The author starts from the position that animals have rights but does not identify what those rights are. Domestic animals are not free to be themselves since their only reason for "being" is to provide products for humans and, sometimes, other animals. Through generations of selective breeding, domestic animals cannot survive and reproduce without human intervention.

The overarching questions are: What rights do domestic animals have and are those rights "self evident" or granted solely by humans who breed them? Wild animals have the right to live as long as they can before they are killed by other animals, starve to death or die of some unpleasant disease. Alas, many humans on this planet are still living with only the same rights as wild animals.

I also found the use of the stereotype of Jews and chicken soup to be mildly offensive.

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An interesting, thoughtful, and provocative essay. In general, I agree with it, and look forward to science, technology, and the marketplace catching up with the demands of humanistic ethics. My only criticism of the essay is that I believe "libertarian" should replace his use of the term "liberal;" however, since the author is a political philosopher and I am not, then maybe my own understanding is deficient?

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What are you comparing animal agriculture to? Animals are killed in the process of growing plants too. The farmer must kill all the animals that look to eat their crop. This can be rabbits, gophers, bugs, etc. This can be outright targeting, as in the case of the "gopher killer" weapon. Or it can be a pestiCIDE. Even the tilling will kill animals. And where are you getting the fertilizer from? My understanding is that a farmer either needs to use a fossil fuel based fertilizer or an animal based one. I heard James Cameron completely failed to find non-animal organic fertilizer that worked on his farm. Now he has a dairy farm. All that said, my point is that both animal and non-animal based agriculture are harmful to animals. It's all a question of degree. I'm a fan of regenerative agriculture, especially as practiced at White Oak Pastures. As for lab-grown meat, that's all a play for companies to patent and make what is otherwise a low profit margin food (such as meat) and turn it into something extremely profitable. It is also really unknown the health consequences on the human body. We have been eating meat for a long, long time. I'm not going to trust some $cience coming from a corporation that has a financial interest in supposedly "proving" their products are safe. Yeah, ok, and cigarettes are safe too because the tobacco industry funded science says so.

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I agreed that the goal of minimizing suffering to animals is a worthy one. But am skeptical that endowing them with human rights is the solution.

You highlight the "immense harm" that we "inflict upon animals" up to and including killing them. But I think we need to take a step back.

Trillions of animals are killed every year by other (nonhuman) animals. It is practically the nature of being an animal. They are not born with any inalienable right to not be killed. If anything their birthright is the opposite. The few at the top of food chains are the exception.

Failure to acknowledge this crucial context leads us down the road to utopian thinking, and in my view utopian thinking never fails to make things worse.

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