Also, an album by Moby, released in 1996 everywhere except the US and Japan, which got a different version in 1997.

This album was quite a shocker to a lot of people who thought of Moby as simply a techno musician. It consisted of lots of fierce guitar-based rock/punk music, alongside some very simple, quiet pieces. Limited edition UK copies included a bonus disc of the latter, called Little Idiot.

An interesting topic that has come up in the recent years. It is the notion that animals deserve respectable treatment from us humans because they too are living beings, or to the more radical advocates of this, they deserve the same rights as humans.

I can understand the part on respectable treatment. But that only goes as far as not causing unneccessary pain to the animals. What is proper? Is raising a herd of cattle for the sole purpose of slaughtering them for meat improper? I don't think so. Humans are omnivores. Those four pointy teeth we have, the incisors or something, are there for the purpose of tearing flesh apart. If we weren't supposed to eat meat, they wouldn't be there. We have two ways to do this. We either go out and hunt the animal down, kill it, gut it, and eat it. Or we can capture some, breed them, feed them to get them all nice and fat, then kill it and eat it. Now, which animal has an easier time. The one out in the wild, exposed to the elements, subject to predation, disease, famine, drought, natural disasters...... the list goes on. Or the one that sits there and eats. Easy choice.

Is it wrong to kill an animal? If it serves a purpose for us humans, no. If it is out of sheer maliciousness, yes. The 15 year old shooting rabbits with a shotgun for no reason is wrong. Killing an animal in the abattoir then eating it is not. Why? Because we are another species and it is a way for us to subsist. It provides the same results as hunting, but it is much easier and a lot faster. It's called surivival of the fittest. Do lions have any hesitation whatsoever when it kills an antelope and eats it? No. I don't see cats hesitate when they chase mice and eat them.

The destruction of habitat has been a complaint laid by many animal rightists. Yes that is wrong and in no way do I support it. But compare this. In developing countries, governments are kicking the poor out of the slums, knocking their homes down, to make way for industrial infrastructure. Some governments, such as China, provide better housing for them (from slum to apartment house with running water is definitely better) as well as monetary reparations. Some don't. That is very similar to the destruction of animal habitats. Animals have been living in the wild all their lives. Those poor souls haven't. The shock for them of being forced from one place to another is probably a lot worse than the animals.

There was a famous case in Australia a decade ago. In Perth, Western Australia, a factory trained pigeons to peck at buttons according to the type of buttons passing through on the conveyor belt in order to sort them. In return, they provided a spacious aviary with food and water for the birds. The RSPCA sued immediately claiming animal abuse. The factory had to hire humans at minimum wage to perform the job. Isn't that more cruel? The birds don't care as long as they have food and water. They have no respnsibilities. They don't get bored. Humans do. Seems like the RSPCA places more value on pigeons than humans, and that is plain wrong.

I have heard many people say they will never eat meat again after coming out of an abattoir. Why? Too gory? I've been to one, and I have no qualms about eating a nice, juicy steak at the dinner table. Truth is, all the gore is nasty, but we all have those blood and guts in us too. If there was an animal that you can kill with no visual nastiness, and you go to the abattoir and look, when you come out, you wouldn't stop eating it.

I should do more research because this issue is too complicated, but this is all I can come up with off the top of my head.

I can see both sides to the argument that animals should/should not have rights, seen as individual alive creatures, or as a grouping of fuel sources, (the meat counter at supermarkets). Animals, however are not impervious to pain, and no matter what you do.. they are at some level conscious of being alive, and know the point at which they are dead and how it felt.

I just had a roast beef sandwich, I have also seen a cow hung and gored with its intestines falling out, a goats head being severed in a market, etc. The value of eating vegan is great, the fact animal flesh exists does not necessarily mean that we have to eat it. The stage that humanity is at in the first worlds, the need for meats is miniscule when our diet can be supplemented with a huge array of other matter. I suppose a question to be considered is... Can we put ourselves in the place of the animals we are killing, do we respect the rest of the planet by not making the large eco-imbalances that have occurred already due to our ineptness.

It is my opinion that raising animals purely for human consumption is disgusting, those eating of that flesh have no contact with the animal they are eating. Again, it is my bias that meat eating humans SHOULD go kill the animals they are going to eat. Be part of the process other than a 'consumer', and hold a high respect and regard for the creatures that did give up their lives to go into our stomaches.

All animals are fair game, when you consider the fact that we are indeed eating animals, including dogs, cats, snails (escargot), chocolate covered ants. And whose to say ants don't have a much more intelligent and efficient social stucture? Humans are not as badass as we want to believe. I personally don't want to be culled by an alien race for my flesh, though some would argue thats just the natural progression of Hunter and Prey.

I'm off to get an ice-cold carrot stick.



to Dman --> many communities are happier left they way they are, it is only your perception that they are living in squalor, and until you point this out by imposing your own version of reality on them (such as capitalism and a different status system) do they feel poor and useless. This has been pointed out with the advent of technology and 'advanced' society destroying villages deep in Papua New Guinea.
This is a rather odd idea that's been a bit tough for me to pin down solidly.

Basically, what we've got here is the application of human morality to animals. It's classic animism, applying traits that we know and are comfortable with to animals. Bunnies are cute and cuddly. Dogs are loyal. Cats are aloof. Dolphins are happy and intelligent. It's a way for us to try to understand animals, bring them to our level rather than try to understand the level they exist on.

So we apply human morality to cows and chickens and doggies and squirrels. You might ask, why is that so bad? Well, the biggest reason for me is that granting animals similar liberties to humans just drags down on our own concepts of freedoms and liberties. Instead of elavating the rights of the animals, it much more drags down on our own rights, debasing them and minimalizing them.

I know that I am entitled to my life. I choose to lead it as I do, and I give that decision to no other person. It is my basic right as a human being from which all other rights stem. I hold it holy; it is one of the only things I hold holy. When that right (or one similar to it) is extended towards cows or dogs or anything not-human, it degrades the sense of importance associated with that right to my own life. Of course, that degradation isn't true in fact, but getting people to believe it isn't so important or special is the first step to getting them to surrender it.

If you want to talk about biology, how we're designed, how we're 'meant' to be, know this much. We are killer-apes. That is the first reason (the only reason?) our race developed intelligence: to become better at hunting and surviving and being the baddest, most dangerous, most adaptive creature on this planet. Survival of the fittest; human beings are a direct product of it. It might be argued that we can 'elevate' ourselves above that level (I would argue against that, if only to be devil's advocate), but let's not make-believe about what we are 'intended' to be. Our ancestors were amazingly efficient and successful killer-apes. 'Nuf said.

Myself, I value human life above animals. Using mice to research medicine? Hell, they're just starting to treat spinal cord injuries in mice; I'm willing to bet that Christopher Reeves will walk within the decade, as long as gov't and protesters mostly stay out of the scientists' way. Food? I'll be honest, bacon tastes good. I know full well where it comes from, and I still like ham and beef and (gasp!) even sausages of unspecified origin. It tastes good, and (at least for me) is much better at fueling me than any fruits and vegetables. Trust me, I tried a veggie diet for a while a few years ago. I just felt run-down, without energy, and caught 2 colds (I never get sick!) before I gave up and sat down for a steak. I don't know if it's real or psychosomatic. That's just the way it is, for me, and for a lot of other people.

Look, the main thrust here is that granting animals rights only demeans the ones we have ourselves. There are a lot of other arguments here, but that is the main one I would stand by and die defending.

This node has been moved by the author from Animal Liberation Front because it deals more with the concept of animal rights than the aforementioned militant organization.


The extremist organization ALF derived its name from philosopher Peter Singer's masterpiece on animal rights, Animal Liberation. His basic premise is this: suffering is bad. If suffering can be avoided, it should be. As human beings, we do have the capacity to avoid suffering, and if we don't, we cannot claim to be "good." The purpose of this writeup is not to justify doing violence against humans for the purpose of supporting animals, but to shed some light on why some people think animals deserve humane, fair treatment. The right to drive a car has a responsibility -- you must avoid hurting others or suffer the penalties. The right for any animal to simply exist without unnecessary pain shouldn't have responsibilities or obligations. If it does, then please allow me to brutalize helpless infants, abuse the mentally retarded or ill, and rob the elderly blind.

I haven't read too much of Singer's work, but I'm guessing in some ways he is a hedonist. I did happen to see him do an interview on Public Television, in which he expressed the idea that raising animals for food, under current cruel conditions (see www.factoryfarming.com) is really another form of tyranny. The Hedonistic Imperative is basically to eliminate all unnecessary pain through technology and tolerance. Pleasure is generally good; pain is bad. I can agree with this. There are of course some exceptions, but when analysed further, they aren't really exceptions. For example, some people suffer pain whenever they go to the dentist, no matter how simple the procedure. Once they move out of the house and are no longer forced by their parents to take care of themselves, they may foolishly choose to avoid the dentist at all costs, in order to avoid pain.

Unfortunately, the end result is often more pain. I hate dentists, and avoid them as much as possible. I also have weird tooth pain often, especially when eating really sugary, chewy foods. I think "Hmm, maybe it's a cavity...oh well!" I know I have to go eventually, but it'll be awhile until I muster up the courage and effort to do so. There are various painful consequences when one avoids the dentist to avoid immediate pain. One can develop disgusting plaque deposits below the gumline that must be sliced out with the functional equivalent of a jackhammer with an exactotm knife on the tip. One can develop such bad tooth decay that the roots must be ripped out, filled with a hard polymer, and capped off with a fake, expensive crown.

Peter Singer is, I believe, an atheist, or at the very least, a doubtful agnostic. His philosophical position on god is this -- there is too much suffering on Earth to justify the existence of some all-powerful, all-good mighty deity. It's the problem of evil -- why does god allow evil to exist? In the case of the Christian god, why did he create evil in the first place (see Isaiah 45:7)?

Singer believes that mother nature is indifferent/ambivalent, and can thus be seen as vicious and cruel, depending on the observer. Nature can be beautiful, creative, and destructive, all at once. Nature is; it doesn't make excuses for itself. It has nobody to answer to. The fact that bad shit happens, to him (and I) justifies the notion that there simply can't be a "good" moral arbiter.

What does this mean? Well, as humans, we acknowledge that suffering usually is bad. Pain has a purpose, but should be avoided by preventing what causes pain in the first place. If one is without physical pain, one is usually in good health. We know, of course, that a lion in the Savannah isn't concerned with the level of pain endured by its prey. It isn't a humanitarian. It's trying to survive, yet even then it kills with a swiftness (they generally go right for the jugular) that is probably about as painless as being ripped apart by a lion can be. Vicious hunting animals usually kill their prey pretty quickly, primarily to save energy by avoiding a long struggle.

But we are human beings. We have the capacity to reason. Despite the American propaganda, we don't need milk or meat to survive, and some argue that their net effect is actually a lowered life expectancy (see America, home of the materialistic suicidal maniac diet). We were not "designed" to eat meat. We evolved in a situation that occasionally provided meat, and have the capacity to digest it, but our entire digestive system is more biologically accustomed to pulverizing raw vegetable matter than anything else. We can make the choice not to eat animals. We can make the choice to end needless suffering; to spare animals from feeling unnecessary pain.

In other words, we are the moral arbiters. We have inherited the Earth, not from a benevolent god, but from our evolutionary heritage. The Earth is "ours" because we have mastered the art of living just about anywhere. In some ways we consider ourselves superior to everything else. In some ways, we are stupid, arrogant, ignorant fools. Every single human being could be annihilated right now, and the ecosystem wouldn't suffer in the slightest, with the exception of the artificially alive animals that we breed and feed ourselves. In fact, it would probably rebound for the better.

What us arrogant, foolish humans fail to realize is that we need the Earth and its life far more than it needs us. The idea of a "circle of life" is not just touchy-feely jibberish. The ecosystem goes through a constant cycle of life and death, and in order to remain stable, all of its life forms must be preserved. We think we are at the top of the food chain, even as we are parasitized by viruses and bacteria on a regular basis. We overpopulate the world with ourselves and our "domesticated" animals. People wonder why all of the sudden, Mad Cow and Foot and Mouth disease are such a big deal. These diseases ALWAYS existed. Mad Cow disease spontaneously occurs in cattle...but it only SPREADS when some idiotic human decides to force cows to eat their fallen brethren. Foot and Mouth disease spreads very easily, especially when cattle populations are sky-high compared to what they would be in a "natural" setting, in a setting where they weren't being cultivated by stupid, selfish humans.

And guess what? Human population is abnormally high as well. In the early 20th century, over 25 million people were wiped out by a bad iteration of the flu. Imagine how heavy the impact would be today, when we are all meshed together in this ever-growing network of biological mass. In 1997, every single chicken in Hong Kong had to be destroyed, because of a strain of Avian flu that had a tendency to kill human beings...with a 33% fatality rate. Huge populations are unnatural, and so infections thrive. I don't quite believe in the Gaia Hypothesis, but I do believe that infectious organisms serve as a population control mechanism by virtue of their routes of infection and reproduction. It's almost as if they were designed to keep us in check...

Humans are stupid in that they think they can change the environment for the better. Rather than lay back and let nature do its thing, we try to manipulate the entire planet as much as possible. We fail to realize that with change comes mass extinction. When you change the rules of natural selection, you essentially wipe out everything that doesn't "fit in" perfectly with your plan. This could include you.

There's my perspective. Animals feel pain, and they express it. They can reason, and I think it's ridiculous to say that because they cannot easily communicate with us, they must not be able to think to themselves, in their own little minds. I'm not going to say that we should stop doing research on animals for medical purposes, although further prolonging the lives of humans isn't really a great idea for our environment either... I'm not going to say we should stop using animals for cancer research, but I do think that vivisecting dogs and cats (for educational purposes) is totally unnecessary in this day and age. It's been done a billion times, it's been taped on video a million times, and there are a thousand computer programs that will simulate the process just as well. Real doctors work with human cadavers eventually, anyway. I do agree that Fox Hunting is incredibly stupid and cowardly. Whoop-de-frickin' doo, let's ride horses and let trained hounds tear apart foxes. Aren't we the big sportsmen! Most hunting is never a sport, no matter how tired the hunter gets from oafishly chasing his prey. The risky hunting usually involves endangered animals like Rhinos or Elephants. In a real sport, there are two sides, equally equipped to compete with eachother. Also, animal testing for non-health products is appalling, in my opinion. I try to buy hair care products that haven't been tested on animals, and strangely enough, I never explode into hives or convulsions.

The campaign group Seriously Ill for Medical Research, a group that represents people with medical condition who believe that cures are likely to be developed only through research with animals, has produced a card in the style of an organ donor card which reads:

"I wish to see all animal research abolished and agree to live without treatments developed using animal research and testing. "To honour my belief that animal research should be abolished, I hereby pledge that:

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