Thursday, March 4, 2010

Nice Review of A Rat is a Pig is a Dog is a Boy

About a month ago, I did an extended interview with Colleen Carroll Campbell for EWTN about my book. It will air in a few months. But what a nice surprise today that she devoted her column to a review. And she gets it. From her column:

Wesley J. Smith is a speciesist. And he thinks you should be, too. An attorney and author of a new expose on the animal-rights movement, Smith promotes what was once an uncontroversial idea: the belief that “human beings stand at the pinnacle of the moral hierarchy of life.” He thinks humans have a duty to treat animals humanely. He also thinks we have a right to use animals to promote human flourishing and alleviate human suffering. In short, Smith loves animals but values humans more.

According to animal-rights activists, that makes him guilty of “speciesism:” a form of discrimination as arbitrary and pernicious as racism, and one that some believe must be eradicated by any means necessary. After all, “animals are people and people are animals,” as self-described “eco-anarcha-feminist animal” Pattrice Jones puts it. Or, to quote People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals president Ingrid Newkirk, “A rat is a pig is a dog is a boy. They are all mammals.”

She points out one of my major themes:

Even more troubling, animal-rights activists have succeeded in confusing the public about the difference between animal rights and animal welfare. The latter is a noble cause supported by the vast majority of Americans who want to protect animals from cruelty, even though they do not consider animals their moral equals — a caveat that runs counter to animal-rights ideology. Despite this distinction, “animal rights” has “become the catchall term for virtually any effort to protect animals,” Smith says, and the resulting confusion has allowed the animal-rights movement to gain legitimacy it does not deserve.

And she hits on a crucial distinction between humans and animals:

Animals do not have rights or the moral responsibilities that accompany rights. That’s why we prosecuted Michael Vick, not his pit bulls, for dog-fighting. That’s why executives at Sea World, not its orcas, are facing public scrutiny for a whale trainer’s death last week. And that’s why we ponder our moral obligations to animals — who are, after all, the ultimate speciesists — even though animals do not do the same for us. We do so because we are human, endowed with exceptional dignity that deserves singular defense.

It sure is pleasing that after years of hard work to receive a good review by someone who understands exactly what I am saying. Thanks Colleen. Your support is very appreciated.


  1. what are your thoughts on the recent Swiss lawyer defending a fish that was caught by a amateur angler? it was just covered in the wall street journal.

  2. I have been on the road Mr. S. I plan a comment soon. Thanks for asking