We should legalize dogfighting. While we’re at it, we should also legalize bestiality and cockfighting, and repeal the Animal Welfare Act of 1966.
Meanwhile, it's okay to slit a cow's throat in order to roast it and eat its flesh.
|This is probably worse than Monica Lewinsky.|
- "It's wrong to imposes pointless suffering on animals." Animal cruelty is certainly not pointless if it gives pleasure to the people who practice it. And dogfighters certainly get plenty of pleasure out of dogfighting; that's why they do it. It's unclear why eating meat is not just another form of this pleasure.
- "The meat industry isn't cruel to animals." Not true. But even if it were—even if every cow and pig were raised and slaughtered comfortably and painlessly—isn't it cruel per se to kill a sentient animal against its will? That seems to be the logic behind prohibiting unsanctioned euthanasia of pets. We might say that this kind of cruelty is largely acceptable. (I, despite being a vegetarian, think it is.) But that's just as much an argument for permitting dogfighting as it is for permitting animal slaughter.
- "Dogfighting is bad for dogfighters. It satisfies no legitimate preference and corrodes their moral integrity." I think that unless we can find a morally absolute reason for prohibiting dogfighting and other forms of cruelty, we won't get very far with virtue ethics. In any case, most people (though not me) would argue that individual virtue is out of bounds for the state's regulation.
In the absence of a distinction in morality, it's unjustifiable to make a distinction in the law. We should not treat people who torture and kill animals for food any differently than people who torture and kill them for sexual pleasure or sport. It's okay to be squeamish about animal cruelty, but squeamishness isn't enough to justify a statute. We should either permit both meat and animal cruelty or prohibit both of them.
(I do make an exception for arguments from Biblical law. I'm sympathetic to the Biblical law that restricts animal cruelty while permitting certain kinds of slaughter. But if you don't think that the moral categories of the Bible as valid without external justification, you need to found your own moral categories on reason. And I don't think there's a reasonable moral distinction between slaughter and wanton cruelty.)
I'm not arguing for prohibiting meat. I am arguing for abolishing a double standard that punishes individual citizens for acts that are no morally different from what large slaughterhouses do on a massive scale.