It seems that Bailey Norwood, Associate Professor of Agricultural Economics at Oklahoma State University, has taken it upon himself to shed some light on the question of whether we are, in fact, generally morally confused about nonhuman animals and of whether speciesism is at the root of this confusion. Hell, he may even have put an end to the ongoing debate over whether we should view nonhuman animals in terms of their use or do so in terms of their treatment. According to Norwood's thinking, both would miss the point altogether. He claims there's no moral confusion as long as we understand that we should think of nonhuman animals in terms of their purpose:
I treat pigs one way because their "purpose" is to provide me with food and I treat my dog differently because her "purpose" is to provide me with companionship. One may say that I am immoral, but one cannot say that I am in anyway confused. I know exactly what I am doing. People largely base their decisions on how to treat animals not based on a moral philosophy or animals' IQs, but the purpose of the animal.In all seriousness, though: Norwood wrote the above as part of a blog post reaction to Prof. Gary L. Francione's podcast commentary "An Up-Close and Personal Encounter with Moral Schizophrenia" of a few weeks ago, in which he'd described his encounter with some hunters who'd stopped to help a deer who had been struck by a car, and how this encounter illustrated the nonsensical manner in which we choose to assess one nonhuman animal species versus another. At least I can agree with one thing Norwood states and that is that I suppose one may indeed say that he's immoral. I mean, one can say or write anything on the internet, no? As for whether or not he's fit to assess whether or not he's confused, I think that I'll leave that up to readers to judge for themselves.