Philosophy > General AR Philosophy
Animal Rights Should Be Part of Progressive Politics

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[Stanford Progressive - opinion]

Progressive politics have allowed our society to overcome some of the most egregious abuses inflicted upon people of different races, genders, and ethnicities. They encourage us to open our minds and reevaluate how much compassion we extend to others. Unfortunately, we as a society have not yet challenged the way we view animals. Every year in the U.S., billions of cows, pigs, chickens, and other animals are raised and killed in some of the most violent and abusive industries on Earth. The fact of the matter is that animals value their lives just as much as we value ours, and the time has come for our society to reassess the way we treat animals. We must move our country forward, dismantling the industries that profit from this injustice, like so many before them.

It's often said that there are as many reasons to go vegetarian as there are vegetarians. However, the three major issues that I would like to address here are the environmental, human rights, and ethical arguments. These three categories are not mutually exclusive, of course. It was none other than presidential hopeful Sen. Barack Obama who said outside a Las Vegas town hall meeting that "how we treat our animals reflects how we treat each other." It's all connected, and the clear solution to all three major issues is to leave meat off our plates for good.

With campuses nationwide embracing a "green" lifestyle, it's no wonder that dining halls are packing their menus with vegetarian and vegan options. A recent groundbreaking study by the United Nations concluded that raising animals for food generates more greenhouse gases than all the cars, trucks, boats, and planes in the world combined. As if that weren't bad enough, recent studies indicate that humans can save more water by not eating 1 pound of beef than by not showering for an entire year, since a meat-based diet requires more than 4,000 gallons of water per day. This criminal squandering of our country's resources continues to further fuel the threat of climate change, while simultaneously robbing other nations of the much-needed relief that we could be offering.

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