Unit 9 - Francione_Intro_To_Animal_Rights

Unit 9 - Francione_Intro_To_Animal_Rights - (from:...

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(from: Introduction to Animal Rights , by Gary Francione, Temple, 2000, pp.xxiv-xxxiv) The Problem: We Do Not Practice What We Preach Although we claim that we may prefer humans to animals when necessary but that it is wrong to impose unnecessary suffering on them, the fact is that the overwhelming portion of our animal use can be justified only by habit, convention, amusement, convenience, or pleasure. To put the matter another way, most of the suffering that we impose on animals is completely unnecessary however we interpret that notion . For example, the uses of animals in entertainment, such as in films, circuses, rodeos, and for sport hunting, cannot, by definition, be considered necessary. Nevertheless, these activities are all protected by laws that supposedly prohibit the infliction of unnecessary suffering on animals. It is certainly not necessary for us to wear fur coats, or to use animals to test duplicative household products, or to have yet another brand of lipstick or aftershave lotion. More important in terms of numbers of animals used, however, is the animal agriculture industry, in which more than 8 billion animals are killed for food annually in the United States alone. As we will see in Chapter 1, it is not necessary in any sense to eat meat or animal products: indeed, an increasing number of health care professionals maintain that animal products may be detrimental to human health. Moreover , respected environmental scientists have pointed out the tremendous costs to our planet of meat-based agriculture. In any event, our best justification for the enormous pain and suffering, and death inflicted on these billions of farm animals is that we enjoy the taste of their flesh. And although many of us regard the use of animals in experiments, product testing, and science education as presenting the classic “burning house” choice of us vs. them, the necessity of animal use for these purposes is open to serious question as well. Animals as Property: An Unbalanced Balance The reason for the profound inconsistency between what we say about animals and how we actually treat them is the status of animals as our property . Animals are commodities that we own and that have no value other than that which we as property owners choose to give them. The property status of animals renders them completely meaningless in any balancing that is supposedly required under the humane treatment principle of animal welfare laws, because what we really balance are the interests of property owners against the interests of their animal property. It does not take much knowledge of property law or economics to recognize that such a balance will rarely, if ever, tip in the animal’s favor. If someone suggested that you balance your interests against those of your automobile or
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This note was uploaded on 11/22/2011 for the course PHILOSOPHY 101 taught by Professor Simonoswitch during the Spring '10 term at Chandler-Gilbert Community College.

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Unit 9 - Francione_Intro_To_Animal_Rights - (from:...

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