Who are we to decide?
December 6, 2006
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I was reading a blog recently, or more specifically reading the comments to one of the posts, when I saw one of the tired arguments in favor of breeding animals for exploitation – isn’t it better for them to live, no matter how horrible their lives are? And who are we to decide for them whether they’d prefer to never exist?
I’m not trained in philosophy or law, but even so the gaping holes in such logic is obvious. Who are we to decide indeed. The people posing the question never stop to consider it in both directions. If we are to ask who we are to decide that the animals would rather never be born than live miserably as farmed animals, we also have to ask who are we to decide that the animals would rather live a miserable existence than none at all? That is exactly what is being decided every day, as farmed animals are forced into pregnancies they don’t have a chance to choose.
The other hole is the inconsistency in where the “isn’t it better to live at all, than to never be born” question is applied. At least, I have to assume it is applied inconsistently, because I have a hard time imagining that every person who voices this question is against birth control of any sort, for every species. In fact, it goes beyond birth prevention, and is basically an argument that implies each and every one of us must try to get pregnant at every opportunity, lest we deny a potential individual the chance at life. It argues that we should also be constantly breeding every animal in our care; spaying and neutering would definitely be considered wrong according to this logic. Ludicrous.
So, yes, I feel completely comfortable arguing against the forced breeding of farmed animals. I am against their being bred, period. I’m an advocate of spaying and neutering, and of women’s choice. Unless they are truly advocating constant pregnancies for every female of every species, these same people who think that humans shouldn’t be deciding whether the exploited animals would have preferred to never be born should also argue for giving those same animals the choice of whether to breed. I can be generous and ignore the inconsistency when it comes to companion animals and humans, but if they can’t be consistent in applying this logic to even one species, it is pretty obvious it is an excuse, not a logical argument. The exploiters (yes, including consumers) don’t care that they are treating sentient beings as property, as resources. Are we really to believe that they care whether these animals desire to live, when their every action proves otherwise?