Spleen Vent: The Animal Edition

The Angry Bean Gives You The Silent Treatment What good is having a blog if I can’t expend great deals of energy on Aimless Internet Rage, right? Right. So, here I go, whipping out my shotgun and blasting an array of targets far and wide with my spleen-pellets!

PETA: People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals

You’re going to see this a lot in this post, but PETA is one of those things that sounds really good on paper. Their core ideas are laudable, even if you don’t necessarily agree — “Hey, let’s not needlessly harm animals, kay?” Yay, good idea. I don’t want anybody rubbing mascara in a rabbit’s eye, I certainly don’t love the idea of battery chickens, I don’t want some dude… I dunno, raping goats or whatever in the name of science.

Problem is, in practice, PETA completely sucks the pipe with puerile, ethics-free campaigns that run slipshod over good taste. Comparing animal slaughter to the Holocaust? Saying that it’s better to drink beer than milk (MADD loved that one)? Dragging parents through the mud who would dare to feed their children — gasp – meat products? Claiming that killing a fish is the same as killing the dog? (That last one is amazing. Newsflash, PETA-peeps: fish are fucking stupid. Dogs are not fucking stupid. Yes, they’re both living beings, but so are people and tapeworms and salmonella and goddamn coconut trees, and we don’t put them all on the same plane, do we? Not all things are equal by dint of definition. When a fish can fetch me a stick, call me, we’ll talk about saving the stupid cod, got it?)

The biggest craw-sticker, though, is that PETA kills animals. No, really. They do. Euthanasia’s big for PETA. They’ve executed thousands of pets. Does anyone smell irony, here? A faint whiff of water mixed with vinegar, the unmistakable tang of douche? They’re against no-kill shelters, engage in killing animals as an organization, but are against the murder of animals? They oppose deer hunting… why? (Best quote there, “Nature Takes Care Of Its Own” — oh,  yeah? And we’re not a part of nature? An overpopulation of deer is… good for the ecosystem? With all the natural predators running around like Devil Bears and Pterodactyls, I’m sure nature will take care of its own — oh, wait, Devil Bears and Pterodactyls don’t exist. And if nature takes care of its own, why wouldn’t a wild and rampant population of pit bulls similarly take care of itself?)

PETA doesn’t give a rat’s asshole about ethics. They care about publicity and that’s it. Their core concepts are laudable, even if I’m not 100% behind them. But in practice? Yeah, no.

Vegans

I’m sorry, vegans. This isn’t about you individually. Many of you are quite nice. I just don’t get what you’re about, y’know? Okay, I get vegetarians. I get it for health reasons, I get it for the fact you really don’t want to eat animals, I get it all over. I’ll just vote that veganism as a movement takes it too far (though don’t even get me started on those raw food dillholes — listen, as cavemen, we invented fire so that we could cook things, let’s not turn back the clock to Pleistocene Man, okay?).

First, you won’t use any animal products. Except, you probably do. (Gasoline? Medical technology?) And, even if you really-truly-totally-don’t, doesn’t it seem odd to neglect something that actually allowed our civilization to advance to this stage? We’ve been exploiting animals for a very, very long time. Ideally, it’s done without cruelty. Do you really believe we’d have gotten this far without using animals?

Second, the honey-and-white-sugar problem. Vegans won’t eat honey because we exploit bees, maybe even killing them, to get the honey. And they won’t eat white sugar because it’s bleached through bone char (well, only about 30% of the country’s sugar is, but that’s enough). Yes, bees are… er, exploited in the making of honey, but therein lies a very tragic slippery slope for vegans. If they can’t exploit bugs, they’re really going to have to cut out a lot of their diets. A great deal of fruit and vegetables use factory-farmed bee colonies (literally driven around in big trucks, the bees goofed up on high-fructose corn syrup). No bees, no fruit or vegetables. And bone char — well, it’s just carbon, people. I get the point, but it’s not like animals are being slaughtered by the thousands for the cruel sugar industry, at least, not that I can find. But this really leads to my next point…

Third, the logical conclusion is that, if we can’t use animal — read, natural – products, then the choice is often left to using chemical products. Which… are not usually as healthy as using natural products. And chemical products are not very good for animals, by the way. You’d really rather blast crops with pesticides than use a natural solution (which would necessitate “exploiting” tragic insects)? C’mon.

Fourth, milk? Seriously? Can’t drink milk, huh? Doesn’t hurt the cow. Cows seem pretty happy. Can’t drink the milk because we’re exploiting the cows? I get it — if you don’t like milk, don’t drink it. If it squicks you out that the milk comes from an animal, don’t drink it. But don’t get high-minded and suggest we’re exploiting cows. I don’t think cows can even be exploited. You ever hang out with a cow? Not a lot going on upstairs. Same with chickens. Chickens are assholes. Stupid like fish. You can decapitate the chicken and he won’t change his behavior much.

It’s all just very weird logic to me. The natural world relies on the recycling of nature. That’s key. It’s downright spiritual. Animals consume plants, and animals consume those animals, and so forth. Even without us, the natural world is brutal. Animals exploit other animals (ants farm aphids, remoras eat shark garbage, parasites mess with rats so they get eaten by predators). Plants rely on decomposing animal matter to live, and some plants even are proactive and are carnivorous. Why do we strive to put ourselves outside the natural cycle? Can’t we find some sense of moderation, some balance that says, “I can eat a chicken, but I won’t eat a sick chicken farmed in a 12″ x 12″ chicken cubicle?” Or, once more, even if you personally want to live a vegan lifestyle, why do you feel that this is also the best lifestyle for others, especially when it’s such a non-natural choice?

(Plus, isn’t the vegan movement kind of… a rich white-person’s choice? I mean, really?)

Again, this is more aimed at the vegan movement rather than individual vegans. Individuals, you do what you want. You want to eat only hamburgers, do it. You want to eat only fistfuls of dirt, that’s all you, chief. Just don’t expect that others are morally obligated into your way of thinking, yeah?

Cat-Owners

Cats are sort of dicks, but they’re also graceful and elegant and interesting animals. You want to own one, do it.

But decide something, will you? In, or out. If you’re keeping your cat inside, then it’s a pet. If you’re keeping your cat outside, it’s not your pet. And you don’t own it. And you do not care about it. Don’t pretend you do. Because that cat could catch a disease. It could eat the front grill of a rampaging pick-up truck. It could get mauled by a fox or even attacked by another cat. Plus, loose cats are responsible for ecosystem destabilization (and you can see it outside in our own yard — our neighbor’s cat eats rabbits, birds, anything it can get its paws on, because that cat is outside 75% of the time; never mind that I put up a bird feeder to feed, y’know, birds, that’s basically a fast food joint for the kitties).

We have dogs. Our dogs go outside in a fenced-in yard. I don’t let my dog wander around town, eating cats and taking dumps on your children or biting you in the face. They’re my pets. I love them. I’d like for them to be healthy and happy. I don’t let them be wildly independent, because they’re not wild animals.

So, decide. If your cat is your pet, keep it inside. If your cat is allowed to roam freely and far and wide, then it’s not your pet, and you’re lazy and irresponsible. If I see your cat and it has no collar and no tags, I will trap it and send it to the ASPCA where, ideally, someone who actually cares about their cats will want it. Just be thankful I’m not my father. He would’ve just shot it and left it where it dropped.

My Neighbor

Have you noticed that your dog barks all the time? He just sits out there, getting no love, getting no discipline, getting no exercise, and he just barks? And paces? Because he’s obsessive-compulsive? Hey! Jerkfuck! Do something about your dog!

No, Really, I Like Animals

I know, you read all this, and you probably wonder about my sanity. I come across like a belligerent ass, and maybe I am. It’s just — I don’t do well with radical opinions. That’s true for the way we deal with animals, deal with food, but it’s also true for the way we approach patriotism or wars or any other ethical situation. Usually, the radical idea is one that isn’t practical, and does more harm than good.

I’m a big fan of animals. Always had dogs, always had pets, grew up on a farm. But that last part is key: grew up on a farm. Animals die. They die with or without our intervention. And people die, too, and many die because they don’t have enough to eat. It’s just odd to me that we try to make animals more than what they are: animals. They’re animals. They’re not people. That doesn’t make us better than them, it just makes us different. (Trust me, if sharks figured out a way to farm people for food — it’ll goddamn happen, so be happy that sharks basically have the intelligence of a bucket.)

Me, I think we’re made to eat animals, but I also think we should be careful about how we handle hunting and killing and farming, because we can do harm to the overall system — and, to me, the overall system is far more important than me individually, or an individual rabbit. The health of the system is healthy for all.

You have to walk the line and find your own personal choices and live those choices; but you can’t expect others to live your choices, because they’re yours. They’re what’s right for you.

5 comments

  • *standing ovation* I’m right there with you.

    The thing that really confounds me about PETA is that they assault humans and encourage their members to engage in harrasment to get publicity for their agenda. It’s almost like they think animals are more important than humans.

    *shrug* There are some days I agree that animals are better.

  • I think the only point I’d take issue with is cats. A cat that wanders the neighborhood leaving a trail of destruction in its wake is a problem, but that’s specific to that behavior. I can point to too many examples of barn cats (one of the few examples of working cats out there) to utterly dismiss the outdoor cat as equating to neglect and problems. I am more inclined to point a finger at your neighbor here.

    -Rob D.

  • In my experience, I think the “barn cat” is more an ideal than one that actually manifests in practice. Having a farm, we had a number of cats frequent the property. Some were fine, some weren’t — but, legally speaking, and from the larger view, you can’t distinguish. You can’t say, “Well, barn cats are okay,” because “barn cat” isn’t a meaningful category, y’know?

    It’s one thing if it’s your farm, your barn, and your cat. If the cat is domesticated, collared, and spayed/neutered, then great.

    If it’s not, then that barn cat is, for all intents and purposes, wild and feral. It may be doing good work, but it also might have parasites, it might be destabilizing local ecosystems, it might get harmed or eaten, or might have litter after litter of kittens who *won’t* grow up as nice as the mother/father.

    We had a cat that lurked in our barn when I moved back to PA around 10 years back. Mother had kittens, and then mother and all but one kitten were killed and eaten by… something.

    Now, that one kitten, we rescued, got it healthy, and a friend of the family eventually took it (cat’s still around and doing well today).

    But — that doesn’t mean the mother cat couldn’t have been saved if she had been part of a home instead of just another barn cat who wandered in and took up residence.

    The thing is, note here that I’m not attacking cats — I’m attacking the people who have cats and take no responsibility for them. If I did that with a dog, it’d be animal cruelty. If I do it with a cat, I’m a free-spirited cat owner.

    — c.

    • Depending on the cow, you don’t need to keep them super-pregnant. Some breeds of bovine have longer periods post-calving that they can give milk, and further, respectable farmers give cows a break between calves.

      Though, this does raise the one issue with milk: hormones. Not the synthetic kind, but the fact that cows producing milk produce hormones. Maybe that’s dangerous, maybe it isn’t, but people have been drinking milk for a long, long time. I haven’t grown an udder, yet.

      I don’t mean to suggest that the logic of, “Well, if we’ve been doing it for a long time, it’s obviously okay” remains sound. We’ve also been killing each other for a long time, and I don’t know that war or torture or religious crusades get a thumbs-up. I only mean to suggest that the health effects linked to natural bovine hormones aren’t clear.

      I don’t drink a lot of milk, but I consume a wide variety of milk-based products. Butter, cheese, yogurt, ice cream, and so forth.

      Mmm. Ice cream.

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