Sunday, October 21, 2007

You Should Know: Warped Morals of Animal Rights/Liberation Advocates

There are several important ideological differences between animal rights/liberation advocates (ARLs) and the rest of us. These are important to consider as we must understand those who are attacking our way of life. The more we understand, the better able to fight back we become.

The following information is taken from a bioethics article on animal rights activists and violence at The Discovery Institute.

We have to understand that ARLists do not share a common frame of moral reference with the rest of society. Whereas most of us believe that humans have the highest moral value, it is an article of faith among ARLists that no moral distinction exists between humans and animals; "a rat, is a dog, is a boy," in one animal liberationist's infamous assertion. Thus, while most of us believe that we have a positive moral duty to treat animals humanely and support punishing people that abuse them, ARL movement devotees believe — not metaphorically, but literally — that we have no right to use animals for any purpose, not even as seeing-eye dogs.

In this surreal moral prism, real evil is reduced to banality as advocates equate cattle ranching with human slavery, Mengele's notorious twin experiments with testing the safety of stem cells in rats, and the sending of Jews to the gas showers at Auschwitz with eating a steak. Lest you think I exaggerate, in its pro-vegetarian "Holocaust on Your Plate Campaign," People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) asserted, "The leather sofa and handbag are the moral equivalent of the lampshades made from the skins of people killed in the death camps." What's worse: They meant every word.

ARList ideology is a frontal attack on human exceptionalism. In this sense, it is profoundly anti-human, both in its first principles and in consequential effects. This is undeniably subversive to the moral order. Believing that humans are unique and special is essential to promoting the ideal of universal human rights. After all, if we are just another species of animal in the forest, that is precisely how we will act.


Anonymous said...

Ha! Great points. I never thought of animal rights this way before.

Anonymous said...

Well, another informative post from shill on the go, Lizzie Vonhurst. I guess you have moved on from trying to rationalize that "foie gras isn't cruel" and now have taken an ideological "spin". Well, you're in good company. Perhaps one day you'll even get a job at the National Review. You'll like it, they don't publish alternative views or letters so nobody will be allowed to disagree with you!.

Furthermore, I don't think anyone is too "terrified" of ALF except those guarding their financial interests. "Animal Liberation Front (ALF) has no formal organization, membership or dues. Press releases are listed on its site as well as a magazine. Anyone engaged in non-violent rescue or interfering in a business or institution which tortures animals may call them selves ALF. ALF has always maintained a strict policy of non-violent action towards both animals and humans. []

The article you posted is by Wesley J. Smith entitled New Terrorists on the Block Animal-rights activists turn to violence. Like you, he often quotes corporate lobbyists in his work as well as uses hyperbole and rhetoric like "extremists" and "violence". Here is some more information on him and "The Discovery Institute".

Wesley J. Smith is an outspoken critic of the modern animal rights movement; with frequent publications of his essays through the on-line forum Discovery Institute as well as the ultra conservative National Review. Mr. Smith's editorials reliably quote, source and reference representatives and employees of corporate lobbies as well as data, studies and websites sponsored by lobbyists for commercial animal interests. Most notably they are Berman & Co. and the National Animal Interest Alliance. (see footnote #1) Mr. Smith's editorials go largely unchallenged within these censured forums.

Lobbying for lobbyists.

Mr. Smith's critiques are ideological in nature (non-specific to the circumstances of a particular issue) and/or are reactionary; while framing often dubious entities as "references" and "experts". For example, the NAIA is a lobby group for commercial animal interests which include: animal agribusiness, hunting, trapping, entertainment, breeding and biomedical research. The NAIA aggressively lobbies in favor of the commercial animal interests of its board and associates; while frequently attacking legitimate animal advocacy groups. The Center for Consumer Freedom is one of the many Berman & Co. front sites for the meat, dairy, restaurant and tobacco industries. The result is fairly predictable rhetoric combining ad hominem attacks with dubious (if infrequent) "research" and "data" in support of a narrow ideology. (see footnote #2)He is married to Debra J. Saunders; a conservative, syndicated columnist for the San Francisco Chronicle. Ms. Saunders reliably echo’s her husband’s views, often citing his D.I. “credentials”. Like her husband, she frequently sources and references corporate lobbyists and front groups.

Discovery Institute

According to its website the Discovery Institute was founded in 1990 as a non-profit educational foundation and "think tank". Its agendas include Intelligent Design, traditional free market economy and human exceptionalism. (see footnote #4) D.I. is self described as being "based upon the Christian apologetics of C. S. Lewis" who, ironically; was a harsh critic of both capitalism and human exceptionalism. (see footnote #3) Although D.I. describes itself as "based on the apologetics of C.S. Lewis," there is actually little to no basis for this claim. C.S. Lewis was a harsh critic of capitalism and human exceptionalism[ as well as a vocal anti-vivisectionist. D.I. promotes human exceptionalism as well as a "traditional free market economy". Although his writings were often Christian allegories, he also wrote on psychology and pagan mythology. He was not an evangelical Christian. Such misrepresentations of a connection to a popular author and cultural figure may serve to add undue prestige to ideologies and agendas. D.I.'s CSC director, Stephen C. Meyer, has reported that much of the money comes from wealthy conservative fundamentalists such as Howard Ahmandson Jr. and religious organizations such as the Maclellan Foundation. According to their 2005 IRS Form 990 annual return, D.I. had total revenue of $2.989 million in the 2005 calendar year.


(1) National Animal Interest Allianceis based in Portland, OR where it aggressively lobbies policies, studies, media perception and even local shelter policies through its wealthy and influential board and associates.

(2) Veganism is Murder by Wesley J. Smith (National Review, 7/22/08) is based on “The Least Harm Principle” written by S.L. Davis, of the Dept. of Animal Sciences, Oregon State University (Corvallis, OR). This "research" contrasts with legitimate, impartial studies (those not associated with and/or funded by animal agribusinesses to provide favored results). On Nov 19, 2006, the United Nations (FAO) released "Live Stock's Long Shadow". This study determined approximately one third of the earth's land surface is used to graze or grow feed for livestock. This includes 70% of former Amazon rain forests burned or cut down for pasture. 67% of U.S. grain is used to feed livestock; 70% of Africa's grain is shipped to Europe for livestock feed. Farm animals consume one half the earth's water supply. Other studies related to environmental damage (which includes the environments of animals) and meat consumption are a 2005 study by University of Chicago and the prestigious Worldwatch Institute . [1]

(3) We sacrifice other species to our own not because our own has any objective metaphysical privilege over others, but simply because it is ours. It may be very natural to have this loyalty to our own species, but let us hear no more from the naturalists about the "sentimentality" of anti-vivisectionists. If loyalty to our own species--preference for man simply because we are men--is not sentiment, then what is?" C.S. Lewis

"If we cut up beasts simply because they cannot prevent us and because we are backing our own side in the struggle for existence, it is only logical to cut up imbeciles, criminals, enemies, or capitalist for the same reasons." C.S. Lewis

C.S. Lewis's essay on vivisection

(4) The perception that a country, society, institution, movement, or time period is "exceptional" (ie. unusual or extraordinary) thus does not conform to normal rules, general principles, or the like. Such a perception reflects a belief formed by lived experience, ideology, perceptual frames, or perspectives influenced by knowledge (or lack thereof) of historical or comparative circumstances. (Wikipedia)