Monday, November 14, 2005

My Positions On The Consumption Of Animals

I’m an animal lover. You know this if you read this blog.

I have devoted the past 10 years to animal welfare. I have given countless hours, volunteering for dog rescue efforts, with nothing in return to me… no money, no fame, no tax write offs… nothing. I did it for the dogs.

I remember a few years ago, going on a 2 day trip to Oregon to pick up 5 abandoned rescue dogs that were coming from California. A friend of mine and I evaluated them at a dog show, then went up the coast delivering them to their new owners. It was all out of our pockets. We didn’t make a dime. No one reimbursed us for the hotels, food, gas, vehicle mileage, dog food or supplies. We got back home very late, and it wore us out. We didn’t do it to make any money. We didn’t toot our horns and tell the world what a great thing we did. No, we did it for the dogs.

That was just one of many such “donations” to dogs I have given, of my time and money and effort. So, I think I can speak with a bit of authority on animal welfare.

So, you might wonder my position on a few hot animal issues… so, here is some clarification…

I’m not ashamed to say…

I eat meat. Meat is good food. The human body is adapted to eat and digest meat. It is ethical to eat meat Most religions allow the eating of most kinds of meat.

I eat other types of animal products. I eat honey, drink milk, and I love cheese.

I wear and use animal products. I have no problem with having leather shoes or wallets, wool slacks, silk ties, or fur lined coats.

I am against eating some types of animals. Some animals are not good for humans to eat. They are repulsive, or toxic, or prone to communicate disease. Thus, you shouldn’t hunt and eat rats, flies or cockroaches.

I use animal products, including oil. Have you ever considered that the gasoline you put in your car comes partly from animal products? Why do you think they call them “fossil fuels”?! I have used products with bee’s wax, too.

I am for hunting. Hunting not only helps to preserve species, by regulating the numbers and types of animals within a habitat, it provides people with edible food and useful fibers. I don’t believe in torturing animals to kill them, however. I think the kill should be as quick, clean and lethal as you can make it, while preserving as much of the edible parts as possible. I also believe you can and should enjoy yourself while hunting, while at the same time, respecting the lives you have taken. I am opposed to hunting animals for a small body part, and then discarding the remainder, such as some poachers do. Hunting has many social and environmental benefits, which I support.

I am for ranching. When you have a lot of people to feed, it isn’t practical to have everyone hunting for their meals. So, we have domesticated certain types of animals, raise them as food, and eat them.

I am against trophy hunting. I think it is wrong to hunt something, and then display it, or talk about it, SOLELY as a way of celebrating your trophy. I think that is against nature, and a waste of natural resources to kill things and then not eat or use them for more than a decoration. We are predators and food is prey, thus, it is natural and good to hunt and eat animals. However, there is something perverse in wanting to kill, for no other purpose than to boost your ego, and then tossing the meat and animal products away. I am not against killing animals to cull their numbers in order to balance the numbers and types of predators vs. prey in a given environment. And I'm not against displaying the trophies of your kills, provided you didn't waste the animal you killed.

I am against hunting or killing any species into extinction… except maybe for some insects, viruses and bacteria. I don’t think we should be the agents of the destruction of our environment. I believe we should live in our environment, cultivate it, consume it, protect it, and let the overall forces of nature determine survival or extinction. So, I think there can be a balance between being a body consumer, and someone who protects their own territory, since all territorial animals survive by the vitality of, and availability of food within, their territory. Yet, I think it is OK to defend yourself from any species or individual that might kill off human individuals or groups That is also natural and moral.

I am against eating companion animals. Humans have a natural aversion to eating one another. It is a built in defense mechanism. When we bond to an animal, we accept it into our pack as if it was another human. That is why we are repulsed by the eating of pet dogs, cats and horses. It is also why we can be troubled by eating any animal we find to be “cute and cuddly”, since those animals remind us of eating our young. It is also why the animal rights folks try to paint the eating of animals as if you are eating human-like creatures… to trigger your defensive mechanism against eating or harming your own species. Thus, they talk about the relative (inflated) intelligence of animals, how they feel pain, etc. It is to play on your instincts to not eat members of your own pack. This is their primary tactic. That is why you see certain types of movies coming from Hollywood which turn animals into people-like creatures... it is part of an animal rights agenda. Go and enjoy the movie, but don't be manipulated!

It is natural and good to question whether you should kill and/ or eat any animal. Yet, there are moral and good reasons to use and consume animal products.

It is important to have these kinds of concepts sorted out in your head and heart before you start taking political positions concerning animal welfare issues.


Steve said...

My position is that if given a choice, I would not eat a dog or cat.

But there's something interesting about human beings, the struggle between Principle and Survival. Animals don't let principles get in the way, but people do. Why is this?

We are only able to apply our principles because we enjoy a big buffer of luxury. Because of our plentitude, we can choose what to eat and what not to eat, and even allow the matter to develop into a dicussion of right versus wrong.

But if that buffer were taken away, then everything becomes reduced to a matter of survival. We tend to shake our heads in disgust at people in Bangladesh, Vietnam, and Mexico. But these people eat dogs because that's what's plenty and affordable.

Vegans are only able to be so militant thanks to the riches our country has built. It's only because of the wide variety of choices we can afford, that vegans are able to live such a lifestyle.

If the USA were to lose all of its wealth, and we fell into a state of anarchy, with people starving everywhere, it would be interesting to see what a vegan man would do if presented with a freshly killed poodle. Would he stick to his principles, or would he let his natural instincts take over?

If eating a dog meant keeping my family from starving to death, I'll kill a dog. But if given choices, I'll opt for another food source. Just don't put yourself in a position of having eat crow.

Sam Basso said...

Good point. In a survival situation, then everything is fair game.

For fun, I'd start with the vegans and work my way up to the poodle eaters... :-)