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Sentient Like Me: Ape Rights and the Myth of Intelligence amongst Speciesists

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Blatant speciesist and self-described “liberal Republican” William Saletan recently penned a predictably narrow-minded and weakly argued anti-animal rights editorial for Slate Magazine.Originally bowing to the will of Microsoft,

Slate is now economically beholden to the Washington Post. Billed as “liberal” (which simply means they’re sycophants to the filthy status quo as they call for “reform” to a hopelessly degenerate system), naturally Slate was more than happy to provide Saletan a forum for his unbridled arrogance and bigotry.

(Saletan’s inane musings, Animal-Rights Farm: Ape Rights and the Myth of Animal Equality, can be found here:

It is readily apparent that both Saletan and Wesley Smith, his “favorite anti-animal rights blogger,” are deeply insecure individuals who maintain their illusion of power by fighting tooth and nail to sustain the anachronistic and morally reprehensible notion that that it is “man’s” birthright to subjugate, exploit, and commodify our non-human animal brethren.

Let’s examine Saletan and Smith’s arguments to perpetuate barbarism:Saletan began by baiting the reader with a straw-man argument.

[Should apes be treated like people?]

Animal liberationists have never suggested that we human animals treat non-human animals like people. Such a notion is riddled with idiocies. For instance, as Peter Singer pointed out in his seminal work, Animal Liberation, animals obviously lack the capacity to engage in an activity such as voting, so agitating for a porcine suffrage would be nonsense.

Animal liberationists are seeking an end to the abject torture the human species inflicts on billions upon billions of non-human animals simply to achieve goals and to satisfy needs that could be attained and reached by other means. There is no push for “equality” in the sense that fear-driven speciesists like Saletan and Smith assert. Animal liberation seeks to assign basic, reasonable rights to sentient non-human animals to prevent them from enduring the horrifying unnecessary suffering we humans inflict upon them for our personal gain, amusement and satisfaction.

In his editorial, Saletan wrote:

[The resolution, approved last week by a parliamentary committee with broad support, urges the government to implement the agenda of the Great Ape Project, an organization whose founding declaration says apes “may not be killed” or “arbitrarily deprived of their liberty.” No more routine confinement. According to Reuters, the proposal would commit the government to ending involuntary use of apes in circuses, TV ads, and dangerous experiments.] 

Treating apes like people? Here is the “burdensome and expansive ape bill of rights” (from the Great Ape Project’s website) that has Saletan in a froth:

1. The Right to Life

The lives of members of the community of equals are to be protected. Members of the community of equals may not be killed except in very strictly defined circumstances, for example, self-defense.

2. The Protection of Individual Liberty

Members of the community of equals are not to be arbitrarily deprived of their liberty; if they should be imprisoned without due legal process, they have the right to immediate release. The detention of those who have not been convicted of any crime, or of those who are not criminally liable, should be allowed only where it can be shown to be for their own good, or necessary to protect the public from a member of the community who would clearly be a danger to others if at liberty. In such cases, members of the community of equals must have the right to appeal, either directly or, if they lack the relevant capacity, through an advocate, to a judicial tribunal.

3. The Prohibition of Torture

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Jason Miller, Senior Editor and Founder of TPC, is a tenacious forty something vegan straight edge activist who lives in Kansas and who has a boundless passion for animal liberation and anti-capitalism. Addicted to reading and learning, he is mostly (more...)
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