Clueless commentary misrepresents the animal-welfare movement

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Once again, we find someone trying to justify the abuse of animals – as somehow something that should be protected as freedom.

An individual named Michael Rubin produced an editorial for Commentary Magazine, which was posted on March 19 under the headline – “Are Animal-Rights Activists Really Concerned About Animals?”

The writer jumps into two huge propaganda strategies often used by those who wish to defend the abuse of animals. He calls it “animal rights” and he attacks PETA.

In reality, the movement is about animal welfare and yes, we feel animals should be protected from abuse. If he wants to call that animal rights, fine. But anyone suggesting animals should not be protected from abuse is way over on the extremist end of the scale.

And look, PETA is PETA. It sometimes uses provocative means to draw attention to animal abuse. No matter what opinion anyone might have about PETA, talking about it does nothing to alter the reality animal abuse.

But Rubin goes beyond these two diversions to defend the use of animals – particularly elephants – in circuses. First, the use of hooks to train elephants is terrible. Secondly, elephants belong in their natural habitats.

He claims elephants are “healthy and stimulated” in circuses and “often become bored and depressed” when their entertainment days are over. And he uses the typical greyhound-racing defense in calling them working animals. And then he attempts to make two wrongs into a right by suggesting the dangers of poaching means it’s okay to pull them from their habitats for circus entertainment.

The far better option is putting the full effort into protecting the habitat from poaching.

Rubin certainly has a right to express his opinion in a commentary, but this doesn’t mean he can get away with misrepresenting the animal-welfare movement. And certainly he needs to educate himself in the area of animal suffering and self-awareness.

And getting back to the headline, he does nothing to show “animal-rights activists” are not concerned about animals.


PACK MENTALITY BLOG: Compassion - teamed with Science and Logic

Wanna see some real factory-farming propaganda?

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It’s the old argument little kids use with their parents: “But Mom, Billy did it too. He does it all the time. No fair.”

An opinion piece on the Beef Magazine website popped up on the Pack News Wire concerning the topic of the “Emotion in Animal Welfare.” – (Interesting already)

It seems a Purdue University associate professor of animal behavior and well-being spoke before a group in Nebraska and offered some very odd spin on that well-being part. She apparently showed a photo of hens in battery cages beside a photo of two parrots in a cage. And used the Billy-does-it-too argument. Of course, it’s more like – ‘I burned the house down, but Billy broke a lamp, so no fair punishing me.’

And she is quoted as saying, “When we think about animal welfare, everyone has a different idea of what that means.” – No, not really. And later, the associate professor is quoted on the topic of what meat producers should be saying, – “Make sure people know no one is more concerned about our animals than us, and that we are committed to their health and welfare.”

And in the middle of that editorial, I found a link to another piece submitted by the Center For Consumer Freedom (a name not really related to what the group wants).

It starts off trying to define the terms ‘animal rights’ versus ‘animal welfare.’ The writer suggests “animal welfare requires science-based, sometimes difficult choices.” Actually, that’s right – and science-based is where people like me like to go. But then the text turns away from science.

It is suggested hens in cages have a lower mortality rate than hens in cage-free and free-range environments. So stuff the hens in cages where they suffer 24/7 and they’ll live longer. Forget the suffering, even within the notion that the suffering goes for a longer period of time.

It seems their ‘science’ fails to take other factors directly related to the hen’s health into account. What’s the term I need here … what is it? …. oh yeah, that’s science limited to the narrow confines of a cage.

Sunday Commentary: Understanding Animal Rights

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I often read comments or commentary about this notion of animal rights vs. animal welfare. The depiction often suggests people pushing for animal rights are extremist. The term has been warped – wrongly – into meaning animal rights equals human rights.

So in an effort to twist, wrangle and shut down the movement for better laws to protect animals from cruelty, one side is trying to make sure the message that gets out is one where animals will be given all the rights and privileges of humans. That is clearly a wild pile of what my dogs leave for me to scoop in the backyard.

Because the word ‘rights’ is used in the phrase ‘animal rights,’ suddenly it’s made out to mean animals will get every human right imaginable. No one is suggesting this on the animal-lover side of the room, at least as far as I’ve heard. No one is calling for animals to be able to get married. No one is calling for animals to be able to register to vote or own cars or get drivers licenses.

No one is suggesting animals should be able to own guns or receive equal pay or join unions. (Wildlife owning guns would, I guess, make hunting interesting.) But what we really want to see are laws enacted that protect animals from cruelty and neglect. Yes, we want animals to have rights. The kind of rights that ensure they can live without facing brutality at the hands of the species that is supposed to be the most advanced on the planet.

It really is not too much to ask. It really is not extreme. It is reasonable and logical and compassionate. It’s not ‘animal welfare’ vs. ‘animal rights.’ It is animal rights from animal welfare.