To the Editor:
I am writing in response to a letter written by Conservatory first-year Jacob Weber which was printed in last week's Review and exhibits remarkable ignorance, sexism and speciesism. Weber's letter states that the Animal Rights movement is anti-life as it condemns eating, a basic human function necessary for life. Weber also asserts that Animal Rights advocates place the value of non-human life above the value of human life. While defending these points which are laden with incredible ignorance of the true goals of the Animal Rights Movement, Weber systematically refers to all people as "Man" and "Mankind," showing an even more frightening ignorance of the fact that over half of the humans on this planet are female. Through his poor logic and male-centric language, Weber supports both speciesism and sexism, which often go hand-in-hand, in a way that upholds white male patriarchy. Philosophies such as the one Weber espouses place male humans at the center of the universe while denying the rights of others in order to oppress and exploit them to further benefit those in power.
In attempting to support his intellectually weak thesis that the Animal Rights Movement is "anti-life" because it opposes eating by refusing to support the consumption or commodification of animals, Weber states that "man must eat to survive; nobody would dispute that fact." This statement shows that Weber is not only unaware of the existence of women, but that he is also unaware of the existence of food that is not comprised of animal flesh or animal products. Perhaps Jacob Weber has never eaten rice, pasta, beans, fruit or vegetables. I would be interested to see what his manly diet consists of, and also to see his cholesterol levels.
Weber goes on to embarrass himself further by misinterpreting the statement: "the life of an ant and that of my child should be granted equal consideration" as meaning that the Animal Rights Movement advocates "not kindness to animals, but the elevation of animal life over human life." Simple reading comprehension tells us that granting "equal consideration" to all forms of life means just that: equal consideration, not reversal of hierarchy which would grant non-human animals the privilege and power that humans now hold.
Weber's letter places humans over all other forms of life which do not have "man's ability to reason, form concepts and to hold a code of ethics - none of which any other creature can do." Being that Weber seems to be unaware of Women's existence, I suppose it logically follows that he would also be unaware of womens' abilities to perform all of the aforementioned tasks. In defense of animals, I question Weber as to why he sees attributes such as reason and morality as more valuable than attributes such as intuition and self-sufficiency that non-human animals often possess to greater degrees than human animals.
Weber concludes his article by stating: "what underlies the movement is a deep-rooted hatred for mankind. Anyone who values their life should oppose it." I conclude that anyone who values equality and despises the devaluing of all that is not white, male, heterosexual or human should oppose the ignorance of individuals such as Jacob Weber. Another conclusion I've arrived at is that Jacob Weber should take a little time off from the Con, read Animal Liberation by Peter Singer, The Sexual Politics of Meat by Carol J. Adams, take a Women's Studies class and get a clue.
Copyright © 1996, The Oberlin Review.
Volume 124, Number 23; May 3, 1996
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