I’ve been thinking a lot about Dick Gregory, a dazzling comedian, trenchant social critic, and tireless civil rights and antiwar activist who passed away last Saturday. A life like his gives us so much to contemplate, but I keep returning to his assertion that humans and other species “suffer and die alike. Violence causes the same pain, the same spilling of blood, the same stench of death, the same arrogant, cruel, and vicious taking of life. We shouldn’t be a part of it.”
I think Gregory was on to something. Because they can grieve and ache just as much as certain humans can, sentient animals deserve justice.
I discussed these matters on Monday in a debate with Walter Block, a Loyola University economics professor about whose position on animal rights I wrote last month. Although we disagreed vehemently, it was a cordial and fruitful exchange. Whatever you feel about this issue, I hope you’ll watch this and seriously consider Gregory’s thoughtful words. Many thanks to Lucy Steigerwald for moderating the discussion.