Response to Annoying Comment

Discussion in 'Animal Advocates Support' started by peacegal, Jan 19, 2005.

  1. peacegal

    peacegal Member

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    We've all been there before. A story about a kitten's difficult rescue, or a dog abuse case in which the abuser got unusually strict punishment comes on the news. Some blowhard starts shouting about how animals are treated better than human beings in this country nowadays, and what an outrage it is.
    Despite the curious fact that people who believe this must never look at a menu or visit a grocery store freezer department, anyone with even basic awareness of humane issues knows what a mind-numbing comment this is.
    A refreshingly direct columnist sets these armchair commentators straight.
    Stray Dogs Deserve Back Rubs
    We kill millions of pets every year. Who cares if a few get posh shelters and humane laws?

    - By Mark Morford, SF Gate Columnist
    [size=-2]Friday, January 14, 2005

    OK. So I tend to think people who insist on calling themselves pet "guardians" instead of "owners" are exasperating and a bit wrongheaded, and that such uber-PC thinking does almost nothing to change or improve the behavior of the thousands of animal abusers in this country.

    And I tend to agree with fabulous dog writer Jon Katz that such semantic sidestepping does more harm to the animals than good, and leads to naive treatment, lack of decent training and an outright ignorance of the creature's very cool dogness.

    What about all those new ultra-posh pet boutiques and the concomitant trend toward the wild overpampering of our "companion" animals? Silly if not outright depressing, really, given how we appear to be projecting ourselves, our desires and habits and need for intimate TLC, onto an animal that really couldn't care less.

    Further, I think the shift toward treating dogs and cats as full-blown family members, as surrogate kids or surrogate mates or surrogate babies, is even worse, as we are loading up our animals with far too much emotional liability and psychological complexity, granting a completely unique species an impossible array of human traits and emotional responses they don't have or need or understand, which then only causes stress and resentment and chewed shoes and deeper personal depression as you, the "guardian," slowly realize the dog can't have meaningful sex with you or take you to dinner or help decorate the Christmas tree or talk to you calmly about just what the hell is going on with your hair.


    Let us not get carried away. There are issues of pet treatment and animal care that are vital and urgent and necessary, that speak to our moral fiber and emotional core and our ability to have compassion and love and a sense of humane decency and passable kibble.

    Let us allow for new rules that give our pets some basic rights and desist, furthermore, in comparing a given city's treatment of found strays and rescued pooches to, say, our treatment of the homeless, an issue that just came up again in San Francisco as the City just passed new laws redefining what constitutes minimal humanitarian treatment of our pets (a city, by the way, that already officially uses guardian instead of owner) and a few officials were concerned about that very point, that we were treating dogs better than people, to which we can only say, oh please.

    One: no, we're not. Two: yes, maybe we should. And three: get over it.

    Let us now, instead, hold up the positive pet-treatment issue overall as righteous and good and necessary in this time of puppy mills and overbreeding and general degradation and destruction and war and Bush.

    It's a large and increasingly important issue, floating over our wildly pet-lovin' culture like a giant question mark: What do our animals deserve? What are their true rights? What constitutes humane or decent treatment in the face of a culture that casually kills millions of unwanted pets every year and openly massacres billions more animals for food and doesn't blink an eye?

    And what infinitesimal steps, more broadly speaking, can we as a species take to maybe just slightly lighten the load of massive destruction we heap upon the animal kingdom in general and pets and/or food animals specifically?

    Let's just say it outright: in terms of social care and protection and basic rights, dogs (and cats too -- but I focus on dogs here because I know them better and cats come with a different set of strange and baffling issues given how you can apparently own 157 of them and still pretend to function, and I think cats are generally odd and alien and generally speaking most really wouldn't mind if we humans just vanished from the planet altogether -- but, hey, that's just me), dogs deserve every goddamn luxury we can throw at them.

    Look. Nearly every homeless person in any city possesses free will and functioning bipedal brains and has access to food and shelter and social services, and most can take advantage of them whenever they like and I know, I know, it's more complicated than that and fraught with a hundred other issues and policies and health-care woes, claims of overcrowded shelters and drug addictions and horrific psychiatric problems. Fine. But it's essentially true.

    Whereas. Dogs are 100 percent dependent. On us. Completely at our mercy, unable to exert any sort of control over their own fate or their own health and we as a nation show very little of that mercy overall, killing as we do about 5 million unwanted dogs and cats every year. That's million.

    Abused, abandoned, sick, too large too small too loud too furry too unstable too slobbery, unwanted for a thousand different reasons, bred for fighting or for aggression and therefore unadoptable once they've been dumped by their brutal and small-minded owners, or they're diseased and left tied to trees and malnourished and beaten with chains. And each one, unlike humans, completely innocent of its domestic circumstances, and completely powerless to change them.

    Five million. That's about 14,000 animals put to death every day. Or 600 every hour. Ten animals every minute. Go ahead. Pause right here. Wait one minute. There you go, 10 more dead pets. OK? You want to compare suffering of a species for our rather selfish benefit to that of the deeply complex but far more psychologically accessible homeless issue? Give me a break.

    Look. Ask any Humane Society or rescue worker and you'll get an earful about how we overbreed and underprotect pets and don't spay or neuter nearly enough, and we as a culture don't seem to really give much of a crap about the overall toll, about the sheer volume of death and neglect and abuse, out of sight out of mind and let's just all smile at the shiny happy golden retrievers at the beach while the shelter quietly puts down yet another pit bull that should never have been bred in the first place.

    And hence right now despite the slightly annoying and highly gushy politically correct attitude of many dog advocates here in S.F. and Berkeley, I am overall still just incredibly proud to live in a city that has voted to give a tiny bit more power to the underfunded and understaffed Animal Care and Control people to enforce some basic laws of pet treatment and care (clean water, basic shelter, edible food, no inhumane constraints). I mean, so what?

    Hell, plethoric are the places in this nation and on this planet where animals in general and dogs in particular are largely still considered disposable hunks of barely tolerated meat, where they are regularly kicked to the curb or thrown out of speeding trucks or blasted in the groin with shotguns for fun or bred by inner-city thugs to mutilate each other in fight pens, and maybe you'll agree: give me stricter pet laws and posh dog-rescue digs and more expensive no-kill shelters in the world's most progressive American city any goddamn day.

    Hey, it's the least we can do.
  2. pabsy

    pabsy Hip Forums Supporter HipForums Supporter

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    although i agree with a lot of what you say there is something here i felt i needed to comment on...

    although i agree that we cannot presume our pets to have human traits..we all know this isnt possible.. i have to disagree with you about dogs not needing to be full blown members of a family.

    Dogs are pack animals and it is absolutely essential that they have a place in their 'pack'/ family.....if you have more than one dog you will notice that there is a pecking order...

    A dog who is unsure of his position in the family may become difficult to control as he is always striving to to find his own place and may even challenge you to become top dog..

    A happy dog who knows his position and is a fully blown member of his family will not chew your shoes or be otherwise destructive. Dogs need love and attention... interaction within the family...lots of exercise and someone responsible for their good health and welfare..and that includes at the very least basic training.... provide a dog with these few basic requirements and he'll be perfectly happy as a full blown member of his family....

    my rant...sorry...

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