Todd Seabrook’s opinion article; Slippery Ethics: The Tilikum Trap is a newspaper opinion that was intended for the general mass public. In the article, Todd argues that PETA lacked the moral pedestal in their demand for the release of the Orca called Tilikum. For Todd, it is immoral for people to demand the release of an animal that has killed while they would demand otherwise for a human person. He also blames PETA for their holistic generalizations on all animals as well as criticizing their theory of acting as per the perceptions of what is right or wrong uncritically.
Todd is interested in the ethical issues involved in pursuing such theories. He opines that applying ethical human principles on other animals, what he calls the xenocentrism of humanity, may not be appropriate in all situations. It is a misleading logic that is also unethical. The premises for this logic are just incompatible. So that when PETA tries to liberate the Tilikum on the basis that it might cause unwarranted deaths, it is in fact the opposite since not all zoo animals will cause such deaths.
Todd’s claims are quite convincing especially when you look at how he faults PETA’s obsession with their uncritical support for the Tilikum. Their ground is not stable because their conclusions are fallacious since the premises used are incompatible.
The article provides the much needed criticism to counter PETA in their activism. Everyone would find Todd’s argument reasonable in light of the ethical considerations of human life. In as much as we strive to protect the life of other animals, those of fellow human beings must be on the forefront. Todd is convincing enough as he explains the fault lines in PET’s actions.
Todd, S. (2000) Slippery Ethics: The Tilikum Trap. Nairobi: the daily nation press.