fredag 5 juli 2013

Vegan reply to 'We are at top of the food chain, thus we should eat meat'

What food chain? This “But” is another way of asking whether our power and ability to exploit animals makes it morally right to do so. We would immediately see the problem if this “But” were raised in a context involving humans. For example, it was once argued that white western Europeans were naturally superior to Africans because the former were able to enslave the latter. There is no such thing out there as a “food chain.” It’s a concept that we have devised so that we can make our exploitation of animals look as though it has some basis in the natural world . It doesn’t. The proclamation that we are at the top of the food chain is equivalent to a proclamation that we are capable of oppressing and exploiting all of the other species on the planet. That may be true but it carries no moral significance. Are humans different from nonhumans? Certainly. Do humans have abilities that nonhumans lack? Certainly. But animals have all sorts of abilities that humans don’t have. Yes , humans can write symphonies (although most don’t by the way). But birds can fly without being in an airplane and fish can breathe under water without an air tank. What, apart from our self-interested proclamation, makes animal abilities worth less as a moral matter than human abilities?

The answer: nothing. But at the outset, we promised you that we were not going to challenge that bit of conventional wisdom that holds that although animals matter morally , they don’t matter morally as much as humans do. Our conventional wisdom holds that even if animals matter less, they matter some, and hurting or killing them requires a justification. Responding to the need for such a justification by saying that we are at the top of some non-existent chain is a way of saying that it’s okay to hurt and kill animals without any moral justification. And that’s just a way of saying that you don’t think that animals matter at all morally and that we can make them suffer and kill them just because we are able to do so. Actually, if you stop and think about it for a minute, you’ll see that our power and ability to exploit nonhuman animals gives us the responsibility to protect them from exploitation!

Francione, Gary; Charlton, Anna (2013-06-24). Eat Like You Care: An Examination of the Morality of Eating Animals (Kindle Locations 1249-1253). Exempla Press. Kindle Edition.

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