animal rights

A Quote by J.M. Coetzee on animals, holocaust, sympathy, and animal rights

The question to ask should not be: Do we have something in commong - reason, self-consciousness, a soul - with other animals? (With the corollary that, if we do not, then we are entitled to treat them as we like, imprisoning them, killing them, dishonoring there corpses).  I return to the death camps, the horror that convinces us that what went on there was a crime against humanity, is not that despite a humanity shared with their victims, the killers treated them like lice.  That is too abstract.  The horror is that the killers refused to see themselves in the place of their victims, as did everyone else.  They said 'It is they in those cattle-cars rattling past.' They did not say, 'How would it be if it were I in that cattle-car?' They did not say, 'It is I who am in that cattle-car,' They said, "It must be the dead who are being burnt today, making the air stink and falling ash on my cabbages.' They did not say, 'How would it be if I were burning?' They did not say, 'I am burning, I am falling in ash.'  In other words, they closed their hearts.

J.M. Coetzee

Source: The Lives of Animals (The University Center for Human Values Series), Pages: 34

Contributed by: Ryan

A Quote by Peter Singer on habits, vegan, animal rights, vegetarian, rationalization, ethics of eating, bias, and utilitarianism

As a matter of strict logic, perhaps, there is no contradiction in taking an interest in animals on both compassionate and gastronomic grounds. If a person is opposed to the infliction of suffering on animals, but not to the painless killing of animals, he could consistently eat animals that had lived free of all suffering and been instantly, painlessly slaughtered. Yet practically and psychologically it is impossible to be consistent in one's concern for nonhuman animals while continuing to dine on them. If we are prepared to take the life of another being merely in order to satisfy our taste for a particular type of food, then that being is no more than a means to our end. In time we will come to regard pigs, cattle, and chickens as things for us to use, no matter how strong our compassion may be; and when we find that to continue to obtain supplies of the bodies of these animals at a price we are able to pay it is necessary to change their living conditions a little, we will be unlikely to regard these changes too critically. The factory farm is nothing more than the application of technology to the idea that animals are means to our ends. Our eating habits are dear to us and not easily altered. We have a strong interest in convincing ourselves that our concern for other animals does not require us to stop eating them. No one in the habit of eating an animal can be completely without bias in judging whether the conditions in which that animal is reared caused suffering.

Peter Singer

Source: Animal Liberation

Contributed by: Ryan

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