they are and for so many reasons), and how high is the potential of a pandemic to force these changes upon it (in case of a different pathogen). The fact that even such a pandemic, which spread so rapidly and reached every corner of the globe despite that it was caused unintentionally, won’t change humanity’s mind regarding animal exploitation, should change activists’ mind about how a pandemic can change animal exploitation if it is caused intentionally and elaborately.
The Covid-19 won’t be the solution because it won’t cause humanity to realize they must stop eating animals, even for their own sake. But another pathogen, one that would spread much more rapidly and would be much more lethal, could be the solution.

Some activists say that had we lived in a vegan world we wouldn’t be in this pandemic, but the truth is that only a pandemic can bring about a truly vegan world,  one in which no animal would be exploited by no human ever again.

Animals’ Time? Part 3 – Comparably Wrong

Many activists are saying that after the working class liberation, black liberation, women liberation and gay liberation this is animals’ time. Discrimination on the basis of species is the last form of discrimination to be fought against.

Thinking that this is animals’ time since other forms of discrimination were already successfully addressed is a mistake from at least three different aspects. The first is a factual one – all of the so called revolutions are still far from occurring. The second is conceptual – the belief that eventually the truth has got to win, requires falsely observing history as a purposeful force moving in a linear way from bad to good, from chaotic to ordered, from irrational to rational. And the third one is analogical – even if human social struggles were successful, we can’t infer from them about nonhumans’ struggle, because they are fundamentally different.
In the following post we’ll address the third aspect.

Comparatively Wrong

Many activists compare animals’ institutionalized exploitation with slavery. They use it as a rhetorical tool, trying to convince the public that just as discrimination based on skin color is arbitrary and wrong so is discrimination based on species, and they use it as an inspiration source arguing that just as enslavement based on skin color discrimination was ended, exploitation based on species discrimination can also end.

We find this inspiration utterly false for several reasons, which we broadly detailed in a series of posts about slavery. Here are the arguments in short. Continue reading

Animals’ Time? – Part 2 – Conceptually Wrong

Many activists are saying that after the working class liberation, black liberation, women liberation and gay liberation this is the animals’ time. Discrimination on the basis of species is the last form of discrimination to be fought against.

Thinking that this is animals’ time since other forms of discrimination were already successfully addressed is false from at least three different aspects. The first is a factual one – all of the so called revolutions are still far from occurring. The second is conceptual – the belief that eventually the truth has got to win, requires falsely observing history as a purposeful force moving in a linear way from bad to good, from chaotic to ordered, from irrational to rational. And the third one is analogical – even if human social struggles were successful, we can’t infer from them about nonhumans’ struggle, because they are fundamentally different.
In the following post we’ll address the second aspect.

Conceptually Wrong

The belief that “this is animals’ time”, probably unconsciously, relies on an inherently religious telos, whose secular form is manifested in the enlightenment narrative and the notion of progress, in which ‘the good’ or ‘the truth’ inevitably triumphs in the end, and rationality will inevitably triumph over irrationality if given enough time. All along history activists believed that if they would persist they would win in the end, the truth would inevitability be realized and therefore embraced by everyone.
The problem with this telos is that it is theoretically unprovable and practically entirely baseless. There is no guaranty that “the good” will overcome. There is nothing to support this notion other than the desperate need to believe in it.

There is no reason to believe the “good” will win. It makes much more sense that what has happened so far will keep happening in the future, and that is that the interests of the powerful of each era win. The truth about what goes on inside factory farms was revealed long ago, and yet… Continue reading

Animals’ Time? – Part 1 – Factually Wrong

In the former post we have argued that despite some specific relative successes, some optimistic prospects, and mostly despite the “we’re winning!” rhetoric common among many activists, we are still very very far from wining. Despite the vegan hype and the occasional launch of new plant based products, global consumption of meat is still on the rise. So not only that we are not “winning”, it is still the case that each year more animals are being exploited in severer ways.

In the following posts we’ll argue that not only that we are not winning, there is no reason to believe that we would win simply because we are right. The world doesn’t work like that. We very much want to believe that it does, partly because of an honest, naive and real belief in our goals, but also because people rather believe in a just world theory (that eventually what is true, right, ethical, fair, and just would win) than that there is no causal relation between what things should be like (because that is what is true, right, and just), and how things are actually like.

Many activists are saying that after the working-class liberation, black liberation, women liberation and gay liberation this is the animals’ time. Discrimination on the basis of species is the last form of discrimination to be fought against.

Thinking that this is animals’ time since other forms of discrimination were already successfully addressed is false from at least three different aspects. The first is a factual one – all of the so called revolutions are still far from occurring. The second is conceptual – the belief that eventually the truth has got to win, requires falsely observing history as a purposeful force moving in a linear way from bad to good, from chaotic to ordered, from irrational to rational. And the third one is analogical – even if human social struggles were successful, we can’t infer from them about nonhumans’ struggle, because they are fundamentally different.
The following post address the first aspect. Continue reading

Decreasing the Increase

2019 is presented as a very good year for veganism. In some aspects it really was, but far from being as good as is often represented by whom who keep pumping the “we’re winning!” rhetoric among the vegan community, and definitely far from being as good as it was supposed to be considering the widening acknowledgment of the connection between animal based food and health issues, climate change, the enormous food and water waste, the enormous pollution, obesity, and of course since nowadays non-vegans are losing even their final excuses for not going vegan – that they won’t have anything to eat, as there is an amazing variety of vegan products with the same look, texture and taste, as non-vegan products. But all of that didn’t make veganism mainstream despite that it long ago should have.

As argued in the post for World Vegan Day, some people in the vegan community think it did become mainstream, but they are confusing knowing what veganism is with it being mainstream. Nowadays everybody knows what veganism is and many even know a vegan personally, but mainstream doesn’t mean that in every large city there would be at least one vegan restaurant, but that in every large city there would be a few non-vegan restaurants since the rest are. Mainstream veganism means that animal products are marginal, not still the absolute majority in every supermarket everywhere in the world.

It is very positive that there are plant based products in supermarkets, and it is encouraging in the sense that they have not been there a few years ago and now there are plenty. However, despite that all these vegan options are available in many places, they are still surrounded by non-vegan ones. So activists can be encouraged and draw optimism from the fact that there are plant based burgers along with flesh burgers in the meat aisles, but in the same breath they must ask why the hell are there still flesh burgers when there are equivalently tasty plant based burgers right next to them? How careless to other sentient beings’ suffering must someone be to still choose the flesh burgers? There is nothing victorious about the fact that humans choose again and again the cruel options over the amazing variety of the vegan ones.

Continue reading

Gods of Power

Yesterday, Hindu worshippers have slaughtered thousands of buffalos as part of a religious ritual held every five years in southern Nepal, called Gadhimai.
That is despite that many activists were hopeful that this gruesome centuries-old ritual would end after the temple authorities had allegedly announced that the prior ritual, held in 2014, would be the last one, and after the Supreme Court of Nepal has reached a verdict in favor of ending the live animal sacrifice at the festival. But people want bloodshed. Continue reading

Impossible Species

The World Vegan Day held today, is expected to be cheerful than ever. That is because optimism among the vegan community is probably stronger than ever before, and for three main reasons.
The first one is that after decades of contempt, arrogance and disinterest, during the last several years, the fogyish medical establishment is showing a relative openness and readiness towards veganism. Secondly, similarly to the health establishment, after decades of almost total disregard for veganism, the environmental movement finally tags along, mainly as a result of the unignorable connection between factory farms and climate change. And thirdly, in the last couple of years, the variety and availability of vegan products, especially ones who try to directly substitute animal derived products, is outstanding.

However, there are worrying aspects to each of these factors.
A couple of months ago we have addressed the less encouraging and actually worrying aspects of the change among the health establishment, which might end up increasing the number of individuals whose lives are suffering from birth to death, and in the previous Earth Day we have dealt with the less encouraging and very worrying aspects of the change among the environmental movement, which also might end up increasing the number of individuals whose lives are suffering from birth to death, as well as increasing the suffering of each victim.
Here we focus on a worrying aspect of the abundance of plant based products that look, cook, and taste like animals’ flesh. Continue reading

Violent Body Invasion

Today is World Farm Animals Day. “Farm animals” are actually animals who once were like any other animal until humans have picked them to be its main resource for food. Humans have turned these sentient animals to the poorest beings on earth, not only by confining them in the worst conditions in history, but also by confining them in their own bodies. Humans have so severely modified sentient beings (sentient beings they now refer to as farm animals), to the point that they suffer merely from living in their own bodies.

Every year, humans are doubly imprisoning more than a hundred billion sentient beings. In the torture facilities they have designed to keep them in called factory farms, and in torture facility they have designed to keep them called their own body.

The following are some examples of the second prison of “farm animals”. Continue reading

Accelerating Hell

Red Alert

Last week it was revealed by the Human Rights Watch that The US government is expanding the number of chickens exploitation companies that can accelerate the speed of their slaughter lines. It also plans to eliminate caps on slaughter line speeds for pigs and cows exploiters in the near future.
Currently, federal regulations allow murdering over a thousand pigs an hour. But a pilot program, which the Trump administration proposes, would allow slaughterhouses to murder as many as they want.

The number of murdered animals per day has already increased over the years, as well as the mass murder goal rate. Now it is going to get even worse. Faster slaughter lines mean even more stress and violence inflicted upon nonhuman animals during the murder process. It’s making one of the worst things in the world even worse. Continue reading

Red Alert

Red Alert

Lately, many vegans have been sharing and citing a new study led by researchers from Harvard Medical School, regarding the harmful effects of meat.
Most of the findings are not really new, for example that its consumption is associated with higher risk of Type 2 diabetes, cardiovascular disease, respiratory disease, neurodegenerative disease, certain types of cancers, including those of the colon and rectum, and premature death. However, this research is presented as the first longitudinal study to examine how changes in meat consumption over time may influence these risks.

After years of contempt, arrogance, revocation and disinterest, the relative openness and readiness of the fogyish medical establishment during the last decade, is a very refreshing change. It is surly highly beneficial, in ethical terms, that there are less obstacles in the way of people considering changing their abusive lifestyle. Once there are more and more doctors and nutritionists who are supportive or at least not opposing veganism, the easier it is for many to make the morally obligated change.
However, as tempting as the findings may seem to many vegans, all with good intentions obviously, they have been missing a very important word the study mentions – red.
This study, like many others, is mostly about the harmful effects of consuming specific kinds of corpses. It claims that: “overall, a decrease in red meat together with an increase in nuts, fish, poultry without skin, dairy, eggs, whole grains, or vegetables over eight years was associated with a lower risk of death in the subsequent eight years.”
But don’t get this wrong, the main problem here is not that as unfortunate as it is, this study is not as vegan friendly as some may suggests it is, but that while recommending to cut down the consumption of pigs’ and cows’ bodies, it recommends to cut more fishes and chickens. Continue reading

199,000 Tonnes

99,000-Tonnes

The most important political and economic decision of the past week didn’t happen during the G20 summit held in Japan, but during trade negotiations in Brussels.
After 20 years of bargaining, the European Union and the South American Mercosur trading block which includes Brazil, Argentina, Paraguay and Uruguay, have reached agreement on a new free-trade deal.

Covering markets with the total of approximately 780 million consumers, the deal is the largest free trade agreement involving the EU and it follows the recent European trade agreements with Canada , Japan, Mexico, and Vietnam. The agreement is set to eliminate import taxes levied on European goods and services exported to the South American block and a reciprocal reduction in taxes on imports from those countries into Europe.
The deal includes many economic sectors, however it’s no accident that images of cows were picked for the headlines of the deals’ media coverage. The cows flesh industry has a very big part in the deal, as one of the goals of the Mercosur countries is to intensify it. They hope to export up to 99,000 tonnes of cows flesh to Europe every year before they have to pay tariffs. 99,000 tonnes of cows flesh is about 450,000 suffering individuals.
Such a large scale export of cheap animals flesh is expected to increase the flesh consumption of the 500 million European consumers. And even the hope that it would at least lead to a decrease in European factory farms, is very unlikely since the EU Agriculture Commissioner Phil Hogan said that the European Commission would provide up to a billion euros in support to farmers “in the event of market disturbances“. That support might lead to a reduction in the European flesh’s prices and so an overall greater increase in consumption. Continue reading

Sunny Abuse

Sunny-Abuse
Tomorrow is the first official day of the summer in the northern hemisphere of our planet of suffering.
As you know, for humans everything is a reason for celebration, and when humans celebrate usually nonhumans suffer.

Humans have been celebrating Summer Solstice since pagan times, but it was christianized during the 5th century and named “Saint Joan’s Day” after Saint Joan the Baptist, who is believed to be born on the 24th of June, the day most nations celebrate the holiday.
Different nations celebrate it in different ways, each with its unique cultural feature. However all of them lit bonfires and many set off fireworks and have a festive corpse consumption around the fire.

In Spain, the mother lode of torturous festivals, several different interpretations of the holiday take place, all distinctly express humans’ dominance, from dominating the inanimate sun, to dominating sentient animals. The following are the worst three examples taken from the article about global festivals called Celebrating Suffering. Continue reading

Deep Impact

Deep Impact

A couple of days ago the world record for deepest submarine dive ever was broken by an American explorer.
“It is almost indescribable how excited all of us are about achieving what we just did,” said the explorer. “This submarine and its mother ship, along with its extraordinarily talented expedition team, took marine technology to a ridiculously higher new level by diving – rapidly and repeatedly – into the deepest, harshest, area of the ocean.”
But besides a great ago boast opportunity for the explorer personally, and for humanity as a species, another thing was found by this expedition. During the 4 hours of scouting, the explorer spotted a plastic bag and candy wrappers on the seafloor in the deepest place on earth.

This story is very characteristic of humanity, breaking records which shouldn’t have been set in the first place, investing in the wrong scientific areas, reaching places they shouldn’t, discovering that they already reached them long ago in the shape of one of their most familiar features – pollution. Continue reading

Clear Cruelty

Clear-Cruelty

Yesterday the guardian published an article regarding a new repot which ranks the deadliest cities in the US for birds, who often collide with glass-covered or illuminated buildings.

Obviously, every activist knows that birds have much bigger problems, but skyscrapers are very symbolic. They are a symbol of humans’ total occupation of the planet. Everything is theirs for the taking, even the sky. Continue reading

Apathy is Always in Fashion

Apathy is Always in Fashion

For the last official day of the winter, we focus on the fur industry. That is despite that unfortunately, as explained in this text, fur is no longer seasonal and luxurious, but year-round and causal.

Once considered a fading industry, in the past decade and a half fur has been making a comeback. After being branded politically incorrect during the 90’s, fur is back in fashion since the beginning of the 2000’s. The fur industry has not only recovered from the decade of slow business during the 90’s, it strengthened and it’s now stronger than ever. The industry’s value has increased year-on-year over the past two decades. Global fur sales rose by 70% from 2000 to 2010. In 2017, fur generated global retail sales of $30 billion. More than half of that was in China, Europe with $7 billion was the second largest market, followed by Russia with $2.2 billion. And in the U.S. the industry accounts for about $1.4 billion.
On average, about 70% of catwalk shows worldwide featured fur in recent years. This turn out might come as a surprise to some activists who hear every now and then of another fashion brand, and designers, and recently even a city (San Francisco became the largest city to ban the sale of fur) dropping fur, but these positive steps simply don’t reflect the current global trajectory. These specific achievements must not be a source of consolation, as the frightening overall picture is of an industry which not long ago appeared to be defeated via public campaigns, but actually is on a scary reemergence.

There are several reasons for this dreadful outcome, and one major conclusion for activists to take from it. Continue reading

Why Humans Love Compromises, Hate Consistency and Avoid Thoroughness : An Introduction to Opportunism – Part 4 – Bear Solutions

bear_solutions

The final part of this series of posts regarding Why We Love Dogs Eat Pigs and Wear Cows An Introduction to Carnism is respectively about Joy’s final chapter of the book.

In it, Joy suggests to fight Carnism by bearing witness.
All along the book her focus is prominently on humans. On humans being deceived to act against their true nature, being deceived to consume unhealthy products, being victims of environmental pollution, and of course risking themselves in the dangerous job of murdering and tearing apart other animals. In the last chapter, again she asks humans to focus on themselves.
when we witness, we validate, or make real, the suffering the system works so hard to hide, and we also validate our authentic reaction to it. Witnessing connects us with the truth of Carnistic practices, as well as with our inner truth, our empathy. We bear witness to others, and to ourselves”.
But ethics mustn’t be about connecting to ourselves, but about how others are being treated. It is not about us, it is about them. Morality shouldn’t be about witnessing the atrocities, but first and foremost about doing something to stop them. And in the case of the systematic exploitation of animals, suggesting bearing witness is also extremely anthropocentric since it shouldn’t be about us humans witnessing other animals. It is not about how humans feel about what nonhumans go through, but about what nonhumans go through. Morality should be about the victims. In a victim oriented ethics, the focus is not on what the activists think the victimizers’ interests are or what they are willing or unwilling to do about the cruelty they are involved in. It is about the victims and what they need to be done for them, regardless of what the victimizers’ interests, views and desires are.
Activists shouldn’t bear witness, they should bear solutions so the suffering will end. And it is not going to happen as long as activists keep believing that humans are naturally good but are deceived by a bad system that makes them do bad things and all that activists have to do is to expose the truth to them.

Invincible-Argument

Continue reading

Why Humans Love Compromises, Hate Consistency and Avoid Thoroughness : An Introduction to Opportunism – Part 3 – Knowing

Why Humans Love Compromises, Hate Consistency and Avoid Thoroughness An Introduction to Opportunism - Part 3 - Knowing

While activists should see all the harms as direct ones, as humans know they happen, including harms that are a result of habitat destruction, deforestation, chemical pollution, electricity manufacture, and etc., Joy tries to convince activists that all the harms are indirect, including the ones of factory farms. She is doing that by inventing a cognitive state which is ‘knowing but not knowing’.

There is no mental state such as knowing without knowing. Of course many humans know little about what meat production really involves, so there is knowing little. There is knowing but not thinking about it. There is knowing and not wanting to stop. But there is no knowing without knowing.
People know, they don’t want to know more or know but don’t want to think about it, but they don’t “know but don’t know”. And when you know but don’t want to know more or don’t want to think about it, you don’t care. Continue reading

Why Humans Love Compromises, Hate Consistency and Avoid Thoroughness : An Introduction to Opportunism – Part 2 – Caring

Why Humans Love Compromises, Hate Consistency and Avoid Thoroughness An Introduction to Opportunism-Part 2-Caring

In the previous post regarding Melanie Joy’s Why We Love Dogs Eat Pigs and Wear Cows: An Introduction to Carnism, we have focused on humans’ relations with dogs, being a keystone in her thesis. We argued that it is true that some humans love dogs, but not all of them, not in any case, and not in every point in history. Humans’ love of dogs is not a natural constant truth, but a relationship with a history and conditions.
Like in the case of dogs, it is true that some humans care about animals, but not all of them, definitely not in any case, and most certainly not in every point in history. Humans care for animals other than dogs is also not a natural truth, but a relationship with a history and conditions.

About Caring

If her thesis was right, meaning that humans basically and naturally care about animals, and the only reason they don’t care about specific kinds of animals, is because they were taught by society that these animals are meant to be used by humanity, than humans would have cared about all the rest of the species. Following Carnism’s logic, humans were supposed to care about all the animals who don’t belong to the species which they were allegedly conditioned not to care about. But that is of course not the case, not today, and not ever in history. Continue reading

Why Humans Love Compromises, Hate Consistency and Avoid Thoroughness : An Introduction to Opportunism – Part 1 – Dogs

Why Humans Love Compromises, Hate Consistency and Avoid Thoroughness : An Introduction to Opportunism - Part 1 - Dogs

In the following several posts, we’ll focus on Melanie Joy’s theory. That is after we discussed Norbert Elias who argues that humans relation to meat changed because they started to feel repugnant by their own animality and so gradually felt repugnance for meat, and after we discussed Nick Fiddes who argues that humans don’t eat meat despite that it is made out of animals but because it is made out of animals, and then Keith Tester who argues that humans who choose not to eat meat are actually doing so to define their own humanity. Melanie Joy however, argues that humans eat meat not because it is made of animals but despite that it is made of animals, and only because of a highly structured belief system that conditions them to see some animals as food and others as not.
According to Joy, humans are naturally empathic and caring towards animals, and only because of this highly structured belief system, which she calls the Carnism ideology, are they able to subdue their natural inclination and hurt the ones they actually care about.

We disagree with her Carnism theory, mainly with the power and influence she ascribes to it, and more importantly we disagree with the theory’s foundational assumption – that humans are naturally good and caring. Such claims are very appealing to flesh eaters and thus are tactically tempting for some activists. The biggest problem with adopting these false views is that it can convince activists to act against animals’ interests. Some might actually genuinely believe that humans are actually naturally good and caring, and that is a dangerous idea for animals. In the following series of posts we explain why.

We start with humans’ relations with dogs, obviously not because we think it is the most important aspect, but because its Joy’s starting point as well as a key element in her whole theory. Continue reading

The Humanity of Animal Rights

The Humanity of Animal Rights

The natural continuation of this series about meat eating is covering books such as Meathooked or Why We Love Dogs, Eat Pigs, and Wear Cows, and we will get to the later after this post. But while working on Elias’s thesis, we have encountered a book called Animals & Society by Keith Tester which we felt we also had to address as part of this series.

The book’s main theme is that ‘animal rights’ is not a natural truth that have waited for someone to discover, but a social construct which was invented under specific historical circumstances, and for human purposes.
Subtitling his book The Humanity of Animal Rights, Tester is not only pointing at the fact that humans’ relation to animals is bound to be humane for the obvious circumstantial reason that animals can’t represent themselves, but also and especially because humans’ only interest in animals is as objects who serve to define humans’ humanity.

Covering several theorists from the fields of ethology, sociobiology, anthropology, social history, philosophy, sociology, and most importantly animal rights, tester’s arguments are much more challenging than they may sound on the face of it.
He is far from being the conventional critique of animals rights and therefore worth your attention. Ours was caught by some of the points he made during his historical and sociological examination of the concept of animal rights, as well as ones which he didn’t make but his analysis emphasizes. In this post we wish to discuss mainly one of them, but to do so, first, some background is needed. Continue reading