Tuesday, November 2, 2010

A world of difference

Back to Lee Hall’s Capers in the Churchyard, where she distinguishes between animal “rights,” which captive, purpose-bred animals do not have and probably could not use, and animal “welfare” – “caring for animals the way we’d care for rightless workers or inanimate machines.”

Those who march and demonstrate against crate size for veal calves and chickens are really all about animal “welfare.” And even when concessions are won – and fewer chickens are crammed into cages, or sows can turn around in their crates, etc. -- the killing and eating continue.

So the demonstrators have altered only the fringe of the problem – which is that these animals will live in slightly better conditions while still serving our wishes . . . until they die.

The demonstration at a Trenton McDonald’s a year or more ago was about killing chickens more humanely – not stopping their killing! It has taken me till now, reading Hall’s two books, to realize this.

Hall’s position is a much harder one to carry out: stop using animals; stop eating them. Let them be!

“Who we are, as animal rights advocates: We are people longing for a world where animals are permitted to live where freedom is possible, on their own terms. Air, earth, woods, water, wind, freedom . . . What are animal rights but the freedom to live on their own terms and not ours? The guiding principle here isn’t to help them, but to aspire not to interfere.”

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