Commentary #23: Lennox and Moral Reasoning in Animal Rights

It’s been a while since I did a Commentary and I have been meaning to start up again but, alas, it’s been a busy time.

I was planning to do a podcast on the topic of my essay, Moral Concern, Moral Impulse, and Logical Argument in Animal Rights Advocacy, which I published in May and that got a terrific response.

And then I saw the story yesterday that, on Wednesday, June 11, 2012, the Belfast (Northern Ireland) City Council, killed Lennox, a dog that was alleged to be a pit bull, a breed which is illegal in Northern Ireland. There had been a worldwide campaign to save Lennox and after he was killed, there were protests in Spain, the U.S., Serbia, and other places.

I posted an essay, The Legacy of Lennox as soon as I heard the news and I decided that it was a good time to do the Commentary because the reaction to Lennox’s situation required that we think generalizing our moral concern to other animals. In my view, if you are upset about the killing of Lennox, but you are not vegan, you are not thinking clearly. Lennox’s case raises some of the same issues as did the matter of Michael Vick.

In the first part of the Commentary, I discuss Lennox. I go on to talk about moral reasoning animal rights advocacy. I also discuss the concept of sentience in the second part.

I hope that you enjoy Commentary #24 and that you find that it helps your thinking about animal ethics.

And many thanks to Paola Aldana de Meoño for designing the new Commentary avatar.


If you are not vegan, please go vegan. Veganism is about nonviolence. First and foremost, it’s about nonviolence to other sentient beings. But it’s also about nonviolence to the earth and nonviolence to yourself.

The World is Vegan! If you want it.

Gary L. Francione
Professor, Rutgers University

©2012 Gary L. Francione