Altruistic murders

[Versão em português]

Irrelevance of the cause of harms

If we reject speciesism and give moral consideration to nonhuman animals due to their sentience, we must take them into account regardless of the origin of the harms inflicted to them, so moral consideration should be given both to those who suffer from human action as to those who suffer in the wild. It is reasonable to think in which cases their situation is bad or good, then where we must act and with which priority, and finally, look for examples of actions that can reduce the suffering of those animals. This is extremely important because nonhuman animals exist in huge numbers, and usually suffer very intensely.

Within this context, some authors, from consequentialist views, seek to do utility or net value estimates analyzing various consequences of any practice or even analyzing the effects of the lives of some individuals. In short, the net value is positive when the welfare prevails, and negative when suffering predominates; this applies to any processes that affect sentient individuals in any way (whether in nature, in animal agriculture, or as a result of agriculture, urbanization, etc.). Some examples of this approach appear in “ Towards welfare biology: Evolutionary economics of animals consciousness and suffering ” by Yew-Kwang Ng; “ Questions of Priority and Interspecies Comparisons of Happiness ” by Oscar Horta; “ Crop Cultivation and Wild Animals ” by Brian Tomasik.

Although these estimates involve quantities which are difficult to measure, they can be done considering conservative ​​and not exaggerated values and therefore may allow a good notion (often even optimistic or moderate) of the situation of nonhuman animals. Thus, even with those conservative values, the common conclusion of these studies is that a huge number of animals, the vast majority of them, is at a miserable condition, specially a huge number of invertebrates, due to their big population and to the high probability of premature and painful deaths, by causes like predation, disease, parasitism, starvation, weather conditions, etc. Therefore, as the situation in which these animals live is too severe, some authors correctly argue for the need and urgency of supporting interventions to reduce the suffering of those animals, beyond opposing animal exploitation by humans. These interventions can be divided into two groups. First, those interventions that aim to improve wildlife, in short, through technologies, monitoring and provision of support to animals; this idea is particularly advocated by David Pearce. Second, interventions that do not aim to improve wildlife, but to reduce its population (through the use of contraception for instance), since doing so is relatively easier and faster than the first approach, and because aggregate suffering can be estimated as proportional to the size of animal populations. However, in some cases involving the second group, there are disagreements on which interventions should be adopted. Continuar lendo

Crítica ao texto “O mito vegetariano: Alimentação, Justiça e Sustentabilidade”

Esta é uma crítica ao capítulo um do livro O mito vegetariano: Alimentação, Justiça e Sustentabilidade de Lierre Keith, em resposta a ideias muito problemáticas que o texto promove. 

Em relação a um dos principais pontos do textos, é verdade que vegans cometem vários erros e contradições, e que a agricultura causa mortes e sofrimentos. Também é compreensível a preocupação da autora com mudanças climáticas e com a escassez de recursos, coisas que podem prejudicar muitos indivíduos.

Entretanto, a autora do texto trata quase exclusivamente  de sustentabilidade e de impactos ambientais, como se essas fossem as únicas coisas que importassem (ignorando uma série de outros aspectos importantes), e fala de forma bucólica e vaga sobre árvores e sobre entender a natureza. Embora a ideia de sustentabilidade possa ter sua relevância, existem várias outras coisas que precisam ser consideradas. A autora apenas defende sua visão romântica da natureza e aborda impactos ambientais da agricultura, mas não trata das questões éticas ligadas à exploração de animais para consumo, e despreza o sofrimento dos mesmos, como no momento em que diz: “A grama e os herbívoros precisam um do outro tanto como predadores de suas presas. Essas não são relações de sentido único, e não acordos de dominação e subordinação. Nós não estamos explorando um ao outro por comer. Estamos apenas nos revezando.”
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