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

Pack Topics: Circus cruelty; puppy mills

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Blog takes on circus cruelty: Karyn Zoldan is one of my favorite fellow animal-welfare bloggers, with her Tucson Tails blog on the Tucson Citizen website.

On Thursday, she wrote about the circus coming to Tucson and Phoenix. A whistle-blower exposed the beatings the elephants endure and the constant confinement of the large cats. The blog entry also includes an interview with an animal advocate who opposes the use of live animals in circuses.

Another suspected puppy mill: Officials with the Berkeley Sheriff’s Office in West Virginia have shut down another suspected puppy mill. This one housed 132 dogs, who now have at least a chance for a much better life.

Hopefully, charges will soon be imposed in this case, as the Charleston Daily Mail reports several of the dogs were dehydrated and underweight and a puppy obtained by investigators “” was in deplorable condition, with fleas, fur matted with feces and scabs on its belly “” and a release noted it was underweight, dehydrated and suffered from intestinal parasites.

Dogs living in conditions like this might be rescued sooner, if every state in the land had better regulations in place, including routine inspections and serious punishment for those who abuse or neglect animals. We need a nation-wide standard for care in all breeding facilities – to include humane housing, regular daily exercise and regular veterinary care.

If restaurants can operate under strict health and cleanliness regulations and regular inspections, then breeders should be able to do the same.


Movement grows to end abuse of circus animals

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Game-show host Bob Barker, actress “CSI” star Jorja Fox, Animal Defenders International (ADI) and Performing Animal Welfare Society (PAWS) have joined forces to promote legislation to ban the use of wild animals in circuses.

The Traveling Exotic Animal Protection Act would “restrict the use of exotic and wild animals in traveling circuses,” according to an article published Thursday on It is a bill I fully support.

The story quotes Barker as saying “Exotic animals cannot be healthy and can’t even approach being happy in a traveling circus. They never know a day that is really pleasurable. We all have problems, but we all have good days. These animals don’t have good days.”

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