Thursday, September 29, 2011
New Essay: Anti-Vivisection and Anti-Violence
I have recently become involved in an anti-vivisection organization at the University of Toronto, where I studied for all of my academic degrees. I have done a few talks on anti-vivisection for them. This informal paper makes a strong ethical case against medical vivisection using non-violence as a principle. As in "Animal Rights in Essence," listed above, I do not offer a meta-ethical justification for non-violence, which I intend to do in a forthcoming book. Rather, I build on the fact that each of us normally insists on non-violence towards ourselves. Vivisectionists on campus often imply that anti-vivisectionists are cranks who are not worth debating, but I show how the most established versions of many ethical theories entail non-violence, which must be extended to nonhuman animals too if we are to disavow speciesism. My blog entry from July 7, 2009 shows how contemporary animal liberationist ethical theories fail to protect animals against vivisection. It is harder to address this issue because although we can all regard the violence in eating animals, wearing their skins, using them in entertainment, or hunting them to be readily dispensable, medical vivisection supposedly addresses a human need in a unique way. Some frame this issue as a moral dilemma: either do not harm animals in laboratories, or let humans come to harm by refusing to engage in medical vivisection. I show how the issue cannot fairly be characterized in such a manner. I hope you will help to get AV v AV out there!