The Importance of Freedom of Speech
Animals: Tradition - Philosophy - Religion Article from


Stephen Kaufman, M.D., Christian Vegetarian Association (CVA)

The Importance of Freedom of Speech

Recently, I argued that contemporary animal abuse is perhaps the greatest crime in human history. One need not conclude that it is humanity’s most evil activity to agree that it is a monumental tragedy and disgrace and warrants our vigorous opposition. How can we advocate for nonhumans effectively?

For starters, I think that we must defend the civil rights that make advocacy possible. In particular, we must protect freedom of speech and expression. The forces of evil always try to suppress free speech, because the light of truth is their enemy: “And this is the judgment, that the light has come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil” John 3:19). Indeed, all authoritarian regimes repress free speech.

We must fight “ag-gag” laws that criminalize exposing abuse on factory farms. And, we should defend free speech, even if we disagree with the content of that speech or find that speech offensive. Those seeking to curtail our own speech on behalf of nonhumans will always argue that our speech is wrong, offensive, or dangerous.

As Supreme Court Justice Louis Brandeis opined in 1927, "If there be time to expose through discussion the falsehood and fallacies, to avert the evil by the processes of education, the remedy to be applied is more speech, not enforced silence." Next week, I will continue to reflect on the rights that make animal advocacy possible.

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