The Animal’s Almanac: Justifying Eating Animals
February 23, 2012 1 Comment
Trace the oppositional arguments against animal rights to thier deepest roots and you’ll find an embarassment of ignorance. I was reminded of this fact while reading a bit on the history of animal advocacy. A common tact employed by active opponenets of animal rights–and a rather innocuous one–was to obscure the weakness of their position in a cloud of sarcasm. One editorialist, undone by all the “proselytizing animal lovers” coming out of Victorian England, snarkily retorted that, if we were now going to care so much about mere animals, we should offer them “a little education, a little night school training, [and] a few newspapers printed in their language.” Funny (not). (See Diane Beers, The Prevention of Cruelty.)
In a more disturbing vein, those threatened by the rhetoric of animal compassion frequently sought refuge under the cope of sexism. Noting that a large proportion of the animal rights movement was women, medical experts concocted a hysteria-related disease known as “zoophilpsychosis.” Only unhinged females, the diagnosis suggested, could resort to the whacked out idea that animals mattered more than objects. Readers of Carol Adams (The Sexual Politics of Meat) will quickly recognize that matters today have changed little since the nineteenth century. In fact, on the sexism front, they may have become worse. “Meat,” she concludes (with ample and horrifying evidence), “is a symbol of male dominance.”
It’s true, and worse. I’m not going to elaborate here, but I urge you to plumb the depths of the pro-meat agenda. One needs little analytical expertise to quickly realize that common justifications for eating animals require an uncommon resort to sexism, speciesism, and solipsicim. Nowhere in this effort to justify unnecessary suffering will you find compassion, tolerance, or open-mindedness. Nowhere, and I mean nowhere, will you find an affirmation of love.