Horselover Facts

Animal welfare activists are pushing the American Horse Slaughter Prevention Act, which would ban "the shipping, transporting, moving, delivering, receiving, possessing, purchasing, selling, or donation of horses and other equines to be slaughtered for human consumption." Ken Silverstein parses the problems with the bill:

Are French horse eaters worse than American cow, pig, or chicken eaters? Keep in mind that unlike the last three animals, horses aren't raised for food. Animals raised on factory farms live in infinitely more squalid circumstances than horses destined for the dinner plate. [The law's supporters] say that transport conditions to Mexico are appalling, with, in the words of the American Welfare Institute, horses "typically hauled for more than 24 hours without rest, water, or food in trailers that provide little protection from weather extremes. They are often forced onto cattle trailers with ceilings so low they injure their heads." That may well be true, but shutting down the domestic slaughterhouses has increased exports. So now more horses are being sent off to Mexico.

But, runs the counterargument, if the AHSPA passes and the export trade is banned, American horses will roam free and live happy lives. There are hundreds of horse rescue operations in existence, they say, and unwanted horses that would otherwise be slaughtered would be adopted and cared for.

But is that really the case? Most horses sent to slaughter are past their prime and unwanted by the farmers or ranchers who own them. Patricia Evans, of Utah State University's Animal, Dairy, and Veterinary Sciences Department, says that more horses are being abandoned now that domestic slaughterhouses have been closed. The advocates "predicted that shutting down domestic slaughterhouses wouldn't increase neglect and abuse, but we're in the real world," she said. "Unfortunately, kids get abused and so do animals."

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  • Episiarch||

    Let's see--I'm a farmer with an old useless horse that I no longer want. I used to sell it to a slaughterhouse, maybe in Mexico. If I can no longer do that, what do I do?

    Animal activist answer: horse lives until natural death, cavorting in the green fields.

    Real answer: I shoot the fucker and bury it with my backhoe.

    Good job, activists!

  • Syloson of Samos||

    But, but horses live the lives of cartoon animals, right?

  • ||

    Wishful-thinking based legislation is exempt from the Law of Unintended Consequences; why can't you people get that through your heads?

  • ||

    From the post title, I thought this might turn out to be a Philip K. Dick reference.

  • ||

    Animal activist answer: horse lives until natural death, cavorting in the green fields.

    You forgot the part about how keeping the methane and CO2 spewing beast alive will contribute to equinogenic global warming. What's an activist/environmentalist to do?

    Hey, I made up a word.

  • ||

    Once again Congress steps in where they do not belong.Mr. Ed must Die!

  • ||

    Nathan, I thought so too. Instead it's some animal story.

  • Mike Laursen||

    Hey, I made up a word.

    Hey, pretty good. Only three hits in Google, including your comment. "Bovinogenic" only gets four hits.

  • ||

    Yeah, no matter what happens, some idiot is going to make a Dick reference.

  • Jesse Walker||

    Why can't it be both, Sam? The title is a VALIS reference. The post is an animal story. Everyone's a winner!

  • Neu Mejican||

    PKD was an animal lover.
    So kudos for the Valis reference.

  • ||

    I understand Sarah Jessica Parker and Hillary Swank are huge supporters of this act.

  • ||

    Should we allow dogs to be sent to Mexico to be made into food? How about cats? Why not allow domestic dog and cat slaughterhouses, I mean, otherwise all those dogs will just have terrible neglected lives. While we are at it there is a problem in this nation with homeless kids, we could just eat them too. I mean otherwise these kids will just be abandoned.

    The sum and substance of Libertopian Wisdom...

  • ||

  • ||

    "Real answer: I shoot the fucker and bury it with my backhoe."

    During my 5-year rural sojourn, our property backed up to a pasture where my neighbor ran a few dozen head of cattle, including a couple of bulls.

    One day I happened to look toward the pasture and noticed one of the bulls with stiff legs, if not exactly pointing to the sky, at least rigor mortising in that general direction.

    Here came my neighbor on his backhoe. Wandering over to the fence to watch the goings on, I was expecting him to scoop out a grave for Ol' Toro, but instead he dismounted with a gas can, doused the bloating bull, and chucked a match on him.

    I asked him why he didn't just bury the bull.

    "I ain't gonna waste time digging a hole for that big fucker," was the gist of his answer.

    The environs did smell like steak for the next few days.

  • ||

    Mr. Nice Guy,

    I never thought about how libertarianism advocates eating children! You've really struck a mortal blow to libertarianism there. Wow, I'm staggering around stunned. You've finally shown us horrible libertarians the error of our ways and we promise to go forth and sin no more.

    Your work is finally done here. I'm sure there are thousands of other comment boards that would benefit from your asinine hyperbole. Go. They need you.

  • ||

    Well SugarFree, if you don't want sarcasm then stop acting like the Law of Unintended Consequences can explain everything and deflect meteor showers all at the same time.

    If you give a libertarian a fish he will eat it.
    If you give a libertarian a fishing pole he will fish with it.
    If you give a libertertarian an explanation of the Law of Unintended Consequences they will use in reference to any policy they don't like.

  • ||

    I understand Sarah Jessica Parker and Hillary Swank are huge supporters of this ac

    Name two people smarter than a dishrag who care what those two think. I dare you!

  • ||

    You know the problem with outlawing rape? It creates a market for rape and more women are raped.

    The LAW OF UNINTENDED CONSEQUENCES HAS SPOKEN.

    You know the problem with outlawing child pornography? It creates a market for it and with the incentive to produce it suddenly there is more of it.

    The LAW OF UNINTENDED CONSEQUENCES HAS SPOKEN.


    Damn, this thing has more uses than Green Lantern's ring and makes me look like I'm smart!

  • ||

    Oh, stop beating a dead horse. You've finally put use in our place. You are needed elsewhere, Liberal Avenger!

  • fyodor||

    Mr. Nice Guy,

    Um, so if we think there's no moral difference between eating pigs and eating horses, then we've obscured the difference between eating any animal and eating humans?

    Makes sense to me.

  • Episiarch||

    As usual, MNG goes hysterical and hyperbolic on a post regarding animal issues. Maybe you could try not to be a) so predictable, and b) so annoying.

    I don't think I've ever read typing that conveys, without sound, shrill hysteria more than your animal posts. It's uncanny.

    Oh, stop beating a dead horse.

    Pun intended, or excellent slip?

  • ||

    Should we allow dogs to be sent to Mexico to be made into food? How about cats? Why not allow domestic dog and cat slaughterhouses...

    Yeah sure, why not?

    I'm not getting the point you are trying to make. Are certain animals supposed to be food and other not?

    If I remember correctly, horse meat was not considered something not to be eaten even in the US.

    What, all of a sudden horses are a protected creature that should only be used for noble things, like racing?

  • Jesse Walker||

    MNG: I can't help noting that there were no references to the Law of Unintended Consequences -- either the real thing or your odd version of it -- in your original comment.

  • ||

    If I remember correctly, horse meat was not considered something not to be eaten even in the US.

    To clariffy...I should have said :
    If I remember correctly, in decades past, horse meat was considered something to be eaten even in the US. I know many people from older generations who have eaten horse meat on more than one occasion.

  • fyodor||

    Mr. Nice Guy,

    Instead of caricaturing libertarians as unthinkingly stupid, perhaps you could show how the argument being employed, that horse owners would not necessarily treat their old horses better just because one marketable use for them has been made illegal, is faulty?

    And then perhaps we could actually have an intelligent conversation about it?

  • ||

    fyodor-the point is that you can't just say "what about the unintended consequences" in opposition to any government prohibition. In the empirical world government prohibitions decrease the number of certain phenomena all the time.

    Ahh Episiarch, now you may conjure up the animal rights activist who exists in your fevered imagination of Left Wing Boogeymen...

  • ||

    Episiarch,

    Pun intended, or excellent slip?

    Which would get you to respect me in the morning?

  • ||

    Should we allow dogs to be sent to Mexico to be made into food? How about cats? Why not allow domestic dog and cat slaughterhouses, I mean, otherwise all those dogs will just have terrible neglected lives.

    Why not? As it stands now we just cremate the ones the pounds kill. What a waste of protein. I'm sure certain parts of the world would be more than happy to grill them up instead.

    While we are at it there is a problem in this nation with homeless kids, we could just eat them too. I mean otherwise these kids will just be abandoned.

    Eating homeless kids would be very unsatisfying. Not enough meat on the bones and what's there is far too stringy. On the plus side they would be very low in cholesterol.

  • x,y||

    I love animals. They're delicious.***

    ***Stolen from a bumper sticker. Sue me.

  • Episiarch||

    Ahh Episiarch, now you may conjure up the animal rights activist who exists in your fevered imagination of Left Wing Boogeymen...

    You can take pages from joe's book all day and it won't change the fact that you go ballistic on animal threads. Reading your posts almost makes me hyper because you are so worked up.

  • x,y||

    Feed the homeless to the hungry. Kill two birds with one stone.

  • ||

    "Should we allow dogs to be sent to Mexico to be made into food? How about cats? Why not allow domestic dog and cat slaughterhouses, I mean, otherwise all those dogs will just have terrible neglected lives. While we are at it there is a problem in this nation with homeless kids, we could just eat them too. I mean otherwise these kids will just be abandoned."

    IF we ban domestic slaughterhouses, THEN dogs will just be unloved, homeless and treated badly.
    IF we ban the eating of kids, THEN kids will just be neglected and abused.
    The UNINTENDED CONSEQUENCES of the ban are worse than the conditions before the ban.

    That's what I'm making fun of Jesse, and the references to the Law of Unintended Consequences seemed pretty up front there in my first point (quoted here).

  • ||

    As Johnny Carson once pointed out, horses are dumber than pigs. Farmers are in general agreement with that evaluation. Eat the equine idiots and put them out of their stupid existence.

    Slightly OT, I recall horsemeat for sale at the local A&P when I was a child, circa 1963. IIRC, beef prices had spiked and some folks were eating horse as a response. There were no protests. Some headshaking, yes. But no horse buggerers lobbying the legislature to ban the practice.

  • Episiarch||

    Which would get you to respect me in the morning?

    Head. Really, I would have even more respect for you.

  • x,y||

    http://www.thebestpageintheuniverse.net/c.cgi?u=sponsor

    Vintage Maddox.

  • ||

    Epistarch
    But that is just it, I'm usually laughing at the poor reasoning that goes on in these threads, not hysterical. Ironically, its you that always shows up first to these threads like a fly on dung to insult those "activists."

  • ||

    I understand Sarah Jessica Parker and Hillary Swank are huge supporters of this act.

    Name two people smarter than a dishrag who care what those two think. I dare you!


    I don't blame them. Careers don't last forever and they don't want to end up as some bistro's lunch special.

  • ||

    It's not that certain actions might have unintended consequences, but that the conditions before the action, or without, were worse before the unintended consequences.

    Making it more expensive to ship horses to be eaten will mean there will be much, much less of it (its called incentives people, it's libertopians who are supposed to have the obsession with classical economics for pete's sake). Now the unintended consequences can be dealt with in a variety of ways, but the question is, has a moral wrong been averted? Before you go all ballistic with "but, but the government should not avert moral wrongs" perhaps you can explain who will enforce the tort and criminal laws in Libertopia? Super Market Man and his Friedmanite Ring of Power?

  • carrick||

    It's all disney's fault.

  • Episiarch||

    But that is just it, I'm usually laughing at the poor reasoning that goes on in these threads, not hysterical. Ironically, its you that always shows up first to these threads like a fly on dung to insult those "activists."

    You aren't really somebody who should be criticizing the reasoning of others.

  • ||

    Well, if you feel neglected Epistarch, when you start reasoning I'll start criticizing you too :).

  • ||

    Real answer: I shoot the fucker and bury it with my backhoe.

    Actually, it's worse. The horse gets put in a tiny paddock with little or nothing to eat and slowly starves to death while its hooves overgrow, resulting in painful contraction of tendons, laminitis and founder. In addition, the horse's coat becomes infested with lice and mange and its stomach and intestines are destroyed by worms.

    Shooting or otherwise killing them is merciful by comparison.

  • Fluffy||

    Mr. Nice Guy -

    Episiarch has no need to make up an animal rights activist in his head.

    In this thread, you have equated the eating of horses with the eating of children. It's difficult to get more "crazy animal activist" than that.

    With that out of the way -

    Surely even you can agree that a scenario where it's legal to eat pig but not legal to eat horse - or dog - makes no sense, and that the only two scenarios that make sense are "all domesticated animals can be eaten" and "no animals can be eaten"?

  • fyodor||

    MNG,

    Again you stick with the caricature and show no interest in addressing the actual argument being made.

    In fact, there will always be both intended and unintended consequences of any law. If not allowing horses to be slaughtered for food is worth creating an incentive to abandon them instead, then the law is a success. Congratulations animal welfare advocates.

  • Franklin Harris||

    What a coincidence. The unintended consequences have already started.

  • ||

    You're right Aresen, that is an awful fate, and we should have laws against it. We do, animal cruelty and neglect laws, in every state of this nation.

    However, the folks against horse slaughter for food argue that the conditions in the horse slaughter industry are also cruel and they want to take action to end that as well. It's not just squeamishness about eating this particular meat (though even that is not so crazy, after all the human race has had a long standing working relationship with these animals that makes many of us feel like we "owe" them better than that; think of all the great generals who owed their lives to their horses and honored them). Perhaps they are wrong. Perhaps the conditions are better than many that will be faced by horses in other situations. Will everyone prevented from shipping their horse to the slaughterhouse end up starving it or shooting it? That's an empirical matter few of us are qualified to answer. But to just assume that every government prohibition will just by its existence make the problem worse because of the LAW OF UNINTENDED CONSEQUENCES is laziness...

  • Minion of URKOBOLD||

    I NAME THE HORSE MUHAMMAD AND THEN EAT IT. THEREBY GAINING CROSS-OVER INSULT UTILITY.

  • ||

    "In this thread, you have equated the eating of horses with the eating of children. It's difficult to get more "crazy animal activist" than that."
    fluffy, you're smarter than that. Read what I wrote again. It's called satire. I was demonstrating that arguing that government prohibitions always create incentives to make things worse is just stupid, after all we don't think that banning the eating of children will create massive incentives for child abandonment and neglect. But again, you, unlike Epi, are usually smart enough to see such things.

  • Episiarch||

    after all the human race has had a long standing working relationship with these animals that makes many of us feel like we "owe" them better than that; think of all the great generals who owed their lives to their horses and honored them

    Right! And Caligula made his a senator. So what does that mean exactly?

  • Jesse Walker||

    the point is that you can't just say "what about the unintended consequences" in opposition to any government prohibition

    That's true. You have to point out the unintended consequences and make a case that they're significant enough to care about.

    Which happens to be exactly what Ken Silverstein (who isn't a libertarian) did in the post I quoted.

  • RICK SANTORUM\'S DOG||

    NOT ONLY A LABOR RELATIONSHIP, BUT A LEISURE RELATIONSHIP, TOO!

    *reaches for a handi-wipe*

  • ||

    think of all the great generals who owed their lives to their horses and honored them

    Think of all those soldiers who ate theirs in a pinch.

  • ||

    What's wrong with eating horse? I've eaten horse salami numerous times and it's delicious. This is worse than the foie gras ban.

  • Sulla||

    Generally speaking, there are two reasons for banning (criminalizing) an activity. (I think this oversimplification is sufficient for the purposes of the thread).

    1) An action is (believed to be) inherently immoral/evil/bad/wrong, e.g., rape. For these activities, the law of unintended consequences is irrelevant. Even if it were somehow determined that a law banning rape actually caused more rapes, it would be difficult to argue that we should repeal the law, because rape is inherently bad.

    2) An activity is banned because for public policy reasons, i.e., its effects on society or a subset thereof. Hypothetically, imagine a law that banned short skirts because we believe that it leads to more rapes. If we find evidence that this law in fact leads to more rapes, that would be a more fitting application of the law of unintended consequences. The actual effects of the law undermine our true goal.

    Here, if the true goal of the activists is to prevent the slaughter of horses on american soil because it is inherently wrong, then outside considerations become much less important. On the other hand, I think it is fair to say that the true goal is to reduce cruelty to animals or provide better treatment for horses. To the extent a ban on American horse slaughterhouses actually undermines this goal, it is perfectly fair to reference the law of unintended consequences.

  • ||

    MNG

    I have been a horseman for 25 years and, as my father was a veterinarian, I have had contact with the horse industry for my whole life.

    As Jesse states, the number of cases of neglected horses has risen dramatically since the horse slaughterhouses began being closed down and is a direct consequence of the closures.

    Where previously an owner could get a few dollars by selling the animal for slaughter, it is now easier to simply abandon it.

  • critic||

    Read what I wrote again. It's called satire.

    Satire requires some actual talent.

  • ||

    Don't try and throw him off, he's got the idea that libertarians just scream "Law of Unintended Consequences!" instead of pointing out the actual consequences. You won't get him off script, it's silly to even try. He's built such a fine libertarian strawman in his mind that he not only thinks the boxing match is fair, but that he's winning.

    Is there a central clearing house for people like this? Not trolls exactly, but hectoring lecturers that think a few ham-handed barbs is going to change anyone's mind? Are they given certain boards to harass or is it a spontaneous swarming effect?

  • ||

    Surely even you can agree that a scenario where it's legal to eat pig but not legal to eat horse - or dog - makes no sense, and that the only two scenarios that make sense are "all domesticated animals can be eaten" and "no animals can be eaten"?

    I am in complete agreement with the concept of the thread, and I don't have a problem with people who treat dogs and cats humanely eventually eating them. But I disagree with that final statement that it is simply all or no. One of the reasons that dogs were domesticated in the first place was to be companions to humans. Depending on which version of their origin you believe the sociability of wolves was specifically exploited. Not all animals were domesticated to be eaten. That may be something some people do with a dog but I don't think it was ever a big part of the animal husbandry. Pork chops and drumsticks were designed to be eaten.

  • critic||

    However, "Mr Nice Guy" does represent a fine example of unintended irony.

  • THE SOLUTION||

    AS PRESENTED BY TO TO COELO.

  • ||

    Think of all those soldiers who ate theirs in a pinch.



    In an interview shortly after WWII Gen Wainwright was asked if their was a use for horses in the modern American army. His response was something like, "Well, we ate our horses at Corregidor."

  • ||

    Well, actually SugarFree many libertarians do just shout out slogans. I often try to distinguish between such libertarians who are thoughtful and what I try to call "Libertopians" which just yell out "LAW OF UNINTENDED CONSEQUENCES" or "DEMAND KURVE" (to borrow from joe), but I sometimes forget to (you know, just like many people on this site forget that there are more or less thoughtful animal welfare activists [or are they all Sarah Jessic Parker]). But even the thoughtful ones seem to have a knee jerk reaction to any government prohibition, one that I was satirizing. I mean, certainly its intuitive that there is a market in child pornography just like there is one in horsemeat, and certainly there are children who are on the verge of being neglected and abused just like there are horses in the same plight, so why ban child pornography when to do so would mean many people, who without such a ban, would not abandon their kids, but instead would "use" them? I mean, Libertopian logic would conclude that now these parents would have a interest in keeping the kids in good shape (wouldn't want to harm the "merchandise"), and these kids would be better off? Well, it's insane and sickening to think that way. We ban child pornography because it is sickeningly immoral, harmful and wrong to use children in such a way. We also want to make less of it, and we will use the law to provide a disincentive in relation to it. Likewise thoughtful animal welfare activists think horse slaughter, or the conditions surrounding the industry, is immoral and wrong, and we want to prohibit it and make for less of it.

    On another level, there is the Libertopian tendency to assume that the methodology of classical economics has human behavior all figured out. Is it a fact that the taking away the incentive to ship your horse off to Mexico increases incentives to starve or kill your horse (does banning child pornography actually lead to MORE child pornography, or less?)? These empirical matters cannot necessarily be worked out quickly with a deduction from classical economics axioms.

    And it was this I was mocking, just as most of the posts above mine mocked animal welfare activists. See?

  • Episiarch||

    I understand Sarah Jessica Parker and Hillary Swank are huge supporters of this act

    Well, SJP looks like a horse, so I guess this makes sense.

  • ||

    If the French want horse meat, let the French raise horses. In America horses are not commonly used as livestock anymore, horses are pets. Our laws should reflect this change in our national culture. Stop doing what is easy and start doing what is right. Saying that the only result to closing slaughterhouses is animal abuse is a false dilemma. We have animal cruelty laws, enforce them!! Otherwise, in the name of free trade we really need to allow for dog slaughterhouses so the meat can be shipped to the Far East where they enjoy it. Then you can have your Fido and eat him too. And the first asshole on this board that calls me a crazed liberal deserves a swift kick in the nuts. Libertarians can have standards other than everyone for himself.

  • ||

    I've never claimed to be a libertarian, though I do sympathize with many positions they take. I subscribe to Reason. I like Bailey's articles on neuroscience, Walker and Gillespie's on culture, Sullum on decriminalization, Wiegel's political scence updates and Balko's essential policing of the police (I usually skip KMW, Howley and Moynihan).

    But yes, I disagree with libertarians on some fundamental points, and yet I like to post on H&R. Sorry if that bothers you SugarFree, and interesting to note that the many "ham-handed barbs" that you agreed with that were posted before my initial post bothered you so very little :).

  • Rhywun||

    I would have thought that people would treat their horses with the same respect they treat their cats and dogs, i.e. by not abandoning them in their back yard to starve to death. But I'm a city boy, what do I know.

  • Theophanes||

    Dog meat is one of the most delicious substances on earth and I pity you poor individuals who have never sampled pooch flesh.

    I lived in China for a couple of years.

  • Russ 2000||

    I understand Sarah Jessica Parker and Hillary Swank are huge supporters of this act.

    Ironically, I would eat Sarah Jessica Parker. But only while she's living. And young. When she's old or dead, I ain't going within 2,000 feet of her.

  • ||

    In America horses are not commonly used as livestock anymore, horses are pets.

    Really? Those are "pets" that I place my $2 perfecta bets on?

    We have animal cruelty laws, enforce them!!

    Using horses for food is cruel? But using cows and pigs and chickens and deer and rabbits is not?

    Aren't rabbits domestic animals that are kept as "pets"? Should they not be able to be made into stew either? If you find horse meat objectionable, don't eat it. Leave others who do alone.

    Let's not pretend that you are standing up for the rights /dignity of animals. Last I checked, veal is raised in pretty fucking shitty conditions but I don't think there will be much support for bans on that.

  • ||

    Based on what I've heard from my horse-owning friends, they often feel very much like boat owners: The happiest day of your life is when you buy your horse. The second happiest day of your life is when you sell your horse.

    Horse are expensive as hell to own and properly care for. The closest I've ever come is owning two very large dogs. Vet bills mount at the animals age and those long leg bones become fragile. At the end, it is best to have them humanely euthanised.

    That's why I don't get those who literally abandon horses to starve to death or die of sickness. If they can afford the animal in the first place, why can't they afford to have it humanely put down? There are vets who, unlike human docs, still make house calls.

    And I do count a bullet in the head as humane.

  • ||

    Ironically, I would eat Sarah Jessica Parker.

    See Matt J at 11:57. Same problem with skinny actresses.

  • ||

    Mr. Nice Guy,

    Horse slaughterhouses lead to child pornography.

    No scandalous guilt by association mudslinging there at all. No utterly false equivalence between horses and children.

    It's not the ham-handedness that bothers me so much as the bad faith under which you pose questions. You're not asking questions in order to start debate, you just want to kick the hornet's nest and gloat over the buzzing. Most here sense your bad faith and that's why they don't care to "debate" you.

  • ||

    Fifty years ago, in the army we had cold cuts in the mess hall every Sunday. It was referred to as "Donkey Dick". Not sure if that is a literal description or what, tasted like liverwurst but who knows. We were soldiers and we were young, and hungry.

  • Skoal||

    I miss the old MNG.

  • ||

    Rhywun | November 28, 2007, 1:02pm | #

    I would have thought that people would treat their horses with the same respect they treat their cats and dogs, i.e. by not abandoning them in their back yard to starve to death. But I'm a city boy, what do I know.


    Rhywun:

    Wish that were true. At the farm where my horse is boarded, we constantly see "feral" cats: Pets which were simply driven out into the country and abandoned by their owners.

    Our last two barn cats came from exactly this source - loving pets dumped off by their former owners. Our barn cats were extremely lucky - they found a place where they were cared for and loved. Most abandoned cats are killed by predators. The rest live in fear of humans.

    Abandoned dogs generally starve to death or get hit by cars.

  • Fluffy||

    OK, Mr. Nice Guy, you were being Swiftian. Point taken.

    An argument is now being made in this thread that horses have a special relationship with humans, and that relationship makes it immoral to eat them, and that the law is therefore writing a wrong.

    Isn't this just "We only want you to eat ugly animals" under another name?

    I would never, ever, ever eat a dog or a cat - but I can recognize that this preference of mine is essentially irrational, and is the result of the fact that I anthropomorphize my pets. There's no real moral basis for my preference, and I wouldn't seek to enforce it on everyone else.

  • ||

    Hey Chicago Tom, try reading the post and not taking items out of context. I said that animal cruelty charges should be used in cases of abuse that supposably come from shutting down slaughterhouses.
    And to anyone who thinks they can kill pets (dogs, cats, rabbits, ect.) in America and not have criminal charges placed against you, good luck with that. Pets are raised to be pets. Food is raised to be food. The sad thing is that the FDA would have more to say about it than the ASPCA.

  • ||

    I would eat Sarah Jessica Parker. But only while she's living. And young.

    Well, you've missed your chance.

    I would never, ever, ever eat a dog or a cat - but I can recognize that this preference of mine is essentially irrational, and is the result of the fact that I anthropomorphize my pets. There's no real moral basis for my preference, and I wouldn't seek to enforce it on everyone else.

    Fluffy nails it.

    Seriously, despite all the high-falutin' folderol about "changes in our national culture", isn't this just more legislation based on the "ick" factor?

  • Fluffy||

    John, I just want to know the moral rationale behind the prohibition. I've certainly been known to freak out on these pages, but if you hang around long enough I'll try to give you some rationale to justify my thinking. I can't see any basis in any legitimate moral tradition to grant rights to animals of any kind. There's certainly no natural law basis for it, there's no Judeo-Christian basis for it, there's no utilitarian basis for it, etc. It has no place in any coherent system of ethics. It's based on absolutely nothing but hysterical emotivism. Your dog isn't really a person, John.

  • ||

    Seriously, despite all the high-falutin' folderol about "changes in our national culture", isn't this just more legislation based on the "ick" factor?

    Never tasted "ick". What's it like?

    ;)

  • Minion of URKOBOLD||

    "Never tasted "ick". What's it like?"
    HORSE, OF COURSE.

  • neigh||

    The French have to eat our OLD horses. Despicable! Get those people some fresh YOUNG horse!

  • ||

    Horse meat is quite sweet actually. I think "ick" sums up the flavor of troll. That's why Minion can't keep a girlfriend.

    [BURN!]

  • adrian||

    dondero: it's obvious you want a war against islam, so why don't we start here in the US where it would be pretty easy to round them all up and kill em. This is something even you can do super-patriot. Hitler (Godwin!) started the cleansing in his own country which seems like a smart way to start.

    -adrian

  • adrian||

    wrong thread, ignore me

  • ||

    fluffy
    In answer I think "yes." Horses are getting some more protection than other animals because of certain cultural and historical connections, protections that may not be "rational." But then I don't think that all our actions, and maybe not all our laws, need be rational (in the least they need not conform to a principle that until all laws are rationalized we can make none). I can't rationally explain to you why I think my wife is more fun to be with than other women, but I do and act appropriately. Do you think a pro-life person is being irrational if they can't bring themselves to vote for a ban on abortions in the case of rape and incest? I mean, in a way this is the same thing (instead of only protecting cute animals we only protect "proper" fetuses).

    And I'm not sure we can not enforce some of our irrational ethical preferences on other people (there are many philosophers who take the meta-ethical view that nearly all foundational moral positions are not rational): http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Non-cognitivism
    In fact I think this is how law evolves, often through "sentiments" that are are cultural/historical as much as rational products. I'm not sure that is bad, but then I used to be a big fan of Burke...

    Sugarfree: of course I did not say slaughterhouses leads to child porn, I was trying to demonstrate what I felt were the absurd implications of applying the principle that we should not prohibit the bad treatment of some class that cannot care for itself because then the class may be treated even worse, and to be honest while I probably could have used a less inflammatory example I 1.was lazy and 2. am a frequent poster on H&R and a little tired of the regular mocking of anyone who gives a hoot about animal welfare (a mocking I again point out that for some reason bothers you much, much less than the occasional mocking of libertarianism found here, which seems to send you off crying).

    In answer to your other question, I do think a more rational position would be "eat them all or none." I think most on the animal welfare side would say "none."

  • Rhywun||

    we constantly see "feral" cats

    Agree that many treat their dogs and cats like shit too, but some people seem to think it's acceptable in the case of horses. I don't.

    PS. I have no problem with (other people) eating them, or "putting them out of their misery". It's the letting them starve to death with no apparent shame that I find reprehensible.

  • ||

    I think the comment about Sarah Jessica Parker and Hillary Swank was made in jest because both of them look like horses.

    John W - you can eat rabbit in the US. I'm sure there's legislation governing how it is to be killed, etc. to be fit for consumption, but it can be done. Also, people make pets out of pigs and sheep and turtles and fish, and we eat all of those things.

    Would you advocate that we ban eating those animals? Or would you advocate that we ban having those animals as pets?

  • Minion of URKOBOLD||

    Horse Goulash

    HighFructoseKornSyrup Free is bitter because Minion's reindeer-flavored TAINT is much tastier than his tofu-with-mixed-veggies TAINT.

  • ||

    I'd eat Sarah Jessica Parker...right now.

    Although, I've been in Iraq a while, so the above should be considered in light of that.

    But I think she's hot.

    /not kidding.

  • ||

    My taint is redolent of truffles and rosewater. Or, at least, that's what your mom told me!

    [BURN!]

  • Minion of URKOBOLD||

    She mentioned that, in passing, I think. Ah, yes. Always has had a weak spot for truffles and rosewater....

  • ||

    Can anyone tell me why horse slaughterhouses were shut downin the first place? Was it because people think EATING horse is morally wrong or due to inhumane treatement?

  • Employment Officer to the URKO||

    "Can anyone tell me why horse slaughterhouses were shut down in the first place?"
    OUTSOURCING TO INDIA. TOOKOURJOBS!!!!!!

  • ||

    Mr. Nice Guy,

    Yes, tell yourself that what I was doing was crying because of your mocking. Boo-hoo. You have wounded me to the quick with your keen insight to my psyche.

    If you don't like being mocked for animal activism, try not to let the blog door whack you on the ass on the way out. Fighting mocking with mocking? Bad Faith Express, coming soon to a theater near you!

  • ||

    Rhywun

    I agree completely.

    The problem is multiple:
    1) Kids grow up and move away. They (and their parents) can't face the hard choice of putting the animal down, so they avoid it. This usually means that they find a place that says they will take care of the animal, but the property owners have no idea what caring for a horse entails.
    2) Owners - kids in particular - lose interest in horses. They stop caring about the animal and are not responsible enough to see that the animal is cared for.
    3) People have property and get a horse, not realizing the commitment that requires. There are cases where people go away on vacation for months, assuming that the horse will be OK in a 30 foot square grassy paddock. ("Pasture board" requires about 2 acres per horse MINIMUM. Plus a clean water source.)
    4) Riding stables go out of business. The owners simply walk away. They have no emotional commitment to the animals.
    5) Dude ranches in remote areas simply leave the horses on the range through the winter - or abandon them entirely when the business fails. Domestic horses are generally not equiped to survive in the wild. A very few survive.

    As I said before, this problem has become worse with the closure of the slaughterhouses.

  • ||

    "PS. I have no problem with (other people) eating them, or "putting them out of their misery". It's the letting them starve to death with no apparent shame that I find reprehensible."

    Rhywun,
    I agree. Whether or not an argument can be made that eating an animal is morally wrong, Im not sure (personally, I like to eat meat). But there is a moral element to the treatement of the animal. There is no need to be a sadistic SOB.

  • VM||

    Actually, crying while mocking MNG is accurate. Crying from laughter.

    Remember that crying from laughter has several side effects:

    sniffles
    gafawing
    chortling
    snickering
    and Erectile Dysfunction.

  • ||

    If the French want horse meat, let the French raise horses. In America horses are not commonly used as livestock anymore, horses are pets.

    Horses are DUMB ANIMALS! Not just in the general "don't be cruel to a dumb animal" sense, but relative to other farm animals. If we can eat a pig, who's far too smart to let itself be ridden into battle, we can eat/slaughter horses. I, and many others, don't give a good goddam about "certain cultural and historical connections" between humans and stupid ass horses.

    They are stupid and edible, deserving no more consideration than a cow, a buffalo, a white-tail deer or a llama. If it bothers you so much, feel free to boycott restaurants and grocery stores that sell it. Or buy the damned beasts and let them them live out their lives in luxury. I imagin horse on the hoof, headed to slaughter ain't that darned expensive. It's not your horse, it's not Sarah Jessica Parker's hosre, IT'S THE OWNERS HORSE!!!

    If you don't have property rights, you don't have any rights.

  • ||

    Unintended consequence of this law?
    Why the forbidden fruit factor.

    Now I have a hankering for a horse steak.

    nom nom nom

  • ||

    Mike- again, please read the post and don't take items out of context. I said killing PETS. Yes you can kill rabbits and pigs in this county, but those animals needed to be raised as food or are wild game. Going into your local pet store to pick out dinner is going to land you in a heap of trouble.
    Fluffy- No my dog is not a person, it's a pet. I'll be honest, the idea of having pets isn't something I have sat down and rationalized to myself or anyone else. So in the spirit of winging it, here goes.
    Pets only have additional consideration because humans have made them companion animals. They are brought into our families and treated differently than any other animals. As humans we have decided to extend to them protections that we reserve for our family. This is not to say that they are human but simply that we have decided to treat them humanely. Now, livestock lives by other rules and to me that is fine. If we as Americans decide that horses need to be split into two categories (just like rabbits, pigs, goats, ect) and say that a food horse is food and a pet horse is a pet, fine, but right now ALL horses can be both. We have brand inspections at any horse sale, it is not hard to differentiate which horse have been companion animals (pets) and which are livestock (food). I don't care that Chinese eat dogs, or that the French eat horse. I care that the French are eating our pets. Period. We don't export dog as a meat item and horse (or some horses) should fall into the same consideration. Pets are pets. Food is food.

  • ||

    Most abandoned cats are killed by predators.



    In Australia it's the feral cats that are the predators. They are decimating some of the domestic animals that hitherto knew few major predators.

    It's also true, to a much lesser extent, in Florida where small mammals are likewise being eaten by feral cats.

  • ||

    Hey J sub D, see above, I rest my case.

  • VM||

    Media -

    can I use the hooves for glue? I need better adhesive for my DUNDEROOO costume...

    And there's nothing wrong with eating your pets
    (okay. That was probably unnecessary.)

  • ||

    VM-

    All yours.

    Sometimes pets are food!

  • VM||

    Thanks, Media!

    Could you also save the neck stump for some sweet, soft lovin'?

  • ||

    I think the comment about Sarah Jessica Parker and Hillary Swank was made in jest because both of them look like horses.

    DING! DING! DING!

    Mike wins the prize!!!

    Apparently I suck at satire too.

  • ||

    John W

    As far as I know there are places all over the USA and Canada where you can buy rabbits.

    The sellers do not care if you are buying them for pets or for food. And most will tell you as much.

    The only criterion to be applied to whether one can kill an animal is that needless pain and suffering should be avoided.

  • ||

    Could you also save the neck stump for some sweet, soft lovin'?



    No. I learned from watching Iron Chef that horse mane fat is actually a delicacy.

  • ||

    ...it is not hard to differentiate which horse have been companion animals (pets) and which are livestock (food).



    Ummm,...it's not like there's any objective difference. The only distinction is based on your insipid sentimentality.

  • VM||

    Can I have the Iron Chef's neck stump, then?

  • ||

    Horses are not "dumb", having been manipulated by one or another most of my life...they are "dumb" like a cat is "dumb"...yet I am the one feeding and caring for them...

    Blaming the closing of slaughterhouses for the current abuse of anyt horse lets the abuser off the hook.

    Like other "pets" or children, if you can't seriously commit to caring for them, don't have them in the first place.

    And as for banning horse meat in the U.S....it's the general culture. Horses, like dogs and cats are in the "protected" group in our cultural mindset...not so elsewhere. You want horsemeat, slaughter your own or move to France.

    You want "long pig" move to Polynesia a couple hundred years ago. Cultural acceptance of what's okay and what isn't is an important factor...fair or not.

  • ||

    Going into your local pet store to pick out dinner is going to land you in a heap of trouble.

    Many moons ago I had a friend with a pet boa constrictor. These beasts don't eat often, but they do eat a lot at a meal. Now he COULD have gone to the pet store to buy rats to feed his pet, who he had much affection for. He didn't do that. Instead, being frugal, he went to the want ads in the local paper looking for "Free puppies to a good home" listings. I didn't have a problem with that either. Why not?, you ask. Why bother getting upset over an unwanted animal?, I reply.

    I don't need to make artificial distinctions between pets and livestock. Both are animals, property. They are for the owner to do as he wishes with. Not you, John W., not you, Mister Nice Guy, not Sarah Jessica Parker, not the congress of the United States, the owner. Why do so amny people have difficulty with this concept?

  • Episiarch||

    We don't export dog as a meat item and horse (or some horses) should fall into the same consideration. Pets are pets. Food is food.

    No, animals are food. The fact that we become attached emotionally to some, or use others for labor, doesn't change that fact.

    If you dropped dead tomorrow in your house and nobody knew, after a few days your pets would get hungry and would eat you. Why not return the favor?

  • Episiarch||

    Instead, being frugal, he went to the want ads in the local paper looking for "Free puppies to a good home" listings. I didn't have a problem with that either. Why not?, you ask. Why bother getting upset over an unwanted animal?, I reply.

    Damn, even I'd balk at that. Mainly because puppies are just so damn cuuuute. Actually, I would then force myself to do it just to put down such idiotic sentimentality. Maybe do kittens instead. Nothing cuter than a kitten. The mewing as it got swallowed would be brutal.

  • x,y||

    The only criterion to be applied to whether one can kill an animal is that needless pain and suffering should be avoided.



    Do you happen to mean morally or legislatively? I can respect the former. Maybe I'm just an a**hole, but I see no need for the latter. If animals are property, people should be able to do with them as they please. This includes owning them as pets, eating them, or torturing them. If anyone thinks any of these is morally wrong, you should be able to speak your mind. But legislating is where I draw the line.

  • the innominate one||

    if we're not supposed to eat animals, why are they made out of meat?

  • ||

    If you torture an animal, you're a sick fuck, and one who should be locked up.

  • Pat Robertson||

    If you smoke cigarettes, you're a sicko, and one who should be locked up.

  • Dave T||

    I got bored about halfway through this thread, but I don't exactly see the problem with eating horses, cats, or dogs? Just because I choose to have cats as pets doesn't mean I think other people can't eat them. People have pigs as pets, and I find bacon to be delicious.

    PS Feel free to join my facebook group "stop congress from banning the eating of delicious horses!"

  • Rhywun||

    I don't need to make artificial distinctions between pets and livestock. Both are animals, property. They are for the owner to do as he wishes with. [...] Why do so amny people have difficulty with this concept?

    Because the implications are grotesque. I'm very far away from being any kind of "animal rights activist", but even still I find the concept of animals as "property" to be repellent.

  • x,y||

    Rhywun,

    You and I both find torturing animals to be "repellent." But would you favor a law (civil or criminal, take your pick) prohibiting people from torturing animals? I wouldn't for the record.

  • ||

    "If animals are property, people should be able to do with them as they please." But this is exactly the issue. Animal welfare advocates don't see animals as property (at least not the same as inanimate property). In fact, our nation has pretty much never seen them as exactly the same (which is why you can be arrested for being cruel to your dog but not your couch).

    SugarFee-waah, did I hector you? So sorry. Some libertarians love to dish it out, but when you mock them "Uhhh-wah, Uhhh-wah".

    VM-I imagine Erectile Dysfunction is a longstanding (or not) problem you may have and unrelated to my comments on animal welfare threads

  • Dave T||

    Rhywun: Repellant? Really? In what way do I not OWN my cats? Are they free to leave? If someone walks up to one and gets it to follow them home with a can of tuna, do I not have the right to take it back because I have no property/ownership of it? They are JAILED in my house.

    Animals are absolutely treated as property, and I don't see anything repugnant about calling it what it is, or continuing that practice.

  • ||

    "But would you favor a law (civil or criminal, take your pick) prohibiting people from torturing animals? I wouldn't for the record." Now x, y, from other threads I know that you would pass a law preventing an embryo from being tortured. Now it strikes me that a horse or dog has more ability to feel pain or reason than an embryo, and since you said in the past your protection of the embryo is not religious based, I'm curious as to why the embryo deserves that protection and the dog does not? Let's make it more interesting, let's say its not an embryo but a terminally ill infant (one that will die before it is one year old). If no law to protect the dog, why a law to protect that infant? Because it can reason (not as well as a full grown dog)? Because it can feel (so can the dog). Because it can accept, understand, etc., rights and obligations so we owe it rights and obligations (infants don't know a right from the crap in their diaper)....

    Or because the Bible tells us so?

  • ||

    Awww, cute and cuddley. Reminds me of the story about why the guitar is shaped like a woman with a hole in the middle...because cowboys got lonesome, and cows have such lovely big brown eyes.

    We could end this foolish discussion by all becoming vegans. Oh, wait! Plants have feelings, too!

    Let's all starve to death.

  • ||


    ... please read the post and don't take items out of context. I said killing PETS. Yes you can kill rabbits and pigs in this county, but those animals needed to be raised as food or are wild game. Going into your local pet store to pick out dinner is going to land you in a heap of trouble.


    Actually, I remember distinctly the scene "Pets or Meat" about rabbits for sale in Flint, from the only Michael Moore movie I ever found entertaining "Roger & Me".

    But back to the original topic--I think horses are stately, noble animals, and I enjoyed the horsemeat I was served in Japan.

  • Sulla||

    Because the implications are grotesque. I'm very far away from being any kind of "animal rights activist", but even still I find the concept of animals as "property" to be repellent.

    x,y is correct. There is both the moral aspect and the legal aspect. From the moral side, it makes some sense to rely on feelings about the inherent value of certain animals. On the legal side, though, there should be some basis for prohibiting certain actions or drawing distinctions about the status of animals. If animals are not property, what are they? Where would we draw the line between property and some other categoery - mammals, vertebrates, all animals, etc.?
    I think it is immoral to cause pain to animals just for no other reason than sadism, and it probably is generally a sign of some deeper issues. However, it does not follow that this moral view, or any other moral view should automatically become the basis for law.

  • ||

    You know the problem with outlawing rape? It creates a market for rape and more women are raped.

    The LAW OF UNINTENDED CONSEQUENCES HAS SPOKEN.


    I'm late to the thread as usual, but I got this far and I just needed to point out that it takes genuine dedication to be this stupid.

  • Fluffy||

    Mr. Nice Guy -

    Well, part of the problem is that person / property is a dichotomy that it's hard to avoid. If animals aren't property, they're people. If they're not people, they're property. We can try to think about making up some category that is neither of those, but it's hard to see a real way to wedge that into our thinking and be consistent. After all, some people keep rats as pets. Other people poison the rats that try to infiltrate their homes. Still others experiment on rats. It seems to me that only the "property" designation is consistent with all of these approaches to the rat question.

    By the way - I hope that the house of the guy who feeds puppies to his boa constrictor burns down, with his snake inside it. The puppies aren't people, but lying to people trying to place puppies as pets isn't acceptable. And besides, snakes are horrible creatures that all deserve to be in house fires anyway. [Yup, all of that was irrational, but I'm going to surrender to the dark side in this particular case.]

  • ||

    I don't need to make artificial distinctions between pets and livestock. Both are animals, property. They are for the owner to do as he wishes with. Not you, John W., not you, Mister Nice Guy, not Sarah Jessica Parker, not the congress of the United States, the owner. Why do so amny people have difficulty with this concept?

    J sub D, I won't even comment on the sick shit you posted before this, just because your buddy got away with this doesn't make it right. As a civilized people we have decided to afford certain protections, not rights, to animals that we consider companion animals. So NO, animals are not strictly property. Most of society already understands this and in time the law will catch up with new concepts in humanity. Now I could be wrong and we could just go on doing as we damned well please with animals but email me in twenty years and see who is gloating.

    If you dropped dead tomorrow in your house and nobody knew, after a few days your pets would get hungry and would eat you. Why not return the favor?

    Episiarch, because they are PETS. We are supposed to be better than this.

  • Fluffy||

    "Let's make it more interesting, let's say its not an embryo but a terminally ill infant (one that will die before it is one year old). If no law to protect the dog, why a law to protect that infant? Because it can reason (not as well as a full grown dog)? Because it can feel (so can the dog). Because it can accept, understand, etc., rights and obligations so we owe it rights and obligations (infants don't know a right from the crap in their diaper)...."

    Well, the quasi-Randian answer would be to say that "morality" is the set of rules human beings require to interact with one another, and that animals lie completely outside of it. Tigers can eat men without being immoral because morality does not apply to tigers.

    If morality is the set of rules human beings require to interact with one another, one early requirement we're going to run into is that human beings don't get to define each other out of that moral sphere. In other words, I can't evade the requirements of morality relative to my dealings with Africans just by asserting that Africans aren't people. [And historically people did just that.] The infant is a human being because it's self-evident that it's a human being, and we don't get to define it out of its humanness.

    Some people extend that to embryos. I personally do not.

  • ||

    "Well, part of the problem is that person / property is a dichotomy that it's hard to avoid. If animals aren't property, they're people. If they're not people, they're property." Fluffy, I certainly think this is a false dilemma. We can have rational conceptual distinctions finer than this, think of kids. They are not persons that can contract, or vote, or move out when they want, but we owe them certain things. And then think of couches, which we can burn, beat or drop salsa on to our heats content and noone gets upset. Animals are somewhere between there, and that seems obvious to me. And the law actually recognizes this distinction, animals have more rights than your couch, less than kids, and even less than you or I.

  • Jesse Walker||

    If animals aren't property, they're people. If they're not people, they're property. We can try to think about making up some category that is neither of those, but it's hard to see a real way to wedge that into our thinking and be consistent.

    Why can't they be a fuzzy category, not people but not mere rocks either? If something doesn't fit into sharply defined black-and-white categories, our moral response to it should recognize that fact rather than ignore it.

    This means that some issues -- animal welfare, abortion, children's rights -- might not lend themselves to tidy, universal solutions. So be it.

  • Jesse Walker||

    Hmm. Looks like MNG and I have reached at least one point of agreement.

  • ||

    "Well, the quasi-Randian answer would be to say that "morality" is the set of rules human beings require to interact with one another, and that animals lie completely outside of it." fluffy-I'm pretty sure its unhelpful to, when debating why only humans get ethical consideration, to say its because ethical considerations is what humans need between each other. Are you saying that ethical consideration is only warranted by the utilitarian concerns of us getting along? Cause it strikes me that is not only wrong, but not even Randian..

    "The infant is a human being because it's self-evident that it's a human being, and we don't get to define it out of its humanness." I never said it wasn't human. I asked what about it gives it special treatment not given to a dog. That of course is the point, what about humans gives them moral consideration that other animals lack? You can't answer by saying "well, the humans are human, that's why."

  • ||

    Oh, wait! Plants have feelings, too!

    Kirlian Photograpy is proof.

  • ||

    "Do you happen to mean morally or legislatively? I can respect the former. Maybe I'm just an a**hole, but I see no need for the latter. If animals are property, people should be able to do with them as they please. This includes owning them as pets, eating them, or torturing them."

    x,y,
    So by this logic I can beat the crap out of my own dog and torture him for shits and giggles but I cant do the same to my neighbors dog. OK, there is consistency to your "property" argument but we are human arent we? and as such we have reason, and reason tells us that torture brings needless suffering to another living being. This should bring about a sense of compassion from most humans unless you are a sick sadisctic phsycopath, in which case deeper issues exist.

  • ||

    am a frequent poster on H&R and a little tired of the regular mocking of anyone who gives a hoot about animal welfare

    Boo-fucking-hoo. Yeah, once again I'm the one that's crying?

  • Fluffy||

    That of course is the point, what about humans gives them moral consideration that other animals lack? You can't answer by saying "well, the humans are human, that's why."

    Actually, there are probably people at this site who could argue this a lot better than I could, but I'll take a shot.

    Rand approached morality by first making the common-sense observation that only valuing entities can experience any value at all, moral or otherwise. That makes the bedrock moral value the life of the valuer, because if you're dead nothing can be of value to you, moral or otherwise.

    Rand believed that she could identify a nature for man that would allow her to build a moral edifice on top of that bedrock principle: Given man's nature and the nature of the reality in which he lives, certain behaviors promote and maintain the bedrock moral value of his life, and some don't. Identifying which behaviors are which is "morality".

    This is in fact an argument that makes morality a prudential matter, but not a utilitarian one. Morality becomes rational self-interest.

    Constructing morality in this way means that it cannot apply to entities that don't share enough of man's nature to make them, in effect, "men". Rational aliens from another planet would be "men", morally, and we'd have to treat them as such. But cats aren't, because they simply don't share enough in common with us.

    A dog cannot "steal". A tiger cannot "murder". These are categories that only apply to men.

    Rand also went to a great deal of effort which I won't duplicate here to argue that rational self-interest requires the default state of our interactions with other men to be non-initiation of force and negotiated exchange. Again, these are categories that only apply to men.

    Under such a view of morality, you actually do end up saying "the humans are humans, that's why."

  • ||

    "Constructing morality in this way means that it cannot apply to entities that don't share enough of man's nature to make them, in effect, "men". Rational aliens from another planet would be "men", morally, and we'd have to treat them as such. But cats aren't, because they simply don't share enough in common with us." What is the thing(s) that aliens would, and cats would not, "share enough in common with us" that would give the one morality and the other not? And whatever that thing is, does the terminally ill infant have it? I mean, is that the alien looks like us, because I can imagine a sentient alien that looks less like us than the cat. In the same vein, does the terminally ill infant value? If not it does not share in this bedrock foundation. And that means anything goes regarding it, which is troubling. You see the problem here?

    Rand was more of a writer than a philosopher, and in her later books not even much of one of those I'm afraid...

  • ||

    Damn, even I'd balk at that.

    Me, too. Irrational of me, I know.

    But then, I'm not trying to pass a law against it, either.

  • ||

    It can't be DNA< because the alien would not have it. If its reason or feelings or autonomy then the cat has more than the infant...You see the problem...

  • Russ 2000||

    Opps. I Got Sarah Jessica Parker messed up with Sarah Michelle Gellar or some such 3-named sarah. At this point, they're all getting rather generic.

  • Sulla||

    What is the thing(s) that aliens would, and cats would not, "share enough in common with us" that would give the one morality and the other not? And whatever that thing is, does the terminally ill infant have it?

    Not saying that Rand would say this, but the distinction seems to be belonging to a species with demonstrable sentience.

    Turning this around - what do you believe separates humans from animals, such that we should not be judged based on nature's standards (that is - no standards at all).

  • Fluffy||

    Actually, Rand would probably point a cigarette holder at Mr. Nice Guy and say something along the lines of "If you cannot identify the difference between a baby and a cat, your psycho-epistemology leaves something to be desired."

    With somewhat more intellectual charity, I would say that you are confusing the epistemological question with the moral one. For the purpose of working out the proper morality for men, Rand would have said that the defining characteristic of man's nature for moral purposes is that he uses reason to survive. This does not mean that epistemologically it makes sense to declare anyone who falls asleep or gets a bump on the head is no longer a human being, any more than if you cut the whiskers off a cat it stops being a cat.

  • ||

    "Actually, Rand would probably point a cigarette holder at Mr. Nice Guy and say something along the lines of "If you cannot identify the difference between a baby and a cat, your psycho-epistemology leaves something to be desired.""

    I suspect you are right about Rand. This is probably why Rand is seen as a pompous no-nothing bombastic writer of polemical novels by academic philosophers. I know a cat is different from a human adult. I never said anything to imply otherwise. I also know an infant is different from both. I want to know what it is, what quality the cat lacks but the human and the infant have that warrants the latters moral consideration. It ought to be neat, because the alien has it to, I guess.

    Of course you've already given the reason, and it is, reason. Like Locke Rand can base her moral consideration on this. But like Locke she must never have thought out the infant problem. A terminally ill infant cannot reason any better than a dog, nor will it ever. So why does it get protected and the dog no, if reason is what is special (and don't say "it belongs to a species that can reason well" because it's obvious that it is the REASONING and not the SPECIES that grants the moral consideration in this scheme, unless you want to argue that there is something morally significant about human DNA apart from the qualities and characteristics it bestows, which would be a theory I would love to hear for uniqueness sake at least).

  • ||

    "This does not mean that epistemologically it makes sense to declare anyone who falls asleep or gets a bump on the head is no longer a human being, any more than if you cut the whiskers off a cat it stops being a cat." Just to make sure the point is across on this, the terminally ill infant, unlike the sleeping man, was never, is not and never will be reasoning any better than the dog. Again, I don't think the baby is not a human being. Of course it is. I want to know what about this human being warrants my moral consideration? It's reasoning power? It falls short there. It's genetic make-up similar to mine? Why is that special (do my brothers get even more consideration, theirs is even more similar)?

    Again, you see the problem...Of course Rand would not see any problem, she would take a lover, write a 12,000 page tome and denounce all critics as Witch Doctors.

  • SIV||

    "Animal welfare activists....."

    Does you boyfriend work for PETA ?

  • Fluffy||

    As I said above, you are confusing two issues / questions.

    The first question is, "What is a human being?" This is an epistemological question first and foremost, since there are over 6 billion individual human beings; what is the quality we isolate from each of those percepts to devise the concept "human being"? And you're playing the old "problem of definitions" card, demanding to identify one specific factor that is being isolated to create the concept, and there isn't one. A specific definition isn't really needed; the act of conceptualization is the definition.

    The second question is, "What do we know about man's nature that can allow us to define a proper moral code for him?" Rand's answer is that to survive, he must reason. That leads her to an ethics and politics that says that man must be free from compulsion in order to free his reason. This is different from saying that the ability to reason is what gives man moral value to other men. In effect, the reasoning is:

    1. Man must be free to reason.

    2. Therefore, men must respect each other's autonomy as a necessary precondition to individual reason.

    3. Therefore, one corollary of this is that men must not take it upon themselves to declare whose reason is and is not adequate to be allowed this autonomy.

    It's more of a negative restriction than a positive statement about the child's ability to reason. We're refraining from removing the child from the ranks of human because doing so creates the possibility for gross violations of #2. An alien species that reasoned as man does would basically just be ugly men, for the purposes of this analysis. And once we established that, it would hold for brain-damaged aliens, too.

  • ||

    Sorry fluffy, but skipping the bizarre teleological "man's nature is x" stuff, we know that the infant does not come close to reasoning as we do, so no form of "rule utilitarianism" (which is essentially what you have here: we should as a general rule respect all human beings autonomy and reason because any other rule could potentially err in the wrong direction) is necessary in this instance. We don't have to worry that in recognizing the obvious, that a 6 month old has much, much, much lower reasoning capacity than an adult, nay, even less than a dog or cat, that a principle is formed that could limit some adults autonomy based on a largely irrelevant adult level IQ difference.

    Again, I'm not asking what is a human being. I don't care, since for me I'm not advocating anything special about human beings as a species.

    You realize that your corollary could just as well apply to any creature. How can we take it upon ourselves to declare which species reason is or not adequate to be allowed this autonomy (many animals are obviously autonomous)? Again, Rand has to fall back upon reason being what is special about us, which of course, the baby lacks. You recognize this when you say that "an alien species that REASONED as man does" would deserve equal moral consideration.

  • ||

    Wow. I honestly fear for the future of mankind with dickless wonders like you people around.

    Self-centered speciesist sadistic asshats.

  • ||

    fluffy, I've read your post dozens of time and am not quite sure what your points are. I still think the pieces have the problems I mention, but I'm unable to put the whole into a coherent form.

    Man should not harm other men because man needs reason to survive and man must be free to reason so we must respect each others freedom so we can reason. Or something...

    I'm not trying to be flip, but I can't structure this into a coherent argument in order to examine.

    Let me put my position in syllogism form (Rand the good Aristole lover would like that, no?) to illustrate what I am looking for from you:

    1. One should not harm anything that has a certain level of autonomy or capacity to feel pain.
    2. Many animals have a certain level of autonomy or capacity to feel pain.
    3. Therefore one should not harm many animals.

  • Sulla||

    1. One should not harm anything that has a certain level of autonomy or capacity to feel pain.
    2. Many animals have a certain level of autonomy or capacity to feel pain.
    3. Therefore one should not harm many animals.


    I appreciate this clear statement of your position. I hope you do not mind a few questions.

    Are there any situations under which it is okay to harm animals with this level of autonomy or capacity to feel pain?
    - Prevent animal from harming another animal with such autonomy/capacity to feel pain?
    - Prevent animal from harming another human?
    - Prevent animal from harming you?
    - Humanely kill animal to provide food for other animals?
    - Humanely kill animal to provide food for humans?
    - Harm animal with disease such as rabies?
    - Harm animal for medical research purposes?

  • ||

    sulla
    I'm a consequentialist and thus if there is a situation in which I could certainly reduce the overall harm to autonomous/feeling creatures by harming another (for example preventing an animal from harming me, or another person, or animal) then I would approve of that.

  • Robert||

    Let's see--I'm a farmer with an old useless horse that I no longer want. I used to sell it to a slaughterhouse, maybe in Mexico. If I can no longer do that, what do I do?

    Animal activist answer: horse lives until natural death, cavorting in the green fields.

    Real answer: I shoot the fucker and bury it with my backhoe.


    Better answer: The horse, unable to care for itself in the wild, its owner not thinking it worthwhile to kill & bury it, wanders the streets at night chewing into garbage bags, digging up gardens, trying to mate with dogs & cats, and getting into collisions with vehicles.

  • Thomas Lee Trevino||

    Seems that you dont desire a horse you cant post a message with a foul mouth then you can cry all you want. We own horses and are responsible euthanizing and slaughter arent the same thing. You just Pro slaughter folks dont seem to understand these plants had operated for year ignoring the laws of Texas to not slaughter horses. It has been a secret so long now a few idiots found out that selling a horse to slaughter plants releaves them self out of a responsibility of Live. They sure would love it if they could do that to children if allowed. These plants promote illegals jobs just as the pork and beef industries do. If your so upset about jobs then work at the proceesing plants and pick up a new language. Most Pro slaughter folks that support horse slaughter are profiting such as the AQHA,APHA,AVMA,AAEP,Cattle asociation. These business lie to profit and the uneducated farmer believes this bullcrap. They didnt pay Tax they didnt pay for there own inspectors they contaminated the grounds and comunities. Osha had fined them many times and they had ignored the fines. Gee maybe we should ship pro slaughter folks out of America they may be the criminals and Terrorist. for more info visit www.SaveDaHorses.com

  • ||

    Thomas Lee Trevino,

    That was an amazingly concentrated blast of retard you managed there. Kudos.

  • ||

    Mr. Nice Guy,
    I really dont see what's difficult to understand. Im going to try to make it very simple.
    1. ONLY Humans can reason. (although I suppose an argument may be made for apes, chimps). That is understand, the capacity for rational thought or inference or discrimination.
    2. Other animals cannot reason. They act on instinct. They may have a thought, an instintual reaction to a certain situation or event, but that thought does not lead to a thought process.
    3. Humans understand, because we reason, that human babies may not reason at this point in their life, but have the CAPACITY to reason (and sooner rather than later).

    Hence, the answer to your "human baby and cat" dilemma.

  • ||

    Mr. Nice Guy,

    Let's see if this helps.
    Humans have the capacity for rational thought or inference or discrimination; "we are told that man is endowed with reason and capable of distinguishing good from evil."
    Humans can tell the difference between right and wrong (most can :)), this knowledge brings about compassion. Meaning that most humans would think it is wrong to unnecessarily inflict pain on a living creature that has the capacity to feel pain (compassion) but also have the ability to understand the difference between "torturing" an animal versus "killing/harming" an animal for legitimate reasons.

    In my opinion, having compassion for another living being is not incompatible with reason. Quite the contrary, it is a rational thought.

  • Fluffy||

    Mr. Nice Guy -

    With regard to your syllogism, the most important part of it would come before #1. You have just skipped over the actual substance of your argument, the point that would be most difficult to prove, and the point that's at issue.

    After all, by the terms of "One should not harm anything that has a certain level of autonomy or capacity to feel pain," every carnivorous animal is evil, or would be if we could bring them to self-awareness. Unless morality doesn't apply to animals. Which is what I have been arguing.

    I'll take a shot at combining the different aspects of what we're talking about:

    1. Values are only possible because of the existence of valuing entities.

    2. Therefore, no valuing entity can properly value its own destruction or non-existence.

    3. Therefore, the primary value is self-interest.

    4. In order to define the self-interest of Man, we need to understand Man's nature. [You oppose this point as "teleological", and this would obviously require greater discussion as a sidebar.]

    5. Examining Man's nature reveals that Man's primary mechanism for understanding the world and maintaining his life is reason.

    6. Therefore, the primary value of self-interest demands that reason also be a value. [This line of reasoning is repeated for many additional subordinate values, but discussing that would also require multiple sidebars - the main subordinate value we're interested in here is:]

    7. Freedom is a moral value because it enables reason, and violence and compulsion destroys or inhibits reason.

    8. Because individual men are not infallible, we should want the reason of all men to be free.

    9. Handicapped infants are self-evidently still men.

    10. Therefore, we shouldn't use violence or compulsion against a handicapped infant.

    You seem to be looking for something positive that the infant has done or can or will do that entitles it to moral consideration, and to Rand that would be backwards. I am entitled to moral consideration, and because of that [through several intervening steps] I should advocate freedom for all men, and should not deny moral consideration to the infant; to do so I would have to set myself up as the judge of the reason and capacities of other men, which would violate the moral value of freedom. It's a moral consideration created by doubt and by an unwillingness to condemn other men, in order to maintain the principle that my reason should be free.

  • ||

    "You have just skipped over the actual substance of your argument, the point that would be most difficult to prove, and the point that's at issue"
    Would that be...
    1. "Values are only possible because of the existence of valuing entities"?

    Wouldn't one have to understand what is a value? Wouldn't one have to understand why it is that a value can only be valued by a valuing entity? I believe that, while obvious, a thought process is happening here.

    Perhaps the mere fact that I can reason whether or not I reason, proves I am a reasoning being. So I really don't think I skipped over anything.

    "After all, by the terms of "One should not harm anything that has a certain level of autonomy or capacity to feel pain," every carnivorous animal is evil, or would be if we could bring them to self-awareness. Unless morality doesn't apply to animals. Which is what I have been arguing"
    Perhaps we are not understanding eachother.
    Im not sure how you go from "not harming a living being with the capacity to feel pain" to "every carnivorous animal is evil". That's a BIG leap, dont you think? Why is every carnivorous animal evil? Because they cause another animal pain? Well, I think you ommitted a BIG part of my point, which is animals ACT and REACT on instinct. They are not reasoning beings. They dont think: "hey, Im harming another creature. They are in pain. Maybe I should stop" " No. they see dinner, which is necessary to their survival.
    Animals dont judge what is right or wrong. Therefore, they arent moral beings.
    If this is your argument. Then we agree.

    "Handicapped infants are self-evidently still men"
    Nuf said. A human is a human whether it be an infant or an adult.
    Therefore, I must have misunderstood your other postings.

  • ||

    Oh boy, is my face red.
    I COMPLETELY misunderstood who was talking to who. Now I know who was confused. Me.
    Sheesh. I gotta lay off the hard stuff...
    Apologies to both fluffly and Mr. Nice guy.

    As Gilda Radner's character on SNL said "Nevermind".

  • ||

    Mr Nice Guy said,

    Why not allow domestic dog and cat slaughterhouses, I mean, otherwise all those dogs will just have terrible neglected lives.

    If you knew anything about the humane treatment of dogs and cats you would know we have dog and cat slaughterhouses, they are called animal shelters, or pounds or humane societies.

    The reason the shelters have to kill all those dogs and cats is that a lot of people are ignorant, irresponsible and can't or won't take care of their pets.

    If the shelters were not there to take responsibility and care for the animals millions of dogs and cats would lead terrible neglected lives filled with pain and suffering.

    Your ignorance of the facts has made your argument self refuting.

  • ||

    You're forgetting one major thing.... the horses that go to slaughter are NOT the old, crippled or crazy.. most of the slaughtered horses are under 7 yrs. old. That's young for a horse, really. AND stop to think about this.. would you prefer to eat an old cow, sheep, hog or a young one? Do you understand what I'm saying to you? Overpopulation, neglect, abandonment.. these are all descriptions that the slaughter supporters want to use to paint a picture. The bottom line on this issue is money... how much can an owner get paid for irresponsible actions and disposal of the animal. Do you see the logic or lack of here? An owner acts irresponsibly in his ownership, breeding practices and gets paid to do so. It's pretty much the same with all non-food animals. And the Bible even tells people that they should not eat any animal that does NOT have cloven hooves (like a cow, pig, sheep, goat)... Horses don't qualify to be eaten.. lol At any rate, I wanted to interject my two cents..

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