Sunday, December 16, 2007
Friday, December 14, 2007
"Question #2: Rights were devised by humans. How can they be applicable to animals?"
The critical question we need to ask ourselves here is "what is the ultimate purpose of rights?". In other words, why do we even have this concept that we call rights? The idea of rights, and I'm speaking specifically of basic rights here, such as the right to life, as opposed to non-basic or political rights, such as the right to vote, is a human created legal construction that protects the individual person's most basic interests. The purpose of rights, however, goes far beyond simply protecting the interest of the individual person. It ultimately extends to protecting the interests of the whole of human society. We grant rights to individual persons because it is ultimately in the best interest of the well being of our species to do so. If we did not do this, chaos within the human community would run rampant. For example, if the right to life, the most basic right of all, did not exist and was not enforceable by the power of law, we could kill each other at any whim with impunity. It doesn't take a whole lot of imagination to figure out that if this was allowed to happen, complete chaos and disorder would run rampant, human civilization would grind to a halt, and the survival of our species would be very much in doubt. From a completely logical, realistic, and rational standpoint, the ultimate purpose of rights seems clear: to protect the well being of our species from our own actions.
How does all this apply to animals? Well, the answer is, it really doesn't. Animals operate in an amoral plane of existence where the only law is the law of natural selection. There are no rights to anything in the existence of the non-human animal. Animals do not have rights that protect them from being used as resources or exploited by other animals. Since that is the case, by what purely rational grounds should they have rights that protect them from being used or exploited by humans, which are animals as well and are just as much a part of the natural biosphere as are non-humans? There really is no logical or rational grounds, and to single out Homo sapiens as the only species that shouldn't be allowed to "exploit" other species is arbitrary and irrational. If a rabbit does not have an inherent right to not be killed and eaten by a hawk, then by what rational grounds should that very same rabbit have a right to not be killed and eaten by a human? The answer is none in reality. A right is a human-created moral or legal claim against another person or persons. Since animals operate in a state of existence where such moral or legal claims do not even exist, let alone are enforceable, it is nonsensical and illogical to suggest that the human created construction of rights is, or should be, applicable to them.
I think it should also be noted here, that in his answer, Francione makes a statement that is really a half-truth in a disingenuous, cynical attempt to defend his weak position. Francione makes the following statement in his answer: "Rights concepts as we currently understand them were actually devised as a way of protecting the interests of wealthy white male land owners; indeed, most moral concepts were historically devised by privileged males to benefit other privileged males.". This is a half-truth that's very misleading and it's highly insulting to the intelligence of his readers. While this statement is certainly true in regards to many political or non-basic rights, it is not true in regards to basic rights, which are, of course the rights we are talking about when we are discussing animal rights. The idea of basic rights can be traced to ancient civilizations. Though none of these codes specifically contain the term "rights", which is a fairly modern term, they certainly contain the concept of it. One of the most famous of these is the Code of Hammurabi from ancient Mesopotamia, circa 1780 b.c.e.. Hammurabi's code laid out laws, and punishments for breaking those laws. Among the issues addressed in Hammurabi's Code were the rights of woman, children, and slaves. The Cyrus Cylinder, considered by some to be the world's oldest true human rights document, was written by the Persian king Cyrus. Among the decrees in this document were the abolishment of slavery and allowing religious freedom in the empire. Another example is ancient Hebrew law, which is the first five books of the Old Testament. One need only read through these books to see that there certainly is a conceptual form of rights, though the term is not explicitly used. And of course, the Greeks and Romans also had rights concepts in their laws as well. An excellent timeline on the history of what we call human rights can be found here. Francione is a law professor. He ought to know exactly what the history of rights is. He is either incredibly ignorant and uneducated on this subject, or he is intentionally trying to mislead the reader; I don't see much other judgment one could make. Neither one is acceptable for someone in his position. Furthermore, in my opinion, his gratuitous use of racial, class, and gender demagoguery is seriously embarrassing to his credibility and only detracts from his argument. I think it speaks volumes about him and the nature of his agenda, but once again, you can make your own call.
Tuesday, December 11, 2007
Friday, December 7, 2007
Just for fun, let's dissect some of the statements made by "Warwak":
"Yes, this is a monstrous Holocaust and is responsible for MOST of our problems. "
The first thing the reader should notice is Warwak's misuse of the term "Holocaust". The word "Holocaust", when used with a capitol "H" refers to one thing, and one thing only: the Nazi Holocaust. Warwak's apparent inability to use words properly puts his credibility in doubt, as far as I'm concerned, especially considering this is someone who is supposed to be teaching our young people. Beyond that though, it shows just what the basic mindset of ARAs is. To the animal rights mind, the life of an animal and the life of a human are of equal moral worth. That is why they incorrectly use terms like "Holocaust" in reference to slaughtering animals for food. In their world view, if murdering millions of Jews and others is morally wrong, then it must also be equally morally wrong to kill billions of animals for food. This, of course, is patently absurd and irrational because they are failing to make the distinction between the vicious murder of people for no other reasons than hatred and racism, and the simple utilitarian use of animals for food, and such inane reasoning shouldn't fly with the thinking person.
In the second part of this goofy statement, Warwak makes the comment that the use of animals for food, etc. is "responsible for MOST of our problems". Where is the support for such a statement? He offers none at all. Furthermore, what problems is he talking about? He doesn't say. How do you even define "MOST of our problems"? Not a very objective or specific term is it? To blame "MOST" of the problems that plague the human race on one specific thing is exceptionally poor reasoning. It is grossly simplistic, as most people recognize that most problems are complex and have multiple roots and factors that often vary from problem to problem. But alas, simplistic people love simplistic reasoning don't they?
"It really is about peace, love, and compassion for all."
Except, of course, for the animals that are killed and harmed so that vegans and ARAs can continue to live the lifestyle they enjoy, while arrogantly claiming faux moral high ground. The lives and the "rights" of these animals are swept under the rug, so that the ARAs hope you don't notice their hypocrisy. Out of sight and out of mind. I wonder if Warwak has ever stopped to consider how his use of an electrically powered computer to get on blogs and pontificate to others about the supposed evils of their lifestyles effects the suffering and death of animals. Don't count on it.
Sunday, December 2, 2007
Friday, November 30, 2007
Sunday, November 25, 2007
"1. Question: Domestic animals, such as cows and pigs, and laboratory rats would not exist, were it not for our bringing them into existence in the first place for our purposes. So, is it not the case we are free to treat them as our resources?"
In his answer, you will notice that Francione goes on to use an analogy about using children as resources. He makes the following statements: "The fact that we are in some sense responsible for the existence of a being does not give us the right to treat that being as our resource. Were that so, then we could treat our children as resources.". This argument fails on a couple of fronts. First off, is the fact, that in reality, we DO in fact treat our children as resources in some respects. When I was kid, my parents used to make me do household chores such as mowing the lawn, shoveling snow, washing the dishes, etc. Also, anyone who grew up on a family farm or ranch knows how hard they worked to help keep things going for the family. There are also examples that don't involve contribution to the family. The Girl Scouts sell cookies every year as a fund raiser. The girls go door to door, or set up shop in front of a public place, and work to sell cookies. These are all examples of treating children as resources. Children are providing labor for either the benefit of their family or an organization that they belong to. Francione's answer implies that it is always morally wrong to use children as resources. Using his logic, however, all the things I mentioned above, would, in fact, be immoral because they all, in reality, use children as resources. The notion of kids mowing lawns or selling cookies to help an organization they belong to, being immoral, is of course, patently absurd. The question here isn't whether it is right or wrong to use children as resources, but rather, what should be the rational moral limits of using children as resources.
This analogy also fails on a second front. The astute reader will notice that what Francione is implying here, is that if it is immoral to use children as resources, then it must also be immoral to use animals as resources. Yet, he makes absolutely no argument here to support such a claim. He offers the reader no rational, convincing reason as to why children and animals should receive the same moral treatment. None at all. When drawing his analogy, he simply seems to ASSUME that children and animals are ENTITLED to the same moral consideration, as if it is some kind of self-evident fact, which of course it is not. He utterly fails to give a single reason why animals and children should be afforded the same treatment and it's glaringly vacuous.
The astute reader should also notice the intellectual slight of hand that Francione utilizes in the second paragraph of his answer. In the second paragraph, Francione talks about the immorality of treating people as property. However, the original question was about treating animals as RESOURCES, not about treating them as PROPERTY and the two are not the same thing. What Francione has done is subtly tried to shift the argument from the question of treating animals as resources to a question of treating animals as property. This is a straw man fallacy. A straw man fallacy is a logical fallacy in which a person attacks or introduces an argument different from, or irrelevant to, the original subject. Francione's second paragraph of his answer qualifies as fallacious, because, as I stated, treating someone as a resource, and treating them as property are not one and the same. The two are separate arguments. We treat people as resources all the time and it is not considered immoral. For example, if you have a job, you are a resource to your employer because you provide labor for them. Indeed, most large business have departments dedicated to managing personnel that are usually called "human resources departments". Although you may be considered a resource by your employer, you are not your employer's property. Rather, you are a person of free will that can choose to leave your employment any time. In our society, treating a person as a resource is not necessarily immoral, but treating a person as property always is. In his answer, Francione either fails to make that distinction himself, or he is intentionally being intellectually dishonest, and hopes that his readers don't notice the distinction. You make your own call.
Thursday, November 22, 2007
A golf course in Australia has been threatened to be damaged with a backhoe because they culled ducks that were damaging the greens. No, I'm not making this up. There's really nothing I can say about this latest round of animal rights lunacy that it doesn't say for itself. This story is funny, but it is also very sobering at the same time, because I think it is indicative of a society that is unfortunately becoming more hyper-emotional and less rational all the time. That some people would be willing to commit criminal property damage, and thus risking their freedom and other rights, their job, their reputation, etc. over a simple cull of a few wild ducks is baffling to me. I honestly cannot comprehend such irrational behavior. The growing over-the-top emotionalism of society is a scary thing.
Yet another frivolous PCRM lawsuit dismissed
A class action lawsuit brought by Physicians' Committee for Responsible Medicine board member Dr. Milton Mills against dairy sellers has been dismissed by a federal appellate court. The lawsuit sought to have warning labels regarding lactose intolerance placed on dairy products. The court rightly found that the minor discomfort that goes with lactose intolerance is not sufficient grounds to award damages. I love this quote from the courts ruling: "A bout of gas or indigestion does not justify a race to the courthouse." Indeed. If I had a dollar for every time that the ideological hacks posing as a medical group at PCRM abused our legal system with its frivolous, agenda-driven litigation, I could retire right now and spend the rest of my life fishing. How many time will this boy be allowed to cry wolf before the courts stop listening?
The actual court ruling, in PDF format, can be viewed here.
Here we have a pompous, narcissistic, pampered celebrity pontificating to others about how they are supposedly destroying the planet with their eating habits, after showing up in a fuel-inefficient vehicle that she lets idle while giving her sermon! The hypocrisy of that is so incredulous, that one is really at a loss for words. It's right up there with that elitist Al Gore telling us serfs that it is us driving our cars to work that is the problem, while he continues to trot the globe in a kerosene-guzzling private jet, and owns a home that uses more electricity in a month than most of us use in a year.
I have long wondered what is going on with environmental and AR crusaders, from the common everyday ones to the celebrities and elitists, in regards to their own hypocrisies. Is there something psychologically that blinds them to it, so they are not able to see it, even though it is apparent to everyone else? Perhaps that is the case with some. More often, though, it seems that many simply try to rationalize their own hypocrisy, as can be clearly seen if one reads various pro-AR blogs, as well as some of the comments from ARAs that have been left here at this blog. In my experience, ARAs and green crusaders tend to be privileged and well off in comparison to the rest of the world. They enjoy the luxuries that their life affords, but at the same time they seem to have a psychological need to feel morally superior to others. Thus they rationalize their own actions in an attempt to maintain their facade of moral piety. I can't help but wonder if a shrink would have a field day with Ms. Mills and her ilk.
Friday, November 16, 2007
Monday, November 12, 2007
"The human race cannot run away from or escape the consequences of global warming. Monumental cataclysmic disasters that are going to continue happening unless the wisest, practical, and most realistic solution is implemented immediately, if not sooner!"
Here we see Mr. Poletti talking about "monumental cataclysmic disasters" that are, in his world at least, going to happen if, of course, we don't ban animal agriculture right now. Of course, like all self-anointed gloom and doom prophets throughout history, he doesn't back up his cataclysmic scenarios with anything resembling undeniable facts. Also check out the last line, where he says "immediately, if not sooner". What is sooner than immediately? Absolutely hysterical!
"If government leaders do not begin to write emergency legislation designed to pass laws removing animal flesh from the food chain soon then humans, animals, and the earth will be confronted with the continuous escalation of widespread nonstop mega catastrophes!"
Ah, here we're getting to the meat ( pun intended ) of Mr. Poletti's agenda. What Mr Poletti wants is to use the power of the state, in the name of impending doom of course, to further erode people's liberties, in this case the freedom of choice regarding one's diet. The notion that people should surrender more of their liberties to the state to fend off some impending doom is a lie that tyrants of all stripes have used since the dawn of tyranny itself. And so it continues to this day.
"Removing animal flesh from the food chain may be the only realistic, viable, manageable, enforceable, and most effective government solution immediately needed to slow down global warming, and to ultimately play the largest role in stopping it."
Trying to ban animal based foods is not "realistic", "viable", or "enforceable". In case Mr. Poletti isn't yet aware of it, we have tried prohibitionist policies in the past, and they are monumental failures. For example, if we can't realistically and viably enforce laws banning the production and use of marijuana, then how are we ever going to realistically and viably enforce laws banning the production and use of meat, especially when one considers there are many more meat eaters than there are pot smokers!? Albert Einstein once said that "the very definition of insanity is trying the same thing over and over again and expecting a different result". Mr. Poletti seems to fit that bill as he seems intent in his desire to cling to failed policies of the past.
"Global warming is potentially the most formidable, seemingly impregnable, possibly unstoppable deadly force in the history of the world."
It may very well be unstoppable, especially if all or most of it is natural in nature. The fact that Mr. Poletti seems to forget in all his doomsday prophecy is that, throughout its long ages, the earth has been both much hotter, and much colder, than it is now, and life on this planet managed to survive it.
"During the next few years a large number of countries will likely be engulfed in any one or many of the following calamities.
A constant escalation of heat waves, violent torrential storms, hurricanes, catastrophic flooding, cyclones, earthquakes, tsunamis, uncontrolled wild fires, draughts, famines, diseases, and starvation."
This one is really funny. We've all seen global warming alarmists seemingly blame everything from hot days to cold days to bad hair days on climate change. But EARTHQUAKES and TSUNAMIS? Earthquakes, and the tsunamis that can follow them, of course are caused by the movement of the earth's tectonic plates. Notice that Mr. Poletti offers no evidence that climate change affects the movement of these plates, which have been in motion since the beginning of time, and will always continue to be so. What an absolute riot!
These are just a few choice samplings of Mr. Poletti's absurdities. There are many more that seem to go on, and on, and on. Enjoy the laugh, folks!
Saturday, November 3, 2007
"However, there are exceptional circumstances where incidental deaths of right-bearers are not punished and can be considered as a necessary evil. For instance, in an exclusively human context, the air pollution caused by human activities kills a great number of people and has severe consequences on the health of many more."
The analogy Claudio is using here is not a good one. In fact, it utterly fails. The fact of the matter is, polluters can be, and in fact are, punished under the law. Government regulations require pollution controls on everything from cars to power plants. If industries fail to implement controls or exceed the amount of pollution specified by law, they can face criminal charges and large fines. In some instances, even city governments can be fined, or face loss of federal subsidies for various things, if they exceed a certain number of "smog days". Drivers of cars that don't pass emissions tests are required to repair them so that they do, or face fines. Polluters are compelled by law to rectify the problem and they can continue to face ongoing consequences until they do. The reason we have these laws is because, as Claudio stated, pollution has a negative impact on the health of people, who are rights-holding beings. The laws are intended to minimize, as much as possible, the impact pollution has on people. This is not the case with incidental animal deaths in crop agriculture. Outside of perhaps endangered species laws, which are designed to protect only certain species, there are no laws that exist that even so much as attempt to protect animals from being harmed in crop agriculture. And of course, you will hear no ARA clamoring for there to be so, even though these supposedly "rights-holding beings" such as birds, insects, and rodents are killed by the thousands, if not millions, in industrialized crop agriculture. You see, for the majority of ARAs, their own complicity in animal suffering and death is a matter of "hear no evil, see no evil". Why? Because no one like to face their own hypocrisy. At the most, some will make rather transparent attempts to justify or rationalize their complicity with weak arguments, as Claudio has done here. If animals are "rights holding beings", do we not owe it to them to implement laws that at least try to save as many of them as possible from a cruel death at the hands of industrialized crop agriculture? It would seem so if we are going to claim animals have rights and we are going to be morally and intellectually consistent with what we say we believe. If it was millions of human children, rather than millions of sparrows and field mice, that were being killed by crop agriculture, would Claudio and his fellow ARAs demand that something be done right now to stop it, like most rational people would, or would they simply blow it off as "collateral damage" or "a necessary evil" as they do with animals that are killed? If animals hold the same basic rights, such as the right to life, as do human children, then how can they possibly dismiss the deaths of the animals if they would not dismiss the deaths of the children? This is why animal rights is such an intellectually bankrupt and ethically vacuous position: it has a flawed foundation of self-serving, selective moral outrage that results in blatant hypocrisy.
"As I stated in another forum, non-human animals will never be members of human society, because their lack of moral agency, so they can’t engage in a human social contract."
Which is precisely the reason animals do not have rights. The concept of rights is nothing more than a kind of social and legal contract that has been devised by humans to help maintain order and protection for people in human society. It helps protect us from chaotic, destructive behavior that would have negative impacts on the survival and well-being of our species. It is really nothing more ( unless, of course, one subscribes to some kind of "natural rights theory", which I reject because it is logically indefensible ). Animals operate in an amoral plane of existence in which the human-derived concept of rights is irrelevant. Rights have no use, and no meaning to, non-human animals, because it doesn't fit into the nature of their existence and not even the most intelligent of them can grasp the concept.
"In this aspect, they are like the marginal human cases."
Animals are nothing like marginal human cases. A marginal human case is a case in which a human is either permanently or temporarily incapacitated from being a moral agent. There is a huge difference though, between a marginal human and an animal. If the human were not incapacitated or disabled, they would be a moral agent, because moral agency is a general characteristic of humans. That is not true for animals. Even the most intelligent, fully functioning animal does not possess even the potential to be a moral agent. Moral agency is a characteristic of humanity. Just because that characteristic is "broken" in some individuals, that doesn't mean it ceases to be a general characteristic of humans. Suppose we have a car that doesn't run because it's engine doesn't start. Just because our car is incapacitated and doesn't work properly , it doesn't mean that it no longer possesses all the basic characteristics of a car. It would run if we were able to fix it. It isn't a kitchen sink, a TV set, or a chair. It is still a car because it still has all the basic characteristics of a car. Likewise, marginal humans retain all the basic attributes of humans, including basic rights, because they are still humans that are simply in a disabled state, in which their moral agency isn't functioning, that may be either permanent or temporary.
"(because since they are sentient they are right-bearers)"
A statement of opinion and not of fact. I have yet to see a convincing, rock-solid argument from Claudio, or any other ARA, including their beloved Gary Francione, as to why "sentience" is a valid criterion that should trump all other criteria for determining what is, and what is not, a rights holder.
Thursday, November 1, 2007
In another story, a New Jersey appellate court has dismissed a lawsuit against Huntington Life Sciences ( HLS ), a pharmaceutical testing firm, by the New Jersey Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals ( NJSPCA ) . NJSPCA sued Huntington for allegedly causing unnecessary pain and suffering to animals, and had sought restitution from the company. The court rightly dismissed the case, because HLS has no legal obligations to NJSPCA, and thus there is no grounds for a claim of restitution. Seems to me like a frivolous lawsuit in which an animal advocacy group was trying to use the legal system as way to steal money from a legitimate business that it happens to dislike. I'm certainly no law expert, but I can't help but wonder, and hope, that perhaps this case will set a precedent in cutting off AR groups and their lawyers that hope use litigation "on behalf of animals" in the future as part of their strategy.
Monday, October 29, 2007
Sunday, October 28, 2007
First, I think it is helpful to determine what "loaded words" or "loaded terminology" is and why it is used. "Loaded terminology" is terminology that generally contains biased and/or emotionally charged words. The purpose of it is to to use said biased or emotionally charged words to bend people's opinions. "Loaded terminology" is often used in argumentum ad nauseam fallacies. This simply means that someone repeats an argument or term so often, that those listening eventually no longer question or think critically about the argument or term's validity. We see ARAs do this with the terms I'm going to take a look at. By using these terms, they hope that those who hear or read their rhetoric simply accept these terms at face value without questioning them. However, much to their chagrin, not everyone is that stupid or easily lead.
"Loaded term" Number 1: "Vivisection"
"Vivisection" is perhaps the loaded AR term that one encounters most often. ARAs often use this as a blanket or umbrella term to refer to scientific research utilizing animals. But is that fair or intellectually honest? The word "vivisection" comes from Latin and it literally means cutting up a living thing. The emotional charge of this word is pretty self-evident. What we need to ask is whether its use is accurate in most cases. Does all, or even most, scientific research using animals involve procedures that are gruesome enough to justify the use of such a graphic term? Hardly it would seem. According to U.S. Department of Agriculture ( this is the federal agency that oversees animal research ) data, 60% of animal tests only involve slight, momentary, or minor distress such as injections, blood draws, change of diet, etc. . With 3 out of 5 procedures utilizing animals requiring only minor invasiveness, or none at all, the blanket or generalized use, as well as plain overuse of a "loaded term" like vivisection is dishonest and misleading at best.
In part two of this post, I'll analyze some more common AR terminology.
Wednesday, October 24, 2007
Friday, October 19, 2007
- Dr. Jerry Vlasak, self-anointed "ALF press officer" who is infamous for his repeated calls for the murder of scientists.
- Peter Daniel Young, who served two years in federal prison for breaking into a mink farm and releasing the animals. Young was fugitive from the law for seven years. He was finally arrested when he was caught shoplifting CDs from a Starbuck's shop, in sight of a uniformed cop ( a real rocket scientist, huh? ).
- Pattrice Jones, a self-described "eco-anarcha-feminist animal" ( WTF? )
If you really want a laugh, check out their paranoid security guidelines page. I particularly like this statement: "Do not attempt to buy drugs while on Hampshire campus." I think that itself speaks volumes about the types of individuals that will be attending this conference. As a final note, a big "shame on you" has to go out to Hampshire College for agreeing to host this intellectual bankruptcy.
Thursday, October 18, 2007
Wednesday, October 17, 2007
Such hypocrisy, however, isn't limited to this particular individual, it permeates the entirety of the whole AR/vegan/"abolitionist" movement. Countless wild animals are killed in industrialized crop agriculture to produce their vegan, allegedly "cruelty-free" foods. Many ARAs have been known to freely accept medical treatments that are based upon animal research, while they pontificate about the supposed evils of "vivisection". They use computers to preach and proselytize on their countless blogs and websites. Computers of course, are powered by electricity, and the production of electricity, even more environmentally friendly production methods such as wind, hydro, and solar, causes countless animal deaths through pollution, wildlife displacement, and habitat destruction.
Upon closer examination, it would seem that the "abolitionist" AR lifestyle is anything but the "absence of hypocrisy". There is plenty of it to be found, and most of the adherents to the AR lifestyle are too sanctimonious and arrogant to address it. Instead, they make all kinds of rationalizations and justifications for their hypocrisy, because to seriously address it would require them to step down from their faux moral high ground and reconsider their chest-beating narcissism. And few of them are willing to do that in my experience.
Sunday, October 14, 2007
"In summary, gene targeting in mice has pervaded all fields of biomedicine. Its impact on the understanding of gene function and its benefits to mankind will continue to increase over many years to come."
Wow. Now that's a statement that is as completely damning to prevailing animal rights lies and myth as I've ever heard. We are told constantly ad infinitum et ad nauseum by ARAs that biomedical research using animals is completely ineffective. We are told that it isn't necessary,because after all, we have computer models and cell cultures. We are told that it doesn't do anything to enhance human health. These are all lies and mindless propaganda that not only flies in the face of historical fact, but in the face of this current story about the latest cutting edge technology. Now the question is, who do you want to believe? Credible scientists and the committee that awards the most prestigious prizes in science, or zealous animal rights ideologues? I know where I stand, but everyone can make up their own mind.
Congratulations to these three scientists for winning this award for their groundbreaking work. And thanks to the good folks at Americans for Medical Progress for the heads up on this story.
Thursday, October 11, 2007
Sunday, October 7, 2007
First, a study out of the University of Hawaii published in the International Journal of Cancer has found that there is no evidence that eating lots of meat affects a man's risk for developing prostate cancer. The study was conducted on an ethnically diverse group of men and found that there was little supporting evidence that showed a relationship between meat intake and and prostate cancer risk among any of the racial/ethnic groups.
This study coming out of Australia has found that drinking milk may help stop the metastacizing of breast cancer cells into the bones. The study found that women who are calcium deficient may be at a higher risk for metastatic disease. The finding of this study were published in Cancer Research, the journal of the American Association for Cancer Research.
Saturday, October 6, 2007
Warwak goes on to claim that his decision to teach veganism to his students was made to educate them about how the meat and dairy industries use their "influence to shape and guide the values and morals of society through indoctrination". What? The hypocrisy of that statement is so outrageous that it blows the mind. Here we have someone who is indoctrinating children to his own, personal ideological views, without the knowledge and consent of their parents. To compound his wrongdoing, he instructs his students to keep it secret from their parents and other teachers, a clear indication that he knew what he was doing was wrong. For this guy to feign indignation about indoctrination while he himself was knowingly and intentionally engaged in the most vile form of indoctrination is so beyond the pale that one is at a loss for words. The fact that he would have the audacity to make such a statement is indicative of just how irresponsible, disconnected, and self-absorbed this individual is.
I don't think the state Board of Education will take Warwak's appeal seriously. He is clearly trying to avoid personal responsibility for his actions, and his "arguments" ( term used lightly ) to defend those actions are, at best fallacious, transparent, and feeble, but I'll continue to keep on eye in this story.
Wednesday, October 3, 2007
The spin that Warwak tries to put on his actions is equally as outrageous. Notice that Warwak claims he was only trying to educate students about the power of advertising in the visual arts when he demanded promotional posters for milk be removed from the cafeteria. Who does he expect to believe this lie? We know for a fact he was proselytizing to students. We know he was distributing vegan propaganda to students. And on top of that, we know he tried to hide it from parents and fellow faculty members. It seems Mr. Warwak is every bit as shameless in his self-serving, faux victimhood and in his intellectual dishonesty as he is in his zeal for vegan evangelism.
In honor of this momentous occasion, the Center for Consumer Freedom, a perpetual thorn in PeTA's side, has come up with a rather clever spoof of said "animal empathy" course in which they attack PeTA's rather self-serving, callous attitude toward their fellow human beings. Kudos to CCF for providing a much needed laugh on a bad day.
Monday, October 1, 2007
Saturday, September 29, 2007
Tuesday, September 11, 2007
Saturday, September 8, 2007
Not surprisingly, PeTA has gotten their collective panties all in a bundle over this. One of their talking heads posted about it on their blog, and this post and its subsequent comments seem to be centered around the idea that this is somehow a free speech issue. That however, doesn't wash. It is a well known fact that free speech does in fact have its limits, often dependent on the situation. If someone was to proselytize like this to their co-workers, and it was reported, in most workplaces, it would be considered a form of harassment and creating a hostile work environment. It could be mean discipline anywhere from a warning to suspension to termination. Why should this situation be any different? If it is "creating a hostile work environment" to push one's own personal views on to fellow adults in the workplace, why is not equally, or perhaps even more so, a form of "creating a hostile learning environment" to push one's own personal views onto children in the school? Additionally, there is the issue of parental consent. Children cannot give informed consent to be proselytized in this manner, so their parents must give consent for them. I wonder how many even knew about Mr. Warwak's pontificating, let alone approved of it. By not informing the parents and seeking their permission, Mr. Warwak violated those parents' right to decide what values, ideologies and philosophies are appropriate to be taught to their children. I don't have children, but if I did, I know that I wouldn't want them being proselytized to about veganism anymore than I would want them to be proselytized to about creationism, Islam, environmentalism, or any other ideology or religion, especially in a public school, that I, a taxpayer, pay for. School should be about education, not indoctrination or social engineering. Mr. Warwak is paid by the taxpayers to teach students art, not to abuse his position as teacher and use it as a bully pulpit to evangelize his students into his ideology. Every time he chooses to pontificate about veganism to these kids instead of teaching them the curriculum he is charged with teaching, he fails them. He is wasting students' time and taxpayers' money. Shame on him. And shame on the AR/vegan ideologues who support him and disingenuously claim that this issue is about something that it's not.
Friday, September 7, 2007
In response to a post about a Canadian AR group exploiting children for ideological gain, Jason left the following comment:
"I'm curious what the difference is between allowing your child to participate in an animal rights protest and allowing your child to be in a Mcdonalds ( sic ) commercial?
Are the children being "exploited" by their parents and Mcdonalds ( sic ) as well? Or is it only because you disagree with the message of these particular children that you find it so offensive? Though I have no children, if I did I would be proud if they chose to protest against animal cruelty. That is so much better than joining the brainless masses who live their lives without any thought to the well being of others. It's sad that selfishness, cruelty and greed are considerd ( sic ) the "status quo"."
What Jason is offering here is essentially a straw man argument. Instead of addressing the original issue of whether Liberation B.C. is engaging in child exploitation for ideological gain that I raised, Jason sets up the issue of McDonald's advertising and chooses to attack it. For the sake of argument however, I'll answer what Jason has raised here. I agree with Jason that McDonald's using children in advertising is a form of child exploitation, and I'm not particularly fond of it. I think the ethics and level of responsibility of such business practices are questionable at best. However, I do see a difference between the two. Animal rights is a complex enough issue for adults to understand, let alone kids. It is an emotionally charged issue that involves arguments from diverse, complicated subjects such as ethics, philosophy, and biology, that young children cannot comprehend. Children cannot understand the issue from a rational perspective, only from an emotional one, and that leaves them extremely vulnerable to indoctrination. In short, children CANNOT give informed consent as to whether or not they want to be part of such ideology. Kids being involved in fast food advertising is somewhat different. It does not involve emotionally exploitative indoctrination to a worldview, philosophy, or ideology, as involving kids in AR protests does. I acknowledge that it certainly involves predatory/exploitative advertising of potentially unhealthy products to children, whom again, cannot give informed consent, which is unethical and irresponsible. It does not however, sink to the same low of emotionally exploiting children in order to indoctrinate them into a particular worldview that they can't fully grasp the implications of, or simply using them as pawns for ideological gain, IMHO. That is simply disgusting and reprehensible.
Regarding a post about the animal deaths involved in the production of vegan foods, "halv" left the following comment:
"Wow...comparing the unfortunate and unintended killing of small animals during produce farming to the fully intentional killing of animals for meat production is really stretching it. That's like saying someone who accidentally hits a deer with their car is the same as someone who goes hunting. Your getting desperate Grizz.
But your attention seeking ways continue....and sadly I'm helping it along by writing in."
Bringing up the issue of the extensive animal death involved in the production of vegan diets isn't "stretching it", it's a valid point, and one that ARAs don't really have a sufficient answer for. If animals are truly rights holding beings as the ARAs insist, then how can these deaths simply be ignored and written off? Rights is serious business, and the violation of any rights-holding being's right to life, the most basic right of all, must be addressed, whether that violation is a matter or intention or negligence. If animals have rights, then no amount of "collateral damage" to those rights-holding entities can be acceptable. I wonder if "halv" would say that x number of human children being killed in crop agriculture is acceptable "collateral damage" that cannot be helped, or if he/she would say that any number of human children being killed in crop agriculture is unacceptable and all measures must be taken to prevent it. If animals hold the same basic rights as human children, then how can it possibly be ethical to blow off the deaths of those animals any more than it would be ethical to blow off the deaths of the human children? The reason that "halv" and his/her ilk don't want to seriously address this issue is because it reveals the hypocrisy, and ethical/intellectual inconsistency that lies at the heart of AR ideology. If vegans/ARAs seriously confront their own hypocrisy and their own complicity in animal death, it costs them some of the moral high ground that they like to believe they hold, and many of them are far too arrogant to give up that psuedo moral high ground. I'm curious as to how "halv" came up with his/her sophomoric little ad hominem attack in the last line. "Halv" gives no supporting evidence for the charge that I'm "attention seeking". What I seek to inform people about is the dark side of the AR movement, its implications to personal liberty, as well as it's hypocrisy and intellectual inconsistency, and the last thing "halv" and other ARAs want is for that to be exposed. "Halv", thou doth protest too much.
Thursday, September 6, 2007
Friday, August 31, 2007
According to this report in The New York Times, PeTA is now attacking former Vice-President and global warming crusader Al Gore for being a meat eater. PeTA claims that Gore's carnivorous habits cost him credibility on environmental issues. I thought the fact that Gore travels the globe in private jets and owns a home that uses more electricity in a month that many average Americans use in a year, had already sufficiently discredited him, but I digress. In their criticism of Gore, PeTA cites a U.N. report that claims that the livestock industry produces more "greenhouse gas" emissions than all forms of transportation combined. PeTA uses this report as ammunition for its argument that Gore, as well as the rest of us, ought to become vegan so that we can, to use a vapid cliche, "save the planet". Well, it turns out that PeTA either is intentionally not telling the whole story about the U.N. report they cite, or they cannot read ( I leave it to you to decide which is more likely ). An astute blogger has pointed out on his blog that PeTA isn't telling the full story about the U.N. report. It turns out that what PeTA isn't telling the public is that the report makes no recommendation that people "go vegan" or cut animal products from their diet. What it does do is make suggestions to the livestock industry on how to cut and better manage its emissions. What PeTA has done here is only tell half the truth, and as the old saying goes, the best lies are always half true. Kudos to Eric at The Observation Deck and to the Center for Consumer Freedom for pointing this out.
Monday, August 20, 2007
With there being so many similarities between AR and religion, I began to wonder if anyone had actually studied this in an academic or professional way. Sure enough, that is indeed the case. In 2000, a paper entitled Every Sparrow That Falls: Animal Rights Activism as Functional Religion was published by Wesley V. Jamison, Caspar Wenk, and James V. Parker in the journal Society and Animals. In this study, the authors found that AR activism functioned as a form of religious belief in the lives of activists. The authors used Yinger's typology of functional religion as a standard and analyzed how well AR beliefs met the criteria for functional religion of that typology. The criteria for functional religion in Yinger's typology are as follows:
- Conversion experience
- Cult ( collective meanings expressed as symbols and rituals )
The study found that AR meets all five of these defining criteria. Interviewees that participated in the study recalled having "formative events" in their lives that lead to their conversion to AR ideology. Converts, in turn, form communities as they seek out the company of those who share a similar set of beliefs. The authors also found common beliefs among ARAs that add up to a functional creed, or system of beliefs. Among these beliefs are the following:
- Assertion of the moral righteousness of the movement
- True belief necessitates proselytizing/evangelism
- Human use of animals is wrong and is not necessary
- A belief in the moral "goodness", as opposed to the moral neutrality, of
- The belief that suffering is always "evil" and the alleviation of suffering
is always "good".
The study also found that AR, like religion, involves a code, or a set of appropriate and inappropriate behaviors that are to be followed by the believer. In other words, legalism or dogma. As I hinted at before, in AR, that code is veganism. Finally, we come to cult, or the use of rituals and symbols. Participants in the study reported that how at AR meetings, participants would talk about themselves and their failures to keep the code ( like a confession of "sin" ) in a ritualistic manner. Much like a profession of faith in religion, participants also noticed the importance of personal profession of beliefs in AR. The study also found that many ARAs also used symbols such as pictures of animals being used in research, much like religions use symbols. An ARA may identify to such a picture as a symbol of "unnecessary" animal suffering in much the same way that a Christian identifies with the cross as symbol of Christ's suffering.
I found this study to be quite fascinating. It confirms much of what I have long thought: although the AR quasi-religion lacks the spiritual deity of traditional religions, it has almost all the other hallmarks, from evangelism to militant fanaticism. To read this study, go here.
Friday, August 17, 2007
Wednesday, August 15, 2007
Monday, August 13, 2007
Sunday, August 12, 2007
In a similar story, another researcher in Oregon is being terrorized by AR criminals. The garage door of researcher Dr. Eliot Spindel was spray painted by ALF and a caustic chemical thrown on his daughter's car. A release on the North American ALF website then further threatened Dr. Spindel with more vandalism and violence including broken windows and firebombs. Jim Newman, communications coordinator for Oregon Science & Health University, where Dr. Spindel works, has a great quote here. According to Mr. Newman: “Americans have the right to protest against things they feel strongly about,” Newman said. “But the harassment and frightening small children at researchers’ home and property damage goes clearly beyond the boundaries of what free speech is all about.” Exactly. But ALF terrorists, like their Islamo-fascist brethren, recognize no such boundaries. Like all terrorists, they have no respect for the rule of law or the rights of others, and they have a smug sense of "moral rightness" about their own beliefs that they think somehow gives them license to terrorize those with whom they disagree in order to advance their own agenda.