Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Moral Schizophrenia

Francione coined the term "Moral Schizophrenia" (aka "Pet the Dog, eat the Cow" condition), referring to the notion that meat eaters tend to be morally inclined to show compassion for some animals yet happily eat and support violence against others. 

Today I witnessed a perfect case of Moral Schizophrenia.

As I was walking towards my car, I saw a little baby fox sitting next to one squinting at me - I stopped. We stared at each other for a while and i made a move towards him and he moved closer to me, i clearly piqued his interest. I then inched closer and he moved back. We ended up playing a game of chasey. I was feeling inclined to try and catch him to take him home to help him as he was in terrible shape. He was covered in severe scabs, bleeding and puffy eyes, bleeding tail, very injured legs, major hair loss and several cuts. After about 5 minutes he ran away and to my despair, I could not find him.

When I told someone I know about this, they responded saying
"I hate it when innocent little animals are hurt. I love animals so much." (This someone also happens to be a meat consumer) 

Me not wanting to be the annoying-in-your-face vegan did not say anything but my first thought was "Hang on, you dont like animals being hurt yet you happily and thoughtlessly consume them? How hypocritical and double sided."

And it is.

Similar case would be the Michael Vick Dog Fighting scenario. Thousands upon thousands of people found Vick's actions barbaric and distrubing, yet they blissfully consume billions of animals annually. The Humane Society of the United States and PETA both stood up and said; "Today, we sound a clarion call to all people: Stand up for what is right, and speak out against what is wrong. Dogfighting is unacceptable. Hurting animals for human pleasure or gain is despicable. Cruelty is just plain wrong." Yet neither of these organisations promote a vegan or nothing message - thus making that statement really meaningless. 

Dogfighting is unacceptable and people involved in such acts will go to jail - but the slaughter of over 53 billion animals a year is A-OK - as long as 'legistlative standards' are met.

This is just another example of how our society is morally schizophrenic on a vast amount of animal related issues.

Honestly, what is the difference between dog fighting and eating pigs or cows that makes one act justifiable? They are both undoubtedly unnecessary.

It is just a double standard for us to stand around pointing fingers at people like Vick for being part of dogfighting whilst happily chewing on our chicken deluxe burger. Can we not make, through logical deduction that essentially it is the same concept? In the end, a sentient being is being killed for our mere pleasure and profit. 

Why can we not see that cruelty to any being is unnacceptable? Then, once we realise this, why can we not see that we are being highly speciesist to assume we are superior thus giving us some inherent 'right' to exploit another being for our personal gain? It is incredible how much this reminds me of sexism and racism and then that just reminds me of how backward as a species we really are.

This superiority complex of ours is destroying the planet. We think that the animals are the ones beneath us, yet we act like outright irrational savages. Really is just one big painful joke.


Fenrir said...

Great post Amy, my thoughts exactly. People are very quick to raise their arms in outrage at the suffering of one species, and then in the same breath bite into a burger containing the remains of several other sentient species that suffered under far more inhumane conditions. This post made me realise i need to buy more vegan tshirts to wear while i do my weekly grocery shopping :)

Sarah said...

My boss - who claims to be a "health nut" but also likes meat so much she "could be a cannibal" - had a severe case of moral schizophrenia the other day. When she found out about the orangutan that escaped from the Adelaide Zoo (, she was absolutely appalled that they would keep such an intelligent animal confined. This prompted a discussion about how, in her mind, she thinks there should be a COGNITIVE TEST to determine whether or not we should eat an animal. Obvious question: does this mean that we should eat mentally retarded people? Sorry, but I just cannot wrap my head around the mental gymnastics it takes for an intelligent person to rationalise this in their minds.

In the next breath, we got on the topic of infant euthanasia and assisted suicide and Peter Singer's view on the issues. Needless to say, she ran through a series of additional contradictions at this point, in a stunning display of speciesism!

(I almost cracked a joke with her that she was being a very Christian atheist with this human-dominating worldview, but I didn't think it'd go over well...)