Human Exceptionalism

Animal Rights versus Environmentalism

I have noticed a slowly growing schism between animal rights and environmentalism. The former cares about each animal as individuals, perceiving their moral value (whether based on “painience” or “sentience”) to that generally accorded to human beings. Environmentalism, in contrast, cares about macro systems, a view in which individuals–perhaps even human beings–matter less and in the more radical view, can even be sacrificed to “save the planet.”

This sometimes leads the two to come into conflict, as I have pointed out here. Now, animal rights activists are threatening to stop a planned kangaroo cull that is being done to protect endangered grass and grasshoppers. (But grasshoppers are animals, and accordingly, PETA has called for the end of insect exploitation such as domesticated queen bee “rape racks.”) But I digress. From the story:

ANIMAL liberationists are threatening to act as human shields to prevent a kangaroo cull on military land. Killing pens and refrigerated trucks were in place yesterday at a former navy transmission station in Canberra, ahead of the planned culling of about 400 kangaroos over the next few days. The cull will be carried out to protect rare grasslands and plants and the threatened perunga grasshopper and golden sun moth. The kangaroos will be stunned with tranquilliser darts and then given lethal injections. The cull has earned the ire of international vegetarian group Viva! (Vegetarians International Voice for Animals) and its celebrity backers, including Sir Paul McCartney.

Sigh. I just wish McCartney’s moral sense were as prodigious as his musical talent.