When Animal Rights Become Human Wrongs

By Mark Antony Rossi

I love animals as much as the next person. A point in fact I have a dog and two cats. (But that goldfish my son won at the carnival will not last long.) Still over the years I have grown uneasy as the animal rights movement has moved from strident to near ridiculous. The transformation of righteous certitude to delusional obstructionism was born in a generation. And caring citizens like me were left behind.

In America it began thirty years ago when college students protested the spoiled habitat of spotted owls by seeking to shut down the industry of logging; potentially costing thousands of jobs. Many loggers were supporting college-bound children in the hopes they could secure less dangerous work in the future. For years it never occurred to these activists (which apparently means act without thinking) that relocating the owls would be a safe and intelligent answer.

Gas pipeline companies in Alaska created caribou zones and often built pumping stations around protected areas. Solutions can often be found by sincere actors on these issues but I suspect a strain of extremism has captured segments of the animal rights movement. This devolution of purpose happens when celebrated causes lose their public urgency through fruitful compromise and soon after the fundraising disappears. A clear case of success eroding the strength of original intent.

Now rescuing animals from abuse becomes a rigid ideology with goals beyond the limits of reality. Wearing fur is akin to murder. Caged chickens are victims of torture. Cow farts are contributing to climate change. Dolphins deserve equal rights to Homo sapiens. Plants have feelings and shouldn’t be clipped. Bacteria have sentience and should be considered thinking creatures. If any of these unscientific and unreasonable assertions give you pause — good, it means you continue a healthy relationship with common sense.

There is no war between animals and humans. There are only instances where our improper treatment of animals is unethical and deserving of intervention. The modern hunting of whales is ecologically unsound and is directly responsible for bringing the species to the edge of extinction. Killing wildlife for tacky trophies is obscene and truly unacceptable behavior. Dumping deadly chemicals in waterways is a criminal act worthy of incarceration. There are laws to prevent these atrocious acts of cruelty if only enforced with the same vigor as the mindless violators.

What is not necessary are lectures from ideological lobbyists whom causally equate plants with people and advocate the overthrow of every pillar of modern society because dolphins have depression. Those of us whom love animals do not blindly step around homeless people to save a pit bull. If you are being forced to give up your humanity in order to save the animal kingdom the future of the planet is in more peril than a thousand drunk hunters.

About the Author: Mark Antony Rossi is a poet, playwright and author of the bioethics volume “Dark Tech” now available from Amazon. His most recent plays have been produced in Liverpool and New York. 

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