Saturday, March 1, 2014

The Sinclair Effect

I think how we treat our animals reflects how we treat each other.
- Barack Obama

In fact, how we treat our animals affects how we treat each other.

At the turn of the 20th century, Upton Sinclair exposed the devastating work conditions and living environments of those who toiled in Chicago’s stockyard slaughterhouses. In The Jungle he made a connection between the numerous after-work fights instigated by slaughterhouse workers and the killing and dismembering of animals all day at work.

This is from the introduction to Slaughterhouses and Increased Crime Rates – An Empirical Analysis of the Spillover From “The Jungle” Into the Surrounding Community by Amy J. Fitzgerald from the University of Windsor and Linda Kalof and Thomas Dietz from Michigan State University (Organization & Environment, 2009 v. 20).

Their study concludes,

The findings indicate that slaughterhouse employment increases total arrest rates, arrests for violent crimes, arrests for rape, and arrests for other sex offenses in comparison with other industries. This suggests the existence of a Sinclair effect unique to the violent workplace of the slaughterhouse, a factor that has not previously been examined in the sociology of violence.

Albert Einstein had a suggestion:

A human being is a part of the whole, called by us 'Universe,' a part limited in time and space. He experiences himself, his thoughts and feelings as something separated from the rest. A kind of optical delusion of his consciousness. This delusion is a kind of prison for us, restricting us to our personal desires and to affection for a few persons nearest to us. Our task must be to free ourselves from this prison by widening our circle of compassion to embrace all living creatures and the whole of nature in its beauty.


If a man aspires towards a righteous life, his first act of abstinence is from injury to animals.

Others have written in a similar vein.

We can judge the heart of a man by his treatment of animals.
- Immanuel Kant

The greatness of a nation and its moral progress can be judged by the way its animals are treated.
- Gandhi

Until he extends the circle of his compassion to all living things, man will not himself find peace.
- Albert Schweitzer

As long as people will shed the blood of innocent creatures there can be no peace, no liberty, no harmony between people. Slaughter and justice cannot dwell together.
- Isaac Bashevis Singer

But slaughter and beauty do dwell together, among us.

I expect to pass through this world but once. Any good therefore that I can do, or any kindness or abilities that I can show to any fellow creature, let me do it now. Let me not defer it or neglect it, for I shall not pass this way again.
- William Penn

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