Who Hijacked Our Country

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Animals’ Rights — How Our Laws and Attitudes Have Changed

The news is still full of horrifying reports of animal cruelty. (Calling all vigilantes.) But it could be that these stories only make the news because of people’s attitudes. Millions of people are horrified and enraged by animal abuse.

Our laws still aren’t strict enough — what’s-his-name is out of jail already — but the laws are stricter than they used to be.

This heart-breaking infuriating true story — from 1965 — led to the passage of a strong (stronger anyway) animal protection bill in Congress.

This article really captures the heartbreak of a family whose Dalmatian was kidnapped for medical research. And it shows the huge underground network involved in capturing thousands of dogs and cats — strays, feral, household pets, it didn’t matter — and smuggling them into laboratories.

This is a long article but it’s a good read, as infuriating as it is. The article makes really lifelike three-dimensional portrayals of the main characters — villains and good Samaritans alike. It’s like Stephen King’s best stories, where you feel like you know some of the characters by the end of the book.

Since this happened 44 years ago, most of these people are probably dead by now.

This story pushes just about every negative emotional button there is, but it’s a real page-turner (or whatever the online equivalent would be). If you’re like me, you probably wish you could time-travel back to 1965 and perform a few “experiments” on Jack Clark, Bill Miller and Arthur Nersesian. And hold the anesthesia.

But things have slowly improved in the last forty-four years. Haven’t they?

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Anonymous Bee said...

The really potentially bad part of the Miami serial cat killer story is that this person could very well move on to people soon, if they don't figure out who it is.

June 11, 2009 at 4:38 PM  
Blogger J. Marquis said...

Things have gotten much better. But organizations like PETA actually do a lot of damage when they make a stink about something ridiculous like the fish throwers down at Pike Place Market. Stuff like that makes average people think the defense of animals is something silly and insignificant.

June 11, 2009 at 5:16 PM  
Blogger Snave said...

I think things have gradually improved. However it seems like maybe once a year there is still some news in the area where I live about rednecks dragging a kid's dog behind their truck or some nut running around poisoning pets.

Maybe things are about the same out here in rural areas, who knows. But maybe not... the animal population continues to grow, and the sad news stories nowadays seem to be more about stuff like people who collect animals, i.e. someone with 60 dogs and the floor of the house six inches deep in feces, etc. or maybe about puppy mills getting busted.

I guess I am not quite PETA level with my love for animals, but sometimes I can be close to that.

"Since this happened 44 years ago, most of these people are probably dead by now."

Good! 8-)

June 11, 2009 at 6:36 PM  
Anonymous S.W. anderson said...

Bee makes an excellent point. Sick bastards who mistreat animals can and do graduate to violent cruelty to humans, if they're not there already.

And, Marquis says it for me about PETA. Public perceptions are important.

June 11, 2009 at 10:18 PM  
Blogger Tom Harper said...

Bee: I sure hope they catch that person soon.

J: I like a lot of what PETA does, but they do go too far sometimes. Everybody needs to pick their battles. The time and energy they spend on the fish throwers at Pike Place is time and energy not being spent on really crucial issues. And it doesn't do their image any good.

Snave: That does seem to be getting more common, these people who take in hundreds of dogs or cats, and they end up living in filth. But at least those people started out with good intentions. As far as puppy mills go, the fewer the better.

SW: That's true about the public perception of PETA. And their detractors just love to publicize the more extreme/eccentric things that PETA has done.

June 11, 2009 at 11:31 PM  
Blogger Demeur said...

Maybe PETA would like to give a little more help with our broke annimal shelters. You recall the two puppy mills we had here. That's not making the situation any better. And they need to make spaying and neutering cheaper.
Another way to curb the mills is to put a business tax on these operations. Right now there are no taxes.

June 12, 2009 at 8:52 AM  
Blogger Randal Graves said...

I'm PETA level except for the tasty animals like cows. ;-)

Hell, I can't even watch those fucking ASPCA commercials with the mutilated animals in rehab without getting the itchy eyeball. It's hard being a sap.

June 12, 2009 at 10:42 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'd love to think we're getting better as a species, but I don't really think so. We tend to compartmentalize (eating meat is OK, wearing leather is OK) but kicking puppies is not. Frankly, in my opinion, none of it is right.

In the old days, people ate what they could get, hunting hand-to-hand which is much more fair than with a gun, from a distance. Today, all meat seems to come from Safeway, farmed, packaged neatly in plastic wrap, and we forget that these were beautiful, gentle animals too.

I'm not saying people shouldn't eat meat or buy leather products, but I do think we should think about it. Know what you do, and its consequences, and then make your decision.

I still eat seafood, but I feel bad about it.

June 12, 2009 at 12:20 PM  
Blogger Tom Harper said...

Demeur: I agree that animal shelters should be a high priority. I didn't know that puppy mills didn't pay a business tax. That needs to be changed ASAP.

Randal: I have that same dilemma. I'm with PETA, but damn it some animals taste good.

Anonymous: That's a good point. When you buy meat that's neatly packaged, you tend to think it just appeared on the supermarket shelf. Maybe people should have to buy all meat at the slaughterhouse so we can really see and understand (on a gut level, not just intellectually) where it comes from.

June 12, 2009 at 3:31 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Some of the worst puppy mills in my area are run by the Amish. Anyone who would abuse or neglect an animal is pure evil slime and I have my own ideas of what should be done to each and everyone of the bastards, and it ain't pretty. I donate to a local animal refugee which I can visit to see how my money is spent. But I also donate to WSPA and have no way of knowing for sure what they are doing. Does anyone know about WSPA?

June 12, 2009 at 7:08 PM  
Blogger Tom Harper said...

Anonymous: Funny you should mention the Amish. They were one of the main culprits in the linked article, at least back in 1965 when that family's Dalmatian was kidnapped. I was hoping maybe that had changed, but apparently not. Almost makes me want to rent the movie "Witness" again so I can cheer when the local townies beat up on the Amish.

Sorry, I don't know anything about the WSPA.

June 12, 2009 at 9:18 PM  
Anonymous Bee said...

Follow up: I just saw on Headline News in the hotel lobby that they caught the Miami cat killer. He's an 18 year old kid, looks perfectly normal, probably a perfect neighbor...etc. etc., i.e., future serial killer in training. Oy, glad that got that one.

June 15, 2009 at 5:27 PM  
Blogger Tom Harper said...

Bee: Yup, I saw that story too. Thank God they got him. Hope every one of those cat owners gets five minutes alone with him.

June 15, 2009 at 6:04 PM  

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