How can they be so callous?

When I write opinion pieces about animal welfare issues, I try to stick to the facts of the issue, and do my best to avoid personal comments about those who hold opinions that are different, or in direct opposition, to my own.

The point is, after all, to present one’s argument in the best possible light, without hyperbole or misdirection, and to use the facts to appeal to the reader’s emotions and sense of reason, fairness, and justice—all of which naturally come into play.

Unfortunately, neither the best arguments nor the most reasonable appeals can influence those who have something to gain by maintaining the status quo.

Using mandatory spay/neuter as a tool to end the senseless killing of thousands upon thousands of innocent dogs and cats is such a plain-as-the-nose-on-your-face choice, that it seems impossible to me than any decent, thinking, reasoning person should oppose it.

And yet people do oppose it. And in good conscience, I cannot call them decent.

I have been around a lot of animal rights and animal welfare advocates over the years. Many are mild in their opinions, but others are very extreme, touting an abolitionist lifestyle in which even honey is verboten.

While I think it is very commendable that any person would choose to live such a rigorously humane and compassionate lifestyle, it is, nonetheless, one that is probably unattainable for the average person—simply because of the attention and care that must be paid to each and every consumer choice.

The exploitation and use of animals in our history, culture, and economy is so far-reaching, that it seems an insuperable task to rid one’s life of all animal-related products, services, foods, and entertainment. (I certainly don’t claim to be so capable.) And perhaps it is almost impossible, from an abolitionist point of view.

But it is not impossible, unattainable, or even impractical, for the average person to make specific, humane choices that have a profound impact on animal welfare. Choices such as not buying and wearing fur (which is completely unnecessary), or what is more to the point here: choosing not to allow your pet to breed, or choosing not to buy a pet from a professional breeder, when so many dogs and cats are already waiting for a home.

And yet, those among us who advocate such practical choices are often dismissed as radicals who place animal interests above human interests–which of course, is not the least bit true.

Because the world of humans and the world of animals are so inextricably linked, choices that involve one often have profound effects upon the other. Making humane choices is just as much about us as it is about them, because how we treat them reveals what kind of people we chose to be. One of the hallmarks of being human is the ability to exercise our free will—to make a free choice among several options.

Using our free will to make positive, proactive choices that benefit those in need is one of the defining principles of the Occidental concept of right and wrong.

In the face of the financial burden and tragic consequence of the pet surplus, changing our current system (which is the equivalent of “free-for-all” breeding), to one that is regulated, controlled, and limited in scope is simply the right choice to make.

Reflecting upon all that I have learned on the nature of right and wrong, no argument in the world can convince me otherwise.

But in spite of how obviously right it is, the breeding community have dug their collective heels into the ground, and are fighting—with all their might—any and all proposed changes that will help reduce the ever-increasing number of dogs and cats killed in the Dallas shelter.

They have started websites and blogs; staged protests and bombard city hall with calls. They have stood in the way—proudly and without shame—of all progressive and humane ordinances that animal lovers everywhere want and hope to see.

And I just don’t get it!

To me, these people are like some strange alien race that bears no resemblance to the humans that I know—to the humanity that I try so desperately to believe in.

I simply cannot figure them out.

I try to understand. I try to find reason or meaning in their views—but I cannot. And I cannot empathize with them either, because I cannot see any part of myself—my humanity—in them.

In the end, I am simply left to wonder: How can they be so callous?

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2 Responses to “How can they be so callous?”

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  2. urbancritter Says:

    I too wonder at these people’s callousness and clear lack of any consideration for the overall ecosystem in which they operate – it just goes to show that self interest is one effective set of blinkers…

    What really gets me is that so many of these people call themselves Christians. Some Christians.

    To me, they are an embodiment of the adage that “the love of money is the root of all evil”, because for these people, the love of money (and love of self) has eradicated their sense of compassion for animals and humans, and lowered their standards as to the conditions in which they will allow their fellow citizens to live.

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