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Consider This: Ethics and Animals

October 2 @ 6:30 pm - 8:00 pm| Main Library (Traverse City)


Topic Introduction: How should we understand our ethical obligations to non-human animals?

“The question is not, Can they reason?, nor Can they talk? but, Can they suffer? Why should the law refuse its protection to any sensitive being?” – Jeremy Bentham, An Introduction to the Principles of Morals and Legislation (1789).

Join the Discussion: John Di Giacomo (attorney) will moderate the conversation and Kimberli Bindschatel (local author) will participate.

As author Melanie Joy points out, in our culture we love dogs, eat pigs, and wear cows. On the surface, this seems odd. Most of us seem to draw moral distinctions between how non-human animals are to be treated based strictly on species membership. What is acceptable from a moral standpoint in the case of cows or pigs or chickens doesn’t apply to dog and cats, for example. But why, and is this distinction rational?

Put another way, is speciesism really just like racism or sexism – an arbitrary distinction with no basis in reason? Is treating one animal as a source of food and another as our beloved furry family member a moral distinction without a moral difference?

Bibliography (Books)
Peter Singer, Animal Liberation (1975)
Peter Singer, The Way We Eat: Why Our Food Choices Matter (2006)
Tom Regan, The Case for Animal Rights (1983)
David DeGrazia, Animal Rights: A Very Short Introduction (2002)
Melanie Joy, Why We Love Dogs, Eat Pigs, and Wear Cows (2011)
Michael Pollan, The Omnivore’s Dilemma: A Natural History of Four Meals (2007)
Hal Herzog, Some We Love, Some We Hate, Some We Eat: Why It’s So Hard to Think Straight About Animals (2010)
David Petersen and Richard K. Nelson, A Hunter’s Heart: Honest Essays on Blood Sport (1997)
James A. Swan, In Defense of Hunting (1995)
Barbara Kingsolver, Animal, Vegetable, Miracle: A Year of Food Life (2007)

Bibliography (Online Videos)
Non-Human Animals: Crash Course Philosophy #42 (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=y3-BX-jN_Ac)
Ethics: Killing Animals for Food (https://www.khanacademy.org/partner-content/wi-phi/wiphi-value-theory/wiphi-ethics/v/killing-animals-for-food)
Peter Singer: Non-Human Animal Ethics (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TgRoZVT6kYc)

Bibliography (Films)
Food, Inc. (2009)
Speciesism: The Movie (2013)
Forks Over Knives (2011)
Fast Food Nation (2006)
Meat the Truth (2008)



October 2
6:30 pm - 8:00 pm
Event Categories:
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Main Library (Traverse City)
610 Woodmere Ave
Traverse City, MI 49686 United States


McGuire Community Room