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Legal Slavery in the 21st Century

Legal Slavery in the 21st Century
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While animal welfare has been a concern of many civilizations throughout world history, its beginnings in modern Western civilization can be traced back to early 19th century Britain with the utilitarian philosophy of Jeremy Bentham and the establishment of the Royal Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals in 1824. Since then, there have been thousands of animal welfare organizations created, countless attempts and billions of dollars spent to pass laws and regulations to protect nonhuman animals from “unnecessary cruelty.”

In 1975, act-utilitarian philosopher Peter Singer rejuvenated the 150 year-old animal welfare movement with his book Animal Liberation, which contrasts the stark, and often extreme differences between animal welfare prohibitions against “unnecessary” or “gratuitous” cruelty and the harsh realities of routine, systematic, needless cruelty inflicted on tens of billions of animals annually in agriculture, and millions of animals in experimentation, entertainment, and fashion. Animal Liberation was a call to take animal welfare – the regulation of industrialized animal exploitation — seriously.

In the 35 years that have passed since Animal Liberation was published, organizations such as People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) have sought to diminish this huge gap between animal welfare goals and the reality of “unnecessary and gratuitous” cruelty so ubiquitous in our use of nonhuman animals. Their approach combines campaigns for various welfare measures with attempts to encourage the reduction of animal product consumption. Thus far, the results of these efforts have been devastating. From 1975 to 2007, the consumption of meat in the United States has increased from 178 to 222 pounds per person; an increase of 25%. During these years, no significant new welfare laws have been implemented, much less enforced, and there are countless videos and eyewitness accounts of routine violations of existing laws. We torture and kill more animals in more horrific ways than ever in human history.

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9:04AM PST on Dec 12, 2013

Thanks so much for sharing.

If you'd like to do more, please sign my petition for slavery-free chocolate:

10:26AM PDT on Sep 30, 2011

Thank you for contributing a relevant post Robyn and for referring to me as being of the "younger" generation. You anger is well noted.

4:15AM PDT on Sep 30, 2011

I thought canines lived in packs, not flocks. And the Lycaon Pictus is strange one in the Canine world. Those are the best of the wild canines. they don't fight over food like the wolf, wolves get bitchy when feeding.

4:00AM PDT on Sep 30, 2011

To Brianna K:

Why does everything have "to rock" these days? Is this the descriptive language you learn in school? Rock on, you rock, you rock my world, rock those jeans .. and then there's the neverending "awesome" .. you use either one or both together constantly. Do you have such limited lives? I guess you do. I don't know how "awesome" came into use but "rock" must have come from the media to sell their products. Aren't younger generations supposed to rebel against their parents and grandparents. But we still have the 60s mentality and we've had it ever since then, since the "youthquake". And is "I'm like" for "I think" finally on its way out? I'd like to say goodbye to rock and awesome too. Read some good books, they might make you a bit smarter. Maybe.

3:03AM PDT on Sep 30, 2011

Thanks for posting this. Wish the whole world would just go vegan.

6:08PM PDT on Sep 20, 2011

thank you for the post

1:13AM PDT on Aug 21, 2011

Angel, your articles always rock :) Thank you

1:12AM PDT on Aug 21, 2011

5:01AM PDT on Aug 13, 2011

Yes, MD L., many species put us to shame in the parenting department, but if one actually spends some time observing them instead of merely reacting to internet propaganta sites and blogs, they might be a bit more realistic. You mentioned Army Ants...........ever watch them on the march? anything and EVERYTHING goes when they move. Anything in their path is dismantled and destroyed. Chimps are brutal and bloody when battling over territory and position.

I've raised horses for decades. Observing a mare with a foal in a pasture situation is a good education. My now 24-yr-old mare had one offspring. She, herself, was a pushy filly, and her dam was not a good Mother. Her Mother tolerated anything, but that wasn't always a good thing. Suede, when she foaled, had a stud colt, who demanded to be nursed when HE wanted to be. Suede put him in his place and told HIM when it was acceptable or not. He matured to be a well-adjusted stallion (now 17 years old) and who respects autority from everyone. He certainly was never a slave, just understands his "place" in the hiarchy.

3:08PM PDT on Aug 12, 2011

Actually, humans take pretty darn good care of their offspring on average, easily one of the best parents in the world, if not the best. Certain intelligent and social species like elephants, dolphins, crows and whales come close, but there are also plenty of animals that will happily eat their own offspring (or the offspring of the their own species), or prevent the weaker ones from getting enough food. Wild canines are generally very good parents, but they also have strict pecking orders, and only the strongest members of the are generally allowed to breed at all, and they get the most nutritious portions of kills such as the liver and other organs. The weaker members of the pack are often malnourished, and if food is scarce they may well starve. Of course we do the same. Still, despite the wars and classes/pecking order, on average humans do take better care of their own than any other species I can think of at the moment.

Chimps and ants are the only other species I can think of that practice anything like warfare. As far as infant mortality rates and likelihood of dying by violence we are ahead of all or almost all other species. We are likely the most brutal and destructive to other species though, and we can be very vicious with each other at times. Our intelligence and tool making ability allow us to do everything in extreme.

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