Sun, Jun 12, 2016 - Page 3 News List

INTERVIEW: Illustrating speciesism in animal rights calls

Australian philosopher Peter Singer, best known for his contribution to animal rights, sat down with ‘Taipei Times’ staff reporter Chen Wei-han in Hsinchu to illustrate his concept of speciesism and effective altruism and comment on the animal welfare situation in Taiwan and new euthanasia legislation

TT: What does an ideal world look like in your opinion? Do you have any suggestion for Taiwan in terms of animal welfare?

Singer: An ideal world is where there is no unnecessary suffering for humans and animals. It would certainly not have hundreds of millions of humans live in extreme poverty while billions of humans live in considerable affluence. It would certainly not have animals suffering in commercial agriculture, either. Getting rid of factory farming would be the priority, which can be achieved with gradual improvement.

Taiwan can put animal welfare requirements like those in the EU in place, which would eliminate the worst kind of animal suffering. Taiwan should also urge the population to reduce meat and egg consumption. Developing alternatives to animal products is also very important. In the US, there are companies making plant-based hamburger meat with a texture that people like, which reduces animal suffering and is environmentally beneficial. A recently published dietary guidance by the Chinese government suggests that people do not eat more than 200g of meat and eggs per day, which can contribute to a sizeable reduction in animal suffering. Taiwan can move ahead along with those trends.

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