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Fighting for animal liberation and an end to speciesism

Paul Hansen's Blog (20)


In a short comment on Culture & Ethics, Discovery Institute’s Wesley J. Smith applauded Donald Trump for declaring January 2018 as “National Slavery and Human Trafficking Prevention Month.” Trump’s decree reads in part as follows:

NOW, THEREFORE, I, DONALD J. TRUMP, President of the United States of America, by virtue of the authority vested in me by the Constitution and the laws of the United States, do hereby…


Added by Paul Hansen on January 6, 2018 at 16:30 — 2 Comments

Trophy Hunting—A Way of Life?

Sporadically, I watch the “Outdoor” channel on cable TV in a recurring attempt to understand the mind-set of trophy hunters and why they seem able to take the life of a wild animal so glibly and gleefully without regard for its suffering, respect for its natural habitation, or (in some cases) concern for its nursing offspring.

I still don’t understand their apparent callousness. They seem devoid of empathy. Some have suggested…


Added by Paul Hansen on June 28, 2013 at 6:30 — 2 Comments

Illegal Ivory Trade Threatens African Elephants

Despite the 1990 ban on ivory trade, elephants continue to be killed by poachers. According to Defenders of Wildlife, at the turn of the 20th century, there were a few million African elephants and about 100,000 Asian elephants. Today, there are an estimated 450,000 to 700,000 African elephants and between 35,000 and 40,000 wild Asian elephants. Defenders of Wildlife is working through the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES) to maintain a ban on the sale of ivory…


Added by Paul Hansen on April 5, 2013 at 13:52 — No Comments

Professor Gullone thinks animal cruelty makes 'a morally unsafe world for human beings'

Professor Eleonora Gullone, Associate Professor in Psychology at Monash University, Australia, believes that “Almost without exception, the perpetrators of animal cruelty crimes are the same individuals who carry out aggressive and violent acts including assault, partner and child abuse. Thus, animal cruelty crimes should be treated with the same seriousness as crimes against humans. Moreover, the punishments should reflect their severity." For more details on her new book, Animal…


Added by Paul Hansen on November 2, 2012 at 3:59 — No Comments

An Age of Euphemisms

Modern institutions like to euphemize their worst habits, and nowhere is this more evident than in the meat industry. Animals have been reduced from sentient individuals to material commodities that contribute to the production of capital. Hence, they are captured, caged, raised, poached, trapped, skinned, traded, or sold as “exotic” pets or for their fur, body parts, or supposed medicinal value.

The semantics of meat-industry terms is itself revealing. Such terms as “poultry”,…


Added by Paul Hansen on August 31, 2012 at 4:00 — 7 Comments

Animal Welfare Labeling: A Trojan Horse

In reality, the meat industry is interested NOT in animal welfare, but in maintaining its “market share” or bottom line—and that means substituting euphemistic labeling for true ethical reform and getting anti-cruelty laws compromised. Read this essay by James McWilliams: …


Added by Paul Hansen on August 30, 2012 at 7:30 — 3 Comments

Tourism in Burma & Thailand threatens Elephant population

It has never been a “level playing field” between humans and wildlife, especially where profit is at stake. The pressures of smuggling, poaching, and abuse continue. Here’s one more example from Thailand.

Added by Paul Hansen on August 26, 2012 at 5:00 — No Comments

“Bear Dancing” eludes Indian authorities

Yet another example (among hundreds) of animal cruelty and oppression. Click on and watch the live footage.

Added by Paul Hansen on August 18, 2012 at 16:59 — No Comments

Are environmentalists and animal defenders anti-human, radical, irrational, and fanatical? The Over-reaction of Human Exceptionalists

Dr. Wesley J. Smith is a senior fellow of the Discovery Institute in Seattle who directs a newsletter site called “The Human Exceptionalist” (see Smith and his colleagues—understandably—are concerned about “increasing attacks on free will” and the…


Added by Paul Hansen on August 13, 2012 at 5:00 — 2 Comments

The Paradox of Paternalism: A Dilemma for Naturalism

(Note: Since a thorough defense of this thesis would require expanding my discussion in several directions, this essay is presented only as an abstract or outline.)

Several contemporary philosophers (including Alvin Plantinga,1 atheist Thomas Nagel,2 and former atheist Antony Flew3) have argued that ‘scientific naturalism’ is an inadequate view of our universe—which is to say, it…


Added by Paul Hansen on June 10, 2012 at 4:30 — 19 Comments

Are Nonpersonal ‘Substances’ Valuable? An Argument for Protective Parity


The adjective “innocent,” which frequently occurs in pro-life discussions about “innocent human beings,” does no justificatory work, except to identify those subjects who cannot defend themselves against the more powerful. So used, it can apply equally to “innocent mammals” who cannot defend themselves against poachers or abusive owners. If Greg Koukl’s appeal to “transcendent human value”1 works to ground…


Added by Paul Hansen on May 11, 2012 at 18:00 — No Comments

Exploitation and the “Resource” Mentality of John Wayne

In a previous blog post, I suggested that the history of animal exploitation was like a centuries-old ‘trail of tears’ in that, just as the Indian Removal Act of 1830 forcibly separated Native Americans from their homelands, so the treating of animals as mere commodities separated them from their natural lives and habitats. In the case of the Cherokee and other tribes, white Americans sought to acquire their land and the tribes were simply “in the way.” In the case…


Added by Paul Hansen on April 3, 2012 at 21:30 — No Comments

“The Last Cowboy” Syndrome

During August of 2010, the Animal Planet channel repeatedly televised a documentary entitled “The Last Cowboy,” which narrates the lifestyle, work habits, struggles, and rewards of three Wyoming cattle ranches—those owned by the Stuckey, Hughes, and Galt families respectively. 

Every year at the end of “calving” season, family members must assist in branding each new animal in the herd, which may include as many as 400 “head.” This entails roping, dragging, innoculating, and…


Added by Paul Hansen on April 2, 2012 at 18:00 — 2 Comments

“Big Top” Trainers Assert Ungraceful Dominance

Personally, I don’t think this is how God intended for people to relate to animals (an understatement). This is obnoxious.

Added by Paul Hansen on March 29, 2012 at 2:50 — 2 Comments

Is ‘Christian Agrarianism’ Thoroughly Compassionate? Is ‘Humane Slaughter’ an Oxymoron?

Nicolette Hahn Niman argues in her recent book, Righteous Porkchop, that it’s acceptable to raise animals for food as long as they are treated humanely and killed quickly. She assures consumers that the animals at the ranch that she manages with her husband, Bill Niman, have a “good life and an easy death.”1 Similarly, meat industry advertisers are doing all they can…


Added by Paul Hansen on January 21, 2012 at 20:30 — 5 Comments

Animal Exploitation as a Centuries-old ‘Trail of Tears’

Recently I’ve been viewing an impressive 8-disc historical documentary series (produced by Octapixx and narrated by James Earl Jones) entitled “The American West.” Discs 3 and 4 of the series cover the infamous “Trail of Tears” experienced by the Cherokee and other tribes of Native Americans. As a result of the Indian Removal Act of 1830 under President Andrew Jackson, thousands of indians were snatched from their homes and forcibly marched some 800 miles…


Added by Paul Hansen on December 14, 2011 at 19:30 — No Comments

Does Hunting Justify Culling?

Ordinarily, those who are concerned about animal ethics or animal welfare would instead ask, “Does culling justify hunting?”—In other words, “Does the need to curtail overpopulation in a species justify killing them (even from helicopters!) in large numbers to ensure their own survival and that of their prey?” This is a fair question, and one that requires careful consideration by conservation biologists.

However, if the political propaganda of hunting lobbyists (and of course gun…


Added by Paul Hansen on December 1, 2011 at 11:00 — No Comments

Is Trophy Hunting a Sport and a Harvest?

There is no doubt that the gun culture is replete with euphemisms. Terms such as “sport”, “harvest”, “game”, and “livestock” grace the rhetoric of those who want to subdue animals and gather trophies of victory and dominance with impunity. 

To ask if hunting is analogous to either a sport or a harvest is often to evoke passionate debate between animal lovers and “arms-bearing” traditionalists. Certainly, an argument can be made for the taking of “livestock” in the wild by hunters…


Added by Paul Hansen on December 1, 2011 at 11:00 — No Comments

Can Moral ‘Discrimination’ Be Non-Speciesist?

In response to some criticisms I raised about his paper “What is Speciesism?”, Oscar Horta has graciously replied with some Clarifications to it. To extend that discussion, I am offering this follow-up reply, which will neither address all of Horta’s points, nor do so in the sequence he presents them. In addition, not all of my comments will pertain directly to something he has written, since I cite the views of Mary Midgley, Peter Singer, Tom Regan, Steve Sapontzis, Gary…


Added by Paul Hansen on September 29, 2011 at 20:00 — 3 Comments

Response to Oscar Horta’s Paper (“What Is Speciesism?”)

Thanks again, Kate, for the link to Oscar Horta’s paper, which I am very glad to have gotten. To avoid wasting space or being too tangential, I am responding to it here, rather than as part of the David Nibert dialogue. 


Professor Horta does a good job in laying out the philosophical options, and, in fact, ratifies my own point when he writes: “The term ‘anthropocentrism’ should be clearly distinguishable from ‘speciesism.’ These two words are not synonyms.” (p.…


Added by Paul Hansen on August 8, 2011 at 20:30 — 8 Comments


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