Sunday, February 22, 2009

Why Risk Your Life for a Chimpanzee or a Tiger?

Extremely few humans are killed by captive-bred exotics. It's reasonable to take some risks for a measurable gain. In some way or another these animals are worth a lot of risk to some humans. Environmentalists insist that tigers, lions, chimpanzees, and other animals that can kill humans be allowed to run free in their native habitat which also happens to be the native habitat of humans. That's a lot easier to sell to people who are willing to let Africans deal with lions and chimpanzees in their backyards, and East Indians and Chinese deal with tigers in their backyards. Any English-speaking culture tightly controls its predators, using lethal means, and calls that "conservation."

Myself, just in the interest of fairness, I believe that the risks that a person or group takes should be similar to those that we ask of others. The question of whether this kind of risk should be taken has already been settled in the minds of animal rights activists and environmentalists who advocate the sharp culling of the human race or its total extinction. That bit of information doesn't really process. It's hard to take in. Add in the contradiction when they scream at us that we just can't keep exotic animals as pets because it's "too dangerous." Sort of causes a brain seizure, doesn't it? That's why adults make their own decisions.

Everyone wants the animals to be saved and everyone wants someone to take some risks and spend some money to do it. Most people don't want it in their backyard and some of us find out the hard way that they think that my backyard is their backyard. Once the fear button is pushed they don't want it near them, they don't want to process it in their minds, but they still want someone else to do it and will pay them to do it. That's how we get "sanctuaries" that promise to keep the allegedly dangerous animals on small reservations. Just send them the money and they will put them on display and only breed what the government says that they can breed, and they can explain why it's best for the animals too, even if it contradicts established science and experience.

Why take the risks at all? It is because there is an ethical sense that most people have that says that we don't have to make extinct the creatures that sometimes inconvenience us and even kill us. We think that fair is fair. We also like the creatures and benefit from their company even when we don't use their physical carcasses for food and useful materials. For their benefit, humans can farm tigers and just about anything else so that their numbers remain stable or even grow. On at least some of China's farms the tigers die of old age before they are used for materials. The market for tiger parts is just going to have to do without wild-caught tigers. Not that the wild is going to exist much further. Americans seem to demand a buffer zone between us and the wild animals that's larger than some countries, so you can't even count most of what's outside of city limits. Other countries are growing even faster. We either find a way to breed in captivity or we lose them as resources and we lose their ability to live for their own sakes.

One side of this controversy produces large numbers of new animals who are quite fit to carry on the species. The other side, the animal rights/conservation side, does what it can to gather up those captive-breds and eliminate them. Which side do you think has the greater ability to preserve non-human life?

Thursday, February 19, 2009

The Danger of the Animal Rights Movement

Yes, they actually intend to kill off at least a substantial fraction of humanity. Yes, they intend to do it by fair means and by foul. Yes, they want everyone who doesn't like them dead, preferably painfully. The first principles of animal rights activism include the idea that humans should voluntarily choose extinction to protect the lives of other animals.

If you watch their statements on Internet forums and in print, they actually say it. In conversations face to face or avatar to avatar they actually lie about it even when they know that you're read what they wrote. Some of the lies are like "I didn't actually mean it that way." How did they mean it when they said nine tenths of humanity should die, or that the owner of a dog should die horribly?

What is the meaning of a message like this?

"Rest in peace my Angel.

Schuler you ****ing bastard I pray to god that your time is soon and that you burn in hell! " Pretty clear, isn't it? This one was about a dog who the vet and the humane society checked and was doing just fine.

Here's another good one:

"If I were reincarnated I would wish to be returned to earth as a killer virus to lower human population levels."
-- Prince Phillip, Duke of Edinburgh, leader of the World Wildlife Fund

Proud sponsor of Jane Goodall, by the way.

"Isn't the only hope for the planet that the industrialized civilizations collapse? Isn't it our responsibility to bring that about?"
-- Maurice Strong, head of the 1992 Earth Summit in Rio de Janeiro and Executive Officer for Reform in the Office of the Secretary General of the United Nations

"Among environmentalists sharing two or three beers, the notion is quite common that if only some calamity could wipe out the entire human race, other species might once again have a chance."
-- Richard Conniff, Audubon Magazine

More environmentalists, but the movements are not separate now if they ever were. There are a lot of quotes at the "Target of Opportunity" website.

These people warn us of the danger of "exotic" pets and some domesticated pets. They use the warnings as leverage, the danger as a trump card, to pry our animals, our property, away from us, for public disuse without compensation. This also is part of a plan to eliminate humanity from the picture.

It's a form of suicide. It's common knowledge that they're angry with humanity for messing up the world, and for doing what other animals do: exist, use our brains, eat what we need to eat, and change the environment to be more useful to us. Ironically humans are animals so you can't hate humans without somehow hating animals and life. All the warnings that we've tainted them, that we shouldn't have them living with us, they are aimed at killing the bond between humans and animals, denying the animals the benefits of relationships with humans, and denying humans the life that we share with the animals.

When they are banning particular animals as pets, they deny homes to those animals. This matters because in doing this they prevent people from repairing or mitigating the damage that they are so upset about. It would cut into their charitable donations if it came out that owners of pets and livestock had created a larger, more stable population of non-human animals than would have existed without them, with greater safety, using fewer government hand-outs and bail-outs. The conservationists risk the extinction of a lot of species by attempting to end private ownership, and the best thing for increasing the number of a species is to make it a commodity that people will buy. This is at least as good a deal as unassisted nature provides.

The bottom line is that it seems like we could come pretty close to saying that the average environmentalist/animal rights activist is more dangerous to more humans, individually, than all of the exotic and domesticated pets on the entire planet. You might be able to count the livestock too. This is if you count animals as a danger, just for the sake of the argument. The truth is that animals are by far of net benefit to humanity, and humanity is of net benefit to the animals. Thus it is beyond doubt that every single animal rights activist is more dangerous to humanity than all pets and livestock. They don't want humanity to save the planet. They want humanity to die out and save the planet by not being here.

Monday, February 16, 2009

No Animal Holocaust

Reprinted with the author's permission.

by Teresa Austringer

No, absolutely not.

Let's examine the meaning of the word holocaust. A holocaust is described in the dictionary as a great disaster, resulting in mass death, often in fire. To be more true to the ordinary usage of the word, the holocaust is a reference to the mass extermination of Jews, homosexuals, gypsies and others during World War II.

Animal rights proponents, from Isaac Singer's famous quote about the animal's eternal Treblinka, to the ill conceived and abandoned ad campaign by PETA, like to use the word holocaust and even the images and descriptions of the Holocaust to make people feel guilty about consuming meat. As a means of inducing shame it may be effective. Unfortunately the usage in propaganda is also painful and demeaning to those who have suffered, who are descended from, or share characteristics with those who were harmed or killed in the actual Holocaust. Indeed, the comparison is a slap in the face of humanity as a whole. It is akin to the common axiom in any argument where anyone who disagrees with someone tends to get called a Nazi. It's a good sign that an argument has reached the stone wall beyond where reason no longer applies.

But why, besides the fact that comparing chickens to people tends not to elevate the chicken's rights, but reduces the person's, is it inaccurate? Simple. If six billion broiler chickens are killed every year, as Ingrid Newkirk claims, there is still no shortage of broiler chickens. The Nazis did not call the Holocaust a holocaust, they called it the 'Final Solution'. The disenfranchisement of Jews, followed by the removal from German society, led to the final solution of mass extermination. The purpose was to eliminate an entire race from the human species.

There is no conspiracy to eliminate broiler chickens. Animals that are raised for food are sheltered, fed, bred, and given medical care. The reproductive and evolutionary strategies of their forebears were to be food for predators, so they are living a far more comfortable life with more assured reproductive success than they would in the wild.

There is no hatred involved in people's use of animals. We don't wish them ill, or despise them for being what they are. We don't blame them for our problems.

Other comparisons could be used, such as the number of people killed in war, or car crashes, or who die of lung cancer from smoking. Those images do not produce the same horror or sense of guilt, and so are not used-but they have the same level of accuracy as saying that there is a "holocaust for animals".

If everyone became vegetarian, as animal rights activists wish, and there were no need for food animals, there would be no place for them in the world. Domesticated animals are not suited for survival in the wild. They could not be kept in zoos or on farms, since those are 'prisons' as well, and not permitted under an animal rights philosophy. Pasture would have to be given over to more massive plant production for people.

There would be no beef cattle grazing on the hills, no dairy cows or goats, no chickens and turkeys scratching in the front yard, no pigs, or domesticated ducks, geese, or rabbits. It might be hard to believe that a fanatical movement that is ostensibly for the rights of animals could lead to their demise. However, consider the problems that those animals cause their would be rescuers now, and the hypocritical and shortsighted solutions that they've come up with. It's easier to deal with animal's rights in theory than in practice.

Animals have been released inappropriately into the wild by animal liberationists, resulting in their violent deaths and the deaths of other animals.

"Mink release"

"Rescued" animals are euthanized by would be rescuers who have no plan or desire to care for them. From Debra J. Saunders at SFGate:

"This is not the first report that PETA killed animals it claimed to protect. In 1991, PETA killed 18 rabbits and 14 roosters it had previously "rescued" from a research facility. "We just don't have the money" to care for them, then PETA-Chairman Alex Pacheco told the Washington Times. The PETA animal shelter had run out of room."

SFgate article

Perfectly adoptable animals are picked up and euthanized under false pretenses:

Peta Kills Animals

There is no animal holocaust. But the inevitable result of the animal rights mission is that there will be. The removal of animals from human society will result in a final solution of extinction for many species.

Saturday, February 14, 2009

In Praise of Farms

Farms in general are good for conservation and good for animals. The average American farmer feeds about 130 people. If we were still stuck with 17th century farming methods it would take a lot more land, we would all be starving, and that land would become exhausted. Modern farming methods actually do build soil, which is easy to see if you've ever lived in a cornfield. All that organic matter that corn harvest leaves behind builds soil, as does waste from wheat and soy. Soybeans are legumes that put nitrogen in the soil, as are peanuts. Cattle are grazed after corn harvest, which salvages corn, helps restore soil bacteria and makes the organic leavings easier for the plants to use.

It is absolutely necessary for industry to increase the viability of any food animals that it uses and of the plants that it uses. "Maize" is practically a weed in its natural state and the corn that was developed from maize produces a lot more usable biomass per acre, thus more organic material for soil, and more food from an acre. These days we do also have the means to produce fuel from that corn, although that technology would be better used to produce fuel from landfills. Biomass isn't a good solution when it takes the equivalent of a gallon of gas in petroleum to produce a gallon of ethanol, and ethanol contains about two thirds of the energy per gallon. The best way to produce liquid fuel for cars is probably going to be biomass conversion plants that can process garbage with water at high temperatures, powered by small nuclear plants that are just now going into production. These mini-nukes produce about 70 megawatts of heat, are proof against meltdowns, produce little radioactive waste, are self-regulating, and are already tested and proven by the laboratories at Los Alamos.

Progress has always been like that. It takes energy to move nutrients from one place to another, and the next time that the soil will be really naturally refreshed in the United States is when Yellowstone's volcanic caldera blows its top and covers most of the continent with volcanic ash. Mining this caldera may eventually be a practical solution when someone develops the machinery for it and invests the money, but there are many easily available deposits of volcanic ash and other sources of suitable nutrients including silt from the ocean floor. Farming practices have already brought soil nutrients to depleted regions in the form of fertilizer. Kansas was pretty close to being scrub desert until the settlers brought in cedar, elm, and walnut trees, which did so well that they threatened to overwhelm the prairie completely, but which also performed the vital service of bringing nutrients and water to the surface, and the service of conserving water. Hot soil can literally burn away organic matter and leave only sand. Tree cover lowers soil temperatures and allows the soil to hold more moisture and support more life like earthworms and bacteria. It's working in Israel. It worked in Kansas and we weren't even aiming for that effect.

More animals can live on an acreage, with less infant mortality, less disease, and fewer population crashes due to modern technology. Building shelters, fences, and providing clean water is cheap and a lot of us don't even know how much more advanced that is over medieval methods and technology. Humans can and do selectively breed for animals that can survive in the wild because we still have to in order to have a productive farm. We can maintain a larger population overall than nature does because of advances in medicine, food production, and methods of keeping animals. It's ironic to see animal rights activists complain about the way that farmers use modern medical methods to keep animals alive at the same time that they use advanced medicine to keep animals going that have lost body parts and mobility, to use in their sideshows.

In the wild large bison-type animals, buffalo and the common cow and bull, have a really rough time and they become really aggressive as a result. Five or six people are killed each year by buffalo in national parks in the USA. They're not much tamer when socialized to humans and used as food, which is all to the good because they can defend themselves from wolves and coyotes. Most production cattle are kept on open fields with barbed-wire to keep them in. It's as natural an environment as it gets, and when managed well, it's better than the wild because trees are not allowed to overgrow the pastures, which would happen without human intervention, and they would choke out most of the graze that cattle depend on.

Deer also benefit because the plants that do them the most good grow best at the edges of cleared areas and in areas of new growth of trees. Deciduous forests choke out most other plants and decrease available vegetation for herbivores. Fire and logging make room for new vegetation. Fire control is an added benefit. Too many humans have died in wildfires lately. Environmentalists want us not to manage the underbrush and don't seem to care how many homes, jobs, and human lives are lost, which is pretty sick. Australia just lost Marysville in Victoria to a wildfire. About one hundred out of the original five hundred residents died. Almost every building in town was destroyed. Think of them when an environmentalists wants to save dead underbrush over human beings. Wildfires are managed in advance by clearing flammable materials and making fire roads. I am crying right now because I read about a man and his dog who were burned to death in Marysville. This was preventable. Fire management techniques have been used effectively for over a century.

Humans actually assist in the maintenance of life already. We protect animals, sometimes as livestock, sometimes as pets and service animals, and sometimes as exhibits in menageries. We deserve a lot of credit for this and we should give ourselves that credit. The "chilling effect" that animal terrorists try to create should just be more incentive, even a challenge.

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

HSUS Terrorism Connection

In my opinion this information is enough to justify legally dissolving the Humane Society of the United States, under terrorist and RICO acts. John P. Goodwin is a former member of the terrorist group called the Animal Liberation Front, and that is his only qualification for his job as a vice president at the HSUS. This is blatant support of terrorism and blatant support after the fact of organized crime.

At best the HSUS should never be permitted to be a complaining witness for a puppy mill raid or anything else. Their integrity is not in doubt, it simply does not exist.


HSUS and Animal Liberation Front Connection (link)

One of HSUS’s supposed ‘subject experts’ on animal cruelty is John Paul “JP” Goodwin, better known for his ties to the Animal Liberation Front, ALF, which FBI considers to be a terrorist group.

In his February 12, 2002 Congressional Testimony James F. Jarboe, Domestic Terrorism Section Chief, Counterterrorism Division, FBI, said: “During the past several years, special interest extremism, as characterized by the Animal Liberation Front (ALF) and the Earth Liberation Front (ELF), has emerged as a serious terrorist threat.”

What are we supposed to think?

When the HSUS hired John P. Goodwin that proved to the world that animal rights terrorism gets you a cushy job and even an artificial reputation backed by the wealthiest animal rights organization in the world. This is in direct contradiction to the HSUS's declarations that violence is not a means to an end. Even if the pretense of renunciation of violence were real, which Goodwin's posting disproves quite thoroughly, the violence that goes on creates a chilling effect on freedom of speech and participation in the democratic process.

Sunday, February 8, 2009

Animal Culture, First Thoughts

Animal culture is better than animal rights or animal liberation. It is little more than what humans have already been doing for thousands of years as animal agriculture and pet ownership. Calling it “animal culture” puts a short name to it that says that we culture animals. In doing so we also culture ourselves, so here we are, a total philosophy of animal culture that includes human and non-human animals. The philosophy is all but invisible because it grew naturally. We are already used to it. We never thought that it had to be codified and given a name. “Agriculture” would be another good word for it, but we’re used to thinking of agriculture as a business that charges too much money for food.

“Animal culture” is simply breeding and caring for animals for use by humans. We have the more traditional uses as pets, service animals, and for food, fiber, and other materials including pharmaceutical use. Don’t kid yourself about captive breeding for the preservation of a species; this is still a human use. It’s just one that shows how much humans care about responsible care of the Earth. Don’t try to get away from it or deny it. Be proud of it. One human purpose is to preserve human and non-human life. Instead of bringing together angry people, I want to bring kind and caring people to love the Earth into life.

Unfortunately, as anyone who reads the first few pages of “Animal Liberation” finds out immediately, what Peter Singer connected with, and I am sure that this was deliberate, was human rage. His book was published in 1975 and that was when issues of racial discrimination, gender discrimination, reproductive rights, and gay rights were very hot topics at the same time, and oppressed groups were really angry. He equated the use of animals with the oppression of humans and today angry feminists and gays and lesbians appear to be overrepresented among animal rights activists, their anger driving the general anger against humanity itself. I guess that blacks generally had more sense (I am white, BTW), but animal rights activists equate slavery in the 19th century with the use of animals. They are also not above equating the use of animals, as in the humane use of animals in agriculture and even as pets, with wife-beating and child abuse. You also might notice that there isn’t much Jewish participation in animal rights activism, not as such, and that might be because they know the difference between broiler chickens and themselves, to reference a favorite Ingrid Newkirk statement. Six billion broiler chickens are not six million humans. Also, Jewish people already have a good system for humane treatment of animals.

Peter Singer and other activists claim that it is wasteful to use animals for food, that without animals eating our food agriculture could produce a bountiful harvest of good vegan products for us to eat. Is he kidding us? If Africans could feed themselves by planting seeds they would plant seeds. It takes modern agricultural methods, modern equipment, and a lot of fuel and irrigation to produce plant-based foods, and at that, we need uses for agricultural waste products that are currently fed to animals, essentially free biomass to convert to meat. In many climates it is impossible to do much if any cultivation of grain or vegetables outside of greenhouses, but the sparse grass, lichens, and other plants that grow there provide an adequate diet for animals like reindeer and caribou, which humans can eat. It’s not a situation in which the bulk of the meat is produced from food that people would or could eat. Even where grain is given to fatten cattle up the animal is fed first, thus the food first supports the food animal species, then it supports humans. That’s extra economy. Food is used well when it is used to support the prosperity of an animal species other than human.

The use of a species for agriculture makes it necessary for humans to assist in the propagation of that species. Those animals can also be made into pets. Agriculture is a fair exchange. Humans get the meat that would go to predators and control predation so that large families of the prey animals can grow, relatively undisturbed. We can even control the predators to the extent that we can feed them from other populations and species of prey animals to keep them going while a given species is allowed to restore its population.

There may be problems with a meat-based diet but there are also problems with vegetarian diets, including the greater chance of allergies like allergies to peanuts, soy, and potatoes that occur because those plants have small amounts of toxins in their seeds and fruit. Human babies need cholesterol to form good brains, and cholesterol comes from meat. There is no open-and-shut case that meat-based diets cause cancer, diabetes, or increases in the rate of heart attacks. [In fact sugar, a food that is made from plants, is implicated in these things.]

Pet ownership is almost nothing but service to the animals. We pamper them, attend to their medical and emotional needs, give them a place to live and the best food that we can afford, and even then we wonder if we’re doing enough. Most pets that I have met have been mightily pleased with our efforts and our company, including tigers and lions. Pet ownership makes humans emotionally dependent on the continued propagation of other animal species, for all practical purposes their willing servants.

I unabashedly support the use of animals to support the human race. Predation is a necessary part of the cycle of life. Even plant life has to be consumed so that new plants will grow in their place, thus herbivores are necessary. Humans or at least fire are needed to manage deciduous forests so that there will be clear grassy areas for herbivores to graze and live, and we can control other natural predators so that the dynamic balance of life can stay at more optimum levels without population crashes. Some of the means that we use are really sophisticated, making our brains huge assets in the fight to maintain animal life of all kinds. Humans can even potentially deflect asteroids from impacting the Earth, thus preventing extinction events. This is a real potential considering the fact that we have several kinds of working rockets and nuclear weapons that can be used for this purpose.

What other animal can take nuisance animals and turn them into friends and companions? Lions and tigers are somewhat dangerous to humans in the wild, and when their food supplies run short some of them turn to humans for food. By that I don’t mean scratching at the back door and begging for scraps, not usually. When they are kept as pets they may be a little bit dangerous, but the human death rate is minuscule and they provide much joy for their humans, whom they dote on. As long as there are a few thousand or a few tens of thousand big cats kept as pets around the world, those species are fairly secure, and the more in captivity the better, as we have the means to keep them going. Wolves are the large carnivore species that has succeeded the best in human hands. That species is very alive and healthy, has wide genetic variety, and it numbers over a hundred million. Yes, they’ve “changed” but feral dog packs are always very successful survivors. Maybe they’ve learned a trick or two from humans.

If we are worried about diseases, there is a lot of reason to believe that being exposed to animals reduces the incidence of allergies and diseases. It’s possible to be allergic to cats and horses and get used to it, I’ve done it myself. The root word for vaccination is “vacca”, the Latin word for cow, and that comes from the well-known historical use of cowpox virus to immunize people against the much more virulent smallpox. Exposure to microbes carried by animals helps train the immune system to fight a wide variety of disease-carrying microbes.

Everything about the human-animal bond is in favor of animal culture. The more humans expand our domain, the more the other animals come with us. We need them as resources and we need their company, which is a lot like the nature that we came from, give or take some technicalities. When we modernize and human birthrate drops, then there is a little more room for other animals. It is healthy to use animals as substitute children and as friends for people of all ages. Kindness and compassion are best practiced with creatures that you can actually touch and hold. This is where it gets real. Others only know the creatures in the abstract, which literally means not real. Humans need this kind of reality.