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