WB Unplugged: What Makes Dogs Different?

Cross-Posted to LiveJournal and The Angry Redhead

Another Writer’s Block Unplugged question I came across and felt had to be answered was this:

An outdoor adventure company recently slaughtered 100 dogs after not seeing the amount of business they expected. Why is that most people are appalled by the actions that this company took, but don’t give a second thought to the number of cows, chickens or sheep that are killed every year on farms? Why do most people have different reactions depending on the animal?

Definitely an interesting topic.

So why is killing dogs different from killing sheep or cows or chickens?

For some people, there is no difference.  That’s why they’ve chosen to go vegetarian (or in some cases even vegan.)

For me however, I see a difference.

For one, I believe nature intended us to eat meat.  We are built to be omnivores.  That is, nature intended for us to eat both plants and animals.  I find no reason to bunk nature in that respect.  We’ve been cooking meat since the cavemen learned to hunt and invented fire.

So, killing a sheep or a cow or a chicken or a pig usually serves a food purpose.  Those animals killed on farms are bred to be killed and butchered and sent to people to eat. I would prefer that farms make use of all of the animal that gets butchered, as there are many parts of the animals that are useful (for instance, the cows that get killed could have their skin used for leather.) The way we do it now is simply an evolutionary trait.  We’ve evolved a different way of “hunting” and killing, since humans have grown so much in population.  Our higher brain functions, which set us apart from animals, have given us problem solving skills and we’ve conquered many things that nature intended to kill us anyway.

But I am against killing an animal for the sake of killing.  The dogs they are talking about in this article were not only butchered for the sake of it, they were done so in a way that is brutal by most farm standards.  I(FYI: I went looking for the article the question linked to, but it is no longer up online.) This is not something I am a fan of.  No animal in nature does this, so we shouldn’t either.

I’m also not like most people in condemning a place like China for using cat and dog meat in their foods.  It seems gross and wrong to us but they don’t hold necessarily hold the animals to the same standard we here in America do (for instance, viewing our animal as a member of the family and treating them in some ways as we would treat a fellow human.)  However, I am against them kidnapping people’s pets to do this.  That’s someone elses property and you have no right to do that.

Point of that previous paragraph is that if they had slaughtered the dogs and then, say, sent the meat to China to be used, then I wouldn’t have as much of a problem.  Sure I think it’s stupid to kill something just because it “wasn’t the amount of business you wanted.”  But at least then there would be something useful coming out of the killing.  Instead, to just slaughter these animals and dump them just shows how ignorant we really are of the natural world despite our higher brain functions.

The debate, to me however, is a moot point.  What really annoys me is how often we jump to the aid of animals that we feel have been wronged, but we don’t do the same for our fellow humans.  It takes something huge (like the Japanese Earthquake and Tsunami) for us to react to another’s suffering, and even then we fuck it up.  (Note, the money donated to help Japan has yet to really reach the people of Japan.)  How many of us remember and care about the aftermath of the Darfur genocide?  How many of us really realize the cost of war in Afghanistan and Iraq?  The lives that are being lost are not just on our side.  We say we’re “fighting enemies” but these so-called enemies are somebody’s sons and daughters.  They may be fathers or mothers.  Granted, there are evil men out there, but we are going about this in totally the wrong way (considering we haven’t even found Bin Laden yet and killing Saddam did nothing.)

I heard more once about a dog that got dragged behind a car than I did about a 15 year old kid riding his bike who nearly died as the victim of a hit-and-run.  The dog was so much more important than that kid.  Why?  The dog had a happy ending.  He found a new home.  I don’t know if the kid ever came out of his coma and what happened to his poor grandparents.  Or if they ever found the person who did it.  Nobody was coming forward even though the accident happened at about 3 in the afternoon.

PETA’s money and efforts would be much better spent helping rebuild homes in New Zealand (where they had a massive earthquake right before Japan) than in throwing paint on celebrities wearing fur.  Their money could go toward homeless shelters here in America, or to orphanages instead of paying celebrity women to take their clothes off and eat veggies.

We have to have ads to get people to foster older children, because when we want to foster and adopt kids we simply have to have them at a young age.  But what about all those older kids, who get shipped from house to house, never feeling like they belong and are ever loved?  These are the kinds of kids that get taken in by gangs, and will do anything for the gang no matter how wrong it is because those are the only people that have ever looked out for that kid.

And yet, we cry and moan and demand justice for animals.  Animals that would be just fine on their own if we simply left them alone, the way nature intended.  Granted, there are people out there who severely abuse those living creatures, and they need to have consequences for their actions.  But to give animals more face time than our own race?  You wonder why the world’s going to hell…


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