Does Giving Animals More Rights Improve the Quality of Human Life?

Does Giving Animals More Rights Improve the Quality of Human Life?

Yeah I think animal rights is the next wave
after the same sex marriage. We just got done with that. And that’ll be pretty much over
in terms of social attitudes within a few years to a decade. No one will even talk about
it anymore. What’s next? Animal rights but also I think – you don’t want to say environmental
rights but the rights of future generations to have a sustainable earth, a planet to live
on. I think we do owe a moral obligation to future generations and animals for a balanced
ecosystem. And I think we’ll get there. I think we’re on our way there. But in terms
of animal rights where do we start? We start where Jeremy Bentham, really the founding
father of animal rights and rights in general, natural rights concept is that it’s not
can they talk or reason. Can they suffer? So we begin in case of animals because they
can’t tell us I want the right to vote. We’re not talking about that. Can they live
a life without suffering? That we have improved. All the laws against animal cruelty, dog fighting,
bear baiting, you know, cat nailing to the post and all the cruel things people used
to do to animals. We’ve largely gotten over that. Bullfighting is on the way out. Cock
fighting is illegal in most countries. So the next step then I think I’m on board
with Temple Grandin that is the modification of the meat industry. So that cattle are not, they don’t suffer
as much. I think we need to get away in the long run from factory farms. It’s not healthy
anyway. The food is not good for you. It really isn’t. You’re really better off eating
organic foods, foods that are grown or raised on small farms. The EU is really good about
this, like chicken cages can’t be too small and the cows have to be free to walk around
and I’m still concerned about like taking the calf away from the female cows because
that’s how they get them to generate more milk. It’s not good for them. They don’t
like it. They scream and cry and those are the kind of things that we’re making a lot
of progress on and have a ways to go. In the long run, you know, in a century or two maybe
we’ll have synthetic meat. I kind of see that. You know the Google guys are working
on that problem. I think that’s just a – it’s just a molecular machinery problem. And so
I think we can get there in time. That one’s going to happen slower than same sex marriage,
women’s rights, civil rights simply because these are different species and we care less
about them. But as the moral sphere continues to expand we’ve already banned the use of
chimpanzees in medical research as of this year. That’s it. They’re all being retired
and they go to Club Med for chimps. Great. How about monkeys? Let’s keep the sphere
out a little bit more. All marine mammals, whales, dolphins, setations and so on and
just keep going. It’ll take a while, decades, you know, but we’re getting there. I think the idea of being a carnivore, we’ll
look back on that as like we look back at the Romans as how barbaric of them. It’s
totally understandable why we eat meat. I love to eat meat, you know, and I’m not
quite vegetarian, vegan, you know. I’m what’s called a reducitarian. There’s an actual
group, the reducitarians. Reduce your meat eating. Okay, hey that’s a goal. And the
reason for that that I like is because it’s practical. Because, you know, if you go I’m
going vegan. That’s it I’m not going to eat another piece of meat and then you have
a steak and you go oh no, I feel so bad. I’ve sinned. I have to go confess my sins. It’s
practically like a religion and I don’t like that. So let’s just see if we can reduce
the factory farm carnage. Just eat less meat. And if you’re going to eat meat, meatless
Mondays or whatever. How about just meat Mondays and no other meat for the week? And if you
eat meat then just eat, you know, not the factory farmed meat but the organic meat that
came from a small farm. Increments. I call this protopia. Instead of aiming for utopia
where everything is perfect forever and we’re all just sinless – okay forget that. That’s
not going to happen. Just see if we can make today slightly better than yesterday and tomorrow
slightly better than today. Just incrementally protopia.

Comments (100)

  1. I agree entirely that advancing the practice of veganism is extremely important towards our environment and health, but the organic movement is dangerous and threatens our global food supply. It's unsustainable to say the least.

  2. We get it… You're all vegan. Don't need to tell everyone every 5 seconds and you might actually get some respect.

  3. I like that the Russians built a monument to honor lab rodents.

  4. This speaker is not an animal rights person. He is simply advocating a slightly more humane concentration camp for farm animals. There is nothing impractical about going vegan, and the fact that millions of people have already done so should be living proof of that.

  5. I agree with most of what he said, good, fine, I see your point, but why do vegans in the comments section refer to those who are not vegans as "meat-eaters" in the most derogatory way, as if most human beings to live up until now are all Dr. Josef Mengele. Stop trying to propagate hate by belittling your fellow humans, I don't care who the fuck it is.

  6. Protopia …Great Word with Proactive Meaning!!

  7. i really like this guy

  8. VEGANISM FOR THE PLANET! Guys, for anyone interested watch these 3 documentaries: Conspiracy, Forks over Knifes and Earthling. They are seriously so eye-opening!

  9. Take a minute, ask yourself, why do you do the things you do? How often do you apply that question and to what things?

  10. My contribution will be learning how to hunt.

  11. Lol this will only happen when we stop killing ourselves.

  12. animal is the next big step? What? What???? WHUT???? You do realise there are soooooo many more problems that need to be fixed with our own species, fuck animals. humans need to sort out child abuse way before fucking stupid animals.

  13. Do not compare homosexuals to animals. Animals are not humans, they do not have rights. The reason we give other human beings rights is because they are the same as us, and we want equal treatment. As soon as you get to an animal, they are not equal to us. A gay man is equal to a straight man, but neither are equal to a pig. Sure, I hate hurting animals unnecessarily, but not at the cost of food for people. If any of this stuff we do to make cows feel better increases the price of the beef, I would disagree it. I guess what I'm saying is that I personally hold humans above animals; I would kill a cow for a human, not vice versa. I love animals, but I love people more. I agree with some of his points, but in general I professionally disagree with him.

  14. Going vegan is so easy. I thought it would be difficult, as this man clearly does, but it's actually a lot easier and tastier than most think. Just go vegan.

  15. Whatever you say, Phil Coulson.

  16. Liked everything he stated, but having listened to Sherman for many years, I know he doesn't mean organic in general is healthier. So, I wish he would have clarified that point.

  17. I just want to eat steak. If synthetics are going to be as high of quality then sure. I don't know that caring about animal rights is even valid. Humans are intelligent beings. Chickens definitely aren't.

  18. 3 things:  Bible:  Genesis  "Go, be a good servant to the earth"  II Peter:   "Your purpose is to be a caretaker to the earth and all living things upon it"Our ancestors had no grocery stores, many cultures of past were plant eaters only. As I travel the world I discover cultures selling their foods at the markets.  I only see plants (most I don't recognize)Teeth:  Carnivores teeth (dog, lions, etc.) have two long canine teeth designed for ripping and tearing.  Omnivores & herbivores teeth are flat (elephants, giraffes, apes, humans).  Don't slam me, it was my college degree in environmental science where we had to research this.

  19. what's with all the dislikes?  I don't really get what's to dislike.

  20. Irregardless of whether giving more rights to animals improves the quality of human lives, we should still do so. To suppose we should do so only to increase our welfare is absurd and speciesist.


  22. I hope we eventually learn to not procreate at all because to have a baby is a cruel act in itself. Nobody should be forced to exist on this screwed up unfair planet.

  23. I just gave up meat a few days ago after 24 years of meat consumption. The meat on my plate just stopped looking like dinner and started looking more like blood, muscle, fat and well… dead bodies. It started tasting weird after that so I simply gave it up. Other foods have never tasted so good 🙂

  24. Oh Michael… you don't get it. Would you find it rational to say: "forget treating your wife with respect all the time, just show her respect on Monday!" or "don't go rape-free, just reduce the number of rapes you commit per month".

    If you can't see animals as sentient individuals who have their own wants and needs, then you'll never "get it". I don't want to end suffering only when it's convenient for me (let's say on Wednesday and Sunday) – I want to be a decent person every day.

  25. This vid is falsely titled. Thumbs down.

  26. well look back at money and dead end jobs and think "How Barbaric!"

  27. To those who know they are members of the universe:    Before I gave up meat on Thanksgiving, at 14 years old,  I could hear the screams of the animals with each bite of ham, or turkey.  They took so long to die if the man didn't hit their head in just the right spot, some would linger and be forgotten  until eternity came for them.  Blood drips from the neck of the upside down cow with his feet trapped in a metal contraption as they move down the line.  Each man has his own task to preform as the cow moves further down the line, many still "living".  ?    I cried with them.                                                                                        I " tuned in" to the universe that day and learned how to listen.

  28. "In vitro"/synthetic meat is already here. Just a couple years ago, the price of such a burger was $300,000. Now the price for the same burger is about $8. The question is not when it will come, it is already here. The question is when it becomes more affordable than regular meat.

    Organic foods btw (especially plant-based) is bs.

    With animal products, one could argue that the animals are treated better, but that is about it.

    In terms of plant-based food, there is absolutely no reason to choose organic. It is less friendly to the environment (due to use of non-biodegradable pesticides), it requires larger areas to grow, and is generally less safe to eat as it is usually less regulated and quality checked. And, it is obviously also a lot more expensive.

  29. I think people are vegan for the wrong reasons. I want to make it clear that I believe any way to get people to stop eating animal products is a good one, but the environmental effects of animal agriculture should far outweigh any other reasons. The animal agriculture industry has has a near equivalent effect on global warming as the entire transportation industry mostly due to the methane created by cattle and other livestock. Also the inefficiency of meat products is something that should be recognized. It takes well over 100 pounds of feed for every pound of beef produced and although most other meat products are not that inefficient they still don't get close to the efficiency of plants. I think people should look towards the effects animal agriculture has on the planet and therefore humans as well. At least before looking at reasons like the treatment of animals. I again want to let people know that I take the treatment of animals very seriously, but just feel that we should be more educated on how our diets can cause issues that could negatively impact millions if not billions of people around the world.

    I highly recommend the documentary "Cowspiracy" because it goes into much greater detail on the topics I just talked about and mainly on how animal agriculture effects climate change.

    Please comment and tell me any important facts that I might have missed, or if you disagree with my statements please respectfully tell me why so I can change my knowledge to better reflect the facts. Hopefully this helps people learn more important information.

  30. I still don't see anything wrong with eating chicken, fish,lobster, shrimp, crabs and shellfish.

    And more especially, all of the people in the comments claiming that vegan is the only way to go. Vegans love nothing more than to talk about being vegans, which is why the comments are so overloaded with them. But you aren't going to convince me that there is anything wrong with milk, cheese and eggs. As long as the animals are treated well, what harm is there in using animal products to help sustain ourselves?

    Not to mention, most zealous vegans don't take into account what it is like to be extremely poor and not have the luxury of being able to be so picky about what you eat.

  31. i dunno man, youth rights is gaining ground

  32. this guy is full of shit re factory farming. elitist nonsense. he is right about synthetic meat though; it is coming

  33. Cows and pigs are not people. They are not sentient nor experience the same emotions as humans. Stop instilling human characteristics onto animals. All animals are meant to be eaten.

  34. Organic meat is healthier for you than factory farmed meat?
    Citation needed, or just just pulling shit out of your ass.

    Everything I've read on the matter suggests there are no benefits to eating organic food over factory farmed.

  35. Animal right should not focus on suffering. What is important to an animal is freedom and utility. Animals are hardwired with instincts to live in a natural environment. Animals also have been breed to be dependent on human utility to be utilized by humans. I am happy to know that machines have lead to the liberation of obsolete animal utility. I am also happy to see that most animals deprived of fulfilling their instinctual life in a habitat have been selectively breed to be more dosil.

    The criminalization of blatant acts of cruelty to animals is also a great way to both punish individuals committing the acts and reduced public exposure of these acts to those whom are negatively affected by them. The increasing and decreasing moral in society has improved the lives of many animals. This is how ever where my sympathy and advocacy for animals end.

    Some animals simply exist for consumption. Certain animals contribution to the ecosystem that shapes the natural environment of the United States are almost as insignificant as humans. Farm animals simply wouldn't survive well without farms. Much like humans, farm animals need purpose, structure, boundaries, sanitation and care or they will fall victim to predators and in doing so, will nurture and and grow the threat threat of predators.

    The problem with how farm animals today are treated in factory farms mirror how people are treated in our society. To much centralized power, not enough competition, and soulessly driven by profit rather than mutual prosperous productivity. The morality that sustains the notion of Animal rights are connected to the individual liberties and atonomy of the people whom the animals depend on.

    Example: Cancer research uses animal to experiment with. Cancer is a colmination of stress, unhealthy dieting, pollution, and a lack of natural effective treatment options. Our continued lifestyle and legislation has cause animals to continue to suffer from experimentation to devise medical treatments for a problem that is a result from negative or ignorant human behavior.

    Animal rights begins with human rights and responsibility. There is a middle ground for optimal harmonious cohabitation with nature but it can only be derived from optimal harmonious cohabitation with human communities.

  36. This big think is a bunch of crazy people that live in books and not the real world.

  37. What? "nex step is modification of the meat industry?" you should be joking. Please, Next step should be illegalization of the entire pet-related industries. Hypocrite vegans always try to destory meat industry but never criticize pet industry. Just think. White masters grow black slaves' entire life just as the way masters wanting never ask them or their family a permission. Masters decide where to sleep. where to eat, what to eat, when to have a sex. who to have a sex, where their children goes. where to die. recently, even when to die. that is what pet system is all about. Go vegans to pet shop and do something. show somting. please. or just eat grass and be quite at home.

  38. This whole thing is a lie! For example, the area to provide free range meat for everyone doesn't even exist.

  39. why don't we just stop eating animals?

  40. I'm OK with animal rights, I even decided to find an alternative to meat (even though I can basically eat only meat because of an intolerance towards vegetables), but please, don't stop medical research, animals are the only viable test subjects we have in order to develop a treament for ilnesses.

  41. no.
    whole villages in Indian are evicted from their homes to create elephant habitats free from humans.
    letting a cow roam about more at a farm doesn't make slums nicer.

    but you don't give animals rights to improve human quality of life.

  42. Are there people who actually feel bad after eating a steak? I feel bad if I don't eat one.

    The requirement for chicken cages to be a certain size is one of the more ridiculous things I've heard. I guess people feel the need to anthropomorphize. I don't.

  43. How about you just don't eat meat the same way you don't just go butcher a human and eat them? It's not that hard just don't buy meat. If you don't buy it you can't eat it. Durrrh! "in the age of information ignorance is a choice." If you want to eat meat that's your choice, but don't be on the fence about it. You can't acknowledge that it is wrong but just lessen the intake that's just moronic. Also if you feel the need to confess that you have eaten meat then you clearly know it's wrong no matter how much you eat. That's like saying Hey little Timmy! I'm not gonna beat you as bad today just gonna break your jaw. It's still bad even doing it to a lesser extent.

  44. all the butthurt meat eaters lol. I'm not even vegetarian or vegan but these idiots have no reasonable argument. they literally say " but plants!" as if they have a nervous system and suffer on the same level… holy fuck. stupidity.

  45. Rather than concentrating on the ethics of meat eating and animal rights we should take a more holistic approach to non-violence. The comfort of modern urban societies, within which the concepts of animal rights and veganism were born, is founded on imminence coercive power, used arbitrarily to maintain that comfort. Until we really start getting to grips with that issue, our sympathy for the suffering of animals will continue to look pretty hypocritical to our brown-skinned brothers and sisters in the banana and the coffee plantations.

  46. ??? all other civil rights issues will be taken care of in ten years? I know his main point is animal rights is the next frontier. It still seems odd to say lgbt will be taken care of in ten years when we're still arguing over Planned Parenthood, BLM, refugees.

  47. His smile looks fake. it just doesn't make me want to trust him

  48. I have always thought about this, even as a young kid …. I used to wonder how people will react to the knowledge that we used to hang dead animals heads on our walls as trophies …. future generations will think we were mentally ill and undeveloped

  49. Lets throw out being human too while we're at it.

  50. What's the point of living if you can't enjoy life.

  51. oooh shit! bring on the meat eater rage! so much resistance to change lol. good Analogy with the Romans.

  52. oooh shit! bring on the meat eater rage! so much resistance to change lol. good Analogy with the Romans.

  53. The only thing that will come about form this is that we will devalue their lives even more. As there is no incentive to keep them alive.

  54. Being vegan feels good. Just dont eat meat, because its fucked up. I dont know any vegans with "steak slip ups" it just doesnt happen

  55. while animal rights must be on our agenda, we must be careful on how we implement them. Living in a country where we have a bad problem with stray dogs for example, i can see both parts of the same problem, aka animal rights vs human rights.
     Going further than this, what about pest control ? How would you balance this with animal rights, taking into accounts that a few extremists will go so far defending the animals in disfavor of the humans ?
    About animals being test subjects in labs, yes, i do feel bad for them. But again it's animals or humans being test subjects, and i'd really hate to make a choice, and if i had to do it, i'd chose the well-being of humans over that of animals.

  56. This was a good video, but the title of it asks a question that doesn't really get addressed in the video?

  57. Say tomorrow we all turned vegan what would we do with all the animals?

  58. don't be slightly more moral. it actually harms the cause. be moral.

  59. This guy seems so nice and smart, i'd totally hang out with him! 🙂

  60. Animals can't have rights because rights are a social construct, they are not inherent to anything or anyone. They only exist because our cooperative society wants them to exist. Now, to have these rights you must be part of our community (mankind), if you are not part of it you can't have its privileges. Also, rights have a flip side which are duties, and if you are not able to fulfill them, you do not deserve rights. One example of a duty: respect other's rights.

    Now, i don't think that because they do not deserve rights we should do whatever we want with them. I mean, we could, but that doesn't mean we should. The thing that makes the most sense is to take care of them as part of the rest of the earth, keep them from unnecessary suffering and allow them to exist in order to preserve biodiversity. Why? because it would be detrimental to our survival to carelessly do away with earth and what is in it, as the video explains.

  61. omg there's so many crazy people in the comments

  62. 'Organic' meat, from my local farmer, tastes better then those industrial packaged fast food products.

  63. feel free to be a reducatarian, but don't get on your high horse when it comes to animal rights.

  64. Giving animals rights doesnt improve the quality of human life. Observing human rights does that. There are people who will drive by a homeless man or woman all week long but willingly donate their whole paycheck to a fucking dog. Not saying both dont need help, but our priorities are seriously fucked when we think caring for other species is going to improve humanity. If you have to help a cow or a chicken to feel human but looking at someone who talks like you and walks like you as if they werent human, you have a fucking problem.

  65. Michael Shermer is so cool. Love that guy.

  66. Even if we do create cheap synthetic meat, I will still hunt.

  67. I wonder how long the rest of the world, specifically Asia, will take to catch up. Or is that even possible? Culturally, there is a complete disregard and lack of respect for both animal and human life.
    How can you change an entire culture where morality and empathy is not normal?

  68. Not much a professional skeptic, Michael is a much more a professional Humanist.

  69. Not eating meat for 3 years, feels good.

  70. I could never just eat straight vegetable. It's so nasty.

  71. I'm vegan and not sure when animals are ever going to get rights, but shit if non-whites, women, and gays got them, we can at least try.

  72. what bs in reality homeless people get far less time and money then beasts in shelters.
    People are so disconnected from food that some will belive this garbage of eating no beasts, bit the people invested in the beasts well being to make a profit will keep these things coming to our plates. As well as cooks, cook books, price of compitition, and tastes. The only thing that will hinder this option is governments to regulate, this is also why there will be blackmarkets with most people disconnected from their food this will be easier, hurt more beasts, and increase prices.

  73. One reason we became plant based had to do with disliking how animals are seen as 'slaves' for human desires. And I mentally cannot handle building trust with an animal who trusts with humans to provide them with clean shelter, food, water, vet care and then one day that animal who has built up trust with me is then slaughtered for my selfish human desires. Here in the developed western world I have access to a plethora of non animal products for food.  Spinach, beans, quinoa are ALL high protein foods, and being plants they are healthier for the air, water, soil.   Being a thinking humanist I also believe that our earth cannot produce meat dairy eggs without messing up our rivers, underground aquifers, soil, air, oceans even more than they are already.

  74. Just go vegan. It's not hard… And veganism is nothing like a religion because all the facts that encourage people to turn vegan are grounded in reality. Faith and wishful thinking aren't needed for veganism like they are for religion.

  75. how come corpse eaters are offended by this?

  76. "So that cattle are not, they don’t suffer as much." !?

    Netflix have Cowspiracy. Thoughts on that?

    /Confused Veterinarian

  77. I see so many people making comments about "meat eaters" and yet I haven't seen any from us "meat eaters." I'm sure they exist further down the thread… But, if you were examining a dinosaur, you would look at their teeth to see what their diet was. Look at human teeth: we are meant to eat, among other things. If you have a moral qualm about it, that's cool but we have evolved as a species to eat meat. The same way lions eat gazelles, humans eat cows, chicken, fish, etc. I'm all for animal rights, but to think that human should or will stop eating them, is ridiculous.

  78. The title of the video and the content of the video does not match together…

  79. Another thing we need to do is reform jails especially in America

  80. I like hambugers… I just do… Sorry.

  81. This video is potentially misleading when he suggests that there is little animal cruelty. It is nearly ubiquitous in animal farming, animal testing, the fur industry, circuses and many other aspects of society to an extreme and horrifying degree. Radical change is needed not only in the U.S. but in Europe and much of the rest of the world as well when it comes to treating animals decently in mass industry. But I fully agree with him that doing a little is better than doing nothing at all and theres nothing wrong with incremental change.

  82. What about plant rights? All you vegans should be ashamed of killing those plants! What has that plant ever done to you?

  83. When I hear a self-proclaimed skeptic use the term 'organic food' I raise an eyebrow. I suppose 2 minutes isn't really enough time to flesh out why a term like that doesn't really mean anything, especially now that it's become a marketing buzzword.

  84. I think they should get rid of the 6 month rule. No doctor can do that. They would rather put scared suffering people into a hellhole called a nursing home until their suffering death. Obviously I am angry. Undiagnosed disease I am screwed my Muscles are turning into Bone paralyzed from neck down. I will find a way. I will work until I am dead so I can get Medicaid Medicare benefits and still live in my home.I do not believe in human suffering.

  85. Oh the irony of butthurt vegans in comment section ,they became an embodiement of cancer. good job degrading veganism and humanity in general what absolute retards …

  86. The best middle ground I've ever heard! Thank you Sir!

  87. "No one will even talk about it anymore." What an idiotic thing to say. We are still arguing over women's rights and rights of non-white people, and in a few years we'll just stop talking about all of it so some cows don't get their feelings hurt? That's laughable…

    Also of note, the "skeptic" pin that is prominently visible during the close ups… we should view any of these "big thinkers" with skepticism.

    I wonder how many bugs splattered off of this guy's car on the way to this video shoot. Should we all stop moving quickly through space in order to save these tiny members of the animal kingdom? Animal cruelty is awful, and that kind of crap should be irradiated, but the majority of this video is nonsensical ramblings.

  88. the most logical step forward is insect farms. easy to grow, low maintenance, and all parts of an insect are edible. would take time for people to get used to it though. also no real moral conflict

  89. "confessing your sins" won´t bring back that animal´s life that you took. so no, it is totally not like religion.
    and veganism is not restrictive. there are fake meats, fake cheeses, milks, yogurts etc. just buy "beyond meat" or "gardein" instead of eating steak and you´re good.

  90. go vegan! that s the only possible answer!

  91. Even when growing vegetables, animals suffer. Fields are plowed, habitats destroyed, animals are inadvertently killed in machinery…Going vegan does reduce suffering considerably, but doesn't end it.

  92. lol being vegan is so easy. If you can hold your pee in on a long car trip, you can avoid eating animal products, which requires a lot less will power. It's only 'impractical' for those who decide it is, come on.

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