Why I Don't Like Animal Rights Groups

It's scarey to see how far people can go with their beliefs. I am personally a happy-middle, fence-sitting, grey-seeing type person. Fanatics frighten me because they fail to take into account the fact that most people don't feel the same as them and that many of their ideals, however nice they may seem, are impractical. When I was browsing for animal-related webrings I was astounded by the number of animal rights rings that there were. I only found one anti-animal rights nuts ring, and it only had a few members. It seems that many pet owners out there are ignorant as to what animal rights groups are trying to achieve. I shall outline in this article what I feel is wrong with the animal rights' agenda.

Interactions Between Species
The earth is crowded with organisms, humans and others. There is NO way anything can live without interacting with other species. These interactions happen all the time and not just between humans and non-humans. No other species out there seem to care whether their actions hurt or help others. A predator doesn't quit hunting because it suddenly stops and thinks, "Gee, I'm taking this rabbit's life. How evil of me!" Animals rights activists are opposed to humans interacting with or using animals in any way. Almost every product we use involved an animal in some way. Clothes, food, and medicine are only a few things that we get from animals. Activists would most likely argue that "abusing" animals for our own needs is selfish and an unnatural act of cruelty. Ants do it. Many colony insects keep other animals alive for the same reasons that we do. Aphids are kept like cattle and milked for the honeydew that they produce. Some moth larvae are used in the same manner. Raising other species for the products they produce is perfectly natural. I doubt most activists would refuse a medication researched using animals if that medication would save their life. If they really held to their beliefs they would move off into the wilderness somewhere and live like our hunter/gatherer (oh wait, they can't hunt) ancestors.

I personally do not hunt, and I can't say that I really approve of it since most meat can be bought and any excitement gained from the experience can be gained in other ways, but I do accept that some people do it and seem to enjoy it. There is also one big benefit of hunting. Hunters are often the biggest financial and political supporters of wildlife conservation and restoration. Where does all the cash that animal rights groups rake in go? They don't seem to show much support for saving the environment that their beloved animals reside in.

Captive Breeding
Birds used to be imported without much restraint until an outbreak of disease crippled the poultry industry. After that the U.S. government made sure that all incoming shipments went through quarantine stations. Quarantine was not pretty, and thousands died from poor, overly-crowded conditions. Animal rights activists came down hard on this and started flashing sad pictures everywhere. The result of all this was the Wild Bird Conservation Act (WBCA, for more information on its affects, visit the American Federation of Aviculture), a law which basically makes it illegal to import any birds. The conditions of import should have been improved, but not this. There are many problems with this well-meaning law. What we aviculturists have in captivity now is all we get. Some species are getting harder and harder to find and many are being inbred to excess. We are already seeing some of these species starting to disapppear. Prices have gone through the roof, despite the fact that many birds are not at all threatened in their countries of origin. For many citizens of the exporting countries, this was one of the few ways to make a living. Now they must turn to other, less environmentally friendly sources of income. Forests are cut down to make way for cattle. Rare or endangered species may be used for food. Birds considered pests are shot or poisoned to protect crops. These pests may be worth a thousand dollars here! Besides pushing the WBCA on us, activists do not support captive breeding at all, even if the species is being bred to save it from extinction (their motto is "better dead than bred"). When it was first decided to try and captively breed condors, some fanatical animal rights activists threatened to blow up the conservation center. Does this sound like a responsible organization you'd like to support?

Companion Animals
If you are here, you most likely own an animal of some kind. How would you like it if you weren't allowed to own any animals? None, even if you did take excellent care of them. This is exactly what animal rights activists want, and ignorant pet owners continue to support these "animal lovers." They claim that pets are slaves and deserve to be free. My animals are perfectly content living in captivity. One thing that is so neat about other species is that they are easily satisfied, while humans aren't. If you provide an animal with good living quarters, food, entertainment, and love they are usually more happy than they would ever be in the wild without these things. My aunt is an interesting owner, she has never cared that much about winning or making a lot of money with her animals; she just wants them to be happy. If they are happy, so is she. Many years ago she bred huskies for sled racing. She always let them run around her property during the training season, when most other people kept theirs locked up. The belief was that dogs that were only let out for training sessions would run faster and stronger. Can you guess who won most of the races? My aunt's dogs were happy and healthy, and they outran everybody else's. People should work more on getting other owners to adopt such "keep them happy" philosophies.

Where do you draw the line?
How far does one take animal rights? How do these activists determine which living organisms deserve rights? Do invertebrates deserve them, even if they're blood-sucking parasites that live off humans? What about the one-celled creatures in a drop of pond water? Plants are alive, what about them?

Realistic, practical ways to help
Millions own animals, and not all take very good care of them. It is the job of responsible pet owners to teach others how to properly care for their animals. Education is a key factor. People who are not planning on breeding their cats and dogs should have them sterilized. If you want to get an animal, why not adopt one from an animal shelter? Sure it costs a lot, but you'd be saving a life. Conservation and restoration of natural habitats is essential. I'm not just talking about rainforests, there are usually places right near home which need protection. Some wetlands near here were recently restored. Not only does it control water flow during the rainy season, but it is a key link along the Pacific Flyway (a pathway that migrating birds use) and is the home to many species of waterfowl. Have kids? Take them to zoos, national parks, and other wilderness areas. Teach them to have a love and respect for other creatures. There are lots of things which can be done to help animals, without going to extreames.

Feisty Feathers

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