Letter to the Editor re: “Raids to Free Minks Ups Ante on Animal Rights”
Submitted: October 17, 2013
News outlet: The New York Times
“It’s our livelihood. They’re trying to put us out of business,” was the defense offered by mink farmer Virginia Bonlander whose business was targeted in the recent surge of raids that have been carried out by animal rights activists [“Raids to Free Minks Ups Ante on Animal Rights,” Oct. 16].
Bonlander’s defense of killing animals is both curious and commonplace.
That something “is one’s livelihood”—that one financially profits from engaging in a particular activity—cannot be allowed exempt that activity from moral scrutiny. If anything, being paid to harm others may exacerbate, rather than mitigate, the offense. That one has built their life around harming others and does so as a means to support themselves is reprehensible in a way that is quite different from someone who may harm others in a less calculated manner.
Yet this defense is commonly advanced by people in industries where the raw material is living, breathing animals who are then violently transformed into consumer products. The assumption that profit is a legitimate defense must be challenged.