Singer Approves (Again) of Animal Exploitation; Drayson on Vivisection in the U.K.

Dear Colleagues:

Two items of note came across my desk in the past several days:

First, Peter Singer, “father of the animal rights movement,” said in an interview:

PROFESSOR PETER SINGER: If we are going to eat animal products then I think there’s a heavy responsibility on us to make sure that the animals didn’t suffer. And that might involve a bit of going to local markets, or, at the very least, buying certified organic, given the present system.

And that will definitely be better than the factory farm production. I think those are options. I don’t think we should be eating nearly as much meat or animal products as we we’re eating anyway.

So by consuming locally produced flesh and animal products, or “certified organic” products, we discharge our “heavy responsibility…to make sure the animals didn’t suffer.” That is absurd. Locally produced or organic flesh/products come from animals who are tortured. Singer’s comment is no different from saying:

If we are going to molest children, I think there’s a heavy responsibility on us to make sure that the children didn’t suffer. And that might involve giving them a bit of chocolate.

And Singer adds that we should not be eating “nearly as much meat or animal products as we’re eating anyway.”

Peter, the amount that we should be eating is zero.

Thanks to Our Father for once again reinforcing that animal exploitation is morally acceptable.

Second, Britain’s Science Minister, Lord Drayson, noted that despite militant direct action targeting vivisectors, the number of animal experiments in the U.K. increased 14% from last year and a study

shows that just a third of British adults would like a ban on animal experimentation, while the number of people who now unconditionally accept the need for animal research has increased by 28 per cent since 1999.

The present approach is not working. And apart from the question of the morality of violence, militant direct action is doing nothing more than increasing the perception that animal rights is a fringe issue that is promoted by crazies who should not be taken seriously. But that should come as no surprise. In a world in which the overwhelming number of people think that it is morally acceptable to inflict pain, suffering, and death on 56 billion animals per year for no better reason than that they taste good, the public is not about to regard those who advocate violence against a use of animals that has been sold to them as “necessary” for their health as anything other than crazies. This frustrates serious discussion about the morality of animal use.

We need to shift the paradigm away from property status and toward moral personhood. And the only way to do that is through creative, nonviolent vegan education.

Gary L. Francione
©2010 Gary L. Francione