I think it might properly raise moral consciousness if someone opened a dalmatian farm, where free-range dogs were raised in pleasant environs, on natural, antibody-free meat, killed painlessly and humanely and sold as steak.
Why this particular rant? Well, here's a nice article encouraging people to forgive transgressors:
A central message is that harboring a grudge appears to be detrimental to both psychological and physical well-being. "People who have been able to forgive show clear health benefits," says Kathleen Lawler-Row, who chairs the psychology department at East Carolina University in Greenville, N.C., and has published her findings in the Journal of Behavioral Medicine and the Journal of Psychophysiological Research. "Whether we're looking at heart rate and blood pressure or whether we're looking at the number of medicines someone is on, their quality of sleep or the number of physical symptoms they report. Almost every way I've thought to measure it, people who have been able to think forgivingly show health benefits."
The article goes on in this vein for a while. Now, I've often thought there's some considerable credulous wish-thinking about the forgiveness industry, and maybe I'll write about that some day. Still, obviously forgiveness is a good thing to do at least some of the time, and as the author notes, it can confer health benefits upon the forgiver, test his character, aid offender rehabilitation and the like.
But who is to be the target of our great, ennobling, healthful forgiveness? Who might we be in a rage over? George Bush? Osama bin Laden? Narendra Modi? The Burmese junta? Pol Pot? Bernie Madoff? No, it's Michael Vick, assailer of dog. Because that is the great moral dilemma, straining our moral fiber, corroding our innards as we smolder. Seriously. I understand people have pets, and indeed I care about animal welfare. The arguments of someone like Peter Singer gain some purchase upon me (they made me go vegetarian), but this Vick hysteria strikes me as madness.
I really do wish there were such a farm, perhaps in New Jersey. It's existence might cause some moral reflection. I assume and hope people would continue to think it bad to electrocute dogs for fighting badly. I also don't doubt that at least some people in a reflective equilibrium would continue to attach a special moral significance to canis lupus familiaris, perhaps because we've coevolved with them or something. But I do hope they'd find it at least slightly weird to get so frenzied over dog fighting, while countenancing cock-fighting or bull-fighting, and while consuming more meat and dairy than people ever have in the past. There probably isn't enough significance attached to the welfare of animals at large, but it also seems obvious to me that too much is attached to that of cute, photogenic or cuddly ones, and it being that being easy on the eye has no particular ecological or ethical significance, that over-weighting seems untenable.