Vivisection, Part Two: The Moral Justification of Vivisection

In Vivisection, Part One: The “Necessity” of Vivisection, I discussed the problems surrounding the claim that the use of nonhumans in biomedical experiments is, as a factual matter, “necessary” to get data needed for purposes of human health. In this essay, I want to explore briefly the argument that even if animal use is necessary […]

Some Questions from the Vegan Freaks

I regard the Vegan Freak Forums as one of the most intelligent and lively places on the web to discuss vegan issues. One of the participants posted four questions that were posed to her by someone defending animal use and other participants said that they had received similar questions. These questions are typical and I […]

The Four Problems of Animal Welfare: In a Nutshell

A number of readers have been asking me to write something that they can download and use as a short response to those animal advocates who promote the welfarist approach and who do not understand why this approach is inconsistent with the rights/abolitionist position. I hope that this is useful. There are at least four […]

Vivisection, Part One: The “Necessity” of Vivisection

One of the main arguments that I make is that although almost everyone accepts that it is morally wrong to inflict “unnecessary” suffering and death on animals, 99% of the suffering and death that we inflict on animals can be justified only by our pleasure, amusement, or convenience. For example, the best justification that we […]

Simon the Sadist, Jeffrey Dahmer, the League Against Cruel Sports, and the “Oxford” Centre for Animal Welfare

In September 2007, two animal welfare organizations, the League Against Cruel Sports and the Oxford Centre for Animal Ethics, will hold an “International Conference on the Relationship between Animal Abuse and Human Violence.” Although the conference will be held at Oxford University, the Oxford Centre for Animal Ethics is, according to the Assistant to the […]

Frequently Asked Questions, Part Two

This is the second part of the entry on frequently asked questions. The first part was posted last week. 4. Question: Isn’t human use of animals a “tradition,” or “natural,” and therefore morally justified? Answer: No. Every form of discrimination in the history of humankind has been defended as “traditional.” Sexism is routinely justified on […]

Frequently Asked Questions, Part One

In my essay of December 13, 2006, I offered a response to a frequently asked question about whether plants should be considered as rightholders. I received many emails from readers who found that essay useful in talking with others about animal rights and veganism, and who requested that I provide some more answers to the […]

What Battle Are We Winning?

In a recent blog essay (and in my work over the past 15 years), I argued that animal welfare not only fails to provide significant protection for animal interests but that it is counterproductive because it makes people feel more comfortable about animal exploitation. This perpetuates animal exploitation and may even result in a net […]

A Most Misleading Label

There is a controversy in Britain over the RSPCA “Freedom Food” label. According to the RSPCA: Freedom Food is the RSPCA’s farm assurance and food labelling scheme dedicated to improving welfare standards for the 900 million farm animals reared for food each year in the UK. If you’re concerned about the origins of your food […]

Peter Singer and the “Luxury” of Death

In last week’s blog entry, I mentioned that The Vegan Society had interviewed Peter Singer, Tom Regan, and me in its magazine, The Vegan. In his interview, Singer states: [T]o avoid inflicting suffering on animals—not to mention the environmental costs of intensive animal production—we need to cut down drastically on the animal products we consume. […]

Interview on Veganism/Abolition in The Vegan

I am working furiously on finishing my book, The Personhood of Animals, which will be published by Columbia University Press this coming fall, so this entry will be brief. Last week, I had an interview come out in The Vegan, the magazine of The Vegan Society in Great Britain. The Vegan interviewed Peter Singer in […]

My Dinner at Erik’s “Happy Meat” Diner

Dear Colleagues: This past Sunday, February 25, I had a lovely chat with Erik Marcus from Erik’s Diner. Erik took the position that welfarist reforms are providing significant protection for animals and leading to abolition and I argued that these reforms are largely meaningless and are doing nothing more than making people feel comfortable about […]

Goodall on Vivisection and Vegetarianism

In an article (February 19, 2007) in the on-line Spanish publication, El Mundo, Jane Goodall makes clear that she is not opposed to all vivisection and that although she claims to be a vegetarian, she does not think that it is “an option that everyone has to adopt.” I do not know whether she is […]

Some Thoughts on National Organizations

I was recently a guest on a two-part podcast on Vegan Freak Radio. In subsequent discussion in the comment section of the second part of the podcast and in one of the forums, the issue was raised about whether animal advocacy should focus on grassroots activities or whether the movement should be controlled by “animal […]

“Human beings are all going to die, too.”

It seems that the animal movement is busy tripping over itself scrambling frantically for the best position to kiss the corporate posterior of Whole Foods Market and its CEO, John Mackey. Sure, Whole Foods sells tons of animal corpses (fresh and frozen) and thousands of animal products. But have no fear, animal advocates. These are […]

“Happy” Meat/Animal Products: A Step in the Right Direction or “An Easier Access Point Back” to Eating Animals?

A recent BBC News Magazine article just caught my attention. It quotes school teacher Rachael Deacon stating: “I pay more to buy healthier food. I don’t want my animals to be slaughtered horribly or to have a horrible life.” Putting aside that Ms. Deacon thinks that there is such a thing as non-horrible slaughter, is […]

Clarifying the Meaning of “Right”

There is a great deal of confusion about the concept of rights. We are often unclear what we refer to when we talk about human rights. This confusion and lack of clarity are even more pronounced when we talk about “animal rights” because some use the term to describe any welfarist regulation, and some, like […]

The State of the Movement

Speciesism is wrong because, like racism, sexism, and homophobia, it excludes sentient beings from full membership in the moral community based on an irrelevant characteristic. Race, sex, sexual orientation, and species are all irrelevant to the capacity to be harmed. But the rejection of speciesism on this ground implies the rejection of discrimination based on […]

Abolition and Incremental Reform

In response to my essay about veganism, a number of animal advocates have written to me and have asked me to discuss what other sorts of incremental reform—apart from our becoming vegans—are consistent with the abolitionist position. This essay is an initial response to those requests and I will follow this from time to time […]

Animal Rights and Domesticated Nonhumans

One aspect of my theory of animal rights, as articulated in Introduction to Animal Rights: Your Child or the Dog? and other places, that troubles some animal advocates, is that if we accept the rights position, we ought not to bring any more domesticated nonhumans into existence. I apply this not only to animals we […]