Posts Tagged ‘People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals’

The Circus is not Coming to Town

January 28, 2017

Well, this is sad.

After 146 years, the curtain is coming down on “The Greatest Show on Earth.” The owner of the Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus told The Associated Press that the show will close forever in May.

The iconic American spectacle was felled by a variety of factors, company executives say. Declining attendance combined with high operating costs, along with changing public tastes and prolonged battles with animal rights groups all contributed to its demise.

“There isn’t any one thing,” said Kenneth Feld, chairman and CEO of Feld Entertainment. “This has been a very difficult decision for me and for the entire family.”

The company broke the news to circus employees Saturday night after shows in Orlando and Miami.

Ringling Bros. has two touring circuses this season and will perform 30 shows between now and May. Major stops include Atlanta, Washington, Philadelphia, Boston and Brooklyn. The final shows will be in Providence, Rhode Island, on May 7 and in Uniondale, New York, at the Nassau County Coliseum on May 21.

To be honest, it is surprising Ringling Bros. and Barnum and Bailey Circus has lasted this long. There are so many entertainment options that are cheaper or more accessible and the circus really seems to be a  relic of a past time, when people were perhaps more easily entertained, or at least had longer attention spans. I gather Ringling Bros. had been in decline for some time, but the final blow seems to be the decision to end the elephant acts prompted by ongoing litigation from animal rights activists.

Feld and his daughter Juliette Feld, who is the company’s chief operating officer, acknowledged another reality that led to the closing, and it was the one thing that initially drew millions to the show: the animals. Ringling has been targeted by activists who say forcing animals to perform is cruel and unnecessary.

PETA is celebrating.

People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals, a longtime opponent of the circus, wasted no time in claiming victory.

“After 36 years of PETA protests, which have awoken the world to the plight of animals in captivity, PETA heralds the end of what has been the saddest show on earth for wild animals, and asks all other animal circuses to follow suit, as this is a sign of changing times,” Ingrid Newkirk, president of People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals, wrote in a statement.

I cannot see any reason why the circus couldn’t have continued their elephant acts in a humane fashion or why there could not be some compromise made in which the wild animals could perform under carefully supervised conditions, allowing audiences to have the chance to see these magnificent creatures perform. I also wonder that the animal rights activists cannot see that in many cases performing animals are cared for better than they would be in the wild where they would be subject to disease and predators. The owners of an animal act have a financial incentive to keep their animals healthy. But PETA is not interested in compromise, the jobs lost, the missing chance for future generations to see the show, or even really about the welfare of the animals. They have their own agenda and are not about to let any such considerations to get in the way.

Thanks a lot PETA. You made the clowns sad.

Thanks a lot PETA. You made the clowns sad.

It seems to me that more and more in American politics and culture, people are less interested in any sort of compromise and more interested in forcing their viewpoints and demands on others. No one seems willing to meet the other side halfway and compromise is seen as giving in to the enemy or a tactic to weaken the opponent’s resolve. Maybe this is the result of a growing tendency towards Manichean thinking in our discourse. Differences in opinions  are not simply a reflection of different values and experiences between people of good will but as part of a cosmic battle between light and darkness. If you are on the side of the angels, than it stands to reason that your opponents must be on the side of the devils. If your candidate is a lightworker than anyone who opposes him must be on the side of darkness and his candidate must be Hitler. Naturally one does not compromise when fighting the Devil. One can only oppose him.

In the meantime, if you want to see the Ringling Bros. Barnum and Bailey Circus, you had better get the tickets right now.

 

Plant Cruelty

October 27, 2014

 

I have to confess that I am prejudiced against vegetarians, especially vegans. It shouldn’t really matter to me what someone chooses to eat, yet the sense of self-righteous moral superiority they exude over us meat eaters is more than a little annoying. They are better than the rest of us because we enable cruelty against animals. Thus we see scenes like this.

 

Now I realize that not all vegans are like this. There are many moderate, reasonable vegans who respect the dietary choices of others and do not embarrass themselves in restaurants. Unfortunately, 90% of them make the other 10% look bad.

Well, they can stop the moral superiority. Science has discovered that plants know when they are being eaten, and they don’t like it. I learned of this from an article in Modern Farmer.

We’ve been hearing for decades about the complex intelligence of plants; last year’s excellent New Yorker piece is a good place to start, if you want to learn more about the subject. But a new study, conducted by researchers at the University of Missouri, managed to figure out one new important element: plants can tell when they’re being eaten, and they don’t like it.

The word “intelligence,” when applied to any non-human animal or plant, is imprecise and sort of meaningless; research done to determine “intelligence” mostly just aims to learn how similar the inner workings of another organism is to a human thought process. There’s certainly nothing evolutionarily important about these sorts of intelligence studies; a chimp is not superior to a chicken just because chimps can use tools the same way humans do. But these studies are fascinating, and do give us insight into how other organisms think and behave, whatever “think” might mean.

This particular study was on the ever-popular Arabidopsis, specifically the thale cress, easily the most popular plant for experimentation. It’s in the brassica family, closely related to broccoli, kale, mustard greens, and cabbage, though unlike most of its cousins it isn’t very good to eat. This particular plant is so common for experiments because it was the first plant to have its genome sequenced, so scientists understand its inner workings better than almost any other plant.

The researchers were seeking to answer an unusual question: does a plant know when it’s being eaten? To do that, the researchers had to first make a precise audio version of the vibrations that a caterpillar makes as it eats leaves. The theory is that it’s these vibrations that the plant can somehow feel or hear. In addition, the researchers also came up with vibrations to mimic other natural vibrations the plant might experience, like wind noise.

Turns out, the thale cress actually produces some mustard oils and sends them through the leaves to deter predators (the oils are mildly toxic when ingested). And the study showed that when the plants felt or heard the caterpillar-munching vibrations, they sent out extra mustard oils into the leaves. When they felt or heard other vibrations? Nothing. It’s a far more dynamic defense than scientists had realized: the plant is more aware of its surroundings and able to respond than expected.

So, there you have it. Those fruits and vegetables you are eating were once happy growing in the earth until someone came along and yanked them up and killed them. They were probably screaming in pain as they were chopped up to make your salad. How do you feel now, vegans? Are you happy to be so cruel to plants. The only way you can truly live without exploiting your fellow organisms would be to not eat at all. In fact, you shouldn’t even drink. Who knows how many microbes you are slaughtering with each drink of water?

Maybe we need to form a new organization, People for the Ethical Treatment of Plants or PeTP. End plant exploitation!

 

PETA Jumps the Fish

November 2, 2012

If there is any question that PETA has long ago jumped the shark, this story in the Orange County Register should dispel any doubts.

 

An Irvine resident is requesting that the city install a sign to memorialize the hundreds of soles killed in a traffic crash in early October as they were being taken to Irvine Ranch Market.

Technically, the fish were going to die anyway. And they weren’t soles. They were bass, of the saltwater variety.

The crash occurred Oct. 11 when a truck carrying 1,600 pounds of live fish and several tanks of pure oxygen crashed with two other vehicles. The oxygen was used to keep the saltwater bass alive as the fish were being taken to market.

In the letter, Dina Kourda, on behalf of People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals, asks the city’s street-maintenance superintendent to place the sign at the site of the crash on Walnut and Yale avenues.

The sign would read, “In memory of hundreds of fish who suffered and died at this spot,” to remind tractor-trailer drivers of their responsibility to the animals who are “hauled to their deaths every day,” according to the letter, provided by PETA.

“Although such signs are traditionally reserved for human fatalities, I hope you’ll make an exception because of the enormous suffering involved in this case,” the letter read.

“Research tells us that fish use tools, tell time, sing, and have impressive long-term memories and complex social structures, yet fish used for food are routinely crushed, impaled, cut open, and gutted, all while still conscious,” the letter continued.

 

The letter requests that the sign be placed at the edge of the right of way farthest from the road to prevent it from interfering with traffic.

Or fish.

 

To be honest, I am not sure what to say about this. Looking at PETA’s website, it would seem that they do indeed have trouble distinguishing between fish and human beings. Words like idiocy and madness keep coming to mind as I look over the causes they support. But maybe that is too simple. What is really striking is the impracticability of it all. PETA does not believe in any exploitation of any animals no matter how beneficial to humans, even if such exploitation is done with as little suffering as possible. They have a little

English: Cover of a comic book created by PETA...

PETA is completely rational and sane.

statement at the top of the site, “Animals are not ours to eat, wear, experiment on, use for entertainment, or abuse in any way.”

 

This is a statement which could only be made by people living relatively recently, in the most developed parts of the world. It would have made no sense at all before the industrial revolution with the slow replacement of animal and human labor with machines. Would they have insisted that humans pull coaches, wagons and plows?  Would they have insisted that people go naked rather than wear furs? This ideology trades the relief of animal suffering with increased misery for humans.

 

 

We use animals less nowadays, but the principle still holds. Obviously we still eat them. Fur is not so fashionable, but leather is still widely used. We still use animals for medical research. PETA is against all such research, no matter what pains are taken to keep the pain suffered by the lab animals to a minimum. Again, this entails greater suffering for humans, since without such experimentation, either humans must be used to determine if products are safe, or medical research will have to all but come to a halt.

 

I, like most sane people, do not believe in being cruel to animals, but again, like most sane people realize that using animals for food, clothing, experimentation, etc  is necessary and completely acceptable. I hope this sign in Irvine never goes up, but this being California, who knows?

 

 

 

Related articles

 

 


%d bloggers like this: