Thursday, April 9, 2009

Animal Welfare Opposed to Disability Rights

Nicholas Kristof writes in today's New York Times about the recently passed animal welfare law in California, giving much credit to the utilitarian ethicist Peter Singer.

Deep in the essay, Kristof quotes Singer ...
I asked Mr. Singer how he would weigh human lives against animal lives, and he said that he wouldn’t favor executing a human to save any number of animals. But he added that he would be troubled by the idea of keeping one human alive by torturing 10,000 hogs to death.
... but if you've read any of Singer's utilitarian ideas, you'll find his regard for animal welfare does not extend to all aspects of the human animal's welfare.

I posted a comment to that effect ...
April 09, 2009 9:58 am
That Singer meditates on the welfare of animals is good, but the man also has advocate the euthanization of babies born disabled " ..."killing a newborn baby is never equivalent to killing a person, that is, a being who wants to go on living." The late Harriet McBryde Johnson wrote elegantly in the New York Times about Singer's ugly anti-disability position. And yes, I am a person with a disability, and I despair of utilitarian philosophers like Singer. Can I support his animal welfare positions, see "shades of gray" as friend suggests. I am not sure, although I choose to be a vegetarian.
... but it was apparently "moderated out" of the discussion.
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