Animals, Right?

This year I surprised myself by making one of my holiday season donations to the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA).   It was a surprise for several reasons.   For one, I’ve always made my charitable donation under the help-our-own-species-first rule … it’s seemed to me that with the limited resources available to charitable organizations these days, I should help people in need.  I suppose you’d describe me as a moderate when it comes to animals, one who loves animals but is inclined to say, on occasion, it is an animal, after all, when I see someone talking to their dog as if it’s human or dressing it up for Halloween.   I know people who don’t eat meat because they don’t want to eat their friends.  Mr. P and Elvis, our cats, are my friends, but the anonymous steer who contributed my dinner the other night isn’t.   I still don’t want to see him slaughtered and would like to know his demise was as cruelty-free as possible within the constraints of feeding a nation of primarily carnivores.    A while back, my son watched some PETA videos about treatment of steers and chickens on large-scale farms and tried to be a vegetarian for several months, after which he reverted to being a carnivore … and not watching PETA videos.   I just don’t watch them in the first place.  I don’t watch videos of people starving in third world countries, either.

I have friends … and a son-in-law … who are hunters.    I have no moral objection to the practice but choose not to talk about it with them.  When I was twelve years old, I shot a toad with an arrow and its eyes popped out … I had nightmares for several days.  Perhaps that’s why for most of my life, I’ve never looked at an animal and said, Wow, I’d sure like to shoot that! On the other hand, I think that poachers, people who illegally hunt endangered species, should be severely punished, maybe shot.   I don’t squish a bug without wondering how I’d like being squished for no reason by some gigantic creature, and I’ve been known to capture crickets and release them outside but I stomp scorpions without hesitation.   My sister once had a friend who tried to meditate a convention of ants out of his kitchen … I just spray the little suckers.   A PETA member once told me that medical research using animals isn’t necessary because with computers, we can simulate everything.   As a computer weenie who’s tried to simulate considerably less complex phenomena, I know that’s propaganda.   I can’t oppose responsible use of animals in medical research but can be convinced to oppose its use in testing cosmetics.

If there was a tipping point in deciding to join the ASPCA, I suppose it was one of those TV commercials featuring Sarah McClachlan showing photos of abused dog and cats, and within the commercial, a photo of a kitten with its leg in a tiny cast.   ASPCA’s policy and position statement seems to focus more on prevention of cruelty to animals and on rescue of pets than on the larger Animal Rights agenda of the Humane Society and certainly, PETA.  I’m too much of a libertarian to be contributing to organizations whose mission seems to be to force their mores on the rest of us, especially on issues that are hardly clear cut morally.   Interestingly, too, Michael Vick may have played a part in my decision to contribute.   While I will never be able to root for him on the football field given his cruelty to dogs, every time he appears on television, the issue of cruelty to animals is raised in my consciousness.   That’s a good thing rising out of a vile act.

So, there you go.  When someone says, Animal Rights, I say, They’re Animals, Right? But I’m now a member of the ASPCA and it feels right.  Maybe I’m getting soft in my old age.  Where do you stand?

You can contribute to or join ASPCA here.

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3 Comments on “Animals, Right?”

  1. territerri Says:

    I stand pretty close to you on this issue. I love my pets, but if a choice had to be made between them and my human family members, there’d be no contest. I eat meat, but don’t want to know the story of how it gets to my dinner table. I’m a little more radical when it comes to spiders, insects and other such creatures. If they are outside, I’ll leave them be. But if they have the nerve to be inside my house, it’s no holds barred.

  2. granny1947 Says:

    Hello Bud…I am pretty much with you on this issue too.
    I love Jasmine and Tom to bits, but if it came to very expensive surgery that was going to put me in debt, I am afraid it would be the lethal needle choice.Having said that….I would probably bawl my eyes out.
    Would you like to swap places with me today?
    Am sitting here dripping perspiration.
    I am NOT having fun.

    • oldereyes Says:

      Putting an animal down is hard, that’s for sure. We’ve had to put down two of our cats and I always go in with them when they get the injection. It only seems fair. As far as the heat, no thank you.

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