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Animal Rights and Human Wrongs
by Richard F. Stratton

I have often been amused to find that the book that is most often banned in countries which allow such things is The World of the American Pit Bull Terrier. There are a lot of things wrong with this country (although I dearly love it), but we can be thankful for the First Amendment. It does protect free speech. A book can’t be banned just because you disagree with it–or even if the entire world disagrees with it. The animal rights lunatics are not of that mind. If they get the chance, they will ban a book, and the book of mine I mentioned is their favorite target. Is this because I was overly blatant in that particular opus in defending or explaining the pit dog game? Perhaps. But I think a more likely explanation is that I included an entire chapter about the humane movement in regard to animals. No one has disputed the facts in the chapter, but obviously, there is a great desire to suppress them.

Although I have been very critical of humaniacs, I struggle mightily to understand them. It is not difficult to do. Most of us love animals. Those of us who have become involved with a hobby aspect of dogs, whether it is showing, hunting, weight pulling, or other, even illegal, activities, have nearly always done so from having loved dogs so much that we wanted to do something more to justify putting in more time with them. So humaniacs (the word I invented to refer to the animal welfare lunatics) are not so difficult to understand. They just have taken things a little further than the rest of us. They are often successful and bright, with a little too much time on their hands. But even the brightest of them are criminally ignorant. I was once asked under cross examination if my term "humaniac" was meant to refer to those animal rights people who oppose dogfighting. I replied, "No, it was meant to refer to the lunatics who won’t listen to reason, the kind that castigate the San Diego Zoo for not giving the koalas water–because they are so unenlightened they don’t realize that koalas don’t drink water!"

If you are going to support laws that would put people in prison for years, it is incumbent, it would seem to me, upon such perpetrators to enlighten themselves about the activity they would like to stop. But they have not done that. They remain woefully ignorant, although a field director of one of the organizations travels the country, giving seminars on dogfighting, utilizing mainly the information he has gleaned from my books. But he is not adverse to filling in the gaps with his imagination. The people who attend his seminars are then certified as expert witnesses for court cases. It is these ignoramuses that I often must oppose in various court cases.

Pit dogs are the cakes and ale of these humane groups. Any time they report incidents of dogfighting or their success in perpetrating legislation against it, the money simply pours into their coffers. Although they have not succeeded one whit in suppressing pit fighting, they have reaped more profits than anyone else. The most damning indictment of the animal rights lunatics is that they are ineffective at protecting animals, but they do cause human suffering.

To some degree the tide is showing some signs of turning against the humaniacs. I just recently read an article in a medical journal in which the author maintains that the medical community erred greatly in ever trying to appease these lunatics. Scientists are often an easy target because they have difficulty explaining things in layman’s terms. Not every one of them is a Carl Sagan or Isaac Asimov. The first impulse of these physicians and scientists was to give in to all the new sentiments inherent in the animal rights groups by reducing the use of animals and replacing them in some way whenever possible. But this only emboldened the agitators. They were so ignorant that they wanted all the animal research eliminated and replaced with computer simulation. Where did they think that the information for the computer simulations came from?

My vet tells me that he would hate to have the present-day veterinary school graduates work on his dog. You see, animal surgery practice has been almost completely replaced in veterinary schools by computer simulation. It is not even close to the real thing. What had been used before were the cats and dogs from animal control. They were scheduled for death anyway, but this way they could be used to train veterinarians to do surgery before they were euthanized. They were under anesthetic the entire time, so they never suffered.

The loonies have also had an impact on medical schools. Here is what animal rights people have accomplished for these institutions. There was a time that dogs and cats were utilized for surgical practice. They still have to be, to some degree, as there is nothing like the feel of real blood vessels and organs for learning techniques. The animals were originally animals slated to die from animal control. Again, they were under anesthesia, and they were euthanized while they were under, so they never suffered. In fact, it would be humane if we could all have such an easy death. But the humaniacs wielded their power. These animals could no longer be available, although they still had to be euthanized. So now special dogs are raised strictly for the purpose of being used in practice surgeries. In other words, now two sets of dogs have to die. The old saying "with friends like these, you don’t need enemies" was never more apropos!

The fact is that only one percent of the animals are used for research by scientists. The other 99 percent slated for an untimely demise are the farm animals. The animal rights advocates made a deliberate choice to go for the scientists and doctors because they were less organized and more accessible than the farmers. Not only are humaniacs stupid, they are cowardly and lazy!

There I go again. I started out trying to be understanding of humaniacs and ended up by name calling. This is from the frustration of the harm they have done in destroying labs and the documentation involved in the studies, often setting back important medical research months–even years. And the fact is that the animals are generally well treated. Most of them are mice or rats, with only a few dogs, pigs, and cats being used. Many years ago, scientists were asked to identify the ten most important medical advances. There was a consensus, and later study revealed that all these advances were done through animal experimentation. Humaniacs would have us believe that all animals have the same rights as us. Ironically, they may have gotten that idea from science, as biology has revealed how we are all part of nature. But the concept of rights is a legal term, and only humans have rights, and they must necessarily be limited (to some degree). Surely we can have compassion for animals and still realize that there is a difference between a child and a rat.

Although humaniacs are generally good people, they have a right to be embarrassed about some of their history. It has always been one of hyperbole. Using the term "vivisection," they were able to get nearly all the dog fanciers on their side, including the old time Pit Bull magazines. I have the old Bloodlines Journal and Pit and Pal magazines to prove it! Vivisection implied cutting an animal open without anesthesia, and such things almost never took place. Strangely enough, Germany bought into this hysteria more than any country, and the Nazi regime announced in 1933 that a person found vivisecting animals of any kind would immediately be transported to concentration camps. (Of course, Nazi scientists and doctors later committed heinous medical experiments upon Jews and other captives, twisting the ideals of science to their own means and elevating animals to a status they murderously denied fellow human beings.)

The animal rights people love to propagate the fiction that every big time criminal and killer started out by abusing animals. (That way they can raise the level of hysteria about animal abuse and gain even more money for themselves.) But they overlook people like Adolph Hitler. He absolutely adored animals, and he was particularly fond of dogs. It was only people that he abused; no animal ever suffered at his hand.

Not all animal welfare people can be tarred with the same brush, of course. Some of them are not as extreme as the terrorists that have destroyed laboratories. Some of them even agree with animals being used in research. But the question to me is: Do any of them do any good? Is it possible to eliminate animal suffering? Is it possible to even make a dent in it? Consider, if you will, one of the most beautiful sights in the world. That is the east plains of Africa. There are animals of every type off to the horizon, wildebeest, zebras, antelope, lions, cheetahs, and leopards. They are beautiful, and the sight of them touches the heart. And yet, every single animal is likely to eventually die a horrible death. The prey animals will eventually be pulled down by predators. The predators are doomed to death by starvation, infection, or parasitism. Some of them may live relatively long lives, but even those will be weakened enough by age that they can’t hunt or are taken down by disease. Nature really is bloody of tooth and red of claw. All biologists know that these are the facts, and yet they would not eliminate the wilderness areas. The only way the suffering can be eliminated is by destroying all living things, as suffering is a part of life for all of us. Unfortunately, I don’t think that it is mere happenstance, the animal welfare people are unconcerned, from all appearances, about preserving wilderness habitats. Perhaps it is also not surprising that some groups advocate an end to the American Pit Bull Terrier breed–for its own good, of course!

Even with domestic animals, it is my observation that the humane groups rarely do any good for animals. Let’s face it. Most people like animals, and they aren’t going to abuse them. Parents teach children to be kind and gentle with animals. On the rare occasions that people actually abuse animals, no one is around to witness it. What kinds of cases, then, are prosecuted? Well, to take just two recent examples from my neck of the woods, an elderly woman was arrested and her cats confiscated (and put down). She had taken in stray cats all her life. In her later years, she was not able to take them to the vet, so a few of them had problems with their skin, although they were being treated. The way I read it, the situation made my blood boil. This poor woman had obviously devoted her entire life to helping cats, and some blue noses got her charged with animal cruelty. How pitiless that must have seemed to her, but then, humaniacs are not concerned with cruelty to humans.

Another case involved a Vietnam War veteran. In a wheel chair because of his war injuries, he had a nice country place, and he apparently liked game chickens. His chickens were all seized because they had their combs cut in the manner of fighting chickens. Like the dogs, the chickens have been bred from countless ancestors of warriors, so the chickens like to fight. There is little cruelty involved. Let’s have a reality check here. What is life like for most chickens? In the egg farm factories, it is not good–not even as good as the chickens portrayed in the movie "Chicken Run" (that I saw with my granddaughter)! A game chicken has a fight or two and then lives the life of a king. But the humaniacs, as usual, won’t listen to reason. And I say this as an impartial observer, as I have little interest in game chickens.

I would rather be writing about dogs here, but perhaps the reader will forgive me for taking time out to vent a little in this article. The fact is that this commentary is not just therapy for my psyche. I wanted to sound a warning that there is a national–perhaps a world–hysteria going on about animal abuse. Consequently, laws are being passed that have real teeth. And some of them are such stupid ones as forbidding that dogs ever be chained. As usual the humaniacs are ignorant and are unaware that show dog people keep their dogs in shipping crates in the house. The problem is that cruelty is in the eye of the beholder. Thus, laws get passed which amount to no violation of anyone’s rights–instead they merely violate some person’s sensitivities. Nevertheless, the laws are on the books, and I would encourage all dog people to be mindful of them. This hysteria, like all hysterias, will eventually pass. The question is how much damage will be done in the time it is in effect. Perhaps having dog people be wary but also aware of some of the facts about humaniacs will be useful. They don’t necessarily hold the moral high ground, but they can be dangerous all the same.