Author: Jacy Reese

What PETA Has Cost the Animal Rights Movement

Animal advocates constantly complain about the reputation of People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA). They frequently see their cause dismissed because of the strong associations with this rambunctious organization. Earlier this month was no exception, as PETA made major headlines by asking the internet to stop using idioms like “bring home the bacon”: In fact, the word “PETA” has become a pejorative for stunts, gimmicks, and putting feelings over facts when it comes to animal issues. I argue in my new book, The End of Animal Farming, that animal rights will succeed in building a food system where we eat meat, dairy, and eggs without the use of animals, but it’s a tragic irony that one of the biggest obstacles for activists might be the bad reputation of its best-known advocates. I should clarify. This isn’t to say PETA hasn’t done a lot of good. The first modern undercover investigation of farmed animal abuse was conducted by the pioneering organization in 1983 at a Texas horse exporter, shortly after PETA’s famous lab animal investigation …

Why It’s Time to End Factory Farming

Ezra Klein and Sam Harris are usually intellectual adversaries. They butted heads earlier this year on the topic of the science of IQ, which was just one battle in the larger war waged by the “intellectual dark web” against mainstream leftism and identity politics. Yet Klein and Harris are united on one seemingly radical view: Many years from now, our descendants will look back on the use of animals for food—particularly the intense animal suffering in factory farms—as a moral atrocity. In fact, a wide range of public figures have now echoed similar predictions, including science educator Bill Nye, business magnate Richard Branson, Indian politician Maneka Gandhi, author Steven Pinker, and the late conservative columnist Charles Krauthammer. It might seem surprising that the plight of these neglected creatures—by numbers, around 93 percent of farmed animals are chickens and fish—is so compelling an issue given the fact that humans are still plagued by disease, oppression, war, inequality, and other pressing social issues. Many people would assert that human issues are categorically more important than animal issues, …

The Convergent Case for Veganism

Advocates of a plant-based diet tout a wide variety of benefits: they say it’s more nutritious; that it reduces the chances of food-borne illnesses like E. coli; that it is better across all sorts of environmental metrics like land use, energy use, water use, greenhouse gas emissions, and local pollution; that it is better for animal welfare; that it is better for agricultural workers; and that it  is more economically efficient, which means it need fewer government subsidies and fewer natural resources spent on the same amount of nutrients and calories. The latest example is Matthew Prescott’s Food Is the Solution: What to Eat to Save the World. Prescott works at The Humane Society of the United States, America’s largest animal charity. Within the first few pages, a brief foreword by Hollywood director James Cameron argues for the environmental benefits of a plant-based diet, then Prescott’s introduction claims that plant-based food can “prevent and reverse” heart disease, diabetes, cancer, stroke, obesity, and autoimmune disorders. But given the many possible human diets from paleo to DASH, isn’t …