A couple of ARAs left some comments to older posts that I feel a need to respond to. I've decide to respond here, as opposed to the comments section of deeply buried, old posts. Here's the comments that were left:
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.