Human Exceptionalism

Life and dignity with Wesley J. Smith.

Gary Francione on Peter Singer and “Vivisection”


Animal rights law professor and vegan activist Gary Francione has now weighed in at some length in his Blog about Peter Singer and his support for invasive brain research using monkeys. It is very hard hitting, and, it seems to me, hits a home run regarding amoral Singer-style utilitarianism:

"If you read what Peter Singer has been writing for 30 years now, it is absolutely clear that he regards the use of nonhumans--and humans--in vivisection as morally permissible. Indeed, Singer explicitly rejects animal rights and the abolition of animal exploitation; he does not regard eating animals or animal products as per se morally wrong; he maintains we can be 'conscientious omnivores;' he claims that we can have 'mutually satisfying' sexual relationships with animals, and he claims that it is morally permissible to kill disabled infants.

"In short, rather than asking 'can you believe what Singer has said?,' it is more appropriate to ask: Can someone please explain how Singer got to be the 'father of the modern animal rights movement'?"

There is much more about Singer in the post, some of which I knew (killing infants, sex with animals) and some of which that I didn't (the permissibility of being a conscientious omnivore), and it is all worth reading.

I disagree with Francione completely about animal rights. For example, human beings are omnivores, and so its seems to me that eating meat is both nutritious and natural. But I respect him and his totally justified disdain for the "ethics" of Peter Singer.


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