Do Animals Not Count?: Those who claim to care about ‘marginalized voices’ have nothing to say about those who have no voice at all
Those who speak of intersectionality are uninterested in the issue of animal justice. Those who champion the cause of vulnerable bodies ignore the plight of those whose bodies are bred specifically for a life of torture, sickness and slaughter.
MATTHEW SCHULTZ: It often feels like the progressive circle of moral concern includes every ethnic, racial and sexual minority under the sun… There is, however, an even more glaring absence. Missing entirely from the agenda are non-human animals, who remain among the most oppressed members of our society.
According to the progressive worldview, every decade should bring more liberties for more people. The arc of history, in other words, is long and ought to bend toward justice. For domesticated farm animals, however, the arc of history is long and bends toward an abyss. With each year, new technologies combine with outrageous market demands to make their lives more cramped, joyless, painful and grotesque.
Despite this, the progressive vanguard in America has nothing to say on this matter. Factory farming is discussed solely as an environmental issue. In certain rarefied circles, beef has become politically incorrect, but the reasons given have everything to do with continued human thriving on earth, and nothing to do with the well-being of the animals themselves.
And so it is that those who claim to care about marginalized voices have nothing to say about those who have no voice at all. Those who champion the cause of vulnerable bodies ignore the plight of those whose bodies are bred specifically for a life of torture, sickness and slaughter. Those who speak of intersectionality are uninterested in the way that issues of animal justice, social justice, ecological justice and feminist justice intersect in the plight of female farm animals like dairy cows, for instance, whose suffering is indeed compounded on account of their sex.
When it comes to animals, the progressive catechism is thrown out the window. Take, for instance, the idea that “silence is violence”… In the case of animal rights, however, we are encouraged to keep quiet. After all, nothing is more annoying than a vegan on a soapbox — a point with broad bipartisan support…
We are told that “injustice anywhere is a threat to injustice everywhere.” Hence, one finds Palestinian flags at BLM protests… The rule finds its exception in the case of animals, whose cause is isolated from all others. I personally have been told that raising the matter of animal rights is to unfairly steal the spotlight from more important human causes.
Moreover, to draw any comparison between animal suffering and human suffering, as Isaac Bashevis Singer infamously did when he compared factory farms to death camps, is to break an inviolable taboo — not necessarily because the comparison isn’t apt, but rather because it is considered an insult to human dignity to even suggest that animals suffer like we do.
Well, it’s true that humans and animals are different, but not incomparably so. We are smarter and have more complex societies — that’s clear enough. What’s unclear is why that makes us and only us worthy of moral consideration… As philosopher Jeremy Bentham said in 1789, “The question is not, can they reason? nor, can they talk? but, can they suffer?”
Or, as Maimonides said even before that, in regards to the prohibition of slaughtering a mother cow and its calf on the same day, “there is no difference … between the pain of human beings and the pain of other living beings, since the love and tenderness of the mother for her young ones is not produced by reasoning”…
After all, they are living beings — heir to all the potential joy and pain inherent therein. That we are gravely mistreating them should thus be a source of outrage. All humans — especially those who claim to be committed to the ideal of justice—should care. SOURCE…