2:41 PM 5/14/2003|
What kind of a sick fuck is this guy? Why do fish have to die for his concept of art? Why not cut the power to the blender's motor, and stick a little red light in the bottom of the blender to make the water turn red, to show that the fish has been killed? I mean, I can understand what he's doing.. that the person who presses the button should have to see the result, and it might change their view of cruelty to animals. But the price is too high. One goldfish killed in this manner is one too many, even if it's not a senseless death. Would it be ok to put a human child in a scaled-up blender? And he gets a fine of 2000 kroner. That's pathetic. They should bring back corporal punishment for this guy. Show him what we as a society consider right and wrong. After all, that's what he's trying to find out, right?
And confiscate any pets he might have. Today goldfish. Who does he kill tomorrow? At least the poor goldfish who died would have died very quickly. That doesn't justify what he did, but at least it means that they didn't suffer.
My view of cruelty to animals is essentially this: Nothing that hurts. Nothing that kills. I don't care how noble the intention.
As far as using animals to make a point or in experiments, etc: if you wouldn't do it to a human, don't do it to an animal. You want to find a cure for a human disease? Use human subjects. Why should innocent creatures suffer and die for problems not even related to their species? And for fucking cosmetics? How many Tylenol can we give to the rabbit before he starts to die?
The pictures that I've seen of what they've done to animals in the name of science...
I'm not one to freak out about ethics in science. I don't think that there are questions that shouldn't be asked. But there's a better way of answering them than tormenting some poor creature. For example, I was watching a program on cats once. About how they're built, how they move, etc. One of the cats that they showed lives with a smith. He sits quite happily beside a roaring fire so hot that his human needs protection. At first, I thought wow, that's cool. The program mentioned how high a cat's tolerance for heat goes before he dies. Wow. Cool. Hey, wait a sec. How did they figure that out. They likely put him into a box, and cranked up the heat. And recorded when he started to suffer ill effects. When he started to become uncomfortable. When he suffered heatstroke. When he died. That's a long, drawn out, painful form of torture. So that we know that a cat can handle heat of x degrees. There's no excuse for it. We don't need to know that urgently enough that he had to suffer and die. Sure, the question should be asked. But there should be a better way to answer it. And I'm certain that there is. How long can a human tolerate heat? How high can a human's temperature get before he gets distressed? Do we stick one in the box to find out? And if not, why not? Why is it ok to do it to a cat, or a rat, or however many other creatures, but not to a human?
Animals are people. They deserve respect. Whether you're talking about deploying sonar, or testing hairspray, or making art, treat them like people. Accord them the same respect that you would a human.
The US military has been using seals and dolphins to carry out military operations like locating mines. Why the hell are they involved in a conflict between humans? And yet if a human science team were to come across a battle between two seals for dominance, they wouldn't dare to interfere for upsetting the natural order. A dolphin getting blown up by a mine isn't very natural, you know. So why is it ok to involve them with human issues? Why do they, who aren't involved, have to take the risks because humans don't want to? Why is a dolphin getting blown up by a human mine better than a human getting blown up by a human mine? Humans put the mines there, let humans take the chances to remove them, and stop involving the innocent bystanders who, unfortunately for them, share this little planet. Humans are no more valuable than dolphins. Actually, the world could use a few less humans. And more dolphins. And sharks. And Dodos.
I'm not stupid about it. I realise that situations like beef cattle can't be handled in that way. They're purpose-bred for humans to eat, and have been for centuries. They wouldn't exist without human intervention, and the case could be made that that makes it ok. I'm not certain that I agree. You're not allowed to eat your own children, are you? You have a human child, you have to treat it with a certain amount of care and respect because otherwise it gets taken away from you.
However, that's a different situation. We've become dependent upon our purpose-bred food animals as a society, and we can't just stop tomorrow.
But aside from those cases where change is a long way off, some things should be stopped now. Things like shark fin soup, where sharks are caught, their fins cut off, and they are tossed back into the ocean. The Japanese are terribly guilty of this. Even if the shark populations weren't in danger, this would be inexcusable. Or how about those countries that still practice whaling? No excuse, again, even if they weren't endangered. The trouble is that those organisations that try to stop these things from happening have no real power. If you go out and kill a whale, nothing really bad happens. You get shouted at. If you go out and sink the whaling ship, and take the chance that some humans might be killed in the process, you get arrested, branded a radical, etc.
So killing, torturing, etc, is ok, as long as it's not humans. Look at that farce when the native group in america was allowed to go out and kill a whale because it was their right. Their right. They said that they had always hunted whales, and they should be allowed to. In a metal motorboat. With highpowered rifles. Wearing waterproof clothing. Setting out from a pier. No. If you want to hunt like your ancestors, you hunt like your ancestors. That means no guns, make your own fucking spear and canoe, in a boat with no motor that's shallow enough to beach. You against the whale. Let's see how tough you are then. Fucker. You don't get to pick and choose the things that you want to hold onto when they defy International law. If you're not going to live completely the way your ancestors lived, meaning, essentially, that you go back to being stone-aged, you can't go out and kill an endangered species. If you're going to be part of a developed nation, you obey their rules. America, as a whole, is opposed to whaling. As far as I know no one breaches that commitment. And those who do should be assaulted with the fullest punishment of the law. That includes people holding onto their "rights," whether native, Norwegian, or Japanese.
Why does killing an animal carry less of a legal penalty than killing a human? Both are alive, right? Both are living, breathing creatures. When I was young, I used to beat people up for intentionally stepping on insects. Smacked a guy across the teeth for stepping on an anthill, and got a lecture on how fighting is wrong. But he wouldn't stop when I tried to make him see that an ant is a person, just as he is. If you take a sack full of kittens, put a brick in it, and drop it in the river, you get a hefty fine and maybe a little jail time. What about if you do that to a single human child? What's the difference? You can drive around with a dog standing in the bed of your truck, but suppose you put your nephew back there instead? People poison, abandon, torture, confine.. they do terrible things to animals whose only crime is that they're defenceless. A human goes out and hunts an unarmed deer with a gun, and that's sport. A cougar kills a hunter, who is out in her territory, because she needs to eat just to survive, and the cougar is a monster who needs to be hunted down and killed because she's capable of hurting a human. What the hell? But worse than that, she's just doing what comes naturally. There are humans with basements full of exotic animals that have been brought in to be sold as pets, who are crammed together in cages. There are humans abusing animals left right and centre through neglect, or for fun, or because they can't be bothered to look after them. There are puppy mills where dogs are used as factories, being bred again and again just so that they can churn out puppies until they die, burnt out, unloved, used up.
Oh, but it gets better. At least puppy mills are illegal. Not that the perpetrator suffers nearly enough when he's caught. The mistreatment of animals by humans is filled with examples, but few as horrid as food. Look at veal production. Or rather, don't look unless you have the stomach for it. It's horrible. And it's legal.
A friend of mine had a farm. Well, her parents had a farm. I stopped by once, and she took me on a tour. In a big.. barn, I suppose it was, were some small pens. Plastic, opaque white, about the size of a small, one person tent. Each had a tiny window in the front, just big enough for the head of the calf inside. It was horrible. I went to one, to scratch the poor little person inside behind the ears. My feeble attempt to make him feel better about his fate. He suckled at my finger as if it were a teat, sad, desperate for his mother. I felt so helpless.. I had to leave. I cried all the way home, thinking of that poor, motherless little calf bleating pathetically in his stall, no room to move, unable even to get away from his own waste. Just waiting for the time that he would be killed so that some human somewhere could pay to eat him. Some human who had never looked into his desperate brown eyes and seen the terror that lay there. There is no justification for that. Rationalise it all you like, but there is simply no way to excuse that kind of treatment of animals. It's sick. It's wrong. It's more cruel than a fish in a blender because it's not even quick. Yes, so right now we depend upon purpose-bred food animals. That doesn't justify veal. Nothing justifies veal.
Another friend was trying to set me up with a girl. First off, while her intentions were good, I don't need to be set up, thank you very much. I appreciate the thought, of course. She just wants me to be happy, and she finds someone she thinks I'll like, and she knows that I'm shy, so she does what she can to get us together. So anyway, a small crowd of us, chattering away, and I'm thinking that this girl is quite nice. Nice person, suitably sarcastic, etc. Someone I'd like to know, even if not the way she was intended. But somehow the subject of food came up, and a friend asked a general "so, do you eat veal then?"
me: hell no. That's sick.
she, simultaneously: oh yes.
So I asked her how she could eat it, knowing where it comes from, and she said that she just doesn't think about that. Fairly typical. Nothing against her.. that's a normal way of dealing with unpleasantness. Some people think about it, get upset, and take some sort of action, however small. Even if it's just not eating veal. Others just go on with what they're doing, blocking the matter from their mind because they can't handle it. It disrupts their comfortable world. Oh, they have enough to worry about in their own lives. They'd like to help, but they haven't the time or the money. It serves the animals right for being so tasty. It's just a cow.
it's just a cow...
I can't ignore it. I can't just pretend that it doesn't happen because even if I do, that poor calf is still in his stall... alone, scared, unable to move, unable even to lie down when his legs get tired.
But I don't have any real power. Not really. Oh, I could go and smash the pens and burn the barns and let the calves out, but they'd just produce more. And where would I put the calves? I could hire a truck to take them away, but where would I put them? Even if I hit every veal farm in the world, I wouldn't really make a difference. Not really. And I would be charged for destruction of property.
Property. As if the animal inside the pen isn't a person. As if he's a thing, to be owned. As if his torture is none of anyone else's business. But if you treated a dog like that, he'd be taken away. Why is it ok in some cases and not in others? Why does money make it alright to put this poor calf through an unthinkable hell so that some human's dinner will be a little more tender? No one deserves that. Not a human, not a cow, not a fish.
What can I do? How can I make a change? Not just to the endangered species, but to all of them. All of the ones that human kind has, in its arrogance, decided is less than them. Less deserving of a good life. Less deserving of comfort and happiness. Less deserving of life than even those humans who abuse them. Because if I kill all of the dogs and cats in a neighbourhood, even somewhere like Texas, I go to jail for a little while. They die, I get a short jail term. If I kill all of the humans, I get the death penalty. What makes human life more valuable? Why is the abuser protected more than the victim?