I am firm believer that life human or animal should be preserved whenever possible. I would also like to believe that had I lived in Nazi Germany I would have stood up for the persecuted. So how can I reconcile my strong moral convictions with my inaction regarding the mass murder of animals everyday. Ironically enough I feel guilty for letting the law and the disappointment of my family stand in the way of stopping the massacre. This guilt is causing me great pain. Please enlighten me on what I should do.

An important ethical principle advanced by Kant was 'ought implies can.' So long as you are doing what you can to carry out your moral convictions, you have no reason to feel guilty (though perhaps, you still have reason to feel sorrow). It is legitimate to try to persuade others to embrace your view within reason, but remember that damaging your relationships with your family over this issue or getting yourself thrown into jail would only introduce another evil into the universe. So, perhaps you should do more than you currently are, but I don't think you ought to 'beat yourself up' over things that are outside of your control.

Really good question. I think you ought and can stand up for animals in a variety of ways (by not eating them, not wearing them, not mistreating them, etc), but your effort is unlikely to ever be the one you would have made on behalf of the persecuted in Nazi Germany. That's OK, I think, for two reasons. (1) PETA had a campaign in the 1990s that invited comparison of factory farms and Nazi death camps. It's a bad analogy, I think, and so does "the father of the animal rights movement," Peter Singer. (I discuss this issue in my recent book Animalkind, if you'll pardon the book plug.) (2) Living in Nazi Germany, you could have completely separated yourself from Nazi persecution of Jews and taken a firm and effective stand against it. You cannot do exactly the same thing, where animal mistreatment is concerned. The low status of animals is just too ubiquitous and too deeply woven into life.

If you want to do more than you're doing, there are lots of avenues, many that wouldn't involve breaking the law or alienating your family. It's doubtful that the most incendiary activities are effective anyway. You can do great good by getting involved with a group like the Humane Society. You might not want to engage in their most radical activities, like undercover investigations, but you can support them financially. There are lots of ways to do more, even if you don't turn yourself into an Oskar Schindler for animals.

I suspect that at some level you do not really believe that the slaughter of animals is at quite the same level as the halocaust, though you seem to think you think that they are equivalent. There are pletny of evils in the world that we should be protesting but I 'm not sure that torturing yourself about not doing as much as you would like helps those causes.

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