Here‘s a sneak preview of Peter Singer’s ”Animal Liberation,” by Michael Pollan appearing in this Sunday’s New York Times Magazine section. Singer’s book is a very persuasive argument against animal exploitation (including eating them; but like Pollan, I’m eating meat even as I read it) and for vegetarianism. (This link found at How Appealing, Howard Bashman’s “blawg.”)
In the book, and in his review, the struggle between giving animals humane treatment and according them basic rights (“The question is not can they talk, but can they suffer?”) takes center stage.
I have to admit, I am definitely an antivivisectionist. But I also love steak. And fish. And chicken. And greasy hamburgers. But I won’t eat veal since I found out HOW it got that way. And I’m active in my local community with the animal shelter and roving adoption programs. (Houston has a wide variety of animal shelters, a lot of them “no-kill,” and my own two fur-babies are shelter cats.)
Some may ask why would I spend so much time on causes for animals, and not humans. After all, there is plenty of human suffering and child and elderly abuse right here in this country. (And plenty of it right here in Houston.) Because those causes have voices, voices that are loud and strong. And no one thinks twice about the rights of children and elderly because we ASSUME, and rightly so, that they DO have rights. Animals, on the other hand, aren’t viewed in the same favorable light by many people.
So while I actively support most animal rights causes, I draw the line at altering my lifestyle to become a vegetarian. So I guess that makes me a hypocrite. (A hippo-crite?) I don’t know. That is perhaps a moral quandary for another day. So I’ll leave you with this thought, one of my favorite passages:
For the animal shall not be measured by man. In a world older and more complete than ours, they move finished and complete, gifted with extensions of the senses we have lost or never attained, living by voices we shall never hear. They are not brethren, they are not underlings, they are other nations, caught with ourselves in the net of life and time, fellow prisoners of the splendour and travail of the earth.
From The Outermost House, Henry Beston (1928)
And some links to animal rights sites that I visit: