Human Exceptionalism

My Speech to Animal Ag Alliance Covered in Washington Times

I gave a speech to the Animal Ag Alliance in Arlington yesterday. It was covered by the Washington Times. From the story:

The agriculture industry is under attack from a powerful, popular and well-funded lobby – animal rights groups, which want to see it die completely, said two speakers at the Animal Agriculture Alliance 9th Anual Stakeholders Summit in Arlington, Va., Wednesday. “You are not dealing with people who want to reach acommodation with the agricultural industry about what is proper animal husbandry,” Wesley Smith, author of the 2010 book “A Rat Is a Pig Is a Dog Is a Boy: The Human Cost of the Animal Rights Movement,” told the audience, which comprised primarily members of the animal agriculture industry. “Their intent is that you have no pigs, that you have no chickens … in fact the agenda is to do away with all animal domesticity, which they see as a multi-generational project.”

He noted the irony inherent in veganism, a practice in which one consumes no animal products, because of the large number of rodents and snakes that die in grain silos and in grain fields during harvest. “Nobody on this planet … eats unless animals die,” he said. “Veganism is just as much “murder” as eating meat is.”

Smith distinguished between the terms ‘animal rights’ and ‘animal welfare’ and said groups that claim to be involved in the former are not concerned about the treatment of animals, but rather in furthering ther agenda of equating animal and human worth via the proponence of legal rights for animals. “They do not believe we should look at the human benefit” of using animals for drug testing, food or clothing, Smith said, adding that foremost on American animal rights’ groups agenda at the moment is to allow animals to sue humans directly. He told the story of a Swiss court case in which a lawyer represented a fish that had been caught and consumed in an animal abuse case. The fisherman had been accused of taking too long to reel in the fish.

That part about veganism is murder, too, always riles animal rights activists.  (Of course, animal can’t be “murdered.”) They claim that intent is the key.  But there is no denying that vegan diets also result in the killing of countless animals–with what might be called reckless disregard for their safety, which if done to humans would be just as much murder as intentionally killing specific people–and, I would add, in ways far more painful than the humane slaughter of food animals.  If animal rightists were consistent, they would protest combines and demand hand harvesting to save the field mice and snakes.


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