Do I hear an echo?

Today we’ve got no less than two opinion pieces pointing out the “moral schizophrenia” or hypocrisy of condemning Michael Vick for dog fighting while continuing to eat the flesh and other products derived from animals. The first linked below is from an avowed meat-eater, while the other is from vegan animal rights advocate Gary L. Francione:

WashingtonPost.com: Animal Cruelty Isn’t Judged on a Level Playing Field

Philly.com: We’re all Michael Vick

Of course, Courtland Milloy treads water, briefly touching on this conflict, teetering on an epiphany, but ultimately preferring to ponder why Michael Vick is being hit so hard with these charges, which seems kind of backward to me, especially given public sentiment. At least we can count on Gary Francione to expose the connection between cruelty to dogs and cruelty to animals typically considered food (which, lest we forget, includes dogs in certain other countries, as well as horses and so on, further highlighting the arbitrary absurdity).

Two opinions in major city papers drawing attention to this connection in one day. That’s what I call a nice day.

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3 comments

  1. Courtland Milloy almost sees it but like so many meat-eaters can’t go there. Too self-incriminating? I’m glad to see Gary Francione share his ideas on the illogical disconnect in people’s minds between dogs and pigs. It’s great to get that discussion out in the open; it has hugely important potential ethical ramifications.That said, I don’t find the “schizophrenia” description to be very helpful. There are, I think, well-understandable and logical reasons for the vast difference in attitudes; chiefly, conditioning and fear of self-incrimination (or if you will conflict of interest). People – unfortunately – are conditioned to see pigs (and other animals) as “food” and dogs (and cats and so forth) as companions. People don’t incriminate themselves when condemning dogfighting as they do if they condemn eating pigs; self-protection comes into play in the latter case.I don’t condone these rationales and defense mechanisms but I feel it’s important that we recognize how they come about rather than liken the dichotomy in attitudes to a mental impairment.

  2. It’s really sad that most responders to the Washington Post article see dog fighting as killing only for pleasure but fail to see eating meat as also killing just for pleasure. As Gary Francione says, “moral schizophrenia”.

  3. Below is a comment I posted at Philly.com this morning. As always Gary’s take on these issues are right on the $ and as always will confront the public and bring up a lot of guilt. I really believe the main reason why so many people are outraged at this Vick thing is that besides the fact that most people know a dog, like dogs and realize that dogs have emotions and feelings. Its all about that our society is experiencing a collective and deep guilt in that we all know this type of cruelty to animals goes on all the time and at all levels.Yet we really don’t want to deal with it as a society. We don’t want it to come out and bite us in the ass…so to speak. We don’t want to know about this human capacity for cruelty and we don’t want to have to be responsible for it either.Thank you AAFL for contributing even more to that collective guilt as well.Here below is my comment at Philly.com——————————————Gary,Had you written this exact opinion a little more than 100 years ago the argument would not have been about dogs being abused by a wealthy privileged human. No, G…100 years ago animals including dogs were not even in the public’s moral conversation and you (not you personally) could pretty much have beat a dog or horse to death on the street. No, Gary had you written an opinion piece about a moral rights issue and moral schizophrenia just a little more than 100 years ago you would have been probably pointing out correctly that African humans should be treated equally and be considered just as human as white folks. And you would have been considered incorrect and a huge pain in the ass by many many people at that time. Kind of like you are now. A little over 100 years ago Gary you would have been possibly making the connection to how children should not be forced to work in factories like African human slaves were forced to work on plantations and that children should be granted some kind of rights. You might have made the comparison less than 100 years ago that children and African human beings are not property and need to be included in society as part of the moral community and not just white males be given that consideration. And..Gary you would have been called an extremist, a radical, un American, a pain in the ass again and worse you might have been called a un patriotic liberal for having such progressive thoughts.Had you written an opinion piece a little more than 100 years ago in the south of this country asking that society start to consider African Americans actual human beings and actual citizens and that they should not be lynched you could have been lynched yourself. Less than 100 years ago you might have suggested that maybe even American white women be given the right to vote. Had you written a piece with those sentiments less than 100 years ago you would have been attacked worse than you will be today for pointing out that we should end the cruel practice of eating animals for the mere pleasure of it.History has shown us that you don’t need to own African slaves to have a successful cotton picking business. You also don’t need to force children to work for free to manufacture products or make a handsome profit. The same is true that human beings do not need to eat animals for protein or for health reasons. As a matter of fact the opposite is true. According to most studies and statistics vegetarians and vegans live 8 to 10 years longer than meat eaters and they smell and taste better.Gary not only do you smell better but you are totally correct that today non human animals exist in a moral void which is totally arbitrary and totally insane much like our president’s foreign policy and war on terror. Think about his moral schizophrenia on almost every issue and you can walk away with the same understanding that when it comes to the way humans treat non humans we’re not only all Vick but we’re all Bush as well.We give certain animals names and attribute feelings to some of them when we feel it suits us at some particular moment of whenever..whatever.So I hope that less than 100 years from now the moral schizophrenia pertaining to what animals we have feelings for and attribute to will be based on those animals ability to feel pain and suffer rather than if they merely possibly taste good, look cute or if we can make a profit off of them.Go Gary and Go vegan!Philip

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