Anna Webb's presents an excellent little essay discussing the knee-jerk reaction and cultivation of emotions of the animal rights philosophy. She presents a wonderfully succinct argument that puts forward the case that the animal rights movement snares susceptible ground supporters through extremist propaganda - referred to as "animal porn" rather cynically in some animal rights circles - and then works around an irrational philosophy. This latter point is interesting, given that the author of "Animal Liberation", Peter Singer, is an atheist and has done a good job of seducing secular academics. Singer likes to position the Animal Rights argument as an example of how science can be considered to be more ethical than religion. Unfortunately despite Singer's credentials as an evolutionary biologist his argument for Animal Rights is not one that corresponds with mainstream scientific opinion. What he has done is to create a dogma of his own and shrouded it in science. Ayn Rand pretty much did the same thing with her "cult of rationality", Objectivism. Stalinism and Maoism are also comparable. They are all atheist-based or secular philosophies, but are warped by a type of absolutism that is far removed from the methods of science...
How far would YOU go?Related Articles
There has been a recent case in the news about a man who published a video allegedly showing a dog being abuse on Facebook. The Grimsby resident had reported the situation to the RSPCA, but as they hadn’t responded promptly enough for him, he posted the video hoping to encourage more people to complain. Unfortunately but unsurprisingly, this resulted in a mob attach on the property and alleged abuser.
I have experienced a similarly frustrating situation, in the olden days before technology made it so easy to share information. A neighbour on the allotment was keeping angora rabbits in a little dark hutch, exposed to the sun 24/7 so baking hot at times, and often with no food or water. Everybody kept an eye on them and helped them out, but the situation was awful, so I reported them to the RSPCA. I was told that while other people were providing them with food and water, they could not be classed as suffering and the owner could not be prosecuted, despite the fact that he wasn’t looking after them himself. If we wanted them to get help we had to let them starve and go thirsty, but nobody could bear to do that. The situation was also resolved by mob action, when someone had enough of it and the rabbits disappeared overnight.
For animal lovers, watching any instance of animal abuse is heart-rending. It feels no different to watching someone abusing a helpless person and emotions can run so high that the temptation to seek retribution is great. I must admit that if anyone ever seriously hurt my dogs, I would probably be writing to you from a small cell where I was kept for GBH. However, how far people go in their quest for justice varies hugely, and some people can reach wild extremes that are hard to justify.
If you saw an animal being abused, would you report it? Would you stand up and bear witness against the perpetrator? By doing so, if you are telling the truth, you are being a bit of a hero, really. You are potentially putting yourself in danger to protect the helpless – it’s very Robin Hood.
What if you THOUGHT animals were being abused, though, but could not provide the evidence? What if you hadn’t seen or heard any abuse, but you really thought that it must be going on? What if you just disagreed with how or why the owners are keeping or training the animals, even if it’s perfectly legal? How far would you go to make sure that the abuse you perceive is stopped?
Most people would be shocked to know how far some people go in such a quest. One of the most shocking instances that springs to my mind was that of the grave robbery carried out to blackmail a farm owner into stopping the breeding of guinea pigs used for medical research. There were no legal grounds to stop the farm from operating – it was a legitimate concern, carrying out its business in an appropriate fashion. The perceived “abuse” was not in the way the animals were kept or bred, but in their intended final purpose. The activists involved felt strongly enough about this that they embarked in a campaign of what I can only describe as terrorism, including death threats, vandalism, verbal abuse, theft and finally the grave robbery (http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/eng
One could try to dismiss this sort of thing as an aberration – a mad deed carried out by people who, frankly, must be a couple of sandwiches short of a picnic. After all, one of their acts was the “liberation” of 600 guinea pigs – and as anyone who knows anything about said beasts, they are not terribly well designed for living wild in this country. Not only they can’t defend themselves very well against predators, particularly if they have been bred and raised in a safe environment, but they are famously hard to train to cross the road safely. If you are going to “set them free”, you might as well show them the way to the nearest cat and run them over with your car on the way out. These extremists are clearly idiots. However, if we stick to proper campaigns, led by proper organisations, we can be sure that our goals as animal lovers will be achieved without being side-tracked or used as justifications for terrible acts!
Unfortunately, that has recently proven not to be the case. USA federal appeals court recently dismissed a lawsuit claiming systematic abuse and exploitation of elephants by the Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus:
John Sullivan, a Washington attorney representing the circus, said the claims by the animal rights groups have been thoroughly dismissed as "manufactured litigation." He cited the testimony of Tom Rider, the circus employee who helped bring the initial suit, which a federal judge had earlier concluded was "essentially a paid plaintiff and fact witness who lacked credibility."
Writing for the appeals court Friday, Judge David Tatel said Rider "complained publicly about the elephants' mistreatment only after he was paid by activists to do so." Rider had received $190,000 over eight years from the organizations suing the circus, noted the court.
“Manufactured litigation”, to me and you, it’s a “stitch up”. Somebody was paid to lie, and paid quite a lot. Now, these are not the actions of some misguided, if basically well-meaning, lonely nut job. These were the actions of legitimate organisations, the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA) and the Animal Protection Institute (API – now Born Free). These are charities, collecting donations from people like me and you. How do you feel if you knew that your donations were put to such a use? That you thought you were protecting animals, and instead you were sponsoring a pathetically obvious attempt to stitch up a legitimate business for abuse they did not carry out? I don’t know about you, but I’d be vexed - $190,000, not including the legal fee, is a whole load of money down the pan, whilst so many pets and strays are left to suffer alone.
If you think this is only an isolated incident, well, other events seem too similar for comfort. The alleged abuse of Anne the elephants, for instance, left me with plenty of questions. Animal Defenders International (ADI) planted a secret camera in Anne’s quarters as they had concerns about her welfare. They carried on filming for 3 and a half weeks, which makes no sense to me. Why did they not make the resulting video public immediately, instead leaving Anne to be subject to further abuse? Personally, if I had evidence of a neighbour kicking his dog, I’d deal with it asap, not wait to let them kick him some more. The groom responsible for the abuse was a new worker, who ran away before he could be sacked or prosecuted. It seems to me strangely coincidental that worker and camera came and went at such convenient times. Furthermore, if the Anne was routinely abused, how comes she got to her great age in such good conditions, as reported by her new keepers at Longleat?
I am not saying that the Anne case was definitely a stitch-up, as I have plenty of doubts, but no proof. However, the recent American events have proven to me that Animal Rights organisations are willing to sink very low to achieve their aims. They justify their action by waving around slogans such as “Cruel Circus”. This “cruelty” charge, however, is based on beliefs, NOT facts. It is an accusation with no basis on convictions, accident rates, or in fact any factual evidence whatsoever. In fact, the best scientific study of Animals in Circus, carried out by the RSPCA, of all things, and based on 3000 hours of observation concluded that "Circus by its nature is not cruel" http://the-shg.org/Kiley_Worth
Still, they do bang on that having animals in circuses is “wrong”, so circuses are “cruel”. The only way I can get my head around this way of looking at the world is to view Animal Rights Activism as a religion. You absorb a dogma, do not questions it, follow its commandments, and fight the unbelievers tooth and nail. Any attempt at making you change your mind must be rejected as evil – because this is what they reduce this issue to, a fight between good and evil. The movement against animals in circuses is nothing but a crusade - cruel, meaningless and discriminatory – and it’s part-funded by people like me and you, through charities purporting to be working for the good all animals.
I know that Anna wrote the above piece independently. However, it is interesting to note that other articles I discovered today also share similar thoughts.
Primitive Emotions - A Predictor of Political Attitudes
Is Animal Rights a Religion?
News report on the extent of animal rights fantacism
Circus The Truth was formed to counteract the misinformation spread by the animal rights agenda but in addition to fighting the corner for circus animals I think there is also a further need to promote and celebrate the circus in general, especially in Great Britain. http://www.facebook.com/groups/circusthetruth/