Singer on Animal Rights and God

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Singer on Animal Rights and God

By Kim Stallwood

Philosopher Peter Singer makes sense in Religion’s regressive hold on animal rights issues (Guardian article). He begins by saying,

Last week, the chief minister of Malacca, Mohamad Ali Rustam, was quoted in the Guardian as saying that God created monkeys and rats for experiments to benefit humans. Activists had been protesting against his approval of an Indian company’s proposal to build an animal research laboratory in his state. They said that Malaysia has no regulations to protect animals in laboratories. His answer was the reference to God’s purpose in creating animals.

And concludes with,

If we are concerned about the exploitation of human workers in countries with low standards of worker protection, we should also be concerned about the treatment of even more defenceless non-human animals. At present, the only hope of reversing this trend seems to be pressure on companies not to test their products in countries without good animal welfare regulations, and pressure on research institutions not to have links with such countries. But to unravel the connections and make them clear to consumers is, unfortunately, going to be a difficult task.

But it seems that stupid comment of the day award needn’t necessarily go to chief minister Mohamad Ali Rustam who said God created monkeys and rats for experiments to benefit humans but to Wesley J. Smith, the latest in a line of apologists for animal exploiters and reds-under-the-dog-beds scare-mongers. He takes Singer to task for not using the opportunity of his op-ed to state his opposition to violence. Because Singer didn’t, Smith concludes that,

Singer has spoken against violence in the past, but not very robustly. This piece would have been a good time to bring that crucial point up with ringing clarity. Too bad he preferred instead to use most of his column as a jeremiad against religion. Indeed, I think it tells us clearly where is priorities lie.

It seems that you can’t speak out often and loudly enough against violence for those who are blind to the violence they condone toward animals regardless of whether it is sanctioned by religion or anything else.