The 76-year-old novelist read an unpublished piece on the subject to a packed hall in Madrid’s Reina Sofia Museum, where he was invited to speak by an animal rights group.
“I am not an animal lover,” he read to the crowd.
“Animals don’t need my love… I don’t care about love. I care about justice.”
South African Coetzee is a vegetarian and has been promoting animal rights for decades.
The winner of the 2003 Nobel Prize for Literature has written about the subject in the past, including a novella called “The Lives of Animals”.
The text he read was framed as a discussion between an Australian author and her son, in which she says: “People tolerate the slaughter of animals only because they see none of it.”
Humans think they “are much more important than animals” and “deny animal consciousness,” Coetzee read, saying it was up to people to “cultivate” their sympathy.
Asked at the end of the talk why bullfighting still exists in Spain, the novelist simply spread his arms without answering in a sign of total incomprehension.
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