American political writer and speechwriter
Dominion (2002) edit
- Dominion: The Power of Man, the Suffering of Animals, and the Call to Mercy, London: Souvenir Press, 2011, ISBN 9780285640085. Ebook edition.
- It began with one pig at a British slaughterhouse. Somewhere along the production line it was observed that the animal had blisters in his mouth and was salivating. The worst suspicions were confirmed, and within days borders had been sealed and a course of action determined. Soon all of England and the world watched as hundreds, and then hundreds of thousands, of pigs, cows, and sheep and their newborn lambs were taken outdoors, shot, thrown into burning pyres, and bulldozed into muddy graves. Reports described terrified cattle being chased by sharpshooters, clambering over one another to escape. Some were still stirring and blinking a day after being shot.
- Foot-and-mouth disease is a form of flu, treatable by proper veterinary care, preventable by vaccination, lethal neither to humans nor to animals. These animals, millions of them not even infected, were all killed only because their market value had been diminished and because trade policies required it—because, in short, under the circumstances it was the quick and convenient thing to do. By the one measure we now apply to these creatures, they had all become worthless. For them, the difference between what happened and what awaited them anyway was one of timing. And for us the difference was visibility. This time, we had to watch.
- Animals are so easily overlooked, their interests so easily brushed aside. Whenever we humans enter their world, from our farms to the local animal shelter to the African savanna, we enter as lords of the earth bearing strange powers of terror and mercy alike.
Dominion, as we call this power in the Western tradition, today requires our concentrated moral consideration …
- Standing outside a factory farm, the first question that comes to mind is not a moral but a practical one: Where is everybody? Where are the owners, the farmers, the livestock managers, the extra hands, anybody? I have been driving around the North Carolina countryside on a Thursday afternoon in January 2001, pulling in at random to six hog farms, and have yet to find a single farmer or any other living soul. … There are so many factory farms around here that they are easy to miss. I doubt that the average visitor just passing through even knows what they are …
- How we treat our fellow creatures is only one more way in which each one of us, every day, writes our own epitaph—bearing into the world a message of light and life or just more darkness and death, adding to the world's joy or to its despair.
Quotes about Matthew Scully edit
- The best part of the book, which is written from an expressly Christian and conservative way of looking at the world, is his contention that the morality of the humane treatment of animals rests not—as the “animal rights” theorists such as Peter Singer would have it—on animals being equal to human beings but precisely on their being unequal and therefore so very dependent and vulnerable. That’s why the subtitle speaks of “the call to mercy” rather than “the call to justice,” although Scully does, against his better instincts, end up entangling himself in some of the esoterica of the animal rights theorizing. Most pertinent to public policy is his polemic against industrial, or containment, farming. He visited some huge pig plants in North Carolina and what he reports is unpleasant in the extreme.
- Not many people have been able to get inside one of the factory hog farms that blight the Midwestern and Southern United States today. Matthew Scully did, though, and he has written one of the most scathing yet compassionate books about animals in the entire literature: Dominion. I cannot recommend it highly enough.