Moby's Essays from Animal Rights (1996)

if you look at the course of western history you'll see that we're slowly granting basic rights to everyone. a long time ago only kings had rights. then rights were extended to property-owning white men. then all men. then wymyn. then children. then the mentally retarded. now we're agonizing over the extension of basic rights to homosexuals and animals. we need to finally accept that all sentient creatures are deserving of basic rights. i define basic rights as this -- the ability to pursue life without having someone else's will involuntarily forced upon you. or, as the framers of the constitution put it, the ability to have "life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness".
by what criteria can you justify denying basic rights to any living thing? realize that by whatever criteria you employ someone could deny basic rights to you if they objected to your species, sexual preferences, color, religion, ideology etc. would you eat your housecat, or force a mentally retarded child to ingest oven cleaner? if not, then why is it ok to eat cows and test products on sentient animals? i believe that to knowingly commit actions that cause or condone suffering is reprehensible in the extreme. i call upon you to be compassionate and treat others as you want to be treated. if you don't want to be beaten, imprisoned, mutilated, killed or tortured then you shouldn't condone such behavior towards anyone, be they human or not.

somehow i've ended up on the mailing list of the christian coalition. i receive their fund raising letters fairly regularly, usually written by pat robertson. it's important to know your enemy, and i consider the far right christian coalition to be my enemy. should i mince my words and try to be conciliatory? maybe that would be diplomatic, but it would not be honest. the christian right makes me sick and here's why:

1) they are dishonest. masquerading pro-business, pro-greed, racist, sexist, homophobic bigotry under the banner of 'christianity' is disgusting. as far as i can tell their agenda has no foundation in the teachings of christ, and as far as i can tell the leaders of the christian right only proclaim themselves as christians because it's a politically expedient way to further their warped agenda. so although they claim an interest in furthering and preserving 'christian culture' it's all just a ruse to restructure the world according to their narrow-minded social aesthetic and at the same time protect and increase their wealth.

2) they prey upon people's weakness. we live in very unstable times, socially and economically. many people are eager for some sense of stability and the christian right preys upon this. rather than encourage people to go forward with open minds and a compassionate approach the christian right urges its followers to scapegoat the easy victims and focus on trivial or irrelevant issues. how is fighting gay rights and blocking multicultural education going to benefit anybody or meet people's needs? the agenda of the christian right is anachronistic and irrelevant and by forcing it upon the fearful and the unstable they are doing a great deal of harm.

3) they are shortsighted. one of the first steps in dealing with any set of problems is prioritizing. you don't worry about fixing the gutters on your house if your house is on fire. likewise you don't worry about gays in the military or immigration when the basic environmental and existential needs of the people are not being met. people eat terrible food and lead miserable lives and breathe carcinogenic air and drink polluted water. we are poisoning this planet and ourselves. if you were god what would upset you more, bare breasts on t.v or the destruction of healthy and beautiful ecosystems? i agree that people would be better off if they were more spiritual, but not in the capitalistic/status-quo way that the christian right promotes.

4) they tend to be hateful and judgemental, both of which are anathema to the teachings of christ. christ said quite specifically, 'judge not lest you be judged.' i challenge the christian right to work out their own salvation in fear and trembling and not worry about the supposed sins of others. hate, violence, judgementalism, bigotry, homophobia, and misogyny are all ugly things, but for me they're particularly ugly and upsetting when they're attached to the name of christ, whom i love. humility is a healthy and wonderful thing and something that seems to be in short supply within the ranks of the christian right. christ preached love and humility and compassion, not hate and judgementalism. my message to the christian right would be to put aside any part of their ideology that is hateful or judgemental and go forth in a spirit of love & humility. if you're going to base your life on the teachings of christ, then do so. the world could use some true christians. the world doesn't need any more hate and blame and violence, especially not in the name of christ.

last minute maxims:

the environment is worth more than consumer goods and the g.n.p. freedom of speech is absolute and inviolate. guns are too dangerous for private ownership. sustainable & non-polluting energy sources make environmental and economic sense. research performed on animals is, by definition, scientifically unsound. cruelty is unacceptable. what you do with your own body is your choice. one individual violently imposing his or her will on another individual is wrong. you can't expect people to worry about the world when they can't feed themselves or their children. the hazards and risks of nuclear power make it unacceptable as an energy source. the use of animals for food is unhealthy, inefficient, & cruel. people need love & affection. tobacco use has killed & harmed more people than all human wars combined.

Transcription source: (defunct)

Copyright (c) 1996 Moby

Disclaimer: Moby's essays used to be posted on his website,, so I decided to post them here in their place. All of the essay text was taken directly from the album verbatim without prior consent of Moby or the record company or webmaster of the transcription source(s) (if any is/are indicated), which I may have edited (according to the original booklet) (but their work has saved me some typing). I do not intend to receive or divert any money or credit away from the Moby or the record company for this album.

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