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The “Culling” of Birds and Greyhounds

Since the start of the Avian Flu (H5N1) scare, we’ve been hearing about the "culling" of sometimes tens of thousands of birds at a time. "Culling," of course, means killing, but doesn’t produce the same visceral reaction.

This morning I was reading the HSUS publication All Animals, wherein there’s an article called, "Speed Kills." It’s about greyhound racing, which by now everyone knows is a cruel business that is still alive in 14 states. The greyhound industry creates more than 30,000 dogs annually (because what we really need is more dogs), and according to the HSUS and Grey2K USA, at least 5,000 are killed (or as the industry says, "culled") each year.

The language battle is vital to our nation’s dialogue about all important issues. Notice that whoever is doing something unsavory will find a way to cloak it in language that is more palatable to the public. The hope is that when the public hears about the "culling" of 5,000 greyhounds, they won’t picture the greyhounds being killed. Because if they do, they might be appalled enough to take action.

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