September 25, 2005

PETA and Me

First I would like to thank everyone who took part of my survey. I enjoyed reading your answers and hearing your thoughts on the matter.

This survey was begun because of an e-mail debate on a list I belong to.

Like many people answering here and on their own blogs, my visceral reaction to PETA is negative. Too often their tactics have been so over the top and, in my eyes contemptible, that I haven't even bothered to listen to their messages even when the ads do not show what I feel is contempt for my fellow human being.

Animals are not equivalent to human beings. Neither is their suffering. That doesn't mean of course that their suffering should go unnoticed. But human beings must come first. The needs of a human outweigh those of an animal.

This would, in my eyes, allow almost anything to be done to an animal if the intent was to improve the human condition (of one or more individuals), under the following qualifications.

1)the use of the animal is necessary for the purpose; it can not be done sufficiently well any other way.
2)the animal is treated as humanely as possible.

Obviously one can haggle here: what do I mean by "improve the human condition", "necessary for the purpose" and what do I mean by "humanely as possible" ? These arguments can go on ad nauseum. In my mind that means eating meat, using animals for experimentation to find cures for illnesses and using animals as companions and aides.

Vegetarianism, especially vegean form of eating, is a higher level of morality in terms of eating, than a omniovorious style, just as someone who devotes most of their hours to charitable work, or who spends all their free time learning Torah, or who gives up their lunch hour to spend time with a friend in need are also acting on a higher level of morality. The ultimate Judge is G-d and how these actions play together is dependent upon many a thing.

PETA undercuts its own good intentions toward animals by not recognizing or not admitting to a difference in the treatment of animals versus treatment of people.
The essence of the Holocaust and the enslavement of Africans and others is that people are reduced to the level of animals. To once again reduce humans to that level, by equating an animal being slaughtered to the Holocaust or depicting a pig on the head of a lynched man, demonstrates to me that, at the very least, those in charge of PETA have no real concept of the depravity of the above two events in human history (and similar actions.)

PETA would do itself a favor if it reexamined itself; its goals and its ideals.
If they truly believe that the difference between animals and people in terms of value is equal then they can never represent me, even if I should come to agree with them in terms of the basic issues.

People are not animals. We were given this world to use; not abuse, but to use, for the betterment of ourselves as a whole.

I do believe a good goal of the human race would be to eliminate the use of animals as much as possible. But with that attempt must come the understanding that people are first, and the needs of the human outweigh the needs of animals.

Posted by Rachel Ann at September 25, 2005 07:47 AM | TrackBack

Well said! (I'm trying again)

Posted by: esther at September 26, 2005 04:32 AM

Agreed! Well described here! Another question or comment that I had not remembered to say in your ealier comment section is that what I find so very strange is that PETA people are not also forefront in the fight against abortion! I just cannot understand how anyone who values animals to that point would not regard human babies even more so...but then we live in a crazy world, right?

Posted by: Elizabeth at September 26, 2005 07:14 PM

To be honest, Elizabeth, I don't see that as at odds with each other. It all goes back to when you think life begins. And if you think it's at birth or when the baby can survive on its own outside the womb, then... you're not having a problem with the law as it is right now and can concentrate on the animals.

Posted by: esther at September 26, 2005 10:24 PM

Perhaps so Esther, but to be perfectly honest, I almost never have seen life in grays....rather in black and white. I guess it is how HaShem made me. I believe what the Tanach says...and how all our days were known before there was a one and how HE formed us in the womb...seems awfully special to me! And I do LOVE animals far more than the average out there...believe me, my doggies seem not to know that they are not human...their lives are far better than the majority of humans out there in the world, unfortunately for the humans (yes they are allowed to rest on the couch or in the nice recliner and they are only given filtered water to drink, in fact one of them will NOT get a drink from a mud puddle on a walk due to only having had clean dog has to have special diet...expensive dog we give them tidbits of good scraps.)! I would rather that any animal that is of a high enough brain power, such as dogs, cats, pigs, horses, cows, goats, sheep, etc...not be used for experimentation. I have less trouble with a rabbit, guinea pig or rat, etc. Not in cruel ways, but in humane ways. As I wrote earlier, if we lived by the laws of our Creator...we would have virtually NO need of meds and thus no need to experiment on animals too...right??? As to other things like makeup, shampoo, etc...making things organically solves much of that as well. But I will never see that an animal has rights above that of has gone SO far here in America, that many times they do have more rights than humans!!

Posted by: Elizabeth at September 27, 2005 12:27 AM
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