Monday, May 14, 2007

Hayom sh'nayim v'arbaim yom, shehaym shisha shavuot baomer

According to philosopher Peter Singer, because animals can suffer, they deserve to have their interests taken into consideration in any utilitarian equation weighing the pluses and minuses of various ethical issues. Does the pleasure people get from the taste of meat outweigh the suffering of the animals who were raised and killed for their flesh? In the case of industrialized animal agriculture, a fair look at farmed animals' living and dying conditions warrants the answer "No!" Singer had this to say in a recent interview with Heeb:
Any being that can suffer has an interest in not suffering. It’s a somewhat broader category than pain because you might say that a hen in a cage is suffering because many of her basic instincts are frustrated. She can’t lay her eggs in a nest, and that causes stress every time she needs to lay an egg. She can’t really stretch her wings. Those sorts of things are suffering rather than pain. She may also experience pain—her feathers have rubbed off because the cage is so crowded and her raw skin is constantly pushed against the wire. We need to recognize suffering as well as pain because animals do have other needs than the need to avoid physical pain.

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