“With a few flowers in my garden, half a dozen pictures and some books, I live without envy.”
Thursday, April 27, 2006
The PETA-ful notion of animal rights
My dear friend Southside Rabbitslayer is a fan of PETA. For some reason, he assumes I share his appreciation of a group that touts animal rights.
I can see why he would think so, given that I frequently wax sentimental about animals and have worked for over a decade with wildlife rescue.
But supporting PETA? Sorry. That's where I draw the line.
"Why?" you may ask. "Don't you love animals? How could you be against putting the rights of non-humans on par with those of humans? "
"Well," say I. "Because no one does it. And no one does it because it can't be done."
"Hold on!" you persist. "There are groups that believe in animal rights. Groups like PETA and the Humane Society of the United States."
To which I reply, "Bullshit."
The overriding message of groups like PETA and HSUS is to spay and neuter your pet. Would someone tell me how that is consistent with animal rights?
We have a ten-week old kitten, Piper. Right now, she's all about chasing her tail and playing with string. But give her six months and she'll go in heat. Then she'll only want to do one thing: fuck. Through the magic of hormones, my cute little Piper will turn into a lust-crazed sex kitten, yowling for release.
Now, if I saw this cat as an equal, I wouldn't stand in the way of her reproductive freedom. It's her body, so who am I to tell her what to do with it? But I don't see her as an equal, and neither do the good speciests at PETA and HSUS, who recommend that I box her up, haul her to the vet, where she will cry in fear as she's sedated and prepped for her forced hysterectomy. Which is exactly what I intend to do.
It'll be a lot like when I took my corgi, Sport, to the vet and had him neutered. I didn't ask his permission and that night he just sat there, looking puzzled and forlorn as he pondered the scar where his balls used to be.
Animal rights? Please. Fleas are animals, but even the most ardent animal rights person will kill them if they infest their home. It doesn't matter that the flea has a right to eat. Same thing with tapeworms. No rights for them, either. If you're truly for animal rights you don't interfere with the dynamic. True, fleas and tapeworms are parasites, but as humans who are we to place the value of the cat above the value of the worms in its belly?
Humans are, without argument, the most destructive creatures on the planet. But it's because we have the power. If cats had the power and intelligence to do so, they'd be the ones driving around in Hummers and we'd be the ones getting neutered. Hopefully the cats would have enough sense not to start wars , destroy the environment and overpopulate. But then, given the behaviour of the hard-fighting, bird-killing sex-crazed feral cats around here there probably wouldn't be much of a difference.
Hopefully the cats would treat us well, which is really all that can be practically required of a dominant species. Animals will never have rights because as the dominant species, humans will have to consider their welfare, and balance it with our own. Sometimes that consideration means doing things animals would never consent to if given the choice, like being spayed and microchipped and vaccinated. The downside is that we also eat them, manage their herds or kill them if they threaten us. It isn't pretty, it's just reality.
PETA knows this, and so does the Human Society. But no one thinks it through, and as long as they don't, "animal rights" groups will always have donations to advance the notion of their impossible goal.