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PETA

Warning:  this may be is offensive, but it’s hilarious:

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From the LA Times blogs:

People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals plans Wednesday to sue Sea World for allegedly violating the 13th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution — which bans slavery — by keeping orcas at parks in San Diego and Orlando, Fla., organization officials said Tuesday.

The lawsuit, set to be filed in San Diego federal court, is considered the first of its kind and, if successful, would represent a large enhancement of the animal-rights movement. Part of the lawsuit asserts that it is illegal to artificially inseminate the females and then take away their babies.

Sea World officials dismissed the lawsuit as a publicity stunt. PETA routinely pickets the park on Mission Bay.

The lawsuit seeks the release of three orcas (also called killer whales) from San Diego and two at Orlando. “All five of these orcas were violently seized from the ocean and taken from their families as babies,” said PETA President Ingred Newkirk.

PETA officials note that the 13th Amendment prohibits slavery but does appear to limit the ban only to human beings. “Slavery is slavery,” said PETA general counsel Jeffrey Kerr.

Kasatka, Corky and Ulises are at Sea World San Diego, Tilikum and Katina at Orlando. Tilikum, a six-ton male, grabbed a trainer in February 2010 and dragged her to the bottom, where she drowned.

In a statement, Sea World said that extending constitutional rights to killer whales “is baseless and in many ways offensive” and that “there is no higher priority than the welfare of the animals entrusted to our care.”

My response:  Are you effin’ kiddin’ me? (I didn’t use “effin'”– but you get the idea.)

I’m not a fan of keeping orcas or other cetaceans in captivity, but using the 13th amendment for this purpose is a dangerous precedent.

Allowing orcas to sue under those auspices would essentially create constitutional rights for animals without ever having a vote on it or passing any legislation.

Judicial activism happens all the time– on both sides. For example, it was  reinterpretation of the 14th amendment, which gave full citizenship rights to African American men, that gave corporations full citizenship rights in the US Supreme Court Decision known as Santa Clara County v. Southern Pacific Railroad Company (1886).

But I’d be very much surprised if this particular case went anywhere.

My guess is the orca slavery suit will be thrown out.

But you never know for sure.

PETA, I’m sure, is just doing this for propaganda purposes.

But it’s terrible waste of our federal court system just so they can use it for publicity.

It also takes away from the possibility of having a ration discussion about orcas in captivity.

When you do stupid things for attention, no one is going to take your arguments seriously.

Hear that, Herman Cain?

 

 

 

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Remember that PETA actually stands for “People Euthanizing Thousands of Animals.”

But here’s the petition on the White House website:

Every year in the United States, an estimated 6 to 8 million lost, abandoned, or unwanted dogs and cats enter animal shelters and nearly half of these animals—many of them healthy, young, and adoptable—must be euthanized because there are too many animals and not enough good homes.

This tragedy occurs because people don’t spay and neuter their animals and because greedy breeders continue to churn out more puppies. Because all dogs and cats are precious and because no more animals need to be bred when so many others go without hope of being adopted, PETA is calling for a mandatory spay-and-neuter law until all dogs and cats in the United States have a home to call their own.

Sign the petition calling for a mandatory spay-and-neuter law to help end the animal overpopulation crisis.

See any problems with the facts on this petition.

Well, they overestimate the number of pets killed in the United States by shelters– by quite a lot.

Now, I don’t think that feral cats should even be counted as pets, and I vehemently opposed to TNR.  From a wildlife management persepective, it These cats should be treated as invasive species and every single one of them that cannot be socialized to people euthanized. If we did that, it would definitely pare back the numbes of “pets” being killed in shelters. That’s sounds extreme, but that’s the policy we had for arctic foxes on the Aleutians  and that Texas has for feral pigs.

That’s a very different question from euthanizing adoptable pets, which is something that should be regarded as a scandal. The demand for pet dogs and cats continues to rise every year, and all that is needed to take care of the bulk of this problem is some adjustments in how these pets are marketed. It’s an issue, but it’s hardly a crisis.

However, if you look at the the bottom line of such a policy, it is very simple:  Let’s end dog and cat ownership in one generation!

To implement such a policy nationwide– where there are 70-80 million dogs and 80 million or more pet cats– you would have to hire something like a national animal police to keep everyone in line.

Never mind that the AMVA is opposed to compulsory sterilization for companion animals. And it is the AMVA that is the governing body over the people who would actually be performing the sterlizations.

Never mind that spaying and neutering have definite risks as well as benefits, and these risks and benefits can vary from breed to breed and from animal to animal.

Never mind that the president has never stated support for this policy, and it is likely unconstitutional.  The commerce clause has been made elastic over the years, but I doubt it can be bent to fit this craziness.

PETA is proposing an extreme solution to a problem that can be solved, a problem that is closer to being solved now than it was twenty years ago.

The solution is for another problem that PETA has:  That people actually own dogs and cats. And that dogs and cats exist as domestic animals.

These laws are designed to stop people from breeding dogs and cats, so that people will adopt every animal they own. And those animals will be spayed and neutered. And within a generation, the domestic dog and cat will disappear.

PETA wouldn’t tell you this of course. But this is the logical end of mandatory spay and neuter nonsense. Keep in mind that even if we keep PETA inflated figures for the number of dogs and cats euthanized, these animals represent an extreme minority of the dogs and cats living in the United States every year.  And if we look at the number of dogs and cats that are actually being euthanized, and correctly discount all the adult feral cats, which will never be pets by any stretch of the imagination, the number becomes quite paltry indeed.

 

 

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CH K-Run's Park Me In First ("Uno") won last year's Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show.

CH K-Run's Park Me In First ("Uno") won last year's Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show.

The owner of the winner of the Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show lets PETA have it in the LA Times. This article is a response to a PETA demand that the USA networks stop showing Westminster. This debate is between two extreme positions.

I have already said that PETA has jumped the shark with their “Sea Kittens” campaign. They also have a vendetta against domestication, which is, sadly, not logical. But for domestication, dogs wouldn’t exist at all. Further, dogs have co-evolved with people. We need each other. We co-evolved.

PETA’s solution to ending domestication is to kill 97 percent of all dogs that enter its shelters. This position very obviously causes problems with the mainstream of the American body politic. What is worse is that PETA has used good science, science that people like me also use, to promote their views. That’s okay, but it seems rather bad that PETA gets to be the only promoter of these views in the media. And if the American people already have negative views of PETA, I am found guilty by association, even if it is that we merely used the same information.

However, Uno’s owner’s position is also extreme. This is what she said about the unhealthy conformation in some breed standards:

 “Those are breed traits!  Those breeds have always looked like what they look like.  No, those traits come naturally when breeding dogs of the same breed…Peke to Peke produces all puppies that look like Pekes.”

No. Those so-called “traits” are exaggerated deformities. They are not natural in the least.  Most pekes can’t even breathe properly. They can’t whelp or breed naturally. They are the result of “artificial selection,” not natural selection.  They are not functional conformation either. Pekes don’t have any function other than to be held and cuddled.

So the media is able to set up a straw man using PETA as the main spokesperson for reforming the dog fancy. It is because PETA is the straw man, that I can’t even converse with some conformation breeders about breeding for greater diversity and a greater emphasis on health and working ability in the conformation standards. They will just say, “You’re one of those PETA extremists,” and the conversation ends.

The truth is I am not opposed to selective dog breeding or to breeding for some conformation, after all a dog does need good conformation to be a good working dog. However, the conformation shows have all become about glitz and glamour, finer points, and unusual mutations. It’s not about working function. (There are a few breeds that still have good working conformation as part of their standards, including the flat-coated retriever.)

Conformation is just one way of determining a dog’s quality. It must also have the working ability and temperament, and those breeders who focus more on those things deserve as much respect as the conformation breeders. Working ability, health, and temperament are  still far more important than adhering to very finely delineated breed standards. But I’m not opposed to conformation judging, provided that this is the main focus of the show.

I would also like the closed registry system to updated to allow from some intelligent outcrossing. I don’t think we’re doing our breeds an service by maintaining closed registries, when we  need to increase some genetic diversity in our breeds, just to make sure that genetic problems are less concentrated in our lines. I don’t think its possible to eliminate genetic diseases from dogs (Have we done so in people?), but greater genetic diversity prevents these disorders from becoming too concentrated.

Further, some of these breed classifications were originally quite arbitrary. I usually mention the golden/flat-coat split, which was originally on color alone. But there’s also the cain terrier/West Highland white terrier split, which was alson on color. The Norwich/Norfolk terrier split, which was on ear carriage (and that’s still pretty much the only difference). And there are certainly others. These are the breed splits with which we could use some intelligent outcrosses.

These are modest proposals, designed to work with creating a better dog fancy with healthier dogs. It is not PETA extremism. It is simply better animal welfare. PETA wants to destroy the dog. I want to save it, and that’s the difference.

PETA does not speak for me, and if PETA and I agree on something, it will be by accident.

 

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I love boiled lobster, but it's not nearly as good as Alaskan snow crab. (Drools like Homer Simpson)

I love boiled lobster, but it's not nearly as good as Alaskan snow crab.

Why do we hear so much about this?

But we stopped hearing about this?

And this?

And this?

And why doesn’t this bother us?

If you ask me, PETA is a distraction. It distracts us from really trying to reform things to make our world and nation more humane for humans and animals.

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sea-kitten.

PETA has jumped the shark. Read about it here.

Now, it is true that fish stocks are low.  One third of all fish stocks are below ten percent of their original abundance. If you want to read a good book on this, I highly suggest Farley Mowat’s Sea of Slaughter. However, just because fish numbers are low does not automatically follow that fishing is cruel and is part of the problem.

Indeed, fishing could be part of the solution. No fishing society wants to see the collapse of fish stocks like the one that happened in Newfoundland. Fishing provided income for people who followed the rules about keeping stocks in line. But then big commercial trawling came along, and the fish stocks plummeted. But the small fisherman could have been part of a self-sustaining fishery. The common fishery is thus regulated because it is beneficial.

Some of the best memories I’ve ever had as child were fishing trout streams with my grandfather. The trout stocks in my home state are now in peril, because the state has giving wide concessions to mining interests to introduce all sorts of nasty things to the water. Acid mine drainage is a very bad thing for trout. The trout fishermen have fought these concessions to industry, although unsuccessfully. It is the fishermen who wanted clean water and better habitat for all organisms in the water.

What is PETA doing about clean water and better habitat for fishes? Very little, but what it is doing is alienating people.

How can an organization that alienates so many people ever have this much power?

This sea kittens campaign is the one of the strangest PETA campaigns I’ve ever heard of. However, they did run campaigns claiming that beer was healthier than milk, that meat represented a “holocaust on your plate,” and, recently, that the Australian practice of cutting away loose skin from merinos’ backsides to prevent flyblows is cruel. (Being flyblown is a lot more painful that the practice PETA is complaining about.).

But with the sea kittens campaign, I think we can safely say that PETA has jumped the shark.

Why do I not like PETA? I believe in a kind of animal entitlement scheme. I won’t call it animal rights, because I don’t think we respect human rights to the extent that we should, even in countries with constitutions. When we get serious about human rights, then I might be a little interested in animal rights. If we could instead talk about reforming the things that really are nasty to animals, then we’d have greater successes. But throwing in this concept of rights is a very nebulous idea. And we don’t need any new nebulous concepts floating around in the political atmosphere.

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