Notions of Fairness Fail Again and Again

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Notions of Fairness Fail Again and Again

By JENNY MOXHAM 
12 Sep 2011
Geelong Advertiser

A GROUP of chimps which had been locked away in a research laboratory in Austria saw the sun for the first time in 30 years last week.


Three chimpanzees step out into the daylight for the first time in 30 years.

The primates, stolen from their mothers, had been injected with HIV and hepatitis and kept in isolation. Imagine how we would we feel if we were incarcerated like this for 30 long years. Would we think it was fair?

Being fair is something that society in general regards as the decent and proper way to behave. We’re all familiar with the Australian saying, ‘Fair go, mate’, meaning be reasonable.

Strangely enough, however, where non-human beings are concerned this belief in fairness flies out the door.

Is it fair of us to force cows to go through the excruciating agony of birth each year and then steal and kill their beloved babies – just because we enjoy the taste of their baby’s milk?

Is it fair of us to force horses to jump obstacles when we know that they may well lose their lives in the process – just because we enjoy the fun of jumps racing?

Is it fair of us to drop live, day-old male baby chicks into giant mincing machines – just because they can’t lay the eggs that we love to eat?

And is it fair of us to agonisingly cut off their sisters’ beaks with lasers and then crush them into small cages and force them to endure day after day of hell on earth for this same reason?

Is it fair to confine sensitive and intelligent mother pigs in metal, body-hugging sow stalls in which they can barely move – simply because we like the taste of pork?

Is it fair to subject sheep to agonising mutilations and rob them of their only protection from the elements, their fleece – just because we like to clothe ourselves in their wool?

Is it fair to lock birds up in cages for the entire lives – just so we can have the pleasure of looking at them when and if we feel like it?

The weekend marked the 10th anniversary of the terrorist attacks on New York’s World Trade Centre. Was it fair those people were killed in this cruel manner? Of course not.

These people did nothing to deserve this horrific, terrifying and premature death.

In that very same year 65 billion innocent non-human beings also met a cruel, terrifying and premature death – at our hands.

Was that fair? Of course not. Since then, a further 650 billion innocent animals have met a cruel, terrifying and horrific death at our hands – for nothing but taste-bud satisfaction.

Jenny Moxham is an animal rights activist. She lives in Melbourne.