I don’t know if this video needs any comments. I think it shows pretty clearly the way in which nonhuman animals are considered mere commodities.
The promoters of the device which appears here claim it “humanely” slaughters animals without stress. Of course, this couldn’t be farther from the truth. Yet it’s surely true that in slaughterhouses many animals suffer much more than those killed by this horrible device. And eventually all of them lose their lives. So at the end of the day there’s nothing particularly special about this machine that one cannot find anywhere else when animals are killed to be eaten. In fact, this machine, horrible as it is, just shows in a simplified way what animal farming is all about.
In a previous post, I presented an example of the ways in which many humans lack any concern for nonhuman animals suffering and dying for natural reasons. In this post I’m going to present some more examples of such speciesist attitudes. I won’t describe them, but post some videos showing this attitude displayed. To be honest, I find them just horrible, but my intention in showing them here is, of course, not just to claim they are terrible to watch. Rather, I’d like to promote some reflection on the question of whether we should be indifferent to the suffering of wild animals, even when it’s due to natural causes.
There are many other similar videos on the internet. If we find them repugnant, I think we have to reject the celebration of predation and the disturbing disregard for the plight of wild animals they imply.
In this video, we can see how another person is thrilled about how a centipede he has as a pet kills a mouse he puts in his or her cage.
And in this other one, we can see the same attitude with a mouse that is killed to feed a carnivorous plant (that is not even a sentient being).
In this other video, a couple of guys send a wasp to death by throwing it to a spider net just to see how the spider captures and kills this insect. This animal moves and twists as the spider is eating her body alive, while the guys comment how great that situation is.
I hope these gruesome images will encourage us to question the attitude of celebration of predation that is so common nowadays.
To those interested in this, some texts that question this attitude and reflect on the ethics of our position towards many natural processes can be seen in this list that was published before in this blog. One of the papers that deals with this question is this one. Luckily, there is a growing number of people now concerned with this issue, as one can see in this recently created fb page.
I’ll be giving a couple of talks in Switzerland in a few days. The first one will be in Bern, on August the 5th. Its title will be: “Different Strategies of the Animal Rights Movement”, and it will be organized by the organization Tier Im Fokus. You have more information on the event here.
The second one will be in Zurich on the 6th, at the University of Zurich, and its title will be: “If speciesism is untenable, should we reduce wild animal suffering too?”. There is more information on the event here.
I want to thank Tier Im Fokus, the University of Zurich and in particular Adriano Mannino, Lukas Gloor and Klaus Petrus for organizing these events.
Thanks to several great activists in Slovenia, such as Sara Stuva andTeja Brooks Pribac, this week I’ll be giving two talks on veganism and animals rights there. I’ll speak about the ethics of veganism in Koper on Thu 26th at the Faculty of Humanities at 18:30 while a great vegan dinner is served. And on Fri 27th, we’ll have a meeting to discuss animal rights activism in Tivoli Park at 17:00. We’ll enjoy a nice vegan picnic there too!
I must express my gratitude to Sara, Teja and the rest of the Slovenian activists who have made this possible. Thank you!
Some days ago I was invited by Animal Rights Zone to be a guest at one of their discussion sessions. In it, we discussed a bunch of topics, from animal ethics and the situation of the antispeciesist movement in Spain to the strategies of vegan education and helping animals suffering in nature.
I hope you find the podcast interesting. You can listen to it here:
Animal Rights Zone Podcast on Anti-Speciesism
In a recent post in Animal Rights Zone, Paul Hansen has presented several objections to the account of speciesism I present in my paper “What Is Speciesism?” (which can be found in the Journal of Agricultural and Environmental Ethics, 23 (3), 243-266 and can be read and downloaded here). [*]
I am honored by the attention that Hansen has given to my paper, and want to thank him for his challenging criticisms, which provides me with the opportunity of further clarifying the views expressed in the paper. I am also very thankful to Animal Rights Zone for providing a forum in which these issues can be discussed.
Hansen’s interesting objections cover several issues, which I will examine and respond to in turn. First, I will examine those objections that are related to my examination of different moral positions. Second, I will examine the objections that have to do with definitions of the concepts I use.
As I’ve previously written in this blog, Fuente Vegana, which is a great site about veganism and antispeciesism in Spanish, has published an interview with me in their blog. Fuente Vegana has also translated this interview into German. You can read it here:
On March 19th I was honored by Animal Rights Zone to be a guest at one of their great Live Chat sessions. We had a terrific time discussing many interesting issues, including speciesism, egalitarianism, the strategies of the antispeciesist movement, the question of whether we should help animals living in the wild, the problem of what are the conditions for being sentient, and many other topics.
You can read the transcript of the chat in the ARZone transcripts site or at the main ARZone site. In order to have access to ARZone main site you need to sign up. I’d like to encourage you to do so. If you’re concerned with animal rights and speciesism and are interested in debating with other people who are also concerned with this, ARZone is an excellent place to do it!
I’d like to thank the amazing team that runs ARZone for this opportunity to discuss so many important issues. I also want to thank all those who (for more than five hours!) attended the chat.
It was a most interesting and pleasing chat session. Thanks so much for your challenging questions!
Fuente Vegana is a great site about veganism and antispeciesism in Spanish. In 2009 they published an interview with me there. The questions they made were, in my view, very interesting and challenging. Fuente Vegana has translated this interview into English. You can read it here:
You can also read the original interview in Spanish here.
I recently got a paper on the concept of speciesism published in the The Journal of Agricultural and Environmental Ethics. The journal’s final version of the paper is here. The paper tries to clarify in some detail what is speciesism, as well as to classify the different ways in which it is defended and to distinguish it from other concepts related to it.
You can download the paper here:
This paper tries to compare the current situation in which humans and those nonhuman animals raised to be eaten are. I’ve been working in different drafts of this paper for the last three years. Unfortunately, this is not going to be the last version of it yet. The data needs to be updated, and there are some other things in the paper that need to be fixed. But it seems that we’re getting close to it. I hope to finish it in a couple of months or so. So I’d be really grateful for any comments and criticisms of the paper. You can publish them here or send them to OHorta (a) dilemata.net
(Please note it’s a very heavy file—around 10MB—since it has lots of graphics. So it may take some time to download).