Editorial: Dealing with denial
From ANIMAL PEOPLE, July/August 2001:
States of Denial: knowing about atrocities and suffering, by London School of Economics and Political Science sociology professor Stanley Cohen, mentions animals only twice in 344
pages–but one of those mentions points out the most fundamental issue in animal protection: persuadiing people to care, first of all, that suffering occurs, and then convincing them to do something about it.
“Each new moral demand makes coping harder,” Cohen writes on page 289. “Yet another filter or priority must be set up,” because no one person can respond to every atrocity and every suffering being, no matter how altruistic that person tries to be. “I have tested this,” Cohen admits, “by looking at my own reactions to animal rights issues. I know that the treatment of animals in cruel experiments and factory farming is difficult to defend. I can even see the case for becoming a vegetarian. But in the end, much like people throwing away Amnesty International leaflets, my filters go into automatic drive: this is not my
responsibility, there are worse problems; there are plenty of other people looking after this. What do you mean, I’m in denial every time I eat a hamburger?”