Excellent post by someone who worked for the Humane Society of the United States, originally posted here: http://tinyurl.com/kvvodl8
I became involved in animal rights when I worked for the Humane Society of the United States. As an animal welfare professional since 1977, I mistakenly assumed that fighting for recognition for non humans politically would include securing a right to life, protection from euthanasia for human convenience. It turns out that People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals, a premier animal rights organization in the United States holds that domesticated animals, those raised by humans as our companions and workmates are destined to suffer by their very existence. The founders of PETA believe that animals are better off dead than living with people. Especially if they must work as police horses or seeing eye dogs but even pets are unacceptable.
What do they suggest we do with all the pets already on this planet? Neuter them and care for them until they are gone. “Don’t breed, don’t buy, don’t even accept giveaways.” – CEO of HSUS John Hoyt, 1991
A more popular tenet of animal rights is that animals should not be raised by people for food. Even if they are raised with kind caretakers and carefully planned facilities and humanely slaughtered, food or other products such as leather shoes or fur, should not be accepted uses for animals by humans. Activists do accept that non humans eat each other but expect humans to rise above this base nature and choose plants and synthetic products to move away from consuming other animals. This includes hunting for animals in the wild, as well. In fact, the Humane Society of the United States holds a patent on a contraceptive drug for wild animals for their population control from a distance.
What do they suggest we do with all the livestock already on this planet? Prevent breeding, and care for them until they are gone.“We have no ethical obligation to preserve the different breeds of livestock produced through selective breeding …One generation and out. We have no problems with the extinction of domestic animals. They are creations of human selective breeding.” – CEO Wayne Pacelle, Animal People News, 1993
Working animals and people have a purpose to life. The contribution we make to a community makes the whole greater than a sum of parts. My dog and I together, can better protect our home than either of us could alone. My horse and I can travel greater distances safely than either of us could do alone. In the case of search and rescue animals or plow horses we can actually feed or save people in trouble. Part of the animal rights agenda that is at odds with this is that animals working for a community are only seen as slaves. Activists do not accept that food and shelter and protection from predators is a benefit that non humans would willingly accept in exchange for their freedom. This is a complex issue, because if we truly see non humans as equals, we must respect their ability to make the same choices we do when we work for wages rather than live free hunting our own food and facing the elements. When we choose a cube and air conditioning, over sunburn and flies.
The issue of animal rights, then is one of recognition. Activists want to recognize the “rights” of animals to be unmolested by humans for any reason, including caring for them. However, this does not include any responsibility on the part of the animal to participate in the community or refrain from eating people or damaging property. So the proposition of “rights” does not include any responsibilities or obligation on the part of the animal to be part of the community. It also does not include the right to life if and when humans determine that the animal’s life is too hard. Oddly, it does not include protection from an actually hard life, living at the whim of nature.
Activists work toward radical goals in two ways. Fringe organizations put the ultimate goal out there despite lack of general public support. Some of the fringe groups protest, vandalize property and even threaten people or businesses seen as part of the status quo. Dividing the general public when it supports the way things are and conquering them faction by faction is part of the strategy. With so few Americans raising their own food anymore, anti agriculture terrorists are able to convince large numbers of voters that this small remaining group that feeds the world, is aberrant or doing it wrong or needs strict oversight. Since the group being attacked is small and the uninformed group is large, they can put their version of “facts” into the political arena and make headway relatively unopposed.
A mainstream approach is used to garner support from those who are undecided. These folks are better informed so they have to be persuaded to change their views. This is done with stories called moral shocks, such as exposes of slaughterhouses or sensational stories of animal mistreatment, usually with photos and victims. The mainstream groups are successful fundraisers because the drive to help the victims of an extreme case in some concrete way is high. An entire belief industry has formed around animal issues.
The final aspect of the animal rights movement is that critical thinking is not employed because emotions are engaged. This makes it easier to sway opinion and avoid facts. With the internet now a major force in mass media, millions of people can be reached in record time for little cost, especially young people who are less likely to have information or experiences that conflict with what they are told or shown.
While this page was originally set up to help people find the right dog through a rescue group or breeder, it quickly became the target of animal rights supporters who disagreed with my position on animal rights. And now I do see it as a mission of this page to protect dogs as human companions, to address the threat of so-called animal rights on the future of man and canine partnerships of any kind.
Here is an example from the equine world of how it’s done from NYClass, a group that hopes to shut down the carriage horse businesses in New York City to free up the land the stables use under the guise of preventing animal cruelty. Many followers of NYClass actually do believe that horses who work for a living are by definition victims and they do believe that these particular horses are mistreated because they have been told it is true. However, random checks on the horses have been carried out for decades by the ASPCA and NY Police. Horses are required to work less than a full day and given five weeks of vacation every year; better than many working American humans. But this doesn’t matter if your base line belief system regards any partnership with animals as morally reprehensible. The problem is that many NYClass supporters also ride and care for horses. There is a disconnect somewhere. And this is what animal rights activism is at it’s core; garnering support from people who care about animals and would choose to care for them under the guise of preventing mistreatment while actually working toward the elimination of all human – non human partnerships of any kind.
“They [sic] 220 horses (68 medallions) routinely work at least 9 hours a day,” No. The horses always work less than 9 hours and they are restricted from working in extreme temperatures, as well.
“pulling a vehicle that weighs hundreds of pounds, on hard pavement” Hundreds of pounds means less than two grown adult humans. Horses can more easily pull than carry on their backs, even though they carry well. The carriage horses are draft horses, extra large horses raised and conditioned to pull more than a normal horse. And of course it’s easier to pull wheels on smooth pavement than a plow through dirt. Check out this video of 18 men unable to move a horse. http://vitaminl.tv/video/1535
“while breathing exhaust from cars, buses and taxis.” which we all breathe and agree is pervasive and possibly bad for us. Since earth’s atmosphere is like a terrarium, it’s not as if we can leave or that there is pure, clean air on some other earth without cars. Perhaps the cars are the problem.
“Unaccustomed to the urban environment, horses can be “spooked” easily and cause accidents that inflict great damage on vehicles, drivers and most often, the horses themselves. ” These horses live in the urban environment and carriage horses/draft horses are not prone to over reacting to cars, dogs, people or pretty much anything else. The use of words like “great” in front of damage mean nothing. Carriage horse accidents with over 200 horses working in the center of the city (“There were more than 18 accidents in the past two years alone” ) are rare. A stellar record in which only one horse died but not from the accident. To add to the unfair bias, when the vet who examined that horse publicly stated he died of natural causes, she was fired by ASPCA. Consider that 70,000 people are injured by cars in New York City in a year and 250 of those are pedestrians who die. Bicycles send 500 pedestrians to seek medical treatment in NYC in a year. I’d say the horses are doing a great job of staying safe and keeping their carriage riders safe, too. The drivers are helping.
“At the end of the day the horses return to their tiny stalls in stableson [sic]the far West side of the city, or as Jon Stewart once called it, ‘The sad-eyed horse carriage district’ ” Use of the word tiny to describe standard 8×10 or 10×10 or 12 x 10 stalls which are used all over the country is misleading as is the use of the word “far”. Jon Stewart is a comedian who never claimed to be an expert on animal behavior. But invoking a celebrity name is a time honored tactic for adding apparent points to random statements.
“The cramped space doesn’t allow these enormous animals to lie down or to move about freely.” The stables are open to public tours and pictures abound of horses lying down in their stalls.
“Nor are they afforded any turn-out or pasture time that equine veterinarians agree is needed for horses to live healthy lives.” Yes, veterinarians do agree that forage is important for horses in the form of hay and fiber which these horses get every day in addition to 5 weeks of turn out vacation every year. In nature, horses are subject to the whims of the seasons and draft horses in particular are NOT suited to unlimited access to grass. There are life threatening metabolic issues that must be managed by limiting pasture access.
“After they work the busy and unsafe streets of NYC, the carraige [sic] horses are sent to auctions in Pennsylvania where they can be – and are – sold to kill-buyers who transport the animals to Mexico or Canada to be inhumanely slaughtered for exported meat. ” A horse buyer may do whatever he chooses with a horse but the threat of the kill buyer has been misused here. Large, healthy, easy to handle horses like those who drive sell for much higher prices to owners who want working and riding horses than they would at a meat price. So retired carriage horses could be sold directly to a new buyer without using an auction service, at all. In the event that a buyer REsells a carriage horse through an auction later in his life, carriage horses have an identifying mark on a hoof that ensures their history of training and tolerance for traffic and fitness for work will be known to protect them at auction.
“New York City has the highest horse-drawn carriage accident rate in the country” Wow. That means every other city with the luxury of carriage horses is even safer! Good work, drivers.
I hope this example shows the tactics that are used to win hearts and minds to a cause that often is directly opposed to the ideals of those who mistakenly support it.