True freedom is the gift of the Spirit, the result of grace: but, precisely because it is freedom FOR as well as freedom FROM, it isn't simply a matter of being forced now to be good, against our wills and without our cooperation, but a matter of being released from slavery precisely into responsibility, into being able at last to choose, to exercise moral muscle, knowing both that one is doing it oneself and that the Spirit is at work within, that God himself is doing that which I too am doing.
I remember an hypothesis argued upon by the young students, when I was at St. Omer's, and maintained with much learning and pleasantry on both sides, 'Whether supposing that the flavour of a big who obtained his death by whipping (per flagellationem extremem) superadded a pleasure upon the palate of a man more intense than any possible suffering we can conceive in the animal, is man justified in using that method of putting an animal to death?' I forget the decision.
One of the main arguments that I make is that although almost everyone accepts that it is morally wrong to inflict unnecessary suffering and death on animals, 99% of the suffering and death that we inflict on animals can be justified only by our pleasure, amusement, or convenience. For example, the best justification that we have for killing the billions of nonhumans that we eat every year is that we enjoy the taste of animal flesh and animal products. This is not an acceptable justification if we take seriously, as we purport to, that it is wrong to inflict unnecessary suffering or death on animals, and it illustrates the confused thinking that I characterize as our moral schizophrenia when it comes to nonhumans.A follow-up question that I often get is: What about vivisection? Surely that use of animals is not merely for our pleasure, is it?Vivisection, Part One: The Necessity of Vivisection