The Weebler presents:
If you frequently find yourself
in conversations with people who are critical of the animal rights/veg(etari)an
agenda, you will no doubt discover a certain repetition in the comments,
questions and attacks used to disparage your philosophy.
The mandate of this website is
to provide a one stop resource for those seeking information related to thescientific, historical, philosophical and
spiritual arguments associated with the animal rights movement. Additions to the
list are welcome. PLEASE SUBMIT to: firstname.lastname@example.org
THANKS to all who have submitted so far!
responses: general and specific (i.e. Utilitarian)
responses: general and doctrine specific (i.e. Christian, Buddhist,
Scientific/Historical responses: general and specific with
responses: cute and caustic
Anthropocentrism: This is routinely defined
as:1.Regarding human beings as the
central element of the universe. 2. Interpreting reality exclusively in terms of
human values and experience.It is worthwhile to compare this definition with
Ethnocentrism, which is usually defined as:1.Belief in the superiority
of one's own ethnic group. 2.Overriding concern with
race. Anthropocentrism can then
also be redefined as: Belief in the superiority of one's own species. (sometimes
referred to as Speciesism, Human Chauvinism, Spiritual humanism, Secular
Anthropocentric myopia: This
may be defined as the condition when the ethical and practical arguments used in
an attempt to ethically justify the harm caused to non humans, fail to address
and counter the effects these very same arguments would have if applied fairly
and equally to situations involving humans.
Animal Rights Q and A List
This section sums up the most basic
questions that animal activists are asked about the AR philosophy.
Irrefutable Argument List. This section provides brief, "to the point"
paragraph arguments covering basic concepts in animal rights
Questions-attacks/Responses have been divided
into these sub-categories for easier use. It is recommended, however, to check
multiple sections to find a particular variety of argument. For example, many of
the same arguments used for Hunting can also be used for Fishing or for the
Wildlife Management sections after a little rewording. Most topical arguments
rely on a variation of the "human supremacy myth" as a foundation to their
beliefs. These arguments can be found under Human Supremacy, but various aspects
of this approach can be found in other sections as well. Some of the more
generic arguments can be located under Misc.
ANIMAL RIGHTSANIMAL RESEARCH
BULLFIGHTSCOMPANION ANIMALSEQUALITYFISHINGHUMAN SUPREMACYHUNTINGMEAT EATINGMISCELLANEOUSPLANTS AND VEGETABLESRELIGIONSPECIES UNITYSURVIVAL OF THE FITTESTWILDLIFE MANAGEMENTZOOS
Question: "If we give respect or rights to animals we will diminish our own
rights and respect for humans."
a) Sumer, one of the earliest and most powerful of the ancient Mesopotamian city-states, managed
its slaves the same way it managed its livestock. The Sumerians castrated the
males and put them to work like domesticated animals, and they put the females
in work and breeding camps. The Sumerian word for castrated slave
boys--amar-kud--is the same word the Sumerians used for young castrated donkeys,
horses, and oxen."
--from Chapter 1 Charles Patterson's Eternal Treblinka:
Our Treatment of Animals and the Holocaust http://www.powerfulbook.com/excerpts.html
b) "Although the purpose of the German killing centers
was the extermination of human beings, they operated in the larger context of
society's exploitation and slaughter of animals, which to some extent they
mirrored. The Germans did not stop slaughtering animals when they took up
slaughtering people. Auschwitz, which its commandant Rudolf Hoss called "the
largest human slaughterhouse that history had ever known," had its own
slaughterhouse and butcher's shop. The other death camps likewise kept their
personnel well supplied with animal flesh. Sobibor had a cow shed, pigpen, and
henhouse, which were next to the entrance to the tube that took Jews to the gas
chambers, while Treblinka had a stable, pigpen, and henhouse located near the
camp barracks of the Ukrainian auxiliaries.-from Charles Patterson's Eternal
Treblinka: Our Treatment of Animals and the Holocaust Chapter 5 http://www.powerfulbook.com/excerpts.html
Question: "You support
animal rights, therefore you must support blowing up buildings."
a) it appears you are in need of taking a logic
class.b) you support human
rights? therefore you must support the actions of John Brown, slavery
abolitionist who killed pro-slavery people.
c) Last I checked, it is the
people who support wars against unarmed civilians who support blowing up
Question: "If animals have rights,
then they must be able to have the same rights as us, such as voting
/If we give animals rights, we must give plants and all other organisms rights
Sure--and if we can do that then fine. But if we are unable to give rights to
all life forms--it doesn't mean we should just give up and not give rights to any.
If we say that--then one could decide they only care about people within their
own race/religion/gender/age group/economic status. Some people already do it
humans can form moral contracts with other humans'since we cannot make
social/moral contracts with other species, we should not care about how we treat
a)Why does a moral contract have to be reciprocal? We make special
arrangements for infants, and humans that are mentally challenged'without
requiring that they 'return the favor.' Why should other species be treated to a
b) We can and do have social and moral contracts with other
species. We know that if an animal, its offspring, or its territory is
threatened, or it is hungry, we can expect it to react accordingly. That is a
social contract. By contrast, there are humans who make moral and
social contracts with other humans'and then break them. And yet we do not turn
them into laboratory fodder.
c) If this argument is applied fairly and equally to a human rights scenario, then it would have significant
consequences for humans that are either children, or are stricken with brain
damage, mental illness, or some disease which prevents them from making a
social/moral contract with others. By the logic of this argument' these humans
could be exploited for medical research.
Question: "What about grizzly bears?They eat other species, shouldn't we do
something to stop that?"
a) that defies
the whole meaning of animal rights. humans do not need to hold a paternalism
over the actions of other animals.
b) if there were over 6 billion grizzly bears who didn't need the fish to
survive, then maybe they would need to decide what to do about it, but that isn't any of our business as humans.
c) oh yeah--and while you' re at it--better stop spiders from eating flies and flies
from eating smaller bugs and bacteria from eating otherbacteria ... get
back to me when you figure out how to police them--untilthen we better
stick to what we can do--policing ourselves.
d) other species do things to survive...they may do things we don't feel are consistent with our
ethics--but we have ethics to control our behavior--other species are able to
function without the types of ethical systems we propose. They don't have
the option to not kill if they wish to survive. But they don't go around
killing other species for oil, money, religion etc... when they do--they can
deal with their ethical conduct--until then--humans are the species we have to
e) this argument tries
to say that if some group is exempt from the same moral conduct that is expected
of humans--then they should be excluded from any rights to protection or
respect. By this logic children, the mentally retarded and comatose people do
not deserve rights to protection since they cannot reason and formulate ethical
positions like adult humans can.
Question: Animal activistsdrive on roads that caused
animals to lose their lives and live in homes that have caused animals to lose
a) No one is perfect. A lot of humans were killed through
wars to build one's country--whether you live in Europe or North America or
Asia. No one tells a human rights activist he must rocket himself
to a desert island in order to be against human exploitation -- therefore the same
is true for animal activists.
b) Thousands of people are killed by automobiles each year. If
you are in favor of human rights--do you refrain from driving?
Question: "You may think you avoid all unnecessary suffering, but how
many animals died in the fields to grow your plants for
a) Don't know--but it is a lot less than the
number that were killed in the fields to grow the food used to feed the cattle
b) That's an ad homonym attack. Instead of addressing the issue you are attacking me for any faults I
may have. It is a separate issue but you cite it to divert attention from your
c) There are ways to provide
food without causing as much harm to other life --- eating meat is far more
d) So what are you saying? We
should eat raw minerals? You start. Here's a rock--bite it.
e) Oh I see--so since we cannot
avoid all suffering we should just let people eat meat, hunt, fish, use animals
in rodeos, research etc. But why stop there? Why not let people kill each other,
enslave other humans, abuse children. They are doing it anyway and since
suffering cannot be avoided completely why bother to try at all?
Question: "What if you were attacked by a bear? Would you let the bear
kill you? If you wouldn't-and you kill the bear--then you can't be for animal
a) If i enter known bear territory than it is up to me to know
better. But assuming it was
yourself is a matter of self interest. If you commit an act in self interest it
does not mean you are against the rights of others.
b) If a civil/human rights activist is attacked by a thief--and
he defends himself, does that mean he is against civil/human
Question: "Other species are not bound by the same rules as
humans ("lions eat gazelles so why should we respect either the gazelles or the
lions?") and are not capable of reciprocal morality ("we are supposed to respect
them but they don't respect us")..
some of the mentally retarded, mentally deranged, or children are not conscious
of the meaning of rights and yet they are given them without conditions. We
don't expect reciprocal morality from them, so why from non human animals? Lions
and other predators need to eat meat to survive. Humans don't.Furthermore, lions and other large
predators base their aggression on survival interests. If they don't feel
threatened or aren't defending territory or aren't hungry--they don't
attack.In that sense--there is an
"ethical conduct" to how other species behave, and unlike some humans, they
don't make promises they have no intention of keeping.
Question: "If we stopped testing on
animals the products would be unsafe for humans."
a) Even with animal testing the products are not always safe
for humans. In fact, there are drugs and treatments tested on animals that have
proven unsafe for humans (i.e. Thalidomide).
b) Human testing is essential for human drugs etc. You can take
the animal out of medical research but not the human--if you doubt that, then
lets see you volunteer to test a drug that had only been tested on non human
Animals used in experiments become so stressed that their blood chemistry
changes, invalidating the science.
Question: "If your child was ill,
would you sacrifice the life of a rat, orcat, or dog, or chimp etc (in
medical research) to save it?"
a) This hypothetical argument is intended as a catch 22.
If the activist chooses the life of their child over that of a rat---then they
are endorsing the principle behind vivisection whether they admit it or not. If
it would be okay for an animal rights activist to use an animal to save their
own child, then how could he or she object to the animal research industry? If
they say no, then they are deemed as not loving their child and are a terrible
parent. The first error with this is the unrealistic nature of the
hypothetical situation. Can a cure for an illness be attained by killing one
rat, without any human clinical trials? Of course not. Such a scenario is an
oversimplification intended to force the validity of animal research and portray
the vivisector as someone capable of making miraculous treatments if only he/she
is allowed to exploit animals as they wish. It also perverts the
nature of altruism and compassion by suggesting that one must prioritize the
recipients of such altruism and compassion.
b) If your child was sick,
would you sacrifice the life of your neighbor's child in medical research to
If you say no, then you obviously don't love your child as
much as you may claim to, especially since you know that the chances for a
treatment are greatly increased by using humans--and wouldn't you want only the
best for your child? If you say yes, then surely you are
going to focus on getting humans used for research so you can offer your child
the best possible treatment.
c) If it is wrong
for me to exploit my neighbor's child in order to aid my own, then it would be
wrong for me to do the same if my neighbor happened to have four legs instead of
two. Exploiting others in violation of consistent ethical beliefs is wrong.
Question: "If we weren't using animals
in research we wouldn't be able to find cures for diseases and cancers./Animal
research is necessary if we hope to cure diseases and help sick
animal research is necessary in order to cure human diseases makes as much sense
as saying that one needs to conduct research on humans in order to cure rat
diseases (there would almost seem to be a Neo-Darwinian myth at work, that by
testing onso called "simpler"
animals one can move up the "Evolutionary ladder" until you reach the complexity
of human beings). You can remove the animal from medical research but you still
need humans in research. If you wanted to cure leukemia in cats--working on dogs
would not help much.
b) if that's the case
why haven't we cured the common cold? Humans have been experimenting on animals
non stop for at least 150 years and yet we are still plagued by diseases. new
ones surface and old ones become drug resistant. So much for success through
Animals used in experiments become so stressed that their blood chemistry
changes, invalidating the science.
"Would you accept a medical treatment that had been tested on animals if you got sick?"
a)This attack is flawed because it implies that if an animal activist would
use a medical treatment that had been tested on animals then the activist is
guilty of hypocrisy: contradicting his/her argument, and must either refuse any
future medical treatment, or abandon the animal rights cause. The activist is
pressured to be a moral perfectionist before endorsing animal rights---and since
perfection is not possible--then it alleged the animal rights agenda is a false
one. This attack draws an unrealistic connection between the present
act of vivisection, and the already existing products of that vivisection. In
order for the animal activist to be guilty of hypocrisy, he or she would have to
consciously participate in or endorse the present and future activities of
vivisectors, not the medical treatments that resulted (in part) from policies
that included animal experimentation (i.e. saying they are against vivisection,
then paying a researcher to do it). The activist could counter-argue that since
the research was already done, it might as well be utilized so the animals did
not "die in vain." It also makes an unrealistic demand
upon the activist--to remove him/herself from a world where all governments
engage in some form of exploitation (or have connections to those that do)
before beginning to make protests and arguments that seek change.
b) This argument reveals how vivisectors attempt to make the
recipient of their works feel guilty because he/she benefited from their
research. It perverts the altruism of the medical profession by tainting the
recipient with the tag of a conspirator!
c) If this "moral perfection first" approach is applied fairly
and equally to human-related issues-it has the following consequences for the
animal research proponent: Any patient who benefits from a procedure that was
based upon the human experiments of the Nazis, effectively endorses those
atrocities committed, and cannot declare otherwise (In 1989 concentration camp
survivors attempted to get Nazi research destroyed--but were rebuked by the
medical establishment which argued the research could be employed for the
greater good). An organ recipient, who receives a transplant from a
victim of a car wreck, or shooting, cannot claim to be against such tragedies,
since he/she benefited from such incidents. Furthermore, a Chinese
student living in Beijing, could not protest for democratic reforms since he
receives his food, shelter, and financial support through agencies of the
government he is attacking. And someone in North America could not
claim to be for Indian rights--unless they remove themselves from their present
dwelling and let aboriginals move in. No one could protest, or seek
to make reforms for any social cause unless they first removed themselves from
all imperfections. Since it is impossible--all attempts to make the world a
better place would have to be abandoned.
trying to portray the animal activist as a hypocrite, the animal research
defender puts forth an ethical standard which they do not apply fairly and
equally to themselves--thus revealing who the actual hypocrites
Question: "Animal research is justified because of the benefits
(to human health, happiness, knowledge, progress, science, companion animals,
a) Its basic problem is that it is stating the
INTENT of the Animal research, not a moral /ethical DEFENSE of it.
'Why are you torturing animals to death?'
'Because we hope to benefit from
A casual observer would hope
that they benefit from it, or why else would they be doing it?
argument is nothing more than an appeal to Selfishness.
b) A thief steals because of the benefits to him or others. A
rapist rapes because of the benefits. If the rapist defended his act by pointing
out that others could benefit by taking items from the unconscious victim's
house, would that justify the rape? If one accepts "benefits" as a justification
for animal research, and applies it fairly and equally to human relationships,
then it allows anyone to commit an act on the basis of the perceived benefits to
the perpetrator or others--whether the victim is human or
Question: "vivisection is justified
because humans can subdue and control other creatures for whatever purpose we
a) This approach would attempt to suggest that humans are
following the "law of Nature." The act of vivisection is seen as being no
different than a lion chasing down a gazelle. The proponent may even concede
that if an alien race were to do the same thing to humans it would be
justifiable. The first problem with this approach is that it suggests
vivisection serves a natural purpose, similar to the act of killing for food.
Yet the act of killing for food is a primordial instinctive need shared by all
life, while only a small number of modern humans engage in the practice of
vivisection. It also conveniently ignores the harsh reality of life
and death. One could counter-argue that disease exists to control population'a
thoroughly natural process--and that the vivisectionist is deliberately
obstructing that process by attempting to prolong human life-spans. What about
the impact on food and natural resources? A vivisector would probably answer
that the solution lies in more research, colonizing space, etc. Nevertheless,
the claim that vivisection is a natural process in harmony with the realities of
life can be strongly protested.
b) Despite the concession made
for extraterrestrial exploitation, one does not need to go so far out to
discover the consequences of such a philosophical position.
"survival of the fittest," one could then justify killing or enslaving his/her
next door neighbor. The philosophy ordains that if they can do it, then they are
justified. A thief, murderer, rapist, --practitioners of any of these
professions would find the vivisector's reasoning to be very
Question: "If you could save countless human lives by
xenotransplantation (genetically engineering non-human animals to harvest
organs for humans), isn't that for the greater good? I mean, people eat
those species every day anyway."
a) Since eating meat is unnecessary--exploiting them for
animal research and genetic engineering is compounding one injustice with
another. It is like saying "well, since we are planning to kill this guy--there
is nothing wrong with us torturing and robbing him first.
Question: "Bullfights are good because they give the meat of the bull to the
a) Then why were matadors protesting that they couldn't
SELL the meat after the Mad Cow/foot and mouth disease
b) Citing a positive benefit
of an act does not cancel out the negative. Bullfights are cruel. To say they
are good because they give the meat to the poor would be like justifying a
murder/robbery by saying the bandits gave some of the spoils to the needy. Al
Capone opened the first soup kitchens in Chicago--using the proceeds of crime,
does this mean that loan sharking and murder used to finance that charity were
c) if bullfighters do it for the charity, then they should be
growing veggies to give to the poor.
cannot say that humans and non humans are equal and also say that humans and non
humans are not bound by the same rules and code of moral conduct. If humans have
to respect the rights of deer then so should lions."
a) This is assumed to be a
fallacy in Definition: Conflicting Conditions--that they cannot be equal and
unequal at the same time.
This confuses two different definitions of
"equality." The first definition is that non humans and humans are equal
regardless of their differences (the "Martin Luther King jr." sense of the word:
"All men are created equal." ). The second definition is not a value judgment,
but an observation of the fact that everyone has different attributes. The
animal rights proponent stresses equality in value while acknowledging
inequality in attribute. There is no conflicting conditions.Other
species are equal to humans in value, but they do not possess the attributes to
think and behave the way humans do--just as the mentally retarded or children do
not have the same attributes but are afforded equal moral protection and ethical
b) We say a man with arms and a man
without arms are equal in worth, but we don't say because they have different
abilities that the one with arms deserves more "rights" than the other.By the logic of this attack, in order
for all humans to be granted equal rights and respect, they would have to
possess the same attributes (mentally, physically etc).
Question: "Fish don't have nerves in their mouths or feelings in their lips."
a) The hook still
causes damage to the fish's body. It can lead to infection (if the fish is being
thrown back in the water).
b) Slave traders
said the same thing aboutNegro slaves--they don't feel pain like we do.
You can't prove it as a 100 percent certaintythat they don't feel
discomfort/pain and science may not have figured out how to measure it. Better
to be safe than sorry.
c) Yeah but they sure
look uncomfortable when they are being dragged from the water. So are they
trying to dance when they are flipping around on a hook?
d) So if someone doesn't
feel pain we should do what they want to them? Good because there are some
comatose people at the hospital that would look mighty good preserved over my
e) Fish have nerve
endings near the skin which are very similar to those of humans and other
mammals. We all have receptor cells (called nociceptors) near the skin, which
are stimulated by events severe enough to cause damage to body tissues. The lips
and mouth of fish are particularly well supplied with nerve
--Fish produce the same pain-transmitting chemicals as humans.
There are two main chemicals involved. When a nerve ending is damaged,
a substance called bradykinin is released. This causes the nerve cell to
fire, sending an electrical impulse along the nerve. When bradykinin
released near the skin, a second chemical, called substance P, is released
near the spinal cord.
--Both substances are known to be involved in
transmitting pain. For example, if bradykinin is injected in humans, it causes
intense pain, even if a local anesthetic is used. Both bradykinin and
substance P are found in mammals, birds, frogs and fish.
the same pain-blocking substances as humans. When in severe pain, humans and
other vertebrates (animals with backbones) produce pain-killing chemicals
called endorphins. These endorphins block pain by stopping the release of
substance P.(from an article titled "Fish Feel Pain" from the November
to January issue of "Animals Today" magazine (Australia)). http://members.iinet.net.au/~rabbit/fish.htm
f) "Fish constitute the
greatest source of confused thinking and inconsistency on earth at the moment
with respect to pain. You will get people very excited about dolphins because
they are mammals, and about horses and dogs, if they are not treated properly.
At the same time you will have fishing competitions on the River Murray at which
thousands of people snare fish with hooks and allow them to asphyxiate on the
banks, which is a fairly uncomfortable and miserable death". (The Advertiser,
Professor Bill Runciman, professor of anesthesia and intensive care at Adelaide
University, Australia) http://members.iinet.net.au/~rabbit/fish.htm
g) "I undertook a ...
search on pain felt by fish. I discovered that not only do fish feel the same
pain as cats and dogs and humans but they are also highly intelligent. On the
beach the other day I saw several fishermen with their dogs. I wanted to explain
to them that the fish they were hooking felt the same anguish as would their
dogs caught in the same way. Likewise when I went to New Foundland to talk to
the fishermen who clubbed the baby Harp seals to death, I noticed that they too
had companion dogs and cats and canaries. The most common form of cruelty in the
world is fishing and why? Because most people have no idea how sensitive and
intelligent fish are". (Richard Jones, Member of the New South Wales Legislative
Question: "But wasn't Christ a
a) he was a carpenter by trade. He referred to himself as a fisher of men.
b) Fish was a well known mythical symbol
among early Christians. The Greek word for fish (Ichthys) was used as an
acronym whose initials in Greek stood for "Jesus Christ, Son of God, Savior."
Given how the early Christians employed the term, there is therefore good
historical evidence for the argument that all of the "fish stories" that managed
to get into gospels were intended to be taken symbolically rather than
Question: "But they are just animals."
a) So? And you are just a human.
b) At one time it was common to say: "just a woman," "just a child," "just a black," "just a pagan," "just a
Christian," "just a slave," etc etc etc.
c) Um--we are animals too-although considering the dismal record of human behavior I am sure most
species would rather be a remote relative.
Question: "Humans can exploit animals because we
are superior to animals.The reason we are superior is because we possess
the capacity to reason." (variations: "When bears and ants can
compose symphonies and fly airplanes, then I'll believe they have
rights.\Humans have brains that can
make computers and do math and build tall skyscrapers, therefore we have evolved
beyond other species and are superior
a) not all humans possess reason as defined here (children,
mentally retarded etc). Furthermore--why would reason be an absolute
criteria? It is transitory. Arbitrary. Using reason as a criteria would
like saying "an apple is superior to a banana because its red. Red
it superior." WHY? What is so great about red?It is just as relative and as arbitrary
as talking about
skin color. If you say reason is great because it
allows us to build
buildings--why is that of absolute importance? Reason is only important as a
human value, just as skin color is only important as a racial value, or a
certain interpretation of the Judeo-Christian Bible is only important to
particular adherents of that religious group.
b) Human rights, like animal rights, are arbitrary, subjective,
and non-absolute. They are both based on value that we as humans
assign and administer. There is no demonstrable natural law which we
base our ethics upon. The universe does not say: "Humans have
rights because they possess faculty x, y, z."
A human does not have a
universal right to life. If that were the case, it should be demonstrable in
nature.We could walk
safely through the path of an erupting volcano without so much as a
blister. We wouldn't need police or courts if our "rights" were some universal
When one looks at it reasonably, humans are just as mortal as
other species. All the fruits of our labors and intellect are also mortal.
How can one truly say we as a species are superior to other species
as an absolute objective truth?
We can't. Just like a racist can't
say his race is superior to others as an objective absolute truth, or a sexist,
or a religious extremist etc etc. Therefore, to be consistent and fair, If human
rights are good, then so are animal rights and one should strive to be as
compassionate as possible.
c) Not all humans--most in fact, do not compose symphonies or
build skyscrapers. Does that mean those people are inferior to the humans that
do? BTW--when was the last time you built a skyscraper?
d) Why would reason/building skyscrapers/airplanes/computers etc
make humans superior in value as a species to other species that are incapable
of doing such acts? What makes skyscrapers so great and important? Buildings
fall down, planes crash, computers break. Since all are subjective andtransitory--where is the superiority? Humans only think they are superior to
justify their exploitation.
Question: "Humans can exploit animals because we are
superior to animals.The reason we are superior is because we have a soul."
a) how do you prove humans have a soul and others don't?
even if we did--why would that make us superior? Its arbitrary
subjective. And a human of one race could say the same thing
another human of a different race. "Members of my race have a
soul but members of yours
Question: "Humans can exploit animals because we are superior to
animals.The reason we are superior is because God tells us we are superior."
a) How do you prove that? And even if some deity in the
sky said we were superior--why
would it matter? Why would that
being's judgment be absolute? Someone else can say "My god says my group is
superior to this other
group." How do you refute that with this "God
says so" defense? How do you prove that your god is making the "true"
commandment? How do you demonstrate this to others? The very same approach could
be used to justify discriminating against OTHER HUMANS. To say humans are
superior as a species to other life forms without being able to justify it as an
absolute certainty--anyone can discriminate according to whatever religious
belief they hold.
b) The greatest problem with spiritual humanism is the lack of
certainty inherent in the belief. One can doubt the existence and nature of the
deity, doubt the uniqueness and importance of the qualities cited as making one
worthy of special treatment, and doubt human possession of them (and doubt the
claim that other life forms do not possess them).
c) claiming that humans are superior according to a spiritual
form of humanism is neither concrete nor conclusive. One is free to believe
anything--and by this ideology one could modify the human superiority argument
to assert with equal weight that some humans are superior to other HUMANS
according to the dictates of their particular deity. The dispute is endless.
Question: "Humans can exploit animals because we are
superior to animals.The reason we are superior is because Nature
tells us we are superior." (variations: "We are highest on the food chain and
always have been."
a) Secular humanism can also be
challenged by doubt. One can question the importance of free will, reason, or
the evolutionary law being cited as fact.
Why are these qualities
important? If one acknowledges that death is the ultimate end of all life,
humans included, then why the emphasis on something so transitory? One can
question the notion that humans are rational--simply by reading out loud the
harrowing stories on war and crime from the front page of any daily newspaper.
One can argue that humans enslave, torture, kill, while no other
species on earth can not even come close to exhibiting such a level of
Every criterion that humans cite as evidence of their
superiority can be examined to not only negate the claim--but demonstrate the
OPPOSITE with greater success.
tool making, parental nurturing...these qualities once thought to be exclusively
human have been observed in wildlife.
b) One can argue that humans enslave, torture,
kill, while no other species on earth can not even come close to exhibiting such
a level of barbarism.
Every criterion that humans cite as evidence of
their superiority can be examined to not only negate the claim--but demonstrate
the OPPOSITE with greater success.
tool making, parental nurturing...these qualities once thought to be exclusively
human have been observed in wildlife.
Then there is the issue that humans are worth more according to
some natural law. The ludicrousness of this belief can be easily exposed by
simple observation. If a volcano erupts--does the lava flow destroy all in its
path--but conveniently spare human life since it is a universal fact that they
are special and not to be harmed? If a human is adrift in the ocean, and
approached by a shark--do the jaws of the predatory fish lock up in paralyses
when it attempts to bite the man? If the claim that "human life is superior to
other life forms" was an absolute, universal fact and truth in nature--then how
does one explain that humans appear to be subject to the same violence and
mortality that applies to other life? One can't, because humans are not superior
according to any criteria that are cited to prove it--all examples are
arbitrary, subjective and non-absolute.
d) Even the claim that humans should not enslave and
kill other humans is easily challenged by observing the state of human relations
over the last 10 000 years. Arguing that something is absolute and objective
carries a very heavy burden of proof. Anthropocentrism is nothing
more than human beings setting the standard and value system by which a life is
to be viewed as special and worthy'a standard that conveniently places
themselves at the top of the value system--all the while ignoring the fragile
foundation that supports it. Racist and sexist doctrine does the same
Question: "If we weren't hunting deer
they would overpopulate and start dying horrible deaths because of the lack of
there is lack of food the animal population will not grow as much. If there is
less food there are going to be less animals.
b) humans have overpopulated many areas of the earth
which has resulted in lack of food and poor living conditions, yet we do not
hunt and execute them.
c) In recent years, deer populations have increased to numbers
unsupportable by wildlife habitat alone. Many researchers believe that this
increase results from continued human incursion into deer habitat, and the
mismanagement of deer populations by forest and wildlife authorities who see
hunting as the primary means of population control.Wildlife and land
management agencies purport to effectively limit deer populations to numbers
sustainable by their natural habitat. In reality, the policies of such agencies
exacerbate deer overpopulation, serving only to provide a population large
enough to suit sport hunters. The overpopulation of deer stems not only from the
specific mismanagement of deer populations, but from the mismanagement of our
forestlands and natural areas. Currently, there are approximately eight does for
every buck in the wild. Laws restrict the number of does that hunters may kill.
Deer do not have monogamous mating relationships, and bucks will often mate with
more than one female. As a result, the ratio of does to bucks sets the stage
for a population explosion. Allowing hunters to kill more does, however, does
not resolve population problems. In the nineteenth and early twentieth
centuries, the open hunting of does left fawns without mothers, and removed too
many females from the breeding population. Sport hunting decimated deer
populations in many states. As a result, states passed laws restricting the
hunting of does. These policies have contributed to the overpopulation of
d) Hunting does remove some animals from the population, but it
does not keep deer populations at a continually reduced level. Immediately after
a hunt, the remaining animals flourish because less competition for food exists,
allowing the remaining animals to live healthier lives, and resulting in a
higher reproductive rate. Left alone by humans, the ratio of does to bucks would
be approximately equal. In Defense of Animals believes that sport hunting is not
only an ineffective wildlife management tool, but a cruel and unnecessary
practice. Sport hunting should be banned, allowing deer populations to regulate
themselves naturally. http://www.idausa.org/facts/deercontrol.html
Question:"A lot of people say let the
predators kill them, We
are just that."
a)Put a toddler in a room
with an apple and a hamster. If the toddler
eats the hamster and
plays with the apple, then humans are
predators. (Repeat experiment with young cat for
b) If we were the natural predators of deer we
should be able to run down and catch and devour a deer with only our teeth and
hands--just like a lion does. If we didn't use tools--we would be the
Question: "Native peoples hunt and fish and trap, are you going
to say it is wrong for them to do it?"
a) yes, but we are not talking about
native peoples, we are talking about people who can easily give up the eating
of animals --like you.
people in desperate situations kill other people and steal from them to survive,
are you saying that's right?
anthropological excavations of many sites all around the world have shown that
native people actually survived primarily (over 70%) on foraging, not
hunting. and in any case, it is no longer necessary for their survival to hunt
d) If they are human beings then they should live according to the same ethical
principles as any other human. No one can justify causing unnecessary harm to
others by citing tradition or racial background.
e) Modern tribal peoples (at least in North America) use guns,
electronics, industrial textiles and often sell their products to westerners.
They would be hypocritical to say that they are living traditionally--when they
are using modern technology. If they are willing to give up the tradition of
carving spears--than they should be willing to give up the tradition of
f) Some native tribes
like the Makah also kept human slaves. Others practiced human sacrifice. Should
they be allowed to re-adopt thosepractices too? (note: especially useful
in countering tribal whale hunt arguments).
Question:"Everyone eats meat, so why shouldn't I?"
a) if everyone
jumped off a cliff would you?
b) don't give into peer
c) if everyone thinks like
that then we will never make any ethicalprogress on this
d) so you believe that you
should hold yourself to the lowest commonethical standard
Question: "People from 3rd world countries have to eat meat to
survive and what about the people in Antarctica?"
a) People in Third world country do not need to eat meat to
survive. The grain and water used to feed livestock could easily be used to feed
many times the population according to a vegetarian diet. As for people in
colder climates--if they can import guns, clothing, electronics, computers etc,
then they can import vegetarian food. After all, people in colder climates,
unlike real natives of the colder regions--polar bears, penguins, arctic
wolves,need artificial means to survive--without it--they would perish.
So relying on vegetable and fruit imports is no big sacrifice if one wants to be
compassionate and ethical.
Question:"If everyone stopped
eating meat (and/or dairy products), then one would get all scrawny just
eating a diet of vegetables."
a) do I LOOK like I am starving?
b) name 4 sources of calcium OTHER
than dairy products." (i love this one.
most people can't
c) any idea why the USA has one of the highest
percentages of dairy
consumption AND osteoporosis?!?
d) Okay great! I have a vegetarian bodybuilder I
want to arrange a death match with you. I might as well get rich off your
Question: "If everyone stopped eating meat,
would we do with all the animals? We would be overrun by
a) Everyone wouldn't stop eating animals at once. As demand
so will breeding and raising of animals intended for
consumption. We are breeding them at this rate, this is not their
natural rate of population growth.
Question:"If everyone stopped eating
meat, then the species would go extinct without us breeding them for
a) people are not going to stop eating
animals all at once, it will most likely be a gradual reduction. There will
also probably be a few people who will still keep them as companion
"All the food charts, school
cafeterias; our whole culture makes it appear that meat and dairy are natural
and nutritious foods for you, why would everyone be wrong?"
b) so? if they did go
extinct it wouldn't hurt anything. They have been breed over the years to be
something other than what their indigenous species originally was and all
they are doing right now is causing erosion and pollution to the
only way to keep your family lineage intact was to put you in extremely poor
living conditions, force breed you, eat you, and then steal your children and
put them through the same cycle, wouldn't you rather go
d) They existed in the wild before they were
domesticated for human consumption..
a) have you ever looked at who sponsors those food charts?
(psst!the meat and dairy industries)
b) The foods in the charts
depict only the most common foods. TheUSDA likes to emphasize that their
food guide pyramid is "well known". But on closer inspection, even mainstream
organizationslike the USDA/FDA do not claim that meat and dairy are
actually necessary for good health. Alternative food charts for vegetarians
andvegans exist. On the other hand, evidence abounds that the current over
consumption of meat and dairy is responsible at least in part forcommon health problems, like heart disease, obesity,
diabetes."Humans are predators, if we
were to eat veggies our eyes wouldn't be
c) Nutrition is not an easy
science. The results of mass experimentation take a long time to become clear.
Mass experimentation in the developed countries with over consumption of meat,
fat and dairy has led to an epidemic of heart disease, obesity and other
official recommendations are beginning to change. But both from
a medical perspective and from an ethical perspective the change is too
such. We would
be more like deer or turkeys with our eyes on the sides
heads to watch for
a) gorillas are
vegetarians and they have 97.7% human DNA. Likewise, chimpanzees have 98.4%
human DNA and are primarily vegetarian. (Humans and chimpanzees are more
closely genetically related than an African elephant is to an Asian
Chimpanzee and gorilla's eyes are not on the sides of their heads.
b) when we have fangs, prehensile tails, and claws we
can continue this conversation.
so, I have the means to kill you, but I am not going to.
d) set a toddler down next to an apple and a hamster. if
he/she eats the hamster and ignores the apple, then we can talk.
e) my fists have the ability to punch people but
that doesn't mean I should go around doing that.
f) so what does that make me?
g) Comparative anatomy of
humans:by Milton R. Mills, M.D. In conclusion, we see that human beings
have the gastrointestinal tract structure of a 'committed' herbivore.
Humankind does not show the mixed structural features one expects and finds in
anatomical omnivores such as bears and raccoons. Thus, from comparing the
gastrointestinal tract of humans to that of carnivores, herbivores and omnivores
we must conclude that humankind's GI tract is designed for a purely
plant-food diet. Facial Muscles Carnivore: Reduced to allow wide mouth
gape; Herbivore: Well-developed; Omnivore:Reduced; Human:
Well-developed Jaw Type Carnivore: Angle not expanded; Herbivore:
Expanded angle; Omnivore: Angle not expanded; Human: Expanded
angleJaw Joint Location Carnivore: On same plane as molar
teeth; Herbivore: Above the plane of the molars; Omnivore: On same plane
as molar teeth; Human: Above the plane of the molars; * Jaw Motion
Carnivore: Shearing; minimal side-to-side motion; Herbivore: No shear; good
side-to-side, front-to-back; Omnivore: Shearing; minimal side-to-side;
Human: No shear; good side-to-side, front-to-back Major Jaw
Muscles Carnivore: Temporalis;Herbivore: Masseter and
pterygoids;Omnivore: Temporalis;Human: Masseter and
pterygoids Mouth Opening vs. Head Size Carnivore: Large; Herbivore:
Small; Omnivore: Large; Human: Small; Teeth (Incisors) Carnivore: Short
and pointed; Herbivore: Broad, flattened and spade shaped; Omnivore:
Short and pointed;
Human: Broad, flattened and spade shaped; Teeth
(Canines) Carnivore: Long, sharp and curved; Herbivore: Dull and short or
long (for defense), or none; Omnivore: Long, sharp and curved; Human:
Short and blunted; Teeth (Molars) Carnivore: Sharp, jagged and blade
shaped; Herbivore: Flattened with cusps vs. complex surface; Omnivore: Sharp
blades and/or flattened; Human: Flattened with nodular cusps; Chewing
Carnivore: None; swallows food whole; Herbivore: Extensive chewing necessary;
Omnivore: Swallows food whole and/or simple crushing; Human: Extensive
chewing necessary; Saliva Carnivore: No digestive enzymes;
Herbivore: Carbohydrate digesting enzymes; Omnivore: No digestive
enzymes; Human: Carbohydrate digesting enzymes; Stomach Type
Carnivore: Simple; Herbivore: Simple or multiple chambers; Omnivore:
Simple; Human: Simple; Stomach Acidity Carnivore: Less than or
equal to pH 1 with food in stomach; Herbivore: pH 4 to 5 with food in
stomach; Omnivore: Less than or equal to pH 1 with food in stomach;
Human: pH 4 to 5 with food in stomach; Stomach Capacity Carnivore:
60% to 70% of total volume of digestive tract; Herbivore: Less than 30% of
total volume of digestive tract; Omnivore: 60% to 70% of total volume of
digestive tract; Human: 21% to 27% of total volume of digestive
tract;Length of Small Intestine Carnivore: 3 to 6 times body
length; Herbivore: 10 to more than 12 times body length; Omnivore: 4 to 6
times body length; Human: 10 to 11 times body length; Colon
Carnivore: Simple, short and smooth; Herbivore: Long, complex; may be
sacculated; Omnivore: Simple, short and smooth; Human: Long, sacculated;
Liver Carnivore: Can detoxify vitamin A; Herbivore: Cannot detoxify
vitamin A; Omnivore: Can detoxify vitamin A; Human: Cannot detoxify
vitamin A; Kidney Carnivore: Extremely concentrated
urine Herbivore: Moderately concentrated urine; Omnivore: Extremely
concentrated urine; Human: Moderately concentrated urine; Nails
Carnivore: Sharp claws; Herbivore: Flattened nails or blunt hooves;
Omnivore: Sharp claws; Human: Flattened nails; http://www.earthsave.bc.ca/materials/articles/ articles/health/comparative_p7.html
h) Humans are predators
because they choose to be not because they have to be.
i) From the Christian
perspective God put our eyes just where he wants them and there they will
stay.. I will praise thee; for I am fearfully and wonderfully made: marvelous are thy works; and that my soul knoweth right well. 15 My substance
was not hid from thee, when I was made in secret, and curiously wrought in the
lowest parts of the earth. 16 Thine eyes
did see my substance, yet being
unperfect; and in thy book all my members were written, which in continuance
were fashioned, when as yet there was none of them. (Psalm 139:14-16 14
Question:"If everyone stopped
eating meat, then the food would be bland."
a) There are good meat substitutes
on the market...
b) the food is really
anything but bland. most people find that after switching to a veg diet their
food options seem to expand because they are forced to try new things and
their palate no longer revolves around the same foods in every meal. it's
not just raw tasteless vegetables. you can still use herbs and spices and
many sauces and pastas and breads....etc. Plus there are many great
substitutes for all of your old favorites.
Question:"If everyone stopped eating meat, then you would suffer from calcium,
iron, and protein deficiencies."
a) Certain fruits and vegetables are loaded with
calcium.. Certain greens contain much iron. Soy products, and legumes
provide ample protein plus fiber without the fat and cholesterol.....
b) any nutrients that you find in meat can easily be
found in plant foods (and without all the fat and cholesterol). If you eat a
variety, there is no need to worry about vitamin or mineral deficiencies. It has
actually been found that Americans get 2-3 times the protein amount that is
healthy for them, and this extra protein overloads the body with acid. to buffer
the acid the body takes calcium out of your bones. Studies have also shown
that vegetarians have stronger bones and lower cholesterol than meat
c) Soldiers in the Roman Army subsisted on a diet made
up of very plain foods. Soldiers were required to pay up to one third of their
wages for their food. They ate mostly bread, perhaps porridge, cheese or beans
with cheap wine to wash it down (Marks, Tingay 16). Marks, Anthony, Tingay,
Graham. The Romans. London. Usborne Publishing Ltd.,
d) "Dupont says that a soldier's diet was even
more extremely limited. She reports that Legionaries ate only bread and drank
only water plus a little vinegar when the weather was hot. It was considered
that "bread was the only food "fit for a soldier, hard food for
men" (Dupont 125). Dupont, Florence. Daily Life in Ancient Rome.
Cambridge, USA. Basil Blackwell Ltd., 1992. Taken from: Social Position and Food
in the Roman Empire -or- You Eat What You Are Jean Preston Roman Civilization
Dr. Christine Renaud 2 December 1997
e) Roman soldiers carried their grain (high gluten wheat) and flour grindstones
with them on the march. At night, after their 20 mile daily march they would
have pasta and baked bread. They preferred this even over meat. When they did
eat meat they considered it to be "barbarian food." http://www.bible-history.com/rome/RomeEarly_Roman_Society_Facts.htm
"We have been killing and
eating meat for centuries, why should we stop now?"
a) If you use tradition as your moral standard it allows that
human slavery, the oppression of women, ethnocentricity and religious based
discrimination would be tolerated. You would need to show why humans are
deserving of an exemption from this ethical standard. Why a racist or a
religious bigot could not discriminate on the basis of race or religion while
others could discriminate on the basis of species.
According to spiritual and secular
mythology/belief, at one point in human history we were essentially vegetarian.
The world's oldest known monotheistic religion: Zoroasterism, was a vegetarian
religion.Theories of biological
evolution suggest that human ancestors were plant eaters before adopting an
omnivorous diet. Also, our teeth and intestines are consistent with what is
known to be a herbivore physiology.
c) There are many religions that do not adhere to such a
principle and in fact propose a contrary perspective:.Jainism, Buddhism, etc.
Compassion for all life is a matter of doctrine. One can ask'did God
create surplus compassion'or was it the Devil? Can one be too
Question: "Other animals kill other
species for food."
a) They need to eat meat to survive--humans do
b) Some species have been known to kill members of their own
species-if you are saying it is okay to kill other species because a lion does
it, then a child murderer could say we have a right to kill our children because
lions do it too.
Question: "Meat tastes good and is good for you."
a) It's not good for you -
cholesterol, saturated fat, and no fiber.
Question: "If everyone stopped eating
meat, then people would lose lots of jobs."
a) A lot of people would lose jobs if people stopped smoking.
"What if you just
ate a small amount of meat and you got it from an organic farm that you knew
tobacco farmers and cigarette company workers would be
out of jobs. Gosh, I should start smoking to help the economy! "What if
were achieved tomorrow? All those poor soldiers and arms
and surgeons would be out of work. Gosh, we can't
a) well, that's better than nothing,
but it's not the best option.
b) are you doing
c) what if slave traders only kept a few slaves and
treated themrelevantly well?
Question: "What if we genetically engineered
have no brains and no
feelings, or grew meat in jars?then would it be ethical?"
a) well, to get
to that point there has to be many animal sacrifices that do have brains and
feelings. plus, it would still be bad for your health and the environment (in
the production of such a thing). also, there are many fake meats that work just
as well and don't involve risky animal experiments.
b) what if you
genetically engineered humans to have no brains and no feelings so we could use
them in scientific experiments? would that be ethical?
Question: "If we
don't consider ourselves better than animals we will treat each other
a) So does that mean
that if whites consider themselves superior to blacks then they would naturally
treat whites better?
b) Tell that to Stalin
Hitler a vegetarian?"
a) And Al Capone started
the first soup kitchens in Chicago. I guess anyone who supports helping the
homeless is a gangster?
b) the testimonyof Hitler's personal cook in Hamburg during the late 1930s - Dione Lucas. In her
"Gourmet Cooking School Cookbook," she records that his favorite dish - the
one that he customarily requested - was stuffed squab (pigeon). "I do not mean
to spoil your appetite for stuffed squab, but you might be interested to know
that it was a great favorite with Mr. Hitler, who dined in the hotel often." http://www.ivu.org/history/europe20a/hitler.html
c) So was Gandhi--does
that make him a war monger andmass murderer?
d) They say Osama Bin
Laden liked hunting. So by your logic, every hunter is a terrorist!
e) "Otto D. Tolischus in
1937 in The New York Times pointed out that the F'hrer was a vegetarian who
'does not drink or smoke' but who also 'occasionally relishes a slice of ham'
along with delicacies such as caviar and chocolates." (Ibid.) Robert Proctor
calls Hitler a vegetarian "of sorts" (The Nazi War on Cancer, p. 134) and is
content to state that Hitler was a vegetarian who "occasionally would allow
himself a dish of meat," (p. 135) and quotes The New York Times as stating that
in addition to ham and caviar Hitler also occasionally ate squab." http://www.micahbooks.com/readingroom/Hitlerveg.html
f) His cook, an
enormously fat man named Willy Kannenberg, produced exquisite meals and acted as
court jester. Although Hitler had no fondness for meat except in the form of
sausages and never ate fish, he enjoyed caviar....(The Life and Death of Adolph
Hitler (Praeger, 1973)(p. 346) http://www.micahbooks.com/readingroom/Hitlerveg.html
g) Hitler's reputation
for being a vegetarian seems to consist solely of his not having eaten red meat.
The effort to describe Hitler's eating habits as vegetarian requires changing
the definition of "vegetarian" to exclude liver, ham, and sausages from the list
of meats, and changing the definition of "animal" to exclude pigs.Hitler
did exhibit a sympathy with a vegetarian diet, but paradoxically, vegetarians
and the vegetarian movement in Nazi Germany were persecuted. Vegetarian
societies were restrained, subject to raids, and "books that contained
vegetarian recipes were confiscated by the Gestapo." Janet Barkas has a good
account of this period in German history in her book, The Vegetable Passion.
German vegetarian societies were forced to leave the International Vegetarian
Union; they were prohibited from organizing and from publishing material, but
individuals were not molested and "could exchange their credit notes for meat
for dairy products. About 83,000 vegetarians participated in this program." http://www.micahbooks.com/readingroom/Hitlerveg.html
h) Hitler and
Animals Like many of his fellow human beings, Adolf Hitler used animal epithets
to vilify other people. He often called his opponents "swine" and "dirty
dogs." The Bolsheviks were "animals," and the Russians a "bestial people" and
Slavic "rabbit-family" whom Stalin had molded into a totalitarian state. After
Hitler conquered Russia, he wanted "the ridiculous hundred million Slavs" to
live in "pig-pens." He called British diplomats "little worms," and, as for the
"half-Judaized, half-Negrified" people of America, they "have the brains of a
hen." Hitler had contempt for his own people, referring to them as "the great
stupid mutton-herd of our sheep-like people," and when the defeats mounted late
in the war, he blamed them for not having risen to the challenge. Hitler called
his own sisters "stupid geese." Whatever deficiencies members of the Germanic
Volk might possess, however, Hitler believed the Aryan/Nordic race was
infinitely superior to the surrounding sea of sub-human "monstrosities between
man and ape," as he made clear in a speech in Munich in
"We see before us the Aryan race which
is manifestly the bearer of all culture, the true representative of all
humanity....Our entire industrial science is without exception the work of
Nordics. All great composers from Beethoven to Richard Wagner are Aryans....Man
owes everything that is of any importance to the principle of struggle and to
one race which has carried itself forward successfully. Take away the Nordic
Germans and nothing remains but the dance of apes." Charles Patterson http://www.powerfulbook.com/excerpts.html
i) Hitler was fond
of dogs, especially German shepherds (he considered boxers "degenerate"), whom
he liked to control and dominate. At the front during World War I, he befriended
a white terrier, Fuchsl (Foxl), who had strayed across enemy lines. Later, when
his unit had to move on and Fuchsl could not be found, Hitler became distraught.
"I liked him so much," he recalled. "He only obeyed me." Hitler often carried a
dog-whip and sometimes used it to beat his dog the same way he had seen his
father beat his own dog. In the Fuhrer headquarters during World War II,
Hitler's German shepherd, Blondi, offered him the closest thing he had to
friendship. "But with his dogs, as with every human being he came into contact
with," writes his biographer Ian Kershaw, "any relationship was based upon
subordination to his mastery." http://www.powerfulbook.com/excerpts.html
j) The reputed fondness
of Hitler and other top Nazis for animals, especially their dogs, has been put
into perspective by Max Horkheimer and Theodor Adorno. For certain authoritarian
personalities, they write, their "love of animals" is part of the way they
intimidate others. When industrial magnates and Fascist leaders want to have
pets around them, Horkheimer and Adorno maintain, their choice falls on
intimidating animals such as Great Danes and lion cubs, which are intended to
add to their power through the terror they inspire. "The murderous Fascist
colossus stands so blindly before nature that he sees animals only as a means of
humiliating men," they write. "The Fascist's passionate interest in animals,
nature, and children is rooted in the lust to persecute." While with their hand
they might negligently stroke a child's head, or an animal's back, that same
hand could just as easily destroy them. "The petting demonstrates that all
are equal in the presence of power, that none is a being in its own right. A
creature is merely material for the master's bloody purposes." http://www.powerfulbook.com/excerpts.html
you eat meat?/What
are your shoes made of?"
a) The issue of meat eating and/or animal
by-products is a valid and important issue in animal rights, but it does not
have anything to do with the moral and ethical problems of animal research. The
factthat an animal activist making
a pro-animal rights/compassion argument may be inconsistent in those ways does
not in any way detract or invalidate the argument on animal research. It is a
b) If South Africa was being criticized by the
United States for their treatment of blacks, and the South African
government responded by pointing out the United States' poor treatment of tribal
communities within their own country, would this mean that the treatment of
blacks by South Africa was morally defensible? Of course not. It would just mean
that there are other issues that need to be addressed APART FROM the treatment
of blacks by South Africa.
Well you are entitled to your opinion but I am entitled to mine and I
say---FILL IN BLANK
a) Everyone is
entitled to an opinion (although some are more ableto express one
publicly than others) but if the opinion involves causing harm to others--there
is usually a generally accepted restriction on ACTING upon such opinions. I.e.
"I think Christians like me are superior to non-Christians, therefore we should
be able to enslave non believers."If it is wrong for white supremacists, Christian
supremacists, anti-gays, male chauvinists, etc to act upon their
opinion, thus it should be the same for ALL forms of unfair
discrimination--including willful discrimination against animals.
are you Vegan?"
a) Everyone is! Just some
people add animal products to their diet.
b) Everything is! Just some foods have animal products
c) I was training my dog not to beg and got used to the
d) Because god told me.
e) Because I ate part of my best friend once and that kind of
f) Why AREN'T you????
Question: "Do you eat plants? Fruit?
You are killing anyway./Plants feel pain."
a) This attack implies that the animal activist should not even
try to stop exploitation and killing, since it cannot be avoided in all
It fails to consider that if killing cannot be avoided,
and one should not try to stop it, the spectator is under no obligation to limit
their lack of concern to non human living beings. One can say: "well since I
can't stop killing why should I care about ANY killing? I might as well look the
other way if my neighbor gets killed." Why should a line be drawn at the human
level and not a racial, gender, age, religion or some other line of value?
People do it anyway.
b) This is an argument fallacy.
It is an example of
argumentum ad homonym. A changing the subject tactic. Instead of attacking the
argument, the opponent attacks
the person making the argument.
People who use this approach often get hypocrisy confused with
c) Plants don't have a central
nervous system, so no, they don't feel pain.
And a plant doesn't
bleed, scream, and struggle to get away when
you pick it.
d) if your lawn starts bleeding and screaming when you mow it,
give me a
e) take a class in biology. when you learn about the central
system, we can continue this conversation.
f) The best thing I found for the plants feel
pain thing is that meat
eaters kill way more plants than us anyway to
feed to all the animals
they are gonna kill. So if plants do feel
pain then vegans are still the
Question:"God meant us to eat meat."
a) Not according to the Seven Days Adventists who are
b) In Genesis it clearly states that the first best food for
humans is vegetables and fruits.
c) Some people would say God also meant whites to rules blacks,
that its okay to beat children and hang homosexuals. You can use God to justify
d) If God meant us to eat meat why do animals run away from us
when we want to eat em?
e) Oh that's what the devil wants you to think.
Question:"My god tells me that animals are here for our use. The Bible and all
religions say so."
a) The Bible also contains incest, stoning adulteresses to death, raping a
young girl to death, and the slaughter of
children. Are you saying
that all of this other Biblical violence is
also endorsed? The Bible has
also been used to support slavery,
neo-Nazism, and the
Inquisition, aka the witches' Holocaust. Do you
really want to include
yourself in that illustrious company?
In Genesis (I think it's Genesis), God specifically says that S/He
given us plants, and to us they shall be as
meat. Sounds pretty
clear-cut to me.
c) The word meat in the
bible is often confused with animal flesh. It's a
from the greek word for
nutrition. So when Jesus goes to market for
"meat" it should read
the bible also contains favorable
arguments for slavery and incest.
whew! that's great because i was
planning on marrying my brother and
selling him to a
e) I guess you never heard of Buddhism or
of worrying about animals--worry about homeless people or war orphans."
a) Must one be so narrow minded that he can worry
about one at the exclusion of the other?Question: "If you saw a burning barn/sealed car/boat filled
with humans and (insert non human animal), who would you save?"
a) The intention here is to force the animal activist to
admit that there is a situation where he/she would choose the life of a human
over a non human, thus validating the animal research position. The trouble here
is that even if the activist chooses to save the life of a human over a non
human, it does not then mean that the activist is endorsing factory farming or
the vivisection industry or making any policy decision.
b) Rephrasing the scenario, what if the burning barn is filled
with humans...half are white and half are black. If you are white'who do you
save?" The animal research proponent does not intend that the burning barn
scenario be considered in this way--but it must be for consistency.
The original scenario attempts to prompt the activist into deciding
between "us (humans) or them (non humans)." If the research proponent
objects to the notion that one may choose between "us or them" based on ethnic
or gender, or some other criteria, then he/she must first show how
discrimination based on species is justified, before such an argument could even
begin to be considered valid for the animal research issue. NOTE:
An animal research proponent might counter that it is in the best practicalinterest of human beings to have respect
and care for each other (Golden rule) but this would not be a necessity or a
moral obligation. If someone could benefit from exploiting other humans (as we
find in the real world all the time) then this argument would be
invalidated.Why shouldn't someone
exploit others if they can benefit from it? This is what the animal research
proponent must address
are irrelevant.Speciesism is not
the same as racism. We have a biological drive like all species to stick
together and protect our own/Question: "Humans have a natural
biological drive to preserve their species over others.
Humans are naturally meant to stick together."(note:
also known as the Tenacious moral instinct argument).
a) Humans have
enslaved and discriminated against each other based on race, religion, gender,
age,intelligence,and appearance for 1000s of years. The
ideal of universal human rights is itself a new concept.Despite our laws we still have
discrimination and exploitation of humans for a myriad of reasons. One doesn't
lock their doors at night to keep out pit bulls.
b) Attempting to assert that other species are also speciesists is
flawed, since lions and grizzlies have been known to kill the offspring of a
rival male,chimpanzee groupswill war against other chimpanzee
c) Citing some unsubstantiated "law" of the Natural world
cannot defend the argument that humans are meant to "stick together".
d) The very fact that the
concept of animal rights is accepted by some shows that there is no overriding
biological drive in humans to "stick together"or avoid compassion for members of other
SURVIVAL OF THE
Question: "Nature is cruel--cats
will play with their food--so we should be cruel too. It's survival of the
fittest. Compassion is not natural, and other species are motivated by self
a) "survival of the fittest"
would allow one to exploit and enslave other humans . You acknowledge that one
animal will prey on another, but you ignore that they can also prey on members
of their own species--in which case, by using this moral standard and policy,
humans preying on other humans would be justified too.
domestic cat is fed, and has no predators. A wild cat has to be on guard for
competitors. Not catching prey means not eating. The time for playing with their
food would be greatly diminished.
More importantly, there is no
evidence that a cat is aware of the mouse's suffering and takes pleasure from
that fact-like humans have been known to do. There are hunters who enjoy killing
c) Speciesists who use this attack contradict
themselves'for while they say that species have a natural tendency to stick
together,they will also allege
that it's a "dog eat dog" world, compassion is not natural, and other species
are motivated by self interest! In fact, other species have been known to
exhibit altruism. Bats will lend food to other bats, ducks have been known to
feign injury to lure a predator away from the flock. There are instances of
domestic animals "adopting" the offspring of other species, and dogs rescuing
humans.And conversely, there are
instances where humans have risked their own lives to help a member of another
d) The very fact that the concept of animal rights is accepted
by some shows that there is no overriding biological drive in humans to "stick
together"or avoid compassion for
members of other species.
e) The species unity myth
is also used to make a jump from desperate emotional choice to ethical policy.
If a human chooses to save a life of a human over a non human in some life and
death situation (a river, a barn fire, a locked car/boat with no food etc), the
argument is made that it is therefore logical to exploit non humans in factory
farms, in laboratories etc.But if
one were to apply this to a human vs. human scenario--(white vs. black, Christian
vs. non Christian, family member vs. stranger) and you choose that which you
regard as mostfamiliar or valuable--then the same consequences are applicable. Will you then exploit the
loser en masse? Of course not.
would you do it to non humans?
Question: "If I wasn't hunting prairie
dogs and groundhogs they would ruin my crops and my cattle would step in their
holes and break their legs."
a) That is
nonsense. Larry Rittenhouse of Colorado State University says 'it would be
almost impossible for a cow to break its leg in a prairie dog hole.' He says
'I study these animals behavior and they are extremely adept at placing their
feet. In my 50 years around cattle and horses, I don't know of a single incident
where a horse or cow has been injured in a prairie dog hole.' Cattle seem to
actually preferentially graze on prairie dog towns. It has been found that
there's a significant increase in protein content in the plants growing on
prairie dog towns and they are highly nutritious for the
b) many ranchers say
that the only way to make farming profitable is to work with the elements of the
ecosystem, instead of against them. It's just not economically feasible to spend
precious labor and money killing wildlife. If you start killing one animal,
where does it end? We don't know what species you can eliminate and still keep
the system healthy. Contrary to folklore, prairie dogs do not breed like crazy.
They don't mate until their second year and only about half of those born each
year survive. As you know, prairie dogs are herbivores and eat mostly native
grasses. Most ranchers have heard the 'fact' that prairie dogs diminish
grassland productivity by a whopping 50-75%, but no one is sure how the
biologist who made this claim came up with the numbers. Since then, studies have
been done that show if you get rid of prairie dogs, the amount of forage that
you gain is a puny 4-7%. It does impact the rancher in dollars and cents, but
the cost of poisoning prairie dogs outweigh the gains made by eliminating the
animals. If you still insist on trying to 'control' the prairie dog and
groundhog populations, you could at least do it in more ethically sound and
natural ways such as giving predators a boost by building poles for raptors and
digging trenches where foxes can hide.
c) Biologists call prairie dogs a keystone species. Lose
the keystone and the whole ecosystem goes crumbling down with it. Species
that rely solely on prairie dogs include the endangered black-footed ferret,
the mountain plover (a bird), the burrowing owl, and the ferruginous
hawk which preys on them. If you change the natural disturbance regime that
the 'varmints' provide, you alter the ecosystem and you may start
losing species (of animals and plants) because of it which in turn effects
other things (like your crops). As for groundhogs, they actually improve the
soil quality by digging their burrows. The burrows allow more air and water
to get underground, which in turn helps breakdown the soil to form
more valuable topsoil.
d) I have
little sympathy for the livestock loss or damage because it wouldn't happen if
no one was eating the livestock. As for crops that go for human consumption
(which the majority don't), if everyone consumed on a vegetarian diet, even a
significant (which isn't the case) loss of crops would be acceptable
economically because you are talking about so much less of a burden on our farm
system. Any shortcomings could be made up by more farmers raising more produce
for human consumption. And in any case, If everyone has to deal with a problem,
then the costs are passed on to the consumer. In the end, the market bears the
real cost of doing business, and if everyone operated on the same ethical level
and accepted crop losses via 'varmints' as a natural issue to deal with, we
could live in much better cooperation with our surrounding ecosystems and the
Question: "If I wasn't killing the bear and wolves and
cougars they would kill my sheep and I would lose business or they would eat my
a) You should not have sheep in the first place. If you must,
keep them in a fenced area..
b) so instead of
killing them, if you are so worried, why don't you work on helping protect their
natural habitat so that they won't need to invade your property and kill your
livestock. and after all, you are really the one invading their
c) by killing the bear, wolves, and
cougars you are tampering with a very fragile thing --the ecosystem-- which
could very likely result in some other problem like an overpopulation of
rodents or something.
d)-only in a few isolated incidences in other countries have
wolves become fearless and attacked; only become fearless as result of
people feeding them-India: parents were motivated to let wolves eat kids by
extremely high compensation from government' up to a year's
e) -Chain reaction: in one instance, when the wolves had been
killed, coyotes increased. When they were gone, foxes skyrocketed. Not only does
the method of removal prove ineffective, but according to the farmer, wolves
should be better as they are much less likely to feed off of the
farmer's livestock. -Farmers are compensated by government for all losses (even though
losses are extremely minimal)-WOLVES ARE ONLY RESPONSIBLE FOR .1% OF ALL LOSSES
OF CATTLE, AND .3% OF SHEEP!
about animals that are introduced by humans into an unnatural setting, like the
broad-tail possum in new Zealand, which are overrunning the native species.
Surely we have no choice but to kill them."
a) the possum are
victims of human greed and stupidity (introduced into new Zealandby fur
farmers)--humans just have to live with the consequences--and try not to cause
more ecological disasters in the future.
b) who appointed humans
to be Nature's exterminators?
c) so by your logic, if
a group of humans are overpopulating an area--and driving out native species, it
should be okay for some people to go in and massacre a large number--or rather,
thin the populations, for the benefit of the native species.
d) well if you are so
concerned about native species being wiped out by alien species, what are you
doing to stop farmers from cutting down forests or companies polluting rivers?
Are you prepared to use violence against them? Or do we make an exception for
the number one polluter and natural destroyer on the planet?
Question:"Why shouldn't we go the
circus/zoo? Are not the animals treated better there than if they were living in
a) well, first of all, who are we
to be the all mighty ones to decide what to do with these animals lives? that
would be like: aren't children from 3rd world countries treated better when
doing child labor, making purses for mere pennies, than when they are
home with their families living in destruction? or weren't black slaves
better off as slaves than free because they had a means of making a living?
.....and really, although there are hunters and destruction of their natural
habitats, I would think freedom and all the enrichment that the environment
can provide would be a better life than being chained and forced to perform in
stressful situations, constantly moved from place to place, and often being
b) By this logic we should take
natives out of the dwindling jungles of South America and Borneo and put them in
zoos so their lifestyle can be preserved. Surely they would be better off than
if they had to struggle in the forests.