Wtf is wrong with people?

Trigger warning for severe animal abuse.

From the Arkansas Times (via Feministe)

Jacob Burris, who has served as Aden’s campaign manager since late October, arrived home with his family Sunday evening, and his four children discovered the gruesome scene as they exited the family vehicle to enter their home.

The family pet, an adult, mixed-breed Siamese cat, had one side of its head bashed in to the point the cat’s eyeball was barely hanging from its socket. The perpetrators scrawled “liberal” across the cat’s body and left it on the doorstep of Burris’ house.

“To kill a child’s pet is just unconscionable,” Aden said Monday morning. “As a former combat soldier, I’ve seen the best of humanity and the worst of humanity. Whoever did this is definitely part of the worst of humanity,” he said.

The worst of humanity indeed. When animals are unnecessarily killed, abused, tortured, or harassed it is an egregious display of the most despicable characteristics. At least with human-on-human violence, though most times entirely senseless, there is some probability of reason or motivation.

Attacking the inarguably innocent is the difference between human and sub-human.

Questions I’ve Been Asked About Animal Rights

Originally I planned on writing a different entry today, on Islam, but this has kept emerging ever since the last entry about the subject.

You wouldn’t object if I crushed a cockroach. This is hypocritical, and proves that you don’t respect all living things equally as you claim.

You probably wouldn’t torture the cockroach before you killed it. My primary concern is the mutilation and torture of animals before they are slaughtered. In other words, I don’t have a problem with other people actually killing animals to eat them. I have a problem with how its done. Similarly, I don’t care if you kill a cockroach or termites as long as it died quickly and you had a survival reason to kill it (health precautions, destroying your home, etc.) I just view that as you defending yourself. You need to defend yourself against parasites like bed bugs like you would against (living) bacterial infection on your body. It’s the same with every creature: if something poses a threat, by all means, defend yourself.

So in certain scenarios, yes, I in fact would object to you killing a smaller “less cute” animal. I prefer taking spiders outside, and sweeping ants out with a broom.

Peter Singer is an ableist douchebag.

I agree entirely. That is why I will never ever speak of him here. Er, except to address this question–I mean, statement.

Speciesm is absurd. I will never think animals are the same as humans.

That’s not speciest. You know what’s speciest? To believe that animals are the same as humans. It is speciest to expect a rabbit to perform the tasks of a human being, just as it is speciest to believe a rabbit does not have the right to not be tortured. Specism is like all other -isms in that there is a whole “you think you’re being considerate but you’re being an ass” aspect, through arbitrarily assigning a characteristic to something simply because it has another completely unrelated characteristic. You don’t expect an rabbit to be able to fetch or track down people using scents like a dog just because both animals are able to feel the same amount of pain. Animal rights are based on the level of awareness the animal has and on experiences of pain. This is not about allowing every creature to do everything: only to respect the rights that creatures have according to their own individual capabilities and awareness.

Animals don’t have rights because they’re not as intelligent as humans.

Hi, we can’t be friends anymore. The ability to feel pain, and the rights derived from it and from having a body, are entirely unrelated to levels of cognition. Awareness is different from intelligence. You are probably a messed up person in other ways too. Like, you’d believe that it is perfectly okay that women weren’t allowed to vote because they didn’t work and “contribute to the economy” according to your biased, bigoted measurements. Or you’d believe that because a person has a certain disability, he should not be credited for/allowed to contribute to society as though all disabilities are the same and wheelchairs have anything to do with a person’s ability to lecture a class or autism has anything to do with a person’s ability to be a pilot or something ridiculous. Or that if a person is raped while she’s passed out, it doesn’t matter because she won’t remember it.

Stop arbitrarily assigning characteristics to people and animals based on other irrelevant traits. And consequently doing a crapload of other messed up things.

The animal rights movement is sexist. And classist. And fatphobic.

I am not going to defend PETA. Or classist and fatphobic people. No one should be body-shaming or health-policing anyone else, no matter what they eat. Alliances between people who eat the same things tend to be pretentious and disingenuous; a more productive approach is alliances formed from the same interest. I believe the majority of us care very deeply about animal rights, and would readily and easily agree that the conditions in which animals are raised and slaughtered are inhumane, and have understandably felt alienated by the movement.

I have a problem with claims that animal rights is linked to feminism. It sounds like you’re equating women with animals.

That is absurd, and this may be what I find most frustrating because it comes from allies and really good people–who are most likely rightfully concerned, to be fair, because we just spent centuries forced to prove that women should not be equated with animals, you sexist dunderfucks. Probably the most embarrassing conversations in history. But animal rights is linked to feminism just like the rights of people of color, the rights of trans people, the rights of disabled people, the rights of impoverished people, the rights of children, and yes–the rights of women, and of those who have been marginalized by other forms of discrimination, and all the ways in which these rights intersect.

Veganism / Vegetarianism doesn’t solve the larger systematic problem in which modern agricultural processes are inhumane to both people and animals.

This is true. Veganism / vegetarianism functions mostly on an individual level, and while that can be productive in that every individual makes up a larger mass of people who can make huge impacts through their actions, migrant workers are constantly victims of harsh labor and of health risks and of every injustice imaginable–which eating vegetables does not solve. At all. To make matters worse, they are also the victims of producing vast amount of feed for animals. Vegans are not special–they’ve got just as much blood on their hands as omnivores. But this isn’t choose-one-or-the-other: you can care about animals and care about migrant farm workers.

Politics is everyone’s enemy, especially when money rules the world and pays it off. What’s most productive for animal rights activists, and for everyone, is to understand why people make the choices they do, to understand that they care deeply about animals, and about workers, but that their own situations leave them with nothing else and they are victims of a larger system. And then to go about trying to fix these core problems. We are up against enormous and enormously wealthy corporations who pay off our politicians. Yay.

Prevalent Perceptions on Animal Rights, and on Vegetarians & Vegans

I am not good with ultimatums. I once told myself, If anyone is anti-choice, I can’t be friends with him/her. But then I met someone anti-choice, and dammit I had to like her. She was kind and sweet and fascinated with astronomy. (Also I am convinced that in the future she will change her mind.) Granted, she wasn’t the “women who have abortions are the spawn of the devil!” type–she was sort of the quiet, well-I-would-still-keep-the-kid type. (And yes, I told her that was not her decision for another woman. She was like “Yeah… I know… but yeah.”)

Anyway, that didn’t work out: we’re still friends.

But that doesn’t mean that there isn’t a line… somewhere. If anyone makes a rape joke, for instance, I’m dropping xir in a second if xe doesn’t learn to shut up, at least around me. And I have. Good riddance, because after a while it is really bad for my emotional health.

Lately, I’ve been feeling something similar when it comes to attitudes toward animal rights. I’m not talking about the “PETA is so hypocritical!” people–God knows I’ve criticized them myself, and for good reason. Nor am I talking about, “I can’t be vegan because I can’t afford it; why do vegans insist on forcing this on me without acknowledging we don’t all have that kind of class privilege?” because I have seen this happen, where a vegan will guilt-trip someone who isn’t, and it is an understandable sentiment to be irritated and pissed off. Most people can’t afford to be vegetarian/vegan and eat healthy.

Being a vegetarian, I don’t eat healthy. (This may also have to do with the fact that I’m a university student.) I can’t afford to eat healthy. I can’t afford organic, and I’m always drinking water so I don’t have to pay for food. Often, I forget to eat altogether because I much rather read or daydream and I’m so sucked in I don’t even realize I’m hungry. Whether I am putting my health in jeopardy is debatable. But that is my decision. I don’t believe I’m at any more risk than the average college student, and as far as I’m concerned meat is only good for protein and doesn’t make as huge a difference as everyone claims. This may or may not come back to kick my ass when I’m in my 40s.

In fact, part of the reason I understand the frustrations of omnivores whom vegans have attempted to violently convert through guilt-tripping involves more than class privilege. It unfortunately also involves a lot of health-policing, and I wouldn’t dream of doing that to people in the first place, but I especially wouldn’t because so many people have done it to me. “What are you, 93 pounds? How strong are you? You need to eat some good saucy meat.”

No, I don’t, thanks. And your tone is slightly creepy.

Sound criticisms are not bad for my emotional health. If these are your complaints, I am not talking about you; in fact I’m behind you one hundred percent.

Here is what I can’t tolerate:

Why is it that when a vegetarian/vegan does something like this it’s always representative? I don’t even talk about how I’m a vegetarian unless the subject comes up first–people generally don’t find out until we eat together, and still those who do eat meat go out of their way to eat it in front me, make jokes about animal rights (let’s give cows the vote hahaahaha!), and are able to do this with great convenience because they have the privilege of every restaurant catering to their demands.

But I was never all like, “OMG YOU MEAT EATERS ARE FUCKING DOUCHEBAGS! And I know this because this one time, I met one who was a douchebag.”

The most epic of times happened when a guy showed me a video of what appeared to be a male duck holding onto the feathers of a female duck with his beak and forcing her to stay there and have sex with him while she was clearly trying to escape, and the ass was like, “Arrest him for rape!”

Mocking the animal rights movement and rape victims at the same time. You’re still not funny.

I am serious when I say that it gets to the point when it’s a form of harassment. In real life, that is. When some weirdo follows you around with a plate and chanting, “Tasty tasty dead animals!” it is harassment. This triggers me. It evokes real pain. On the Internet it’s completely unavoidable and you just have to stop reading. After I left the last two paragraphs of this entry in the comment section on Feministe, there were people making jokes about how owning pets is slavery.

I’ve never heard a vegan say this. Ever. And I have to see my way out after that, because I am thinking of the terrible conditions in which farm animals are tortured and mutilated and you are comparing it to owning pets. You are deliberately distorting what I am arguing for to belittle the horrors of torture and mutilation for your own amusement.

Worse than that, is when people assert animals have no rights, and they are completely serious. The first person I heard say this was my high school economics instructor, who was a pretty decent guy except for the fact that he was an economics instructor. According to him animals are not bound by the social contract of civilization, and therefore are not entitled to rights. I also had a biology instructor who said God put animals here for our use, so that we can experiment on them. I’ve come across people who believe animals don’t consent (Dogs who think their opinions matter become dangerous!) and that they are incapable of feeling love or shame.

If has the ability to feel pain, it has rights.

I don’t know how this can be any clearer. Animals have rights based on experiences of pain. If it can be tortured, it has the right to not be tortured. Especially when the torture is entirely unnecessary and exists solely to feed sleazy corporate appetites. It’s astounding that there are people who don’t understand this. And if it needs to be explained to them, they probably never will.

I am not good with ultimatums. But if anyone persists with, “We have the right to do what we want because we’re smarter and LOL duck rape” I won’t put up with it.