SIT, FIDO. DOWN. ROLL OVER. GOOD BOY. NOW DIE FOR ME. Every once in a while, radical anima
SIT, FIDO. DOWN. ROLL OVER. GOOD BOY. NOW DIE FOR ME.
Every once in a while, radical animal rights activists commit an
act of protest which earns the media attention. But rarely do the
media publicize the issues which drive the activists to action.
According to the Congressional Office of Technological
Assessment, 17 to 22 million animals are used yearly for testing in
research laboratories. Animal rights activists believe the figure is
closer to 70 million.
Animals have been used to determine what the potential adverse
effects would be to humans if exposed to explosives, chemicals, binary
poison gases, radiation, infectious bacterial and viral diseases, and,
of course, cosmetics.
Dogs, primates, rats, cats, mice, and rabbits are not the only
animals being cruelly treated in the U.S. Now the mistreatment of
exotic animals is also being reported.
Because the meat of exotic animals, like deer, elk, and buffalo,
is leaner than commercial meat and without antibiotics, it has become
a popular menu item in trendy East Coast restaurants. Venison
consumption jumped from 1,000 pounds a week in 1985 to 4,000 pounds a
week in 1986 in New York.
Animals reported slaughtered in 1986 in North America included
9,000 bison, 5,000 caribou, countless thousands of deer, and untold
numbers of wild boar, elk, llamas, and water buffalo. Before these
animals were killed, many of them lived in stacked cages, barely with
enough room to turn around in.
In Australia, three to five million kangaroos are killed yearly.
Marian Newman of the International Wildlife Coalition described this
slaughhter as "one of the most barbaric commercial wildlife massacres
in the world." Their hides are typically used for athletic shoes,
dress shoes, purses, belts, cattle whips and novelty items. According
to Dean Wilkinson, legislative director for Greenpeace, in the U.S.,
Adidas, Puma, and Florsheim continue to make kangaroo-leather shoes.
In 1987, the corporate owners of three California Bay area pet
stores agreed to pay a $150,000 settlement rather than risk a higher
jury verdict for having allegedly sold sick animals, beat some animals
to death, and practiced veterinarian medicine without a license.
Unfortunately this was not an isolated case. Particularly offensive is
the exotic bird trade which sees between 50,000 and 100,000 birds
enter the U.S. illegally every year. But perhaps the most offensive
thing about pet shops is not their greed and cruelty but their
superfluousness. With more than 20 million unadopted dogs and cats --
many of them purebreds -- being put to death every year in the
nation's tax-supported shelters, why do we need a pet industry?
A nation of people who sometimes seem to care more for their pets
than for one another might be tempted to do something about animal
cruelty if they knew more about it. The issues that force animal
rights activists to take to the streets surely deserve better coverage
by our media.
SOURCES: THE ANIMAL'S AGENDA, "Marsupial Wars -- Australia's
Shame," by Peter A. Rawlinson, April 1987, pp 8-14, 48; "The
Pentagon's Secret War on Animals," by Holly Metz, June 1987, pp 22-29,
48; "Exotics for Slaughter," by Merritt Clifton, July/August 1987, pp
41-43; "The Pet Shop Scam," by Jack Rosenberg, December 1987, pp
E-Mail Fredric L. Rice / The Skeptic Tank