Morality and Animals
AUG. 20, 2015
To the Editor:
Thank you for noting the cognitive dissonance that finds many Americans
lavishing love on tens of millions of dogs and cats, even as we allow the
grotesque slaughter of close to nine billion farm animals a year (“Exposing
Abuse on the Factory Farm<http://www.nytimes.com/2015/08/09/opinion/sunday/exposing-abuse-on-the-factory-farm.html>,”
editorial, Aug. 9).
There is no moral difference between abusing and eating a pig or a dog, a cat or
a chicken. In fact, as your editorial points out, our pets are generally treated
well and have legal protections, while farm animals are treated horribly and
have virtually no protection from abuse.
So if one’s goal is to cause the least possible cruelty to animals, it would
actually be ethically preferable to eat a well-treated dog or cat rather than an
abused chicken or pig. The choice for all of us who oppose cruelty is clear: We
should not be eating any animals.
The writer is director of policy for Farm Sanctuary, a farm animal protection
group that is a plaintiff in the Idaho court case discussed in the editorial.
Bruce G. Friedrich
Director of Policy & Engagement
cell: 202.306.2020, Selected Works<http://works.bepress.com/bruce_friedrich/>
Connect with Farm Sanctuary:
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"The problem is that we keep assuming that there is a point at which we
became human. This is about as unlikely as there being a precise wavelength at
which the color spectrum turns from orange into red. The typical proposition of
how this happened is that of a mental breakthrough — a miraculous spark — that
made us radically different. But if we have learned anything from more than 50
years of research on chimpanzees and other intelligent animals, it is that the
wall between human and animal cognition is like a Swiss cheese."