Thank you very much for the editorial about my recent experience with police at the Inner Harbor ("Free Speech in the Inner Harbor," June 2).
Just to be clear: My friends and I, all Baltimore citizens, were simply providing information to Inner Harbor visitors about the fact that eating meat violates an ethical principle in which almost all Americans believe — compassion toward animals. According to Gallup, 96 percent of Americans believe that animals should be legally protected from cruelty. Is there any other issue on which we have such consensus? We are a nation of animals lovers.
It's a simple fact that other animals are made of flesh, blood and bone, just like human beings. They have the same five physiological senses that we do, and they value their lives. They are, as Darwin taught us, more like us than they're unlike us. For the same reason most of us would not eat our pet — we know that she is someone, not something — we should similarly avoid eating all animals.
The problem is not only that there is no moral difference between eating a chicken or a cat, a pig or a dog (though that is true). It's also a sad fact that standard practices in the meat industry would warrant felony cruelty charges weredogs orcats similarly abused.
Every time we sit down to eat, we make a choice about who we are in the world: Do we want to add to the level of cruelty and suffering in the world, or do we want to make choices that are merciful and compassionate? More and more Americans, once they ponder the fact that eating meat entails eating conscious beings who were horribly abused by the meat industry, are choosing to withdraw their support by adopting avegetarian diet.
That was our very simple point in the Inner Harbor two weeks ago and on multiple occasions before that (all without incident). It's a point we've been prohibited from making since, under threat of arrest. Thank you for standing up for our right to make it.
Bruce G. Friedrich, Baltimore