Shouldn’t the 57 billion land animals and roughly one-trillion fish and other sea animals killed annually for food elicit at least as much outrage in the social media circles as what Kendall Jones does? People who purport to care about animals recently responded with petitions and hateful, sexist, and threatening comments to photos she posted on her Facebook page of her smiling while posing with animals she shot dead.
Some may fault her for targeting animals who are members of an endangered species, but an animal’s species membership has nothing to do with that individual’s moral value, any more than one’s race or ethnicity does in the human context. The desires to avoid pain and suffering, to explore one’s environment, and to continue to remain alive, are not characteristics of species (which is merely a classification system for living organisms), but of the individuals within a species.
So before we single out and admonish with sexist or racist overtones, Kendall Jones, Melissa Bachman, or Michael Vic, let’s take a look at and fix what’s on our own plates, filling our own drinking glasses, hanging in our own closets. We will never recognize and respect the moral status of nonhumans if we continue to point fingers and view their exploitation as something other than a pervasive social norm.