NYT Opens the Door to the Humane Myth

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NYT Opens the Door to the Humane Myth

By Mary Martin, PhD on AnimalPerson.net

Riddle me this: What's the difference between a cow and someone on death row?

In the 12/14/90 New York Times editorial "There Is No 'Humane' Execution," we have an imperfect yet nevertheless baby step toward acknowledgment of the HumaneMyth.

Let's summarize and deconstruct:

But I'm dedicated to eking out the positive message here, which is that there is no way to take the life of another, no matter who they are or what they've done, and call that humane. Three drugs, one drug, 30 minutes, one minute, none of that matters. Of course, less suffering is always better than more, but when you are taking someone's life, I'm pretty sure it's the life-taking that's most important to them.

Riddle me this: What's the difference between a cow and someone on death row? For one thing, the cow has not been convicted of some heinous crime. The cow will be executed simply because she is a cow. And isn't it odd that we would have such a difficult time, for decades, trying to figure out if it's okay to kill someone who is a demonstrated threat to the community, yet not only do we not think twice about killing a cow, who is no threat whatsoever, but we actually create cows for the sole purpose of killing them? Where's the moral objection on behalf of cows?

Finally, until we as a society develop a collective objection to killing human animals who have committed atrocities, we are unlikely to develop such an objection to killing nonhuman animals. But that doesn't mean we should work toward abolishing the death penalty first, and then move to the case of animals. The identical principle is at work--taking the life of another when it isn't necessary is inherently unjust.