Friday, December 2, 2011

Is Utopia a vegan paradise?

Or just a place where slaves do the killing for you?

The Utopians feel that slaughtering our fellow creatures gradually destroys the sense of compassion, the finest sentiment of which our human nature is capable.  Besides, they don’t allow anything dirty or filthy to be brought into the city, lest the air become tainted by putrefaction and thus infectious.
—Thomas More in Utopia, 1516.
What pleasure can there be in listening to the barking and howling of dogs—isn’t that rather a disgusting noise?  Is any more pleasure felt when a dog chases a hare than when a dog chases a dog?  If what you like is fast running, there’s plenty of that in both cases; they’re just about the same.  But if what you really want is slaughter, if you want to see a creature torn apart under your eyes—you ought to feel nothing but pity when you see the little hare fleeing from the hound, the weak creature tormented by the stronger, the fearful and timid beast brutalized by the savage one, the harmless hare killed by the cruel hound.  Utopians, who regard this whole activity of hunting as unworthy of free men, have accordingly assigned it to their butchers, who, as I said before, are all slaves.  In their eyes, hunting is the lowest thing even butchers can do.  In the slaughterhouse, their work is more useful and honest, since there they kill animals only out of necessity; whereas the hunter seeks nothing but his own pleasure from killing and mutilating some poor little creature.  Taking such relish in the sight of slaughter, even if only of beasts, springs, in their opinion, from a cruel disposition, or else finally produces cruelty, through the constant practice of such brutal pleasured.
—Thomas More in Utopia, 1516.

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