February 23, 2010
A very interesting post on Treehugger is sure to spark some heated debate. Treehugger editor Matthew McDermott has reposted and commented on sections of an op-ed piece from last week’s New York Times. In the Op-ed piece a doctoral student in the philosophy-neuroscience-psychology program at Washington University, Adam Shriver describes possible benefits of genetically modifying factory farmed animals to live (their, albeit pitiable lives) pain-free. He asserts that the research is there to make this possible. But from what we can see on Treehugger, and hopefully on this website, such a notion is grossly wide of the mark – that is to say completely unacceptable.
This more than likely goes without saying, but the problem with the Mr. Shriver’s article (not the least of which is his opening attribution to Peter Singer) is the slippery equation between pain and suffering. By reducing the pain in the animals Mr. Shriver also assumes that this will reduce their suffering. We don’t need to go to any lengths to prove such a logical misstep. Look at the picture above. Now imagine it where the animals feel no pain. The picture doesn’t change. Does this look like an environment where there is no suffering?
What’s perhaps even more pitiable about Mr. Shriver’s theory (how can this come from a philosopher?!) is the perpetuation of the anthropocentric machine that landed these animals in the cage in the first place. Adam, we should all be ashamed. Even when we try to help these animals we further their demise.
For ideas on how to solve meat production problems without continuing to treat animals like slabs of protein flip through the pages found here.
Image re-posted from Treehugger.