On ZooToo and the Right to Stand While Confined
Thank you for your email, as of right now we are considering farm sanctuaries if they have a facility or an enclosed barn, open to public even if it is by appointment only. It must be a 501C3, and be capable to adopt out animals. Because Wild life refuges do not adopt out animals to the public we are not including them in this one, but are working on programs for rescues and wild life programs. Thank you for choosing zootoo where every click helps a pet.
Now, call me crazy, but don’t farmed animal sanctuaries often rescue animals from people who had them as pets in the first place? Do they adopt out animals? If they do–if your favorite one does–submit it on ZooToo for a makeover and let everyone know so they can vote for/rate it! Of course, if your favorite no-kill shelter could use a makeover, that seems right up ZooToo’s alley.
Next, Chuck Colson, the former chief counsel for President Nixon who was jailed for Watergate-related charges but more recently works for a Christian prison fellowship, wrote "Speciesism and Rights for Animals" for the Christian Post.
- The article begins: "Five years ago, Florida voters amended their state constitution to guarantee the rights of a previously unprotected class: pregnant pigs. Specifically, the ballot initiative guaranteed pregnant sows ‘enough space within which to turn around.’ Now, treating animals humanely is a moral imperative, especially for Christians; treating them as if they somehow were equivalent to humans is not. And, increasingly, that is what we are doing." This thoroughly confuses me. Does he mean that granting someone the right to turn around while they’re being confined is a right only humans should have? And how important is his moral imperative if it’s so easily trumped?
- He continues: "At the time of the initiative, bioethicist Wesley J. Smith noted that at, any given time, there are only 300 pregnant sows in the entire state. Of these, only a handful were not being provided the space required by the amendment. So, the initiative was not being sponsored to eliminate animal cruelty. Instead, its goal was to establish a legal and political precedent that would help redefine the relationship between people and animalsâand, in this case, bestow constitutional rights on animals." Okay, I have two words for you: Wesley Smith. Here’s just one of his many opinions, called "Pro-Animal or Anti-Human."
- And now, the California initiative: "There, animal-rights supporters are trying to get an initiative on the September 2008 ballot. This initiative would extend the ‘rights’ granted to Florida sows to the rest of the barnyard. It would, in effect, give animals a right to stand up, lie down, turn around, and fully extend their limbs." And clearly, Colson doesn’t think they should have that right. Extending their limbs is just too much to ask.
- Meanwhile, he says: "Again, Christians ought to oppose cruelty toward animals and ensure that animals, including those we eat, are treated humanely." So humane doesn’t include standing or lying down or turning around while you’re being confined before you’re sent to slaughter? I’d like to hear his definition of humane.
- He thinks he’s figured it all out, as he’s heard about speciesism: "But initiatives like this one and in Florida are not really about the humane treatment of animals–they are about blurring and eventually erasing the distinction between people and animals. They are about eradicating what animal-rights advocates call ‘speciesism.’" The funny thing is that he’s got it backwards. These initiatives really are about reducing suffering (I won’t get into whether or not that actually happens). How exactly does allowing someone to stand and turn around, whose life you completely control and always will, lead to a blurring of the distinction between man and beast (I’m surprised he didn’t have that in there anywhere).
- "For [Peter] Singer and company, the offense is not only that we treat animals badly–it is that we think that people are human and, thus, different than animals," Colson writes. But that’s not the whole thought. Humans and animals aren’t different in that their both sentient. We’re not saying we’re identical and should have all of the same rights.
- Colson’s every value is revealed when he writes: "How far will the animal-rights movement go? Can you imagine pigs enjoying the right to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness? Don’t laugh. Social changes in postmodern America happen very quickly–especially when couched in the language of rights. How quickly, for example, did abortion go from being a crime to a right? Or the demand by gays for marriage?"
- And if you’re still not clear about where he’s coming from, he concludes with: "Worldviews matter. If you believe there is no God, then you believe there are no God-given rights. And to you, humans are indeed just one of many living accidents roaming the planet. But we know better. And we know better than to cast human rights before swine." The disdain is palpable, for both non-believers and pigs. If I believed in a god, there’s no way mine would be the type of god to basically tell me I can run roughshod over the planet and everyone on it, and call that "stewardship" or "dominion."
Here’s my problem: How do you communicate with someone who thinks he has the God-given right to his beliefs and behavior? In my own life my strategy is avoidance. Does anybody have a productive, positive way of speaking to religious people that has been met with success? Anybody doing a pamphlet on veganism and religion? I’d pay for that one.