Animal Ethics

This page is currently under construction. Additional resources and more information coming soon. [Last Update on 6/30/13]

Brief testimonial: In March 2011, following a few years of various off-and-on attempts, I made the permanent decision to stop consuming non-human animal flesh. I'm not vegan, however. I am what one would call an "ovo-lacto vegetarian." In other words, although I do not eat the flesh of non-human animals, I do not completely avoid their byproducts, as long as they have been procured in ways I deem ethical and responsible; a very limited amount of eggs and dairy, as well as honey, are what prevent me from being classified as "vegan." While backpacking through certain parts of Europe during the summer of 2012, I unfortunately had to allow myself to eat small portions of fish and chicken; the nomadic lifestyle I was living that summer, and the locales I was visiting, did not perfectly cater to my dietary decisions, and I would have otherwise suffered from malnutrition and risked becoming ill. Aside from this, however, my decision in 2011 has remained steadfast. I'm often asked "why" I chose to forgo common menu items here in the States. The decision was based on ethical and environmental concerns. My formal background in philosophy and religion conditioned me to deeply consider - and, indeed, still very much does - the realities of the choices we make in life. The growing areas of animal and environmental ethics have been of interest to me since I was first exposed to them as an undergraduate student studying humanities and anthropology. Without drawing too much on disciplinary jargon and various frameworks for argumentation, I'll simply state that I found myself no longer comfortable sacrificing the life of another being so that I could become physically gratified. I don't inherently appeal to biological arguments surrounding the make-up of our digestive tracts and dental structures; my appeal is strictly ethical and environmental. Regarding the latter, my decision pertains to the appalling levels of waste that the meat industry (and more specifically, so-called "factory farms") produce each year. The ethical dimensions of my position are pretty straightforward as well: if a being has any interests, then it is worthy of equal moral consideration. This, many might notice, is in accordance with the work of British ethicist Peter Singer (the man whose Animal Liberation in 1975 helped the movement gather an enormous amount of momentum). Non-human animals, if nothing else, have a clear interest in experiencing enjoyment or pleasure, and an interest in not experiencing any suffering or pain. Thus, according to this view, they are worthy of equal moral consideration; to deny them of this is both speciesist and anthropocentric (not unlike racism and sexism, many ethicists note). I also make it a point to never force my views onto anyone else, no matter how passionate I may feel about them. My goal here is to simply educate: if others would like to continue eating meat, I simply ask that they make sure they know how it arrived on their plate.

Again, please keep in mind that this section of my website is still very much a work in progress. I plan to include additional resources and links to various informational hubs in the near future. Please check back and feel free to contact me directly.

Testing products and various chemical components on non-human animals is on par with the brutality of the meat industry in many ways. The cosmetic industry is particularly accountable for the needless suffering inflicted upon their animal test subjects. Various research and medical facilities are not innocent either. Below are two preliminary links for this section. Both are regularly managed by People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA). The first one is a list of those companies that DO test their products on non-human animals, and the second is a list of those that DO NOT. If a dietary change is not possible, for whatever reason(s), then I implore those reading this to at least engage in more conscious shopping and all other forms of consumption. The horrifying details surrounding animal testing will follow in the future, but browsing PETA's website, the Humane Society's website, and many others, will provide cursory and accessible information.