Sunday, March 29, 2009

They Have Got to be Kidding Us (Amish Puppy Mills)

Or is it more like gaslighting us? Bill Smith of "Mainline Animal Rescue (MLAR)" is at it again beating up on the Amish. This was shown on ABC's Nightline news program on March 27, 2009. This link should take you directly to the story.

To really understand this news item, look at both what they say and what they don't say. They say that the Amish are hiding a "secret world", and also use the term "culture of secrecy." People are often either alarmed at the idea of such secret things or are fascinated, or both at the same time. "Secret" in this context is like a code word. They say "secret world" without saying explicitly that this is wrong, but they apparently hope that the viewer will catch the implication that there is indeed something wrong. There is a transparent pretense of journalistic neutrality.

They say that the dogs run on "chicken wire" but it's harder to catch the fact that this wire is coated to prevent harm to the dog's feet. This time, unlike when Bill Smith and MLAR were on Oprah, they don't claim that the dog's feet are torn up by the wire but that claim is implicit when they mention the coated wire. In the Oprah video I didn't see any torn up paws or claws and maybe that's why they're not making the claim in the Nightline video.

If you look carefully the stacked cages have catch trays to prevent feces and anything else from falling through to the cages underneath. I have yet to see a video of an alleged puppy mill where the cages lacked such trays but several of those videos included the claim that feces were falling through the wire onto other dogs. The Nightline video says outright that the cages are stacked so that feces fall into the cages below. You can see the trays that catch the feces and urine. In the Nightline video they're easier to see. Often when viewing these videos one has to hit the back button a few times to catch it.

They didn't show us the golden retriever in the ABC video trying to walk. They carried her everywhere. MLAR's claim was the only thing that it would have hurt. I just looked at some of the video from when they were on Oprah and I am not impressed. Ramming pipes down an animal's throat I do not believe because that would risk damaging valuable breeding animals. You also have the fact that there is a lot of barking in their footage at the puppy farms. I think that on Oprah the dog that they showed that didn't bark was a Basenji, which doesn't bark but uses other vocalizations. It's kind of like they don't want to get caught in a lie.

In the Oprah video Lisa Ling's voiceover said that the swollen teats of a mother dog were "sad testimony" to all the pups that she had bred. In nature often canids and other species live to reproduce because they have to, and there's nothing sad about that in and of itself, and why think so? And if some people are treating them like "agricultural products" that's their right. Animal rights activists don't like anyone to have "agricultural products" and I think they don't want us to eat at all. They do say no meat, no fur, no pets, and I say they need to move off the planet.

At least in the Nightline video the owner was allowed to speak in his own defense and I think he was right. He keeps them clean, he exercises them, and I think he's right to say that letting them run outside can be dangerous.

Proposed laws would among other things require solid floors and that would be less humane because the animals would be constantly walking in feces and urine. This law would force a breeder to maintain conditions that are inhumane to the animals. A cage that stays relatively clean is better than one that pools nastiness. A requirement for individual dishes means that less water will be available and it will not be as clean because water in dishes gets dirty.

The "secret society" stuff and the "they think of them as agricultural products" verbiage make appeals to bigotry. We can't prove them wrong about the Amish and the Mennonites quite as easily because they aren't nearly as much on the net as the rest of us. They get very little chance to tell their own side of the story.

Really, there are better ways to help animals.

Friday, March 27, 2009

An Animal Rights-ish Feeling

I have to admit that I like most animals better than I like most humans. When there is a quandary between saving an animal and a human, I don't always have a clear answer. Maybe I'd save the animal because I can eat the animal. Those questions don't answer the big question as well as how I live my life in real life.

Why would I want people to keep pets and livestock if I think that animals are better than humans? Part of the reason is because I don't think that better in some ways means better in all ways. Also, even if an animal or human is better in all ways, we can still associate and live and play together. They're really good at putting on their best to be with their humans and that's why they will always make us feel as if they are better people.

Love and happiness are resources. These are resources that humans provide for animals.Love is something that humans seem to be uniquely able to be good at in the company of an animal, largely because of something that I tried to explain earlier. A companion animal relationship is based on shared love, happiness, and pleasure. Farmers who keep livestock and draft animals also find that kind of relationship.

An animal that might have been doomed to a lonely search for the rare morsel of food, and that would have starved to death if it didn't, can find a precious resource in humans. Wild deer, bears, and raccoons routinely beg for food, or steal it, or scavenge it from humans because humans are good at getting food and often have a lot of it.

Even if animals are better than humans, smell better, are more pleasant to the touch, are happier beings filled with more light, are somehow morally or ethically better, they have uses for us and they love us. Nature produces an animal that can do everything that requires technical expertise simply because nature accretes genetic and outside-world information and that's how to deal with it, to produce a brain that can process this information in practical ways. Of course the other animals that are part of nature want a part of this. They have curiosity, even a sort of intellectual curiosity. They helped make us. They definitely have a right to share.

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

IPCC Scientists Caught Faking Global Warming Data

Ingrid Newkirk's been milking the global warming myth for all it's worth lately. So have "real" environmentalists, the people who want to move millions of humans for the sake of a thousand tigers and who want massive die-offs of the human race. Never mind the fact that it is a million or more times as hard to move one human to a new home as it is to consider the idea from a perspective as removed as an American's is from a village in India.

I'm not sure what makes anyone think that there is any integrity in the environmental movement. It's too much against its own race to be particularly reliable. When it denies the validity of human judgment it undercuts itself. The rest of us have to hope for their integrity and reliability based on the logic that they are educated, they are scientists, and we depend on science. What we see in the news is them saying that human judgment is bad but the judgment of environmental scientists is good as long as they stick to the political party line.

Global warming would seem to be one of those absolute "end of the world" scenarios that should cut off all debate against measures designed to prevent it. It's emotional button-pushing of course, which you will see over and over again in environmental and animal rights presentations.

The global warming game is all over. The Goddard Institute at NASA has been caught lying. To make October of 2007 appear to be the hottest October on record, they carried over figures from September of 2007, which always has at least a few very hot days in the Northern Hemisphere. An article in the London Telegraph explains the anomaly of all of the record low temperatures and record high snowfalls in Russia during the hottest October on record:

So what explained the anomaly? GISS's computerised temperature maps seemed to show readings across a large part of Russia had been up to 10 degrees higher than normal. But when expert readers of the two leading warming-sceptic blogs, Watts Up With That and Climate Audit, began detailed analysis of the GISS data they made an astonishing discovery. The reason for the freak figures was that scores of temperature records from Russia and elsewhere were not based on October readings at all. Figures from the previous month had simply been carried over and repeated two months running.
The article from Alex Jones's Prison Planet is also worth reading. That's where I got the link to the article about the lying by the Goddard Institute.

As far as I am concerned the game is all over. Carbon dioxide is plant food. Plant cover is what we live on and it needs that carbon dioxide. Plants can even take in pollutants like carbon monoxide and sulfur and nitrogen compounds and make them into more plants. When industry emits carbon dioxide and some other compounds it feeds the environment. Consider the fact that carbon that is buried is anywhere from less available for plant growth to unavailable. Unchecked vegetation tends to sequester carbon in the soil under it, and up to a point this is actually very useful, but at some time it has to be replenished. A declining phase would be hazardous as we already need about as much biomass for food, fuel, and construction as we can get. Burn some coal and some underbrush and get that precious compound back in the air to feed useful plants.

Monday, March 23, 2009


The animal rights activists propose that animals are too dangerous to keep on the strength of single attacks, sometimes even when the attacks are not fatal. On what is this based, exactly? Just on the strength of the assertion. Proof by assertion is considered one of the basic logical fallacies, but somehow it works well with the human brain when repeated enough. Any evidence without evidence to counter it works as proof. A lot of people know better but it wears in with repetition. Repetition increases the weight of otherwise weightless evidence.

So they believe that one incident proves that people should have their animals taken away by force. They hammer on this as if singular incidents are all of the evidence in the world and all that is needed to justify everything that is done to hurt animal owners. One person starves an animal in Muskogee Oklahoma and everyone's starving their animals. They recommend lengthy jail sentences. I have also seen them advocate the torture and murder of other human beings, including specific humans beings, who have abused animals and who they have obviously falsely accused, such as Michael Sandlin with his "truck stop tiger" who I wish was still breeding tigers, and a man who was cleared of all charges of abuse, surprisingly, by his local humane society.

Apply their own logic to their own actions. Animal rights activists have beaten people and left them for dead. Just recently some ALF people burned a zoo and burned several animals to death. They have killed many animals as well as destroyed non-living property that represented a lot of time, money, energy, and physical research. There is a list of crimes that could fill several books, committed by animal rights activists. Many of these crimes constitute terrorism and conspiracy to commit. You can also count PETA's thousands killed and I count the millions that the SPCA claims that it has to kill.

By their own logic a lot of human beings should be tortured and killed for their crimes against animals. There is no severability in their logic, such that if one owner or organization does badly, the others are innocent, so by their own logic the Friends of Animals are just as guilty as the ALF, and you won't find an animal rights organization that allows this necessary severability for their own enemies, or fails to use singular incidents against an entire industry.

By the logic that they use against animal owners, all animal rights activists should be taken out and shot. They should be tortured first. Those that survive being shot should spend the rest of their lives in jail and eat porridge and rat droppings.

How much damage do they have to do to us for us to even be tempted to think such things? They know that they're targeting good people who are harmless and don't think that way. It's the way of bullies. They're always after good people. The miscreants do them a lot of good and are more like them anyway. You and I would never harm anyone on purpose. We're useless to them.

Friday, March 20, 2009

Canada's "Regulations"

Here's what I wrote about the new bans on exotic animals in British Columbia, Canada:

Thank you for the links, Lianne. I've been looking over the regulations on the different sites and I still don't see where it's written into any legally citable regulations. I haven't found a reference to something in writing that says what conditions a person has to meet to keep their animal, either. If it's up to the SPCA whether they keep their animals or not, everyone's toast and the regulations are in bad faith.

There may be some way to characterize the regulations as "reasonable" but I have always thought that keeping lions and tigers is worth some risk. Maybe Canada doesn't care about equal protection under the law, but Barry Penner's thing about animals that present a risk to human life, which is totally slaved to the SPCA's propaganda, applies to just about every species of animal that you can name. So what are you seeing that is so "reasonable"?

This one person, who so blatantly works for the SPCA, should not have been given this power. If the Assembly is unable to do this in a more fair and reasonable manner they should not have fobbed it off on a person who essentially works for the animal rights activists, which is a conflict of interest with his duty as a Minister of the government of B.C. He and the SPCA have been jonesing for this kind of power over pet owners. And many of the species in question have been defined as "domestic" for over 25 years. Redefining them as wildlife is a betrayal. Such a basic change in the status of personal pets, by species, should not be in the hands of one man even if you don't like their teeth and claws.

Then you have the permit applications. People will submit these applications in good faith and whether those applications will be accepted may not be in good faith. Submitting the applications in good faith will be giving up their right to privacy, not that Canada, the SPCA, or the U.S. any of them has given a fig for privacy, and that will make them targets for abuse.

I consider the new regulations to be an unnecessary abuse of power and a giving of quasi-governmental powers to special interests of the animal rights activist type.

How could this not be legislating the exotic animal industry out of business? The regulation clearly excludes almost everything.

The way that I see it the pet industry is at least as valid as zoological parks and recreation. Personal property is the basis of personal freedom. A regulation that says that scientists can own something and humans can't makes everyone a second-class citizen under the scientists, and the animals don't benefit all that much. Animals like being raised with families better than they like being raised in institutions.

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Hyperbole on the High Seas

I was just looking at Charlie Moore's presentation about the alleged "Great Pacific Garbage Patch." The concept sounds really nasty until you look at the Wikipedia entry that contains the information that they go on about. It tends to prove that the ocean is really big and environmentalists are really nitpicky. The high concentration of garbage is about 3.34 pieces per "square meter" with an average weight of 5.1 milligrams per square meter. My calculator says that's 17.034 milligrams per square meter. I'm presuming that this is floating garbage and that there is little or nothing in between the surface and the depths. It either sinks or it floats.

One manufacturer of molds for bottle-caps says that their plastic bottlecaps weight 2.35 grams. The average mass figure is satisfied by a floating bottle-cap in every 138 square meters, one bottle-cap in a square about 33 feet on a side. If we actually do have this 17 milligrams per square meter, that's 17,000 kilograms per square kilometer, about 37,400 pounds. That sounds impressive except that a cubic meter of sea water weighs 1000 kilograms and a square kilometer of ocean, to a depth of a meter, weights 1,000,000,000 kilograms or 2.2 billion pounds. 17 milligrams of plastic in one billion milligrams (one cubic meter) of seawater equals 17 parts per billion plastic versus seawater in the notorious "garbage path" of the Pacific, and that's just going to a depth of one meter.

There is a lot of doom and gloom in the predictions but this has been going on for more than 20 years and there are still millions of albatrosses out there, the bird that seems most affected by the garbage. Perhaps we're just making a smarter albatross by weeding out those that can't tell food from garbage.

We're never really sure how thin the justifications are for a new "measure" proposed by the environmentalists until we actually run the numbers. This sounds thin to me.

Friday, March 13, 2009

Captive Breeding

I just had to answer this article about captive breeding.

Breeding of animals is not rocket science. The only way to fail at it is to never attempt it. Usually the problem is how to deal with an embarrassment of riches. I personally would rather have a few too many dogs, cats, or tigers than none at all. Captive breeding is in no way an "extreme tactic", it's a perfectly ordinary thing that billions of people have done.

The World Wildlife Fund uses one simple technique to persuade people that it is wrong to breed animals in captivity. I sometimes call it the "You'll shoot your eye out!" technique. They tell the reader or the listener to think only of all the things that can go wrong if someone tries to breed a rare animal. They might even admit that thousands have successfully bred those animals, but it's still "think of all the things that can go wrong." Why would anyone even listen to these people? All that they want you to do is stop doing what you think is right and obey them.

Think of all the things that can go right. Where there were no tigers there can be hundreds or thousands depending on the resources a group has. You might have mixed breeds but all of the animals whose genes went into the mix have many descendants and the more the merrier for genetic variety. The more genetic variety the better. Can you believe that so-called conservationists actually argue for "subspecies purity"? That's a lot like saying that a dog that is half Great Dane and half Saint Bernard is no good. When they say that Siberian/Bengal tiger mixes are no good for a species survival program, that's so wrong. They are the same species and genes from both populations are preserved. What they mean is that they want their programs to go their way, like an obsessive-compulsive thing.

They argue that there are "many difficulties" associated with captive breeding. So? We do it not because it is easy but because it is hard. They try to paralyze our thinking by talking about the dangers, and now the difficulties. Think of the reward: Most humans love animals. We get to keep them with us and take them into the future with us. A truly "natural" lifestyle includes as many plants and animals as we can have around us.

A species does not become uniform when humans take charge of its breeding. Look at the differences between the poodle, the dachshund, the border collie, the great dane, the pariah dog, the dingo, and all other dog breeds. Their genetic variety has obviously increased. This goes for horses, cattle, goats, sheep, pigs, and everything else. There are known and well-established methods for multiplying the number of "subspecies" of any animal, plant, or even bacteria. The only animals that have limited gene pools are the ones that people have been forcibly prevented from using in captive breeding programs, like the ocelot and the cheetah. Both of those species would number in the millions and they would be quite varied by now.

There are a lot of failures but that is the price of success. When they breed "naturally" in the wild every species loses a lot of its young. Fewer are lost in captive breeding. There is inbreeding in the wild, always. Lions are known for mating with their daughters. So are stallions. Those are just two species that live in family groups and the dominant males drive out their male progeny, or kill them, and mate with the females that stay. Outbreeding is actually alien to them.

The hopefully large number of tigers and lions in captivity in the United States reflect the success of an informal grassroots breeding program. Some say that there are as many as 25,000 tigers in the U.S. and I could only wish. No one ever seems to estimate the number of lions but it would seem that there would be more because even fewer of them kill their owners than tigers do and they like to live in family groups. Any true conservationist would congratulate the private owner on the success of breeding thousands of species individuals of endangered and threatened animals. A really good conservationist finds ways to help them and make it legal to breed the really endangered animals.

Were I to be in charge of a conservation program I would do this: Live-capture orphaned cubs from the wild and hand-raise them as pets. Take advantage of the large body of knowledge from successful private owners, and their enthusiasm, and their money and time and energy, and use them to raise the next generation of that endangered animal. Let's not kid ourselves. The wild is disappearing. People are living there. A war to move those people would destroy the habitat and kill a lot of humans. So let's put the animals on the dole and do it right. They'll be living better than they do in the wild. Humans will be a happier and calmer species. Everyone benefits.

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Equal Protection

Responsible animal owners deserve at least as much protection under the law as do responsible drivers of cars. Responsible users of cars are not punished for what drunk drivers do even though over 47,000 people are killed in automobile accidents each year.

Equal protection under the law is a bit more than treating all animal owners equally. It also includes rewarding citizens equally for equally responsible behavior. Automobile drivers who do their daily driving safely are rewarded by being allowed almost unfettered access to the highway and very lax requirements for renewing a license. The state actually facilitates access to the highway and the obtaining of a license.

Punishing every owner of a pitbull or a monkey or a tiger for something that went wrong somewhere else with someone else's animals is denying them the kind of legal protection that every owner of an automobile enjoys. When a drunk kills an innocent family of four, the authorities don't go out and ban everyone else from driving a car. Far from it, they actually take steps to make other drivers safer. They protect responsible drivers from irresponsible drivers, rather aggressively.

The keeping of animals is just as much a necessity as is driving a car. For physical well-being, we need our food animals and it has been shown that pet owners are healthier, more resistant to disease and less likely to die of heart attacks and strokes. Most animal species have proven to be good for human emotional well-being. Emotional well-being is a necessity.

No one has yet shown that an escaped exotic pet has killed anyone in the United States in its entire history. All deaths due to exotic pet attacks in the entire United States add up to a statistically insignificant number. Rexano's website has several articles about the safety of keeping non-traditional pet animals. Not only does it seem that less than one person per year is killed by big cats in the U.S. but it also seems true that pets are less likely to kill than those handled by "trained experts." Either way, even if it were justifiable to restrict a right due to actual deaths related to the exercise of that right, this isn't one that has been shown to be very hazardous.

By the doctrine of equal protection under the law, a less hazardous activity should be subject to less control and scrutiny than an activity that is more hazardous, and that control and scrutiny should be the least necessary to achieve a valid goal. Drivers of cars and riders of horses are not subject to any formal training requirements at all. People are killed about every other day in the U.S. by horses and no one anywhere has to pass a test to own or ride a horse. To drive a car a person has only to pass a written test and a driving test. It is wrong to the point of being unconstitutional to force people who want to own tigers to fulfill requirements that are more stringent than those imposed on drivers of automobiles.

Thursday, March 5, 2009

Never Cry "Cruelty"

In his book The Mass Psychology of Fascism, in the last chapter which is titled On Natural Work-Democracy, Wilhelm Reich wrote a very good illustrative story of fair versus unfair criticism.

Here it is briefly: Imagine that an engineer has to repair a large engine that his factory needs by the next day. He's working well into the late evening. One person comes along and just smashes wires to be doing it because his wife nagged him earlier. The next one gives the engineer a pile of nonsense about how he's doing it wrong, tells him he's filthy (from working on the engine), and that he's immoral for abandoning his family that evening. Number two knows nothing about repairing engines. The third one had a hard time with his mother-in-law and spits in the engineer's face. Reich says that they are like highwaymen who disturb honest work. Does that sound familiar? This was written at the beginning of the establishment of the Third Reich in Germany, when a bunch of animal rights activists/ environmentalists took over a more or less democratic country and we know what they did with it.

The next person who comes along is another engineer who rolls up his sleeves and pitches in and helps. He knows the work and in the story he spots a mistake that he helps correct, and is POLITE, something that the activists are quite incapable of being.

Compare this to the kind of personal experiences that either teach a person when it is appropriate to be critical or prove that the would-be critic used his brains first. One example was when I was at a stable and a horse in a small round pipe enclosure without food and water begged me to give him some food. Using my brains and my own experience I realized that the horse was a valuable animal and if he was being "starved" it was for a reason. He might have gotten into the sacked feed and was being treated to prevent laminitis. He might have been due for a visit to the veterinarian and needed to be kept from food and water for a prescribed time. The most important thing to realize was that most likely the owner knew what he was doing and I didn't. The horse looked like he was in very good shape, too.

I've seen dirty houses and yards that had dogs that were reasonably clean, healthy, quite well-fed, and free of fleas and disease. This could be genuinely objectionable but it's a home and they're happy and cared for. On the balance it is still good and if I want better I should be willing to pitch in and help. I have done this before and if I were someone who would cry "cruelty" instead of cleaning Edward Taub's laboratory like I volunteered to do, I don't belong around the animals and I don't belong there because I'm either clueless or malicious. In other words, I should be like the engineer who goes in and helps to the best of his ability. Even if I didn't know much he might need another set of hands, maybe someone to bring in drinks and a snack and so on, but to me someone who helps does so by actually helping. A real helper has to be trustworthy, honest, and polite. He has to serve. He has to be truly tolerant. He has to be respectful.

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Is "Safety" What We're Even Looking For?

Some degree of safety is necessary, of course. The thing is, what are we protecting? Our lives are what we are protecting. Too much safety means that we don't live our lives. We lose what we try to save.

You can't build positives from negatives. Anything that is worth having is made of something that has some intrinsic positive value. Anything that is worth doing is made of positive actions that result in added value or pleasure. Rules that say "don't do this or that or you will be hurt" obscure the positive and may even successfully conceal it. They create fear just by warning people of dangers.

When people tell me about rules for handling or encountering animals, all too often it's like that. All too rarely it's "do these things and you will do well." It's like telling people how to bake a cake by saying "don't cook it too long" or "don't use too many eggs" without telling people the correct cooking temperature or number of eggs. Maybe some people seem like morons because they're used to being treated as if they can't retain the simplest of instructions.

There are events and circumstances that get people killed, like rides at carnivals, air shows, auto races, and rodeos. They don't get bad reputations because of this. Also, in spite of or maybe even because of the number of deaths and injuries involving various animals, they are still very very popular. I think that the public is just fine with the danger but we submit to the use of the danger as an excuse when a public official wants to make a name for himself. This is something that people of good faith have no control of because bad situations can be made to order or even completely faked, any day that the activists want. Even if we were actually losing ground because of incidents like the chimpanzee attack, and exotic animal owners could stop all such incidents from happening within their ranks, animal rights activists would produce one if need be.

People really aren't looking for the "safe" experience, though. Thrill-seeking is a very positive side of human nature. So is the quest for pleasure. We're seeking experiences that we will enjoy or achieve some kind of fulfillment from. Sometimes we seek to be scared half to death. We also seek reality in its rawest forms. There are people who regularly tour active volcanoes, so many that some places have regular tours that skirt molten rock. These are the things that we do to live. Safety in those cases is like "most likely we'll survive the experience."

Maybe the malaise against ownership is because of the "safety first" attitude. People who own big cats act like they're doing something dangerous with little redeeming quality. They even try to conceal the redeeming features for fear that other people will want to do the same thing, get hurt, hurt their reputations, and so on. Don't they hurt their own reputations by doing this, though? One of the treatments for fear is an emotional reward. Too much "safety first" creates the fear and denies the reward. Fear-based thinking is self-destructive and doesn't even make the fearful ones any safer. By the formula that I just described it puts animal owners in more danger of being voted off the island.

Sadly, one of the verbal weapons that animal owners and animal lovers use is the "I wouldn't let you near my animals." It's the nuclear option in arguments. I can't think of anything at the moment that is more likely to dampen someone's positive attitude. A fear-based attitude makes it easy for someone to say that about someone who expresses too positive an attitude towards animals and the idea of contact with them. Take seriously the idea that the fear-based attitude could be directed towards someone who is trusting of horses or dogs. I've seen some of that on occasion. The idea that someone who loves and trusts animals should never go near said animals is one of the most frustrating, depression-inducing ideas that ever came down the wires. Animal owners should be striving to create positive feelings and when people feel them, they get slapped in the face with a cold wet towel. Owners who do this may want to rethink their positions.

Like I said, people aren't looking for ultimate safety anyway. They desire a thrill, or a pleasant encounter with an animal, or even for an ego boost. These are the desires that we need to respect. Guidelines should become conduits for people to achieve the experiences that they want, not obstacles to trip people up.


I liked this quote so I added it. It sums up my feelings about some people's views of "safety":

"In our country are evangelists and zealots of many different political,
economic and religious persuasions whose fanatical conviction is that all
thought is divinely classified into two kinds -- that which is their own and that which is false and

-- Justice Robert H. Jackson (1892-1954), U. S. Supreme Court Justice

Monday, March 2, 2009

Vandals Are Just Vandals

In the news, a group of environmental vandals who I haven't heard of before in Tucson Arizona. They have been cementing locks and water valves and slashing tires. They are targeting researchers who work for the University of Arizona and for a copper-mining company. These are terrorist acts. Even at that relatively low level of destruction the vandalism is intended to make people afraid to go to work and live their lives. These acts cost people money that they can't afford to spend even if they're getting a relatively good salary. They physically prevent people from going to work.

They also express total contempt for the law that they want to use to protect the environment. The fact is that it is still legal to experiment on monkeys and it is still legal to do research for a copper mining company. If being legal means anything it should mean that a researcher, a farmer, or a pet owner should be safe from harassment and property destruction. The point of a terrorist act is to show people that they are never safe from the judgment of the terrorist.

Whose judgement are we talking about? Some gang of young adults who may have read a few books, attended lectures on how to firebomb your neighbor's car, who have been exposed to PETA's propaganda in school, who are angry at the world because they didn't do well in school, or who just like to break stuff. We already know these people. It wouldn't be acceptable if these acts were masterminded by pillars of the community. It's just a little bit worse when your local environmental parasites are the same kids who steal your purse out of your car for drug and booze money. Their own report on their actions is laced with childish profanity.

The HSUS hired an environmental terrorist as their expert on dogfighting. John "J. P." Goodwin is a "former member of the A.L.F." as if there is such a thing as a former terrorist. I have no reason to believe that he respects the law now, or that his employers do, what with their fraudulent use of Michael Vick's dogs to gather money or their fraudulent gathering of money for Katrina victims. He spent time in jail for vandalism of fur farms and has taught people how to burn down buildings and cars.

The hiring of John Goodwin sends a similar message: The HSUS will not respect the law that they want to use against owners of animals. They hired a vandal and that sends the message that they will vandalize commercial breeders, farms, and other industries that use animal products. The law can be used to vandalize just as effectively as a gasoline bomb. Just forcing meat producers to change out all their equipment costs them a lot of money and hands an advantage to new operations. Any operation that was in compliance with the law before may lose the protection that compliance entitled them to. Staged videos and photographs, which might actually be filmed somewhere else, can also be used against facilities that lack the ability to prove their innocence.

The HSUS obviously condones vandalism against legal owners or John Goodwin would never have been hired. It's also true that his hiring is used by them to get a lot of us to focus on Goodwin and to say things like "HSUS is a terrorist organization." But we still have this problem. The HSUS gave a convicted criminal a cushy job for his work for the Animal Liberation Front, an organization that just took credit for setting a zoo and its animals on fire in Turin, Italy.

I really can't see the HSUS's actions as anything but an extension of animal rights vandalism and terrorism, any place, any time, any excuse.

Freedom Trumps Safety

So do good works. The freedom alone is worth taking risks for. Every human around should be willing to take risks to live in a free land.

So why is it that a "specific" risk is bad? I guess that when we can name a fear it trumps the vague idea of freedom. Along with the mongering of fear you will hear people say that there's no good reason to keep a pitbull, a chimpanzee, or a tiger. Why is that? It is because taking a risk for a reason is generally considered right. Some of us think of freedom as a concrete and useful thing. Those of us who think of animals as worth something think of the chimpanzee, the tiger, or the dog as worth taking a risk for.

The idea that "we can't risk human life for this" is generally laughable. That's right, it's laughable. Generally the risk of death is comparable to the risk taken when you drive a car, work for a living, or even sit still. People who sit still are more likely to die of heart attacks so there is no avoiding risks to human life. Inactivity greatly increases the chance of dying prematurely. Both poetically and literally this is because such a person hasn't lived. Science can prove this.

For years groups like the World Wildlife Fund and the International Fund for Animal Welfare have been telling us that it is worth considerable risk to human lives to keep various animals in their native lands. Chasing poachers around the forest is an expensive and dangerous undertaking. This approach is also failing. At the same time populations increase where there are breeding farms for animals like the rhinoceros, the lion, the tiger, and literally anything. Yet they tell us that the vanishingly small number of humans killed by exotic pets and livestock constitute a "danger". The danger is to the pocketbooks of these very well financed organizations.

There is also talk about moving millions of humans around for the convenience of the thousand or so tigers left in India. There is the "voluntary human extinction movement" which if they were sincere would already have killed itself.

It's really only fair. If humans are going to slaughter animals, and we will, for our own interests, we should put our selves and our resources on the line to restore their populations. We should take advantage of our human abilities to produce food more efficiently than nature usually does and use that to our advantage when we restore populations of endangered animals. We start with what we have and work from there. Organizations like IFAW sell us what we wish we had. They have definitely told us that any given tiger is worth the risk of at least one human life. Fortunately when they are pets it's more like one human life per year per ten thousand tigers.

I'm willing to say that the benefits of keeping exotic pets are so great that they are worth far more than the very few human injuries and deaths that do occur. They are part of us, even lions and tigers, and when people encounter them, it's often like getting in touch with missing parts of ourselves. We can put a name to what we feel when we're with our so-called domestics like cats, dogs, and horses. It's the same thing with other species. Most of us have no idea how much we receive from other animals overall. What we give them is a place to stay, a measure of safety, medical care, and love.