For me, the most depressing aspect of the Michael Vick dog-fighting case is that I can’t draw a bright moral line between his acts of sadism and the publicly acceptable forms of animal cruelty that we all support in the supermarket. (I’m talking about the cheap meat from big poultry farms and slaughterhouses.) Why is one illegal and the other condoned?
Honestly, I want to be able to distinguish between killing dogs for sport and confining chickens to inhumane living conditions, or farming veal, but I can’t find any good reasons, apart from the obvious “puppies are real cute” argument. Isn’t it strange how the legal rights of various kinds of animals largely depends on the cuteness factor? Is there a better way? Obviously, the most ethical form of omnivorism would include not eating any flesh from creatures with a well-developed central nervous system. (Sea scallops OK, cows not so much.) But that approach doesn’t seem particularly realistic.