April 24, 2024

Vegan bioethics, or why Peter Singer is cruel to animals

An interview with Gary Francione, the world’s leading animal “abolitionist”.

The nightmare scenario: you’ve been buttonholed at a party by an unknown conversationalist who gives you 127 rapid-fire reasons why Peter Singer’s views on animal rights are wrong, harmful and absurd. You’re talking to (a) a rancher (b) a chicken farmer (c) a professor at Rutgers University.

The correct answer is (c). You are talking with Gary Francione, the world’s leading animal “abolitionist”. He thinks that Peter Singer is far too conservative. Francione believes that killing animals of any kind is wrong, not just ones with some degree of self-awareness, as Singer would have it. By his count 56 billion animals are killed every year for “transparently frivolous” reasons, like food, and this is clearly immoral.

In his eyes, there is no such thing as killing animals humanely. A man with a gift for startling analogies, Professor Francione says that waterboarding on a bare plank and waterboarding on a padded plank are both torture. Similarly, however animals are killed, they are still killed.

Listen to his extremely interesting podcast on Philosophy Bites.

Michael Cook
Creative commons
animal abolitionism
animal rights
Gary Francione
Peter Singer