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Jeremy Rifkin is a master of Rhetoric. By using all three branches of the persuasive technique (pathos, logos, and ethos), he is able to appeal to the reader about the “humanity” of animals and how they should be treated with closer respect as those of a small child. Through his usage of modern events, along with presenting the state of animal rights as a progressive and natural course for people to take, creates an logically compelling argument for change- both in society and of the individual. It is logical, he argues, that all of mankind should strive and push forward such matters in an ongoing discovery and betterment of humans.
This is shown by his using of ethos by stating several major food industries such as McDonalds and Burger King, as leaders in research of animal behaviors and mentality. These industries are so fastened into the public consciousness as the antithesis of animal activist’s, whose very corporate foundation is built upon the slaughtering and selling of animals, that by the mere mention of their ongoing research into animals cognitive and emotional senses should raise a few inquisitive brows. These companies primary care about profit, but by maintaining the fact that these companies are actively pursuing research into such a topic, must signify something significant to the average audience reader that Rifkin is writing to.
But even the use of corporations could veer people away from Rifkin’s argument. So Rifkin brings up the ethos of government, a higher and more prominent factor, to further persuade any naysayers to animal rights. If the United States government itself is making laws banning the abuse of specific animals, along with creating and implementing laws that promote their goodwill and being, then surely it must be a cause that is worth the taxpayers (readers) money to be funded into. And to further cement the governmental argument, Rifkin not only uses the United States government as an example; he uses Germany and other national states to persuade the reader that this is a global and progressive natural course for mankind to take.
Not a single individual wants to be interpreted as a fool or regression. Rifkin uses such practical knowledge to speak personally to the reader, presenting the mistreatment of social animals as barbaric, backwards, and wrong. By his insurance that the governments of several countries of the world are participating in a progressive and natural manner of recognizing and protecting animal rights, by implication he is stating that one is barbaric, backwards, and just wrong when in argument against such a natural progression. It is becoming law and custom for animals to have rights, and to be against such would paint you in an unfavorable light in societies and governments eyes. The reader then would want to disassociate with such negative connotations by instead “adapting” with the “flow” and coming out as a progressive, enlightened, and “just” animal rights advocate.
As Rifkin brings up the research that a good portion of animals are social beings that often participate with their young in their own learning experience, he raises several questions to induce thought unto the reader. Such as “should we discourage the sale and purchase of fur coats?” and what should happen to the “millions of domestic animals raised under the most inhumane conditions?”, encourages the reader to think along such lines and try to incite an understanding of the state of animals and what rights they should be inferred in regards to the research Rifkin presented. To think about the condition of another animal, be it bird, pig, or gorilla, creates provoking thought inside the reader’s mind. It is through Rifkins structured argument that presents his advocacy as logical, sound, and beneficial to not only the animals themselves, but to the present and future state of mankind’s ongoing progressivism.
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