It makes sense that anyone who understands analytical thinking well enough to have earned a Princeton PhD in Electrical Engineering would focus his attention on semiconductor or jet-propulsion research.
But not Charles Horn! In Meat Logic: Why Do We Eat Animals? the award-winning, Emmy-nominated comedy writer turns his prodigious intellect and charming wit to deconstructing our propensity for eating animals.
And in Meat Logic’s Preface, Charles gets right to the point:
What this book is about is logic and rationality. Do our thoughts and actions stand up to rational scrutiny? If not, can this be shown? If there are errors in our thought process, can they be eliminated? These are some of the questions I hope to answer.
Or are we, as he suggests, guilty of what Animal Liberation author Peter Singer referred to as “Speciesism?” Is the thought process that justifies eating animals similar to the one justifying racism and sexism?
In answering this question, he addresses 31 of meat-eaters favorite arguments is defense of eating animals, such as:
Animals lack human cognition.
To refute this argument, Charles simply points to its inconsistency. Most humans value dogs and cats far too much to see them as food. Pigs, however, are another story.
We eat pork, he observes, “… even though pigs are one of the smartest species on the planet, are smarter than dogs, and cats are not even on the top ten list.”
It’s natural; animals eat other animals
Animals have many wild behaviors we don’t emulate, so why are we comfortable with this particular one? Why, he asks, do we side with the predators instead of considering the side of their prey?:
“Apparently we actually side with the ‘killer’ carnivore and use that as justification to exploit and kill the ‘innocent’ herbivore.”
We’ve been eating meat since the beginning of time.
Human history, Charles observes, is filled with instances of centuries-long behaviors we now consider immoral. “Up until 150 years ago,“ he writes, “there was human slavery ‘since the beginning of time.‘ Up until less than 100 years ago, women could not vote ‘since the beginning of time.’”
Tradition, in other words, should not be allowed to keep civilization from compassionate liberation of all animals.
Throughout Meat Logic, Charles references many of the animal rights movement’s deep thinkers. He organizes their most powerful arguments and addresses many of the questions vegans are called on to answer.
The result is a very readable book! I highly recommend Meat Logic to anyone wanting a simple guide to counter the arguments that pop up in defense of the moral justification for eating meat.