The End of Animal Farming is not a scolding treatise or a prescription for an ascetic diet. Reese invites readers–vegan and non-vegan–to consider one of the most important and transformational social movements of the coming decades.
-There’s no reason to think that wild animals have evolved to live in the best possible situation, just as humans aren’t living their best lives when suffering from natural diseases like malaria, losing their homes and families from natural disasters, or facing a natural food shortage due to inclement weather or other circumstances beyond their control.
– If you were an elephant or a mouse suffering in a drought—constantly living with the pain of thirst and hopelessly searching through the grasslands—wouldn’t you be happy if a human filled the local watering hole? If you were suffering from an infectious disease that caused a slow, painful death, wouldn’t you be happy for medication?
– If I had to speculate, I would say that by 2100 all forms of animal farming will seem outdated and barbaric
– Over 90 percent (over 99 percent in the US) of these animals live on industrial, large-scale “factory farms” enduring atrocious cruelty
-A 1998 PETA investigation of a pig-breeding farm led to the first felony indictments ever for cruelty to farmed animals. It “revealed shocking, systematic cruelty from daily beatings of pregnant sows with a wrench and an iron pole to skinning pigs alive and sawing off a conscious animal’s legs.
– First, current evidence suggests that most successful social movements have also taken this sort of incremental approach, even with their bigger goals in mind. British advocates fighting slavery, for instance, initially focused on abolishing not the whole establishment of slavery, but the trade that supplied it, with the intention of starving the broader institution to ultimately take it down. They also worked to ameliorate the condition of existing slaves. In fact, the slave industry’s refusal to make more than very minor concessions—and the difficulty of even making and enforcing changes as paltry as requirements for subsistence standards for food, clothing, and shelter—seems to have spurred the public outrage that fueled the final push for abolition. We could see a similar process of attempted reforms, failure to reform, then a push for abolition with modern industries like animal farming
-In psychology, the huge appeal of one affected individual is referred to as the “identifiable victim effect.” The go-to example of this is the case of Jessica McClure, an eighteen-month-old infant who fell into a well in Midland, Texas, in 1987. She was rescued in fifty-eight hours by emergency personnel, and the family was inundated with gifts, cards, over $700,000 in cash, a visit from Vice President George H. W. Bush, and a phone call from President Ronald Reagan.
-In laboratory tests, a rat will choose to help a drowning companion over selfishly receiving a tasty piece of chocolate.
-Even animals we normally think of as less intelligent have demonstrated remarkable mental capacities. Pigs, for example, have been shown to do much more than snort and roll around in the mud. They form mental categories of different objects in their environment, store long-term memories of their experiences, and even take the perspectives of other pigs.16 A group of German scientists gave pigs individual names and were able to train them to stand in line and walk up to a feeding station when their names were called…..Elephants touch and caress the remains of family members, and place branches and vegetation on the corpses. They treat the site of death differently than other places. When passing through—even years later—they’ll sometimes pause in the location for several minutes.