Matthew Scully begins an essay in the National Review about the modern treatment of animals with this observation: "You don’t really know your fellow man until you’ve pondered the fact that most people say they love animals, professing admiration and sympathy, and most people eat them." From there, the former speechwriter for George W. Bush makes the case that we have a moral imperative to end what he sees as the barbaric and systemic cruelty to animals, particularly farm animals. It is "humanity's worst hypocrisy," he writes. Citing the writings of others—including columnist Charles Krauthammer—Scully has a two-pronged argument: First, animals are cognizant of the pain and suffering inflicted upon them in the industrial food industry, and, second, future generations will be appalled that we let this abuse go on for so long.
"Unthinkable to most people today, obvious to most people tomorrow: We are all better off without the whole sorry business," he writes. Factory-farm animals live brutal lives that end in slaughter, lives that defy the natural order. "Each one still has the emotions, the desires, the need for play, companionship, and maternal care that allowed their kind to flourish over millions of years before humans took charge of their existence." He recalls a visit to a pig slaughterhouse, which slaughters some 2,000 animals an hour, where he learned that plant floors "must be constantly washed clean of waste, because in terror so many of the pigs lose control of their bowels." It's these kinds of moral tests by which civilizations are measured, writes Scully. "This is a challenge for our age." Click for his full column. (Read more animal cruelty stories.)