Thursday, December 16, 2010

HuffPo readers don’t like having their animal rights credentials challenged

Sarah Palin said on some caribou-killing reality show, “Unless you’ve never worn leather shoes, sat on a leather sofa, or eaten meat, save your condemnation.”

This really pissed off screenwriter/playright Aaron Sorkin. He wrote an angry essay in the Huffington Post. He said, unlike Sarah Palin, he took no pleasure in the slaughter of animals whose flesh he consumed.

Prof Gary Francione wrote a brilliant rebuttal to Aaron Sorkin.

You object to her killing the caribou because it was unnecessary; she did it because she enjoys it. And why do you eat meat and animal products? That’s a rhetorical question. There’s only one answer: because you enjoy it.

The fact that you pay someone else to do the dirty work is morally irrelevant. I teach criminal law. If you pay someone to kill another human, try telling the judge that the killer actually enjoyed the act of killing but that you just paid for it. The judge will tell you that you’re both guilty of murder. You’re both equally culpable.

Of course Prof. Francione’s post didn’t get printed. People with views like his can’t enter through the front door of the Huffington Post. He gets relegated to the comments section. And the HuffPo progressives didn’t like what he had to say. One wrote...

I am grateful for the animals that bring me comfort and sustenance. I go to great lengths to buy from caring, humane farms where the ranchers show genuine concern for their animals. I pay nearly twice as much, in some cases, to avoid buying from farms whose conditions I don’t approve of.

He pays nearly twice as much. He goes to the grass fed, open range meat section in places like Whole Foods, where none of the meat is injected with hormones, but it’s injected with plenty of clean conscience. The clean conscience is well worth paying nearly twice as much for. The progressive can enjoy the juicy meat while at the same time ridiculing people like Sarah Palin for their barbaric treatment of animals. She’s a savage. A neandretahal. Man, this steak tastes great. But now here comes this law professor, this abolitionist, saying the progressive eater of flesh is no better Sarah Palin, and the clean conscience he paid good money for at Whole Foods is spoiled. Spoiled conscience is way worse than spoiled meat. The professive wants his money back.

What about the gratitude he feels for the animals who bring him comfort and sustenance? He’s got a point there. The gratitude of a progressive gives meaning to any farm animal’s death. If his throat is slit merely to feet the belly of some dirty Walmart heathen, forget it, the steer will struggle like crazy to avoid walking town the Temple-Grandin designed cattle chute. But if his death can bring about the gratitude of a progressive, he can’t get to the stun bolt gun fast enough. The commenter continues...

I refuse to be lumped in with people who send trusting companions out to fight and die, or people who dance around a dead moose so people think they’re a maverick.

He can’t tolerate being in the same group portrait as people like Sarah Palin and the factory farmers. In a way he’s right. He can’t be lumped in with her. She at least acknowledges her disregard of the animal’s interest in living.

Next commeneter says to Prof. Francione…

I’m not sure what you mean by serious animal advocacy but I know from my own personal experience that there are a great many serious animal advocates and organizations out there accomplishing wonderful things, one baby step at a time.

One baby step at a time. You hear this one all the time. You heard it constantly during the HSUS campaign for Prop 2. Baby steps. We insist on bigger cages for laying hens because that’s all the industry will give us. Baby steps. People won’t realistically stop eating meat. We can’t stop the animal from being slaughtered, but we can give him a better life before it happens.

They’re taking the longer view. They’re realists. Very hungry realists. And baby steps permit these "serious animal advocates" to fight for an animal's rights at the same time they’re consuming that animal’s flesh. It’s quite a sleight of hand and they manage to pull it off. They campaign for bigger cages with fire in their eyes and animal flesh in their bellies. And they don’t appreciate someone like Prof. Francione pointing out their hyprocrisy.