Speciesism, Livestock And Hunting

Some farmers and farm group officials pride themselves on understanding the other side of controversial issues. For instance, they make a point of reading anti-GMO literature; they figure that doing so will help them to defend the use of GMO.

Using that logic, some Agweek readers may want to learn more about what’s known as speciesism. There are different definitions of the term, but I’ll go with this one: Speciesism is the belief that being human gives us greater moral rights than non-human animals.

Critics of speciesism say agriculturalists uses the belief to justify all kinds of terrible treatment of animals.

Now, a new movie that criticizes speciesism is attracting some attention nationally. The movie’s web site is http://speciesismthemovie.com. If you raise livestock — and want to better prepare yourself to respond to the critics — you might want to check it out.

Critics of speciesism have the right and responsibility to follow their moral convictions; I won’t fault their honestly held beliefs. Nor do I doubt that some aspects of livestock agriculture can and should be improved. But I simply don’t accept the core message from the critics.

North Dakota’s deer gun hunting season begins this weekend, and I’ll be doing my best to shoot a non-human animal. I have no elaborate philosophical defense of that. Venison is tasty, and state wildlife officials say the deer population needs to be reduced. That’s good enough for me.