Bacon Linked to Higher Cancer Risk (Again)

January 14, 2012 § Leave a comment

Anther day, another report of a study linking consumption of animal flesh to cancer. This time, it’s bacon and pancreatic cancer, which has one of the lowest rates of survival: Bacon linked to higher cancer risk – The Irish Times – Fri, Jan 13, 2012.

Photo of bacon on a plateThis is not exactly groundbreaking news, though: World Cancer Research Fund has recommended for years that all processed meats be excluded from human consumption because of their well-documented links to bowel cancer.

Perhaps, one day physicians and public health officials will begin to act on these research findings. Removing products known to cause illness and premature death from hospital menus would be a good start. Also, when a talk show host asks you in front of millions of viewers whether a “healthy diet” can include bacon and smoked meats, please do not be coy and answer “in great moderation” when research clearly calls for an unequivocal “no.” (Yes, Dr. Siddhartha Mukherjee: I am talking about your Nov. 28, 2011 appearance on the Colbert Report.)

For more information about diet and cancer, please visit The Cancer Project and Nutritionfacts.org.


Beyond Morality: Developing a New Rhetorical Strategy for the Animal Rights Movement

November 29, 2011 § Leave a comment

First published in the Fall 2011 issue of the Journal of Animal Ethics. You can read a response by Per-Anders Svärd in the same issue of the journal.

Introduction

Peter Singer ended the last chapter of the 2002 edition of Animal Liberation, the seminal volume first published in 1975 and widely credited with starting the modern animal rights movement, by asking his readers to reflect on the future of the movement’s main project:

Will our tyranny continue, proving that morality counts for nothing when it clashes with self-interest, as the most cynical of poets and philosophers have always said? Or will we rise to the challenge and prove our capacity for genuine altruism by ending our ruthless exploitation of the species in our power, not because we are forced to do so by rebels or terrorists, but because we recognize that our position is morally indefensible? (p. 248)

In this article, I attempt to answer these questions by examining recent successes and failures of the movement, limitations inherent in the movement’s reliance on emotional appeals and rights/sentience-based moral arguments as the key elements of its rhetorical strategy, and alternative rhetorical strategies that address some of those weaknesses. (The fact that Singer had to ask the previously quoted questions in 2002, a quarter century after the first edition of Animal Liberation was published, suggests that the moral arguments employed by the movement do, indeed, have limitations.) Read more →

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