Whenever I find myself debating right and wrong, I wonder what Peter Singer would say. He’s the most rational thinker on the planet, in my opinion, and so I will sometimes say to myself, “What would Peter Singer do in this situation?”.
For those who’ve never heard of him, he’s an Australian philosopher, the Ira W. DeCamp Professor of Bioethics at Princeton, author of a number of famous books including Animal Liberation and Practical Ethics, and he likes surfing.
Although he’s not the reason I became a plant-eater, he’s the reason I’ve stuck with it. He argues that the fact that animals do not belong to the same species as us is not a valid reason to give less consideration to their interests. Another way to put it is if you accept that sex and race are not rational reasons for giving less consideration to the interests of others, then the same argument applies to those of a different species.
It is so entrenched in our culture to treat animals as objects that it will take a long time to change this. British author and feminist Mary Wollstonecraft wrote her book, A Vindication of the Rights of Woman, in 1792. It was a couple of centuries before her vision became reality and women were not treated as poorly back then as animals are today.
But this post wasn’t really meant to be about animals. Peter Singer is an ethicist so he writes about many things including topics like stem cell research, abortion, paying ransom to terrorists, and also charity. I’ve been wanting to share this video for quite some time. It’s an animation of an argument he has made about a drowning child in a pond and is the thinking behind an organistion he founded called The Life You Can Save.