Wednesday, July 18, 2007

Helping you positively direct your outrage

As an animal rights advocate, I should be encouraged by the massive coverage and frequent outrage over the charges of dog fighting and dog killing against Michael Vick and others.

I never realized so many sports fans and reporters were so committed to ending cruelty to animals! Because that's what this is about, right? It couldn't be that a lot of people that eat meat and wear leather are using outrage over animal cruelty as an excuse to attack a prominent black athlete, right?

Since many of you are so outraged over over the accusations against Vick et al. for heinous treatment of animals, I want to help direct your attention to other forms of animal cruelty and show ways that you can actively oppose and resist animal cruelty. From now on, whenever I make any mention of the Vick dog fighting story, I will provide you a link to information on another animal rights issue. Since you are so disgusted by dog fighting, I hope you will find this additional information helpful.

I'll begin by directing your attention to PETA's Kentucky Fried Cruelty campaign, which exposes the horrible treatment chickens suffer through, and targets KFC because KFC appears pretty tolerant of this cruel treatment, and could take active steps to force more humane treatment of the chickens.

Don't rant and rave: there are things that you can do. Direct your outrage into positive action. Expand your outrage over dog fighting into positive action to combat all forms of animal cruelty.


  1. Anonymous10:30 AM

    There are bigger problems in the world than the treatment of my dinner.

    I definately agree is killing animals for sport should be stopped, but the two things are a world apart.

  2. Anonymous10:38 AM

    Another thing, this isn't a situation where a rich black athelete is in a situation where us white guys can finally tear him down, it's a situation where a human being has been caught doing a terrible terrible thing and needs to be held accountable.

    If this was Brett Favre I would hope he gets the same treatment and coverage.

  3. Anonymous11:43 AM

    Naw,Favre is constantly getting caught choking his chicken in the locker room.KFC hasnt said a damn thing to him.

  4. Anonymous1:31 PM

    yes there's a big difference between a juicy double bacon cheese burger and dog fighting for sports. hundereds of millions of people enjoy juicy double cheeseburgers and a much smaller segment of society enjoy dog fights. those animals aren't getting much for hugs no matter how their bodies end up. animals raised and reared for death is all. money and social acceptance is the only difference. people like dogs, see them as buddies, people see cows as idiots or food in a body.

    i think most people hold black and white quarterbacks to different standards. most people are unconscious racists and a lot of people are conscious racists and are enjoying the black man getting his. of course, the folks i know who enjoy one aspect of this deal have probably been involved in worse activities than dog fighting.


  5. Anonymous1:51 PM

    Black or white, this is wrong. Don't try to make this a hunt against Vick. That is very narrow minded and very easy. Avoid the big issue and make it a race thing.

  6. Anonymous2:31 PM


    The difference is that one animal is raised and killed in order to feed people. without food people die.

    The other animal is raised and killed for the pleasure of the "sport."

    If you can't see and understand the difference between the two of those than there's not much I can do for you.

  7. Anonymous4:42 PM

    "without food people die." well. okay. first off, i don't much care what anyone else does. in my heart of hearts i wish we'd all eat cucumber salad in harmony with nature but that's silly, i know it.

    about 80 years ago gandhi said human civilization had reached the point where it could survive, and he believed you could live healthier, off of a plant diet. i'm no doctor and neither was gandhi but he was a fairly healthy man. lots of exercise. he did this in the days before tofu dogs and veggie burgers too. rough stuff. nobody needs a meat diet people just prefer the taste of steak over the life of a cow. that's fine. i think people should have to kill the cow but that's another story.

    i don't see much difference, cruelty wise, in raising a pig so you can shoot it with an air gun and raising a dog so it can fight another dog. i'm not a person who finds much hope in polite methods. polite killing methods. polite methods of war. polite methods of torture. i say if we're going to do something then we may as well go whole hog.

    i say we raise the dogs, fight them a while, kill them with air guns, boil the fur off, dress the corpses, make chops and steaks of them and market them as 'mike vick steaks and chops' with a picture of mike vick in full football regalia and two crazed pit bulls in studded collars on either side. maybe a little drool.
    after a short while we will no longer cry for the baby puppies because will be 'meat' dogs not 'pet' dogs. when fathers explain to sons the meat on the grill is dog the child will cry and the father will say 'oh no son, not like rover. not at all. rover wouldn't taste good at all. no, this is a meat dog. totally different.' this whole myth about how meat dogs are fundamentally different will grow. in time the bio engineers will develop these freakish dogs with tastier parts. to me it will basically be the same thing as what goes on all the time the difference is what goes on now is accepted by a majority of people.

    i prefer the old days when hunting was some sort of mystical communion. at least then you acknowledged what you were doing and there was something to it. now a steak is basically the same as a video game or anything else that you buy prepackaged and done on a mass scale and never have to know or care where it came from.


  8. Anonymous5:20 PM

    "The difference is that one animal is raised and killed in order to feed people. without food people die."

    Google: "non sequitur"


  9. Anonymous2:04 PM

    You'll have to excuse me as I go to lunch to eat a tasty burger. Most likely the poor poor cow was bludgeoned to death with a hammer.

    That's ok though, I'm hungry, and it's just a stupid cow.

  10. Anonymous2:10 PM

    Sorry Ken, the fact remains that if you stop eating you will eventually die. You need food, and there are animals that are bred to serve the purpose of feeding you and others so you don't die.

    You might want to look up non sequiter yourself, or better yet google "your head is up your ass"

  11. Anon 1: Unless we're talking about war, genocide, or poverty (or similar grand problems), there are always bigger problems than what we're talking about. That doesn't mean there's not a problem.

    How are the two worlds apart? Both are the killing of animals for human pleasure (in America in 2007, you eat meat for pleasure, not survival).

    Anon 2: I would hope the coverage would be the same. Would as many people be so hateful? I'm not sure.

    Anon 5: Both RK and I are vegetarian animal rights guys; I hardly think we'd use race to avoid the issue of animal cruelty.

    Anon 6: Do you really see such a vast moral difference between killing animals for the pleasure of entertainment, and killing animals for the pleasure of taste (for again, you eat meat because you like the taste, not because you'll die if you don't)?

    Anon 10, Ken is exactly right: you used a non-sequitur.

    "The difference is that one animal is raised and killed in order to feed people. without food people die."

    Of course, without food people will die. However, it is not true that animals must be eaten in order to survive. I would have dropped dead long ago if this were the case. You've used the logical fallacy of non-sequitur: you've juxtaposed two unrelated points (though they appear related). Yes some animals are bred for food. Yes without food we would die. No, the first statement does not relate to the second statement: there is a lot of food we can eat that does not require killing animals. The fact that we need to eat to live does not, at this place and time, require killing animals.

    I would have chimed in earlier, but RK said many of the things I likely would have said.

  12. Let me bring the "Without food you'll die" argument to it's absurd conclusion, to show the non-sequitur.

    "The hobos I murder in my basement are killed for food. Without food, I would die."

    The implication is that I would die if I didn't murder hobos. Of course, we know that there is a lot of food I could eat that is not dead hobo!

    (I'm not equating animal and human life--I'm using an absurd example. And no offense to hobos, who I assure you I am not actually murdering in my basement).

  13. Anonymous3:42 PM

    I really don't care if in your opinion it's a non sequitur or not.

    My old roomate was a vegan, he was a scrawny weak pitiful sack of a man. He ate his veggies and took his pills, but he was still picked on and due to his lack of muscle and bulk, was unable to do anything about it. I've never in my life encountered a non meat eater that didn't look pale and sickly, and lacked muscle mass. (this is where you do a google search for an athelete that's a vegan)

    This is where I came in. I've always lifted weights, taken supplements, and made sure that every meal had meat in it. I was the one that had to make sure he didn't get his ass kicked.

    So you can twist words all you want, but meat is a neccessary part of being a strong person, it's a big part of building muscle.

    Either way, I'm not going to convince you that eating meat is normal, and you'll never convince me that meat isn't the best part of eating, and that if they need to bludgeon a cow to death in order to get me my steak that it's perfectly ok.

    Great blog by the way, I'm a daily reader.

  14. Anonymous4:21 PM


  15. The all-caps anonymous response is precisely the sort of out-of-proportion hatefulness I'm disturbed by.

  16. Anonymous9:51 AM

    I like the "scrawny weak pitiful" imagery of vegetarians.

    Next homework assignment: google "straw man argument"

    You're just a walking talking logical fallacy machine. Good for you!

    I'm a vegetarian. I can bench press my body weight 10 times. I've run a marathon. I've got plenty of lean muscle mass, thank you.

    Maybe someone is sneaking steak into my grape nuts, who knows?

  17. I'll draw a distinction between the kinds of cruelty to animals mentioned in the indictment and the kind you seem genuinely flustered about as it relates to meat eaters and leather wearers.

    The intent behind the act of cruelty is important, not to the animal mind you, but to moral society. Mike Vick allegedly had a dog tortured to death. He did this because it allegedly lost him 13K dollars. More humane means of terminating the injured animal existed, though a particularly aggressive means of execution was chosen. The creation of pain was the end achieved through a means of torture.

    Many people, including myself, who eat meat and wear animals presume that they are not purposefully tortured to death to provide this good. The end is not pain and suffering in the animal, but happiness in me. When it is brought to our attention that my happiness presumes pain and suffering in the animals, we do our best (as a society) to maintain the supply chain of leather and meat while humanely treating the animals.

    In other words, there's nothing in me eating meat or wearing leather that necessitates torturing animals. If they can die happy, all the better.

    If an animal loses you 13K, and you happen to be a sociopath, causing pain in the animal is the REASON you kill it in a certain way.

    And that would be the difference. Eating meat does not demand torturing animals. Electrocuting them for fun, or pitting them in mortal combat, does demand torture. It's inherent in the activity in question.

  18. Anonymous3:54 PM

    Straw man, sequitur, whatever. Like I said, google "lick my balls." I'll see your marathon running, and raise you an "I climb mountains and bench press horses." go go internet tough guys!

    I went to school with a few veggie eating waifs, was a roomie with one, my sister in law is one, etc etc. There may be examples of vegetarians that are not, but the average non meat eater isn't going to be built like you say you are.

  19. Skin Patrol:

    Thanks for the reasoned response. You've laid out a clear, logical argument, and I appreciate it.

    It's true that when I consider moral behavior, I tend to think in terms of effect more than intent (an attitude which informs my pacifism, also). Indeed, you've provided a solid argument that the two (dog fighting and meat eating) are morally different.

    And I agree. It is just that for me, the line between these behaviors is not so wide as it is for others. In a similar vein, I also think humans are superior to animals, just that the line is not so wide to justify a lot of our poor treatment of animals.

    But I do appreciate the argument you make, understand the difference, and understand that for many that is a big difference. It's just for me the difference is smaller.

    To others: going with personal experiences is always difficult to argue about. I don't know your experiences, you don't know mine, and either way our experiences don't provide a large enough sample size to provide objective data about the healthiness of different diets.

    As an addendum: According to wikipedia, "There is no federal law that regulates the humane treatment of chickens." PETA, which would of course prefer nobody eat meat, is currently campaigning to make the conditions and killing of chickens more humane (targeting businesses specifically more than lobbying for new laws). PETA has made the practical decision that it can do more good trying to reform the existing industry. I try to strive to find areas of common ground more than areas of disagreement (despite my contentious, argumentative tone in some of these discussions). Perhaps this is an area where we can say, regardless of whether we think it is right or wrong to eat meat at all, we can strive to make the conditions for the animals that will be eaten better.

  20. re: chickens

    I'm not a biologist, so maybe I'm way off base on this. But couldn't we be talking about two different classes of animals (and thus different ranges of permissible actions we can perform on them) as relates to their nervous system, which seems a good starting point for moral evaluation given that the presence of a nervous system is at least one of the ways we justify different treatment of cows from, say, cockroaches.

    Chickens obviously have nervous systems. But not all nervous systems were created equal, and it's at least noting the interesting case of Mike the Headless Chicken ( tells me that chickens can survive with a lot less of their brain in tact than can a cow or a dog or a human. I don't know what this means regarding their nervous system. Any biologists out there?

  21. SP, Oddly, this is one of the reasons I became a vegetarian. I was sort of joking about how I didn't want to eat mammals anymore because they are too close to us, but I don't care about stupid chickens because they are far inferior to us. My wife forwarded me some articles about the intelligence of chickens, how they have a social order, how they have individual personalities, etc. I haven't eaten meat since I read the articles. More scientific experiments have found lower orders of animals have more intelligence than we've previously thought (recently some scientists discovered that mice have metacognition).

    As with a lot of our treatment of animals, we have to think about what's based on logic and what's based on sentimentality. Is it logical to treat chickens differently than dogs, or is it merely our sentimental emotional attachment to dogs? What's a logical and what's an emotional reaction? It's sometimes hard to pin down. But it's a worthy point to raise.

  22. I just wanted to let people know: my wife has been a vegetarian longer than me and has been a member of PETA, and she thinks there's a vast difference between dog fighting and meat eating and she thinks I'm a fruitcake extremist for even suggesting a similarity. So I concede some of my ideas here are wild fringe ideas.

  23. I thought of a question (that I may or may not ask in a newer post):

    Would people react differently if Michael Vick were accused of raising dogs, killing them humanely, and then eating them?

  24. Anonymous3:43 PM

    "Lick my balls"


    I thought about trying to come up with something witty to make you look stupid. But you've gone ahead and done all the work for me. Thanks!

  25. Anonymous5:19 PM

    Considering every one of your opinions you've laid out is wrong, the best thing to come out of your "mouth" is that I'm stupid. If you had agreed with me in any way, I would have had to reconsider my stance on the issues being discussed.

    Keep thinking that you can say "I am a marathon runner" as a way of proving you're not a scrawny vegan, runway models think marathon runners should gain some weight.

  26. Anonymous7:12 AM

    More homework assignments:

    "The plural of anecdote is not data. Discuss"

    "Ad hominems: what are they?"

    Seriously, you've got more logical fallacies than evidence. I'm trying to help you out here, but you're not doing yourself any favors.

  27. Anonymous8:12 PM

    Vick is a butt fucker

  28. Anonymous1:47 PM

    If they had taken the losing dogs, eaten them, then, in my opinion, nothing wrong was happening... but, since they did not, he deserves to get fined and punished.