Sunday, March 09, 2008

Animal and Human Advocacy

I sometimes see people dismiss or criticize animal advocacy with a "humans first" argument. Basically, some people ask why we should bother advocating for animals when there are so many human problems that we need to deal with. Shouldn't we use our resources (time, money, work, arguments, energy) for helping solve human problems?

I can easily debunk this excuse:

We can do both.

Trying to help people does not require one to eat meat. We can advocate for better treatment of animals even as we advocate for helping people. We can work toward better treatment of animals even as we work for better treatment of people. We can devote energy to both.

You might respond, "Well, all the resources you used for helping and advocating for animals could have been used for helping and advocating for people." That's true. But all the resources you used for CDs, DVDs, jewelry, concert tickets, sporting event tickets, beer, extra clothing, restaurant food, or any of the other things you don't really need but you consume for your own pleasure could have been used to help or advocate for people too. Why hold somebody's unselfish advocacy against him or her, when you could more reasonably criticize people's selfish consumption?

The problem isn't people using their resources to help animals instead of people; the problem is people (most of us) that don't use our resources to help anybody.

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