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BBC: Animal Rights Extremists More of a Threat than Radical Muslims

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Anyone who knows just the most rudimentary facts about life in contemporary Britain knows that the Government, businesses, and most of the British citizenry, brow-beaten by political correctness, bend over backwards to avoid offending our Muslim community. A lot of members of this very community are hard-working and loyal to this country, no doubt about it. But if you were going to write a script for a medical drama where a bomb goes off at a British bus station, circa 2007, from what community do you think it's most likely that your bomber originated?

For instance, for roughly twenty years — from the late '70s to the late '90s — if you wanted to write an effective script for a gritty drama involving a bombing in Britain, then you would have focused on the IRA or any number of little similarly minded IRA splinter groups. You could have made it as clear as possible that you weren't blaming the whole of the Irish community in Britain, that this was only the work of fanatics. But nevertheless, your bomber would have been Irish and he probably would have come from a heavily Irish community that may not necessarily have "harbored" him — they may not even have known about his politically fanatic leanings — but certainly the point would be taken. No matter how apologetically you tried to write the script, the tragedy would have been caused by an Irish man or Irish men.

Still with me? Good. Just for the record, I am half-Irish myself, and proud of it, yet I fully acknowledge the reality of this sort of typecasting. It just would have made no sense to blame the fictional atrocity on any other group because anyone living from 1978-1998 would have automatically thought, in the wake of a bomb blast, "Those bloody Irish!"

These days, it's fanatics from the Muslim community that are attacking us, their sense of grievance being stoked by reactionary mosques across the land. Fact, not fiction, not conjecture. But that hasn't stopped the BBC from ignoring reality and blaming their fictional bombing on someone else as they did with the latest edition of Casualty.

Casualty is a BBC-produced medical drama which takes place in an Accident & Emergency Unit, sort of the British answer to ER, and it's damn good entertainment. But the show's writers have a penchant for making certain "terrorists" out to be a bigger threat than the more likely suspects. A year ago, Casualty had an episode where two animal-rights extremists set out to bomb a medical researcher at her home, but end up accidentally blowing up a veterinarian, who came to the researcher's house to look at her dog, instead. This particular storyline was laughably unrealistic — as if a vivisectionist would spend her day slicing mammals up and then come home to her dog! — but now they're at it again.

This time, two more animal-rights extremists accidentally blow up a bus station, when the incindiery material they place into the luggage area of the coach they were to board ignites for some reason. Although the script-writers made it clear that the two animal rightists did not mean to cause carnage at the bus station, the message somehow is that there are loads of animal-rights extremists swarming across this land, constantly screwing up their plans, maiming and killing innocent people in the process.

To be fair to the writers of Casualty, they originally wrote the script to feature a young Muslim blowing himself up at the bus station. So it's not so much the show's fault as it is their puppet-masters'. The BBC forced the program's writers to re-write the show so that animal extremists get the blame instead, because we all know that the Animal Liberation Front and PETA are greater enemies to our civilization than Al-Qaeda and other like-minded terrrorists. Right?

Right?!

It's a load of rubbish and the BBC knows it, but they'd still rather peddle this nonsense to people thick enough to believe it. Yet, the fact is, animal-rights extremists do carefully target those places where they know vivisection takes place, looking to disable a facility's equipment or suchlike. Sometimes they'll go after the breeders of animals used for research and, though they can get downright insensitive about it, they are no threat to the general public whatsoever. Yet, ludicrously, we have a situation in this country where stalls disseminating animal rights literature are disbanded by the police, but books by terror-advocating imams can be found in libraries. It seems that the BBC are simply taking their Casualty storylines from Government propaganda.

But money talks. It always has, it always will. There's no money in going after radical Muslims. However, the Government is happy to hop into bed with animal researchers because their legal torture rakes in loads of moolah. So, to placate their sugar daddies, the Government cracks down on the animal rights crowd, telling them sternly, "We won't tolerate your terror!" Gee, we can all sleep easy at night then, huh? Never mind what Mohammed or Abdul may get up to after soccer practice.

I'm not the only one nonplussed by Casualty's latest storyline: Right-wing columnist Richard Littlejohn was similarly bewildered. In his August 21 Daily Mail column "Truth is the first Casualty — again," he writes:

In real life, it's Muslims committing all the terrorist atrocities in Britain these days … [T]o pretend that the bunny liberation brigade are bombing bus stations is preposterous.

Admittedly, the animal rights movement contains its fair share of violent lunatics. But as much as they love beagles and lab rats, there is no recorded incident to my knowledge of any of them being prepared to lay down their own lives for the cause.

Even if we concede that the decision to pull the Casualty episode was taken for the most laudable of reasons, it is yet more evidence of the institutionalised bias, cowardice and cultural cringe that runs through the Corporation like the lettering in a stick of rock.

The simple fact is that the BBC, like the police, the CPS and so many other of our public institutions, is scared to death of upsetting Muslims.

Again, this should be common knowledge to anyone who knows even the remotest of aspects of life in modern-day Britain. The BBC's most recent episode of Casualty only confirms that beyond a shadow of doubt.

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  • http://www.republicofdave.com Dave Nalle

    Mark, I think you point out a very real problem here. However I think you also mistakenly minimize the threat of animal rights extremists in the UK. These groups are much more active there than they are in other parts of the world and they are also much more violent. While they have not yet done a great deal of bombing, their history of acts of violence against individuals – not just facilities – is chilling. Researchers have had their children threatened, been beaten (in at least one case to death) and have had their personal property destroyed.

    The ELF is currently listed as the #1 domestic terror threat in the US, and they are much more active in the UK than they are here.

    dave

  • Philos

    I’m in the US and I can tell you that confusing real terrorist groups with a small handful of radical animal advocates as they have done here is bizarre, to say the least and very harmful to civil liberties.

    As Senator Frank Lautenberg (Dem. N.J.) objected, in Senate hearings on this issue, “we must take care not to lump legitimate groups with terrorists. To do so would only minimize the very real threats against our society.”

    Who’s next, he wanted to know –“Right to Life? Sierra Club?”

    In a recently filed lawsuit, the ACLU has documented the way that, for political reasons, the FBI has expanded the definition of domestic terrorism to include mainstream groups who criticize government policy, i.e., groups such as Greenpeace, PETA, the American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee, and the ACLU itself. The ACLU? Domestic Terrorists? Get serious. These groups are not terrorist groups. They are simply groups opposed to government policy.

    Environmental and animal-rights groups threaten profits of big business. And when the profits of mega-corporations are at stake, the threat becomes political. Corporations teamed with the current ultra pro-business government would like to stamp out all environmental (and animal)groups…and labeling them as terrorists is just another step in that direction.

  • daniel

    Dave writes:

    “Researchers have had their children threatened, been beaten (in at least one case to death) and have had their personal property destroyed.”

    No one has been “beaten to death” – ever. The only recorded incident that even comes close is Brian Cass being attacked outside him home, 2001. He wasn’t “beaten to death” – he was barely scratched. In and out of AE within half an hour.

    Can you claim otherwise. Who is this mythical person who has been beaten to death? Name Names.

    Fact is, you CANNOT name names. Because no one, not a single person, diddy squat, has ever been “beaten to death” by AR activists. The fact that your peddle this mistruth only indicates the ill formed hysteria about ar activists – illustrating the point of the opening article quite well.

    In fact, all the deaths have been on the animal activists side: Jill Phills, Tom Hill etc. I’ve followed ar extremism since the 70’s. No one has ever been seriously hurt by activists. Only one or two have sustained minor injuries. yet there have been as least five animal rights activists murdered by huntsmen, etc, since the 70’s.

    You post is not very convincing. For example you say that the ELF is more active in the UK in the USA. What? name one significant act from the ELF in the UK in the last ten years. There are none. The ELF has no real presence in the UK, never has. It’s far more active in Sweden.

    You claim that the opening article ~”downplays” ar activism: then to prove this, you simple make lots of stuff up that has no factual basis at all. Great.

  • Dr Dreadful

    Mark, the BBC has produced dramas featuring Muslim extremists as bombers – the show Spooks (screened in the US as MI-5, for obvious reasons) is one example that comes to mind.

    The Beeb is probably over-sensitive about Casualty – it, along with EastEnders, is probably the drama programme about which it receives the closest public watchdog and media scrutiny – but when you get right down to it, it is just a TV show.

    Also, one of the challenges of writing drama is not to be too predictable. So if they had made the bombers Islamic extremists, apart from the protests from imams and race relations groups they would have had some sarcastic letters and e-mails saying, “Wow, Muslims did it? Never would have seen that coming…”

  • http://nitpickingnightdragon.blogspot.com Mark Edward Manning

    Funny you should mention Spooks, Dr. D, because from Littlejohn’s same column that I link to here, he wrote: “Take the MI5 series, Spooks. It’s good fun and well done, but it’s a complete parcel of nonsense designed to peddle the Guardianista worldview.”

    He’s right, it is. Damn good show, but clearly written with the extreme Lefty, anti-War on Terror mindset.

  • moonraven

    daniel,

    I see you have caught onto Dave Nalle–who makes up EVERYTHING he posts–with the possible exception of his name.

  • http://nitpickingnightdragon.blogspot.com Mark Edward Manning

    Sorry, Dave, but I’m not buying it. I’ve heard that the FBI and MI5 alike have gone after animal rights extremists, when they haven’t even done anything extreme, just to justify their budget and say, “See, we’re protecting the public from terrorists!

    I’m not applauding.

    When the authorities in both countries start going after the source of the much more dangerous and insiduous terror, then I’ll be impressed.

  • Dr Dreadful

    #5: I saw that too, Mark.

    I’m watching Spooks on BBC America over here. They’re only midway through Season 2 at the moment, so I don’t know how it develops, but one of the recent episodes did involve a radical Muslim cleric in Birmingham (I think the character was originally from Afghanistan) who was training teens to be suicide bombers.

  • http://www.republicofdave.com Dave Nalle

    No one has been “beaten to death” – ever. The only recorded incident that even comes close is Brian Cass being attacked outside him home, 2001. He wasn’t “beaten to death” – he was barely scratched. In and out of AE within half an hour.

    You’re quite right, Ecoterrorist Sympathizer Dan. It had been a while since I researched my prior article on the subject, and he was merely beaten with bats and a pick-axe handle. An associate was later delivered a powerful mail bomb which the police managed to remove and detonate. So yes, despite the intent of these ecoterrorists to kill several people in these cases they failed. Not actually succeeding in their attempts at murder makes it all okay, I guess.

    And BTW, I meant the ALF when I mentioned the ELF as far as actions in the UK. However, the ELF is still #1 on the terrorist most wanted from the FBI. Here in the US, of course, there’s plenty of ecoterrorist violence, especially from things like tree spiking by groups like EarthFirst which has resulted in maiming and critical injuries and multiple arsons from the ELF who like to burn down new housing developments.

    But I guess it’s all okay because it’s for the fluffy bunnies and majestic trees. Humans are just a blight on the planet anyway.

    Dave

  • Doug Hunter

    Yes, I have more fear of environmental wackos than of muslim extremists but not from violence. As someone pointed out above, the main weapon of all these groups is lawsuits. The fucked up US legal system allows many of these groups to thrive on what is essentially blackmail.

    Most people aren’t wealthy enough to be much of a target so they’re not really able to grasp the problem.

    Remember the $54 million pant lawsuit against a dry cleaner. Everyone agrees that justice was served because the case was finally decided for the defendant. What the average person misses is that the defendant paid over $100,000 in legal bills to defend themselves. That’s a travesty, an innocent or blameless person should never have to pay money to prove their innocence, the loser should always pay.

    Businesses and especially large corporations face this bullshit on a daily basis from special interest groups including environmental ones. We need loser pays and massive tort reform in this country now. Given the option between that or bulletproof homeland security, I’d take the legal reform in a heartbeat.

  • Clavos

    “The first thing we do, let’s kill all the lawyers.”

  • Philos

    Calling people “Ecoterrorist Sympathizer[s]” is a well-worn but fallacious tactic used by people like Dave. And when someone’s sense of the gravity of terrorist threat is so badly disproportionate to the evidence, it is hard not to suspect bias.

    As Tom Regan, Professor Emeritus at NC State University says, the media and the public are fed a carefully orchestrated public-relations script. The industries and their supporters “speak with one voice, tell the same story, even use the same words to denigrate their common enemy: animal-rights extremists”.

    Regan traces the script to a 1989 American Medical Association white paper that recommended portraying animal rights advocates as “anti-human,” “anti-science,” and “responsible for violent and illegal acts” while the “animal-exploiters would portray themselves as sensible, moderate, and scientific, only advocating the humane and responsible use of animals.” The animal-user industries follow this script closely, and as Dave demonstrated they are quick to brand activists with the handy “ecoterrorist sympathizer” label…after all, ad hominem attack is easier and more effective for scare-mongering, than refuting facts.

    But this is just so much industry PR, convenient for promoing simple-minded hysteria, but with little relation to the facts. When the facts are viewed impartially, there’s not much to that threat.

    But there is a real danger here that should concern everyone: the threat to the First Amendment and our freedom of speech. When the FBI (preposterously) designates animals-rights activists one of the “top domestic terrorist threats” anyone with common sense should be suspicious.

    Civil libertarians try to make sense of the FBI’s labeling animal-rights activists “terrorists,” but it all makes perfect sense when we consider the script, and the motivations behind it.

    When we follow the money and the special-interest politics, it is clear who has the hidden agenda and the profit-driven motivation to distort the truth.

  • http://www.republicofdave.com Dave Nalle

    Or it could just be that he was expressing sympathy with ecoterrorists.

    And they could be classing animal rights activists as terrorists because they commit acts of violence and destruction to threaten and terrorize people.

    Andi it could just be that we’re calling them “anti-human,” “anti-science,” and “responsible for violent and illegal acts” because that’s exactly what they are.

    You can CALL reality a conspiracy, but it doesn’t make it any less real.

    Dave

  • Clavos

    Setting aside for the moment the question of whether or not AR activists employ terrorist tactics, the bottom line is that organizations like PETA place the rights of animals above those of humans in many of the conflicts about which they lobby in favor of animals.

    From my POV, this is completely wrong; I refuse to accept that animals have any rights whatsoever, much less any that supersede those of humans.

    Needless cruelty to animals is reprehensible and should be punished severely, but such actions as stopping the building of a dam because the habitat of an obscure butterfly will be destroyed are nothing short of ridiculous.

    Similarly, attempting to prevent laboratories, particularly those engaged in medical and pharmaceutical research, from using animals in as humane a way as is consistent with obtaining the necessary data, is not only ridiculous, it can (and does) literally put the lives of humans at risk.

    Since the dawn of history humans have used animals for their own purposes. We have eaten them, dressed in their skins, shod our feet with their hides, even constructed boats and explored the world in boats made from animal hides.

    The animals themselves prey on each other for a variety of reasons, chiefly food.

    It’s called nature.

  • Dr Dreadful

    such actions as stopping the building of a dam because the habitat of an obscure butterfly will be destroyed are nothing short of ridiculous.

    Clav, you speak as if these things happen in a vacuum. It might be an obscure species of butterfly, but destroying its habitat has a knock-on effect which may reach far further. The disappearance of the butterfly might affect the breeding of the flowering plant which relies on it for pollination; the disappearance of the plant results in loss of ground cover, which allows for increased soil erosion, which when it rains washes into the local rivers, silting them up and destroying the habitat of numerous fish species which the indigenous people rely on as a food source… and so on it goes.

    So it’s not so much about the “rights” of a single animal, but more the profound and unknown effect of human interference on an ecosystem that we need to be concerned about. To my mind that’s not in the least bit ridiculous.

  • Amused

    Sad the author of this opinion manages to combine endorsing animal exploitation and xenophbia in the same opinion. One would imagine the BBC could spend more of its privileged position educating the public than sensationalist shock jock opinions such as this.

  • Clavos

    Doc,

    Despite your dire hypothetical, animals have been going extinct for a variety of reasons for eons, and the world just keeps on rollin’ along, with a few changes here and there, but essentially a stable continuum.

    I don’t agree with you, but I’m also not saying that we should totally ignore the world around us, only that lately we have allowed the alarmists too much free rein and too much power, which they have exercised more than once to the detriment of mankind, IMO.

    Often, when they fight this or that project because the mongolian flea will be wiped out, their only stated goal has nothing to do with scenarios such as the one you suggest; they merely insist that we shouldn’t allow any species to become extinct on principle.

    That policy, in light of the history of organisms and the roles they have played as elements of the ecosphere throughout the ages, IS ridiculous; if NO species become extinct henceforth, evolution will literally cease.

    I insist that extinction of species is as much a process of natural evolution as individual death. It will even happen to humanity one day.

    You may say that some of the things we (humanity) do are not natural, that we unnaturally strain and even damage the ecosphere, but I would reply; are we not a product of evolution ourselves?

    Was it not our possession of opposable thumbs and enough brainpower to refine toolmaking to a much higher degree than the other primates (among other things) that brought us to this point?

    All part of the continuum.

  • Dr Dreadful

    It may be all part of the continuum, but the difference with H. sapiens sapiens is that we are the first and only species in the planet’s history (as far as we know) to have an awareness of the effect of our actions on the broader world around us.

    That awareness brings with it responsibility. As in the hypothetical example above, building that dam may bring benefits but might also set in motion a chain of events which comes back to bite us in the bum. Since we are able to affect our own survival as a species, does it not make sense to bear that in mind?

  • Clavos

    It does. And did I not say so in #18:

    “…but I’m also not saying that we should totally ignore the world around us…”

    As I hope I made clear in #s 15 and 18, there’s a happy medium, and using animals for research (for example), is perfectly OK, IMO.

    Wearing leather and fur aren’t bad things, either. I will also NEVER quit eating steak.

    And if the dam will allow many more crops to be grown to feed many more people, and if after appropriate study, the only adverse effect of building it is extinction of that butterfly species, I say build it.

    I’m not alone in this; Nobel Laureate Dr. Norman Borlaug, who, most experts agree, has done more to feed more people in the world than any other single human in history, has often written and spoken very similar thoughts. In fact, I got some of these ideas directly from him, when I was a youngster and a friend of his daughter.

    Borlaug is strongly opposed to the worldwide ban on DDT, for example; saying that far more people are dying from malaria than would have been harmed by its continued use, and he’s right, IMO.

    Greatest good for the greatest number.

  • Dr Dreadful

    I seem to hear the voice of Mr Spock in the Enterprise reaction chamber: “The needs of the many… outweigh… the needs of the few.” :-)

    You are certainly privileged to have known Borlaug, who history will judge as one of the most significant humans of the 20th century.

    Not sure about his (and your) assessment of DDT though. It’s nasty stuff. Although there are certainly many other chemicals being spewed into our environment that make it look like spring water…

  • http://nitpickingnightdragon.blogspot.com Mark Edward Manning

    Amused: “Sad the author of this opinion manages to combine endorsing animal exploitation and xenophbia in the same opinion.”

    Xenophobia is a matter of opinion, my friend, so I won’t touch that. But I do not endorse animal exploitation. Where did you get that idea? Did you read the part where I wrote: “However, the Government is happy to hop into bed with animal researchers because their legal torture [emphasis mine] rakes in loads of moolah”? How is that an opinion in favor of animal exploitation?

    Go back and read the damn piece more carefully, and THEN harangue me if you so wish.

  • http://nitpickingnightdragon.blogspot.com Mark Edward Manning

    But I guess it’s all okay because it’s for the fluffy bunnies and majestic trees. Humans are just a blight on the planet anyway.

    Dave, honest to God: No, humans are not a scourge, but at what point would we consider it worth leaving a healthy Earth for future generations? What could possibly be more anti-human than living in the immediate present and who cares about the future? You’re too quick to ignore the fact that care for the environment translates into care for humans as well. Surely you would agree, given the strength of your humanist p.o.v., that humans are part of nature, so why keep destroying that from which we evolved?

    You know, Government policy is to build more houses to let in all the illegal immigrants, so-called asylum seekers and other people that they just can’t say no to. So goodbye Green Belts. These Green Belts gave people living in Britain’s major cities refuge, a place to go to get away from the urban hustle-and-bustle, a place to birdwatch and learn about nature. Now, these Green Belts are going to be several scaled back or disappear altogether so we can cram more people onto this already crowded island.

    But that’s of no concern to you, I’m sure. Sorry to say it, Dave, but from things you’ve written here and in the past, I get the feeling that you wouldn’t mind if living in a world straight out of Silent Running. ‘Cause hey, human beings are the only creatures with the right to live on this Earth, right?! And the more of us the better, let’s really pack ‘em in! Let’s see if our population can hit 100 billion and damn the consequences for the Earth or those unlucky enough to live on it. It’s all about hitting a milestone and living for the moment, damnit!

  • Doug Hunter

    “You may say that some of the things we (humanity) do are not natural, that we unnaturally strain and even damage the ecosphere, but I would reply; are we not a product of evolution ourselves?”

    Certainly worth repeating. The very defintion of ‘natural’ has always eluded me as I believe humans are as much a part of nature as anything else.

  • JustOneMan

    Clavos your are wrong!!! Animals do have rights!!!

    They have the right to be..
    1. Fillet
    2. Marinated
    3. Cooked medium rare
    4. And enjoyed with a glass of wine

    JOM

  • Philos

    Clavos (and others) said: “The animals themselves prey on each other for a variety of reasons, chiefly food. It’s called nature.”

    I hear this comment frequently, and it tells me that the person has not considered this very carefully and has not been exposed to the formal philosophy on these issues. All of these are basic issues that philosophers have answered. I’ll try to provide a simplified answer.

    It is perfectly moral and consistent for animals like tigers and bears to kill and eat each other, while at the same time it is not okay for humans to kill and eat them. The reason is simple.

    Most adult humans are _moral agents_, beings who can understand right from wrong and base their actions on this understanding. Beings like tigers, bears, babies, people with Alzheimers, and other mentally deficient humans are called _moral patients_, i.e., beings who cannot distinguish right from wrong and therefore cannot be held morally responsible for their actions. However, they can be on the receiving end of wrongful acts done by moral agents – say a parent beating a baby, a nurse abusing an Alzheimer’s patient or someone setting a cat on fire.

    In short, only beings who can understand moral principles are bound by them.

  • http://culturesalad.blogspot.com Ray Ellis

    Thanks for distilling all of human reason into a meaningless paragraph, Philos. Pity your idea of philosophy came from either (a)Philosophy for Dummies or (b)Spock’s Logic 101.

  • Clavos

    An excellent point, Philos.

    However it presupposes that killing and eating other animals is somehow immoral.

    There’s no question that it is immoral for humans to maltreat animals for amusement (e.g.: dogfighting), or even while working them (whipping a team of horses, for example).

    But raising and subsequently humanely killing and eating animals is not an immoral act; and is in fact practiced worldwide by literally billions of people, and has been for millenia.

    Those who believe it is immoral are a minuscule minority of mankind.

    They are entitled to their beliefs (at least in free societies), but are not entitled to force the rest of us to accept and live by their moral view.

  • Philos

    Dave wrote:

    “…they could be classing animal rights activists as terrorists because they commit acts of violence and destruction to threaten and terrorize people.”

    As I said earlier, the numbers of activists promoting violence is a mere handful compared to those millions who are entirely peaceful law-abiding ciitizens, and when someone’s sense of the gravity of terrorist threat is so badly disproportionate to the evidence, it is hard not to be suspicious of the motives.

    A rapist in Ohio was sentenced to 15 years in prison for beating and raping a 57-year-old woman, while an environmental activist in California was sentenced to 22 years for burning three SUVs at a car dealership- after taking precautions to harm no humans. Something is wrong with this picture.

    When government and industry assigns more value to property than to human lives, you can suspect that there is something else going on here. And indeed there is. As usual, it’s called follow the dollar!

    Dave continued:

    “And it could just be that we’re calling them “anti-human,” “anti-science,” and “responsible for violent and illegal acts” because that’s exactly what they are.”

    A few violent acts do not justify labeling an entire group as terrorists. There are many other groups, neo-Nazis, abortion clinic bombers, etc. who are much more violent and actually kill people. As Senator Lautenberg asked, “Who’s next–Right to life. The Sierra Club?”

    That leaves us with your two unsupported assertions that animal advocates are “anti-human,” and “anti-science.” You haven’t presented any evidence for that??

  • Philos

    Ray,

    You don’t have any argument, eh?? That figures.

  • http://culturesalad.blogspot.com Ray Ellis

    Ah, but I do. You use “moral” as the basis for all your argument. “Ethical” would have given it weight. Morality varies from culture, and changes from generation to generation. Ethics are a constant.

    All life is dependent on other life for its survival. Humans could not survive without insects, but we think nothing of stamping them out. We don’t concern ourselves overmuch at the loss of a tree, either.

    Your implication that eating meat is somehow “immoral” is blatantly absurd. There is a huge difference between eating meat, or wearing leather, and the wanton abuse of a living creature.

  • Philos

    Clavos wrote:

    “…humanely killing and eating animals is not an immoral act; and is in fact practiced worldwide by literally billions of people, and has been for millenia…Those who believe it is immoral are a minuscule minority of mankind.”

    First, this is simply false. It is not a “miniscule minority”. The fact that you can say this indicates a lack of knowledge of different cultures. There are billions of people and many cultures worldwide that are vegetarian…Indian culture for example. [One figure I read was that 40% of the earth’s people are vegetarian, but I’ll research the question].

    Back to the more important question you raise. The fact that billions of people might do something is not an argument that it is right. The majority used to believe that owning slaves was moral and that women should not have the right to vote. Now we know that both of these majority views were morally wrong. History provides us with many examples.

    So it is completely fallacious to argue that something is right because the majority believes or practices it.

    Clavos continued: “They are entitled to their beliefs…but are not entitled to force the rest of us to accept and live by their moral view.”

    Society “forces” beliefs on people every day when we say it is wrong to murder, steal, lie, pollute the environment, etc., and enforce these laws.

    If you think morality is just a matter of personal choice that shouldn’t be “forced” on others, then you’d have to say that putting thieves in jail or ostracizing liars from your circle of friends is “forcing others”. Of course that is nonsense. Most people accept that some things are morally wrong and that it is perfectly proper for society (and individuals) to try and force morality on others.

    Moral issues are usually issues that affect or harm others and we don’t have a right to harm others.

    Slaughtering animals is a moral issue in the same way that cheating, killing, stealing, and polluting are all moral issues. It is not simply a matter of taste, where you prefer meat and I prefer veggies.

    Morality is not left “to each his own” like a choice between chocolate and vanilla ice-cream.

  • Philos

    Ray wrote:

    “Humans could not survive without insects, but we think nothing of stamping them out. We don’t concern ourselves overmuch at the loss of a tree, either.”

    Animal-rights activists are concerned with sentient beings…those who can feel pain and experience. I have seen no evidence that insects feel pain and certainly I don’t think trees feel pain. For one thing plantlife does not have a central nervous system…which is generallly considered necessary for feeling pain. If you have an argument that insects and trees feel pain, then I’d like to hear it.

  • http://culturesalad.blogspot.com Ray Ellis

    No, Philos– do you have an argument that they don’t? You’ve set yourself up as the arbiter of philosophy and morality. But you fall back on the human as a “steward of nature”, holding dominion over all. You assume that because their “sentience” is alien to our own, they feel nothing. There are more things in heaven and earth than dreamt of in your philosophy.

    Your arguments are based on assumptions, and are therefore invalid. Native American cultures held all life equal. You lump all Indian cultures together, claiming they’re vegetarian. In fact, Hindus eat pork, poultry and fish–only beef is forbidden.

    And you keep using “morality” as if it were synonymous with “ethics”. Our laws spring from our need for survival as a population, not from some preconceived notion of right and wrong.

  • Philos

    Ray wrote:

    “Morality varies from culture, and changes from generation to generation. Ethics are a constant.”

    The idea that morality can be whatever different cultures believe it is, is called moral relativism, which is a false doctrine. Morality is objective. The rightness or wrongness of an action is not left up to individual opinion. It is “out there” so to speak, a truth waiting for us to examine and discover.

    Here’s a simple thought experiment some philosophers use to demonstrate that morality is objective.

    Would you say it is “really” morally wrong to torture babies just for fun? If you say yes, then you are committing yourself to the view that morality is objective and not simply a matter of what different cultures or people believe.

    As I mentioned earlier, in the past, many thought slavery was moral. Now we know it isn’t. The wrongness of slavery wasn’t just a matter of opinion. But just because there are differing opinions between people or across cultures about what is right or wrong does not mean that both of them are right. And some opinions are moral issues and some are not.

    I prefer chocolate ice-cream –you prefer vanilla. That is a matter of taste, so there is no moral right or wrong involved.

    I think everyone should get 8 hrs. sleep — you think 6 will do. Those are differing opinions. Either of us may be right (or wrong depending on what science tells us about how much sleep we need) so we research it and decide who is correct. But it isn’t a moral issue.

    Robbing and killing people is wrong…and opinion has nothing to do with it. Polluting the environment, euthanasia, abortion, meat-eating are also moral issues. People may disagree about which is the right position to hold in each case –and careful examination of the arguments is needed to determine the rightness or wrongness in each case– but the rightness or wrongness is not simply a matter of opinion.

  • http://culturesalad.blogspot.com Ray Ellis

    Actually, those are all ethical issues. And I’ll tell you why. Morality is a product of a given culture or religion. Ethics are a universal hardwired into our brains. An example: It used to be considered “immoral” to live with a person of the opposite sex without benefit of marriage vows. That view had nothing to do with right or wrong–it was societal conditioning.

    Now we can split academic hairs all day, but it doesn’t change the fact you’ve done nothing to prove your position that eating meat is immoral.

  • Philos

    Ray asked:

    “No, Philos– do you have an argument that [insects and trees] don’t feel pain?”

    No, nor do I have an argument that rocks _don’t feel pain_, but scientists seem to agree that a central nervous system is necessary for feeling pain which trees and rocks definitely don’t have. Insects have a rudimentary central nervous system, although the science is not in about whether or not they feel pain. We’ll have to wait on the scientific evidence about the insects.

    But more importantly, I don’t have to prove a negative! You’re the one who implied that insects and trees do feel pain, so the burden of proof is on you to provide some evidence for that claim. If they do, then I might object to killing them.

    One thing we know for sure though is that cows, pigs, sheep, dogs, cats, horses, and goats feel pain. Just because there are some fuzzy cases like insects doesn’t mean there aren’t clear cases all around us.

  • Nancy

    A simple & easy solution to animal experimentation would be to use violent offender prisoners instead. This would allow society to get a measure of reparation from these maggots, by having them serve the interests of the fellow humans they have grievously (& terminally) harmed, & give the researchers an actual human experimentation model which reacts correctly physically, instead of animal models which frequently do not. A bonus is that the prisoners can speak & therefore report valuable addenda as well, instead of researchers having to infer side effects from visual results. If I’m going to have to pay to keep murderers, rapists, & child molesters alive, fed, & housed, I/society may as well get something for it from them in return.

  • http://culturesalad.blogspot.com Ray Ellis

    Nancy, if you haven’t already met, please allow me to introduce Dexter. j/k

    Philos– you may not have to prove a negative, but you’ve failed to prove anything. You cant prove the relative.

  • Philos

    Ray wrote: “Now we can split academic hairs all day”…

    You’re the one splitting hairs with silly questions about insects and trees feeling pain, which doesn’t leave much time to address the serious questions.

    Ray continued: “…you’ve done nothing to prove your position that eating meat is immoral.”

    I can provide numerous arguments from several different directions, but how about we start with the simplest one:

    A world with less pain and suffering is better than a world with more pain and suffering. And since eating meat is unnecessary to health and causes enormous pain and suffering to animals, we shouldn’t do it.

  • Nancy

    No thanks. Why do you find my solution to be objectionable? Do you feel these creeps ought to be housed and fed for the rest of their lives at public expense just ‘because’? IMO when they committed their crimes, they forfeited any claims to rights as a human being. So why not use them so that for once in their lives, they’re of use to humanity? At least they earned their status as subjects; animals have not.

  • Clavos

    Philos,

    One simple question:

    Who besides you agrees that eating meat is morally wrong? Did god tell you that? If not, who did?

    And if it was god, whose? The god of Christianity? Islam? Judaism? The gods of the polytheistic religions?

    Who decrees what is moral or not?

    Besides Ray is right; eating animals is not a moral question.

  • http://culturesalad.blogspot.com Ray Ellis

    I have a better idea, Philos. Why don’t we deal with the more complex issues, and get off Philosophy 101? For every simplistic Western philosophy you bring up, I can counter with an Eastern one.

    The fact remains that the world is not Utopian, and it’s not made up of good things and bad things. Things simply “are.” Have you considered what would happen to the deer population if man did not hunt them? Mind you, I’m not a hunter, and I in no way condone trophy hunting. But a simple fact remains: if man were not there (since man is the deer’s main predator in America) the deer population would mushroom, and they would face starvation.
    I could go on with realities, but you’d attempt to counter with some babble about the nature of morality–a subject which you have yet to address save in the narrowest parameters.
    You still don’t get it. Morals are man-made, a product of social and religious mores. Ethics are eternal.

  • Philos

    Clavos,

    I don’t think morality is decreed any more than the law of gravity is decreed. They are both things to be discovered.

    Anyway I didn’t suggest anyone degrees it, I gave an argument for it. If you disagree then you should be able to say what is wrong with the argument.

  • http://handyfilm.blogspot.com handyguy

    Clavos, Philos is far from the only person to have moral qualms about the food industry and its mass production of food animals. Even non-radical non-vegetarians like me can find it disturbing that giant businesses force animals to live in their own filth in cage-like, massively crowded conditions.

    It’s not necessarily healthy for us to eat food produced this way either [every time you hear about salmonella in salads or in chickens, the waste policies of these factory farms are to blame]. I can comprehend why this could radicalize someone. Can’t you? Read Fast Food Nation for more fun facts in this vein.

  • Philos

    Ray wrote:

    “The fact remains that the world is not Utopian, and it’s not made up of good things and bad things. Things simply “are.”

    Then you’d have to say that it is neither a good thing nor a bad thing for someone “to torture babies just for fun”, as I asked you to address in an earlier post?? If you accept that it is really wrong to “torture babies just for fun” then you have to admit that there are some bad things, therefore your claim that “the world is not composed of good and bad things” cannot be right.

  • http://nitpickingnightdragon.blogspot.com Mark Edward Manning

    Nancy: “A simple & easy solution to animal experimentation would be to use violent offender prisoners instead.”

    Hear, hear! A great idea, one that should definitely be put into practice and one in which vivisection would be a hell of a lot more accurate but it would never make it past the gates due to the nutjobs on both the politically correct, human-rights worshipping Left and the Religious Right.

  • http://culturesalad.blogspot.com Ray Ellis

    Semantics bore me– they’re the last defense of somebody without a valid argument. And silly arguments relying on semantics are even more pointless.
    You can skirt issues all you want. From the point of view of the Universe, you can’t strip it down to such easy questions. If A had not happened, then B would not have happened, in which case, C (where we are now) would not exist.
    The subject of “torturing babies for fun” is not germaine to the original discussion. Please focus.

  • http://handyfilm.blogspot.com handyguy

    Meanwhile, the 4 most popular articles on this site currently are about Britney Spears, and the 5th is about that star of High School Musical and her nude pics. It’s good to know we have such a serious, high-minded readership.

  • Clavos

    handy,

    If you’ve read my comments carefully, you’ll see that the thrust of my arguments are in response to the question of the morality of eating animals, not really the conditions under which they are bred and raised; that’s a separate set of issues which I don’t believe I’ve addressed; at least not in this thread.

    Unless I’ve seriously misunderstood Philos’ arguments, he’s not concerned so much with the nature of the commercial meat industry as he is with what he considers the immorality of meat-eating as a practice.

  • http://handyfilm.blogspot.com handyguy

    This article is now in the top 5, apparently because of my mentioning you-know-who in my previous comment. Yeesh.

  • Clavos

    handy #48:

    H.L. Mencken had it right.

  • Clavos

    “I don’t think morality is decreed any more than the law of gravity is decreed”

    Apples and pears, Philos. Newton scientifically proved the existence of gravity.

    Where’s the scientific proof of what constitutes morality, especially the universal morality you postulate?

    Why, for instance (I’ll make it easy), is murder immoral? What makes it so?

  • zingzing

    “A simple & easy solution to animal experimentation would be to use violent offender prisoners instead.”

    hrm. wouldn’t that be unusual punishment?

    loading someone up with drugs or cutting them open or experimenting on their brain is just sick, nancy. same to you, rj.

    that’s a nasty idea. one can only hope that you are never falsely imprisoned and have your brain replaced with an empty beer can and the latest 50 cent album.

  • Philos

    Clavos wrote:

    “Unless I’ve seriously misunderstood Philos’ arguments, he’s not concerned so much with the nature of the commercial meat industry as he is with what he considers the immorality of meat-eating as a practice.”

    I’m concerned about both, but the nature of the meat industry and the horrific treatment of animals is paramount. Over 10 billion animals a year are produced for food in the US alone. In order to produce that many animals at an affordable price (so they fit on the fast food value menu), they must be crowded, mistreated and tortured. That’s morally (or ethically, if you prefer) inexcusable. But it wouldn’t be right to kill them even if they were treated well, since they have lives of their own and we don’t need to breed and kill them for food.

    There are other moral issues with breeding animals that concern me, as well:

    The Journal of Agricultural and Environmental Ethics-vol.16-pp.505-511 says that on average, you have to plant about eight times as much land in crops to feed to the animals –to then feed to us –as you would need to plant crops to feed us directly. If we didn’t use the land to crow crops to feed animals that land could be used to feed the starving people of the world.

    Livestock production takes a heavy toll on the environment. Researchers at the University of Chicago have determined that “switching to a vegan diet is more effective in countering global warming than switching from a standard American car to a Toyota Prius.”

    A recent 400 page UN reportcalled “Livestock’s Long Shadow” says “that raising animals for food generates more greenhouse gases than all the cars, trucks, and [planes] in the world combined.”

    Here’s the link to the UN report and Here’s a link to a great cover photo and article from Rolling Stone Magazine.

  • http://culturesalad.blogspot.com Ray Ellis

    Aha! The truth comes out at last–and what a surprising truth it was.Unfortunately, Philos, you could drive a hybrid vehicle through the holes in your logic.

    Animals and humans have coexisted for millenia, and from earliest times, the relationship between them has been symbiotic.

    You’ve gone from faulty philosophy to pseudo-science in a single bound. You do those of us who are truly concerned about the environment, and the steps we need to take to preserve it,when you link vegan babble to the environment.

    I don’t advocate the mistreatment of animals in any fashion– but your arguments are just plain silly now. And I think you have served to eloquently illustrate Manning’s original point.

    Nice work.

  • Philos

    Clavos asked:

    “Why…is murder immoral? What makes it so?

    Either murder really is wrong or it is not. If you agree that it is wrong, then you’re agreeing that there is a real right and wrong. If so, then we see eye-to-eye on that point, and the meat-eating debate can proceed from there.

    However, once we’re discussing the rightness or wrongness of meat-eating it is not a relevant reply to then ask “is anything right or wrong”, because we have already agreed on that.

    If you really doubt that murder (or torturing babies just for fun) is wrong, then I don’t know what to say to you. There are answers to this kind of question– about whether or not morality exists at all — but it would require presenting a philosophical treatise.

    If you’re seriously interested in exploring that question I recommend Ronald Dworkin’s “Truth and Objectivity: You’d Better Believe It”, which can probably be found online.

  • Philos

    Again Ray Ellis provides us with no argument about anything…only nonsense.

    For anyone seriously interested in the environment, in a previous post I’ve provided a link to the 408 page UN report about the environmental destruction caused by livestock production and the recent University of Chicago report is also available online.

  • http://culturesalad.blogspot.com Ray Ellis

    I was rather expecting a response like that from you, Philos.

    Tell me, how is posing a question nonsense? I’ve seen nothing but platitudes and rhetoric from you–oh–and a link to a 408 page report. Yet, you quote not one sentence from it.
    What is your solution for the Earth’s woes, Philos? You’ve yet to provide one. You have no problem stating what is wrong in the world according to Philos, but you’ve yet to even hint at a solution.
    And I’ll tell you what– driving a Prius make you feel all warm and green, but the problems we face are a helluva lot more serious than cows feeding on land that could be reserved for vegans.

  • Philos

    Ray, you need to go back to the Britney Spears page and try not to get lost again.

  • Clavos

    Sorry, Philos.

    I will leave the discussion here, because I can’t even think about accepting your basic premises in re what’s wrong with meat eating, as presented in your #54; to wit:

    “…the nature of the meat industry and the horrific treatment of animals is paramount. Over 10 billion animals a year are produced for food in the US alone. In order to produce that many animals at an affordable price (so they fit on the fast food value menu), they must be crowded, mistreated and tortured.”

    There are a number of viewpoints about that issue, but accepting for the sake of argument that every meat producer is cruelly mistreating animals, the problem is easy enough to fix with legislation and regulation of the industry. However, as I said, there are many opinions on the severity and extent, and even whether or not there is a problem on this issue.

    “But it wouldn’t be right to kill them even if they were treated well, since they have lives of their own and we don’t need to breed and kill them for food.”

    I will agree that we don’t need to “breed and kill them for food,” but the question of whether it’s right or not is not empirical, and I don’t agree (nor do millions of people) that it’s wrong. This is not an issue; it’s a question of opinion (or preference).

    “The Journal of Agricultural and Environmental Ethics-vol.16-pp.505-511 says that on average, you have to plant about eight times as much land in crops to feed to the animals –to then feed to us –as you would need to plant crops to feed us directly.”

    I’ll accept the truth of that, though I’ve not researched it myself for opposing opinions.

    “if we didn’t use the land to crow crops to feed animals that land could be used to feed the starving people of the world.”

    We could do that, but we don’t need to. People are not starving because there’s not enough food to go around, but because the distribution of the food we already produce is political. Witness the millions of tons of grain we (the US) waste every year propping up the price of grain; that would feed a lot of people, but doesn’t. Even though the US does donate large quantities of foodstuffs annually to the third world, much of it never reaches the people it’s meant to feed, it’s sold (not by the US, by those to whom it’s delivered). I have personally seen bags of grain for sale in Third World marketplaces, clearly marked with “shaking hands” logo of USAID.

    There is still ample room in the temperate parts of the world, to grow even more food than is already produced, but no incentive to do so until the whole thing is de-politicized.

    “Livestock production takes a heavy toll on the environment. Researchers at the University of Chicago have determined that “switching to a vegan diet is more effective in countering global warming than switching from a standard American car to a Toyota Prius.””

    Here, you really lose me. The whole GW issue is a purely political one as far as I’m concerned. I don’t accept the basic premise that GW is largely anthropogenic. That’s an entire other issue, which I would be glad to debate (perhaps you’d like to write an article?), but which would be totally off-topic here, so I won’t even get into it.

  • http://culturesalad.blogspot.com Ray Ellis

    Philos, I take it by your puerile reply, you’re stumped.
    Better luck nest time.

  • Philos

    Clavos wrote:
    “…the question of whether it’s right [slaughtering and eating animals] or not is not empirical, and I don’t agree (nor do millions of people) that it’s wrong. This is not an issue; it’s a question of opinion (or preference).”

    It’s no less a moral issue than the other moral issues I mentioned earlier like killing humans, euthanasia, stealing, cheating, and polluting the environment.

    Moral issues are usually issues that affect or harm others and no one has a right to harm others. If anyone thinks it is wrong to harm humans needlessly, but it is okay to harm animals needlessly, then they need to explain what the morally relevant difference is between the two cases. This of course, leads to some of the main (and lengthy) philosophical arguments for animal rights.

    Anti-animal folk have not managed to provide a morally relevant trait that includes all humans, while excluding all the other animals. If anyone thinks it is easy, try to come up with one and maybe I’ll find time in the next week to respond.

    Otherwise, I’m going to say so long Clavos, I’ve enjoyed debating with you.

  • http://culturesalad.blogspot.com Ray Ellis

    And so it ends–not with a bang, but a whimper. “Some say the world will wnd in fire, some in ice.”

  • Cindy D

    Eating one of the things I have been adapted to eat–meat–is hardly a moral issue.

    Humane treatment of animals, now that is a moral issue.

    “Anti-animal folk have not managed to provide a morally relevant trait that includes all humans, while excluding all the other animals.”

    Animals do not engage in moral thinking. Humans do.

    (P.S. I hope its okay to answer despite the fact that I am not “anti-animal.”)

  • Clavos

    I don’t think anyone commenting on this thread is “anti-animal,” Cindy.

    But apparently, others do.

  • Cindy D

    I wonder if Philos will consider “thinking about moral issues” a relevant trait.

  • http://culturesalad.blogspot.com Ray Ellis

    Cindy–he’s had the better part of a week to consider those issues. I wouldn’t bank on any relevance, though.

  • Charles

    Cindy wrote (citing Philos):

    ” ‘Anti-animal folk have not managed to provide a morally relevant trait that includes all humans, while excluding all the other animals.’

    “Animals do not engage in moral thinking. Humans do.”

    This is a good example for Philos’s point. Is engaging in moral thinking something that includes all humans and excludes all other animals?

    Focus on the first part. Does it include all humans? No, none of us has engaged in moral thinking for all of our lives–when we were babies, for example. Some of us, those who are handicapped or disabled in various ways may not even have the potential.

    So, even if no other animal engages in moral thinking (some ethologists might dispute that), moral thinking may exclude all other animals, but it doesn’t include all humans.

    If we still don’t think it’s OK to raise and kill handicapped children for food, then something’s wrong with “engaging in moral thinking” as a morally relevant difference between animals and humans–that is, one that makes _enough_ difference that it is (supposedly) alright to eat the animals but not the babies.

    It’s back the drawing board. (Not back to the dinner table!)

    Charles

  • Clavos

    First of all, as Ray has pointed out repeatedly in this thread, whether or not we eat animals is an ethical, not a moral question.

    You AVs hurt your own argument by insisting it’s a moral issue, because, as Ray also pointed out, morality is not absolute throughout all of humanity; each set of mores is decided by the society that observes it; what is moral here may be considered to be immoral elsewhere. Since this society long ago decided there was nothing wrong with eating meat, it is obviously not immoral to do so in this society.

    It’s not sematics that the organization is named PETA, and not PMTA.

  • Cindy D

    Charles,

    I want to include insects (maybe even germs) in the moral quandary. How do you think this would play out?

    This is perfectly reasonable to do. After all Jains already do.

    What do you think of eliminating farming because farming could kill insects?

  • Squirrel

    This society also ‘decided long ago there was nothing wrong’ in making people into slaves and oppressing women, so does that mean it is ‘not immoral to do so’ or will people in the far future look back on meat eating as something done long ago by people who didn’t know any better, as we do with regard to the slavers and oppressors of women? Your arguement holds no water.

  • 4mula1

    hey mr. clavos, thats like saying society LONG AGO decided the world is flat.. its the meat n dairy (milk is for baby cows, get soymilk) that lead to heart attack, stroke, ed, PAD, ect..

  • 4mula1

    over 200 charities no longer fund animal research (peta). over 95% of u.s. medical schools no longer offer animal lab (pcrm). animal research has never been validated (pcrm). “currently, nine out of ten experimental drugs fail in clinical studies because we cannot accurately predict how they will behave in people based on laboratory animal studies” said health and human services secretary mike leavitt. (acs, su2c, susan g. komen, ect) “there is a laundry list of problems with mouse models of cancer research” dr.bob weinburg, director of the ludwig center for cancer research at m.i.t. (march of dimes) “work on prevention of polio was long delayed by an erroneous conception of the nature of the human disease based on misleading experimental models of the disease in monkeys” albert sabin, m.d., during a 1984 house subcommittee. in over a quarter of a century, more than 85 hiv vaccines were developed that demonstrated benefits in nonhuman primates but all failed in at least 200 human trails (pcrm). every year charities spend 100s of millions of dollars on animal research. how many more millions (billions?!) before they stop being so gullible.. does your charity still (think the world is flat) fund animal research?…

  • Mark Edward Manning

    “Currently, nine out of ten experimental drugs fail in clinical studies because we cannot accurately predict how they will behave in people based on laboratory animal studies,” said health and Human Services secretary Mike Leavitt.”

    That says it all.

  • http://blogcritics.org/writers/dr-dreadful/ Dr Dreadful

    What 4mula1 (and PETA) fails to grasp is that the failure of 9 out of 10 drugs at the clinical trials stage is a GOOD thing. It means bad drugs aren’t flooding the market.

    As he (she?) quite rightly observes (but comes to the wrong conclusion), a drug may have the desired effect when tested on animals but may not work on humans. This is why we HAVE clinical human trials.

    This is standard operating procedure, people, not some kind of scandal.