Re: “Claws out for an advocate of animal cruelty”, Have Your Say, July 25.
I didn’t expect my plea for more reasoned debate in Have Your Say to have much effect, and sure enough Eric Bahrt returns to the attack with all rhetorical guns blazing. In his own mind, all of us who enjoy consuming meat, fish and dairy produce are guilty of “animal cruelty”, so I’ll pass that one by. However, as regards his other accusations, two quotes from Ingrid Newkirk, president and founder of People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) might provide some clarity:
“Pet ownership is an abysmal situation brought about by human manipulation” and, “Eventually companion animals would be phased out, and we would return to a more symbiotic relationship – enjoyment at a distance.” PETA may not be calling for the immediate release of all pets into the wild, but their ultimate aspiration seems clear. I wonder if it extends to guide dogs for blind or disabled people, or to specially trained rescue dogs?
Mr Bahrt also described me as a “fool and a liar” because of my stance on PETA’s equivocal position as regards violence by “animal rights” extremists, although he slyly misquoted my words. Well, the Animal Liberation Front (ALF) has been involved in arson attacks on buildings, and the placing of bombs outside houses and in or under vehicles. In some jurisdictions, the ALF is designated a terrorist organisation, and no wonder. But here’s Ingrid Newkirk’s take on this bunch of fanatics: “I will be the last person to condemn the ALF.” PETA have also donated funds to defending ALF members and others charged with violent offences. Describing PETA’s position on violence as equivocal does in fact seem to give this organisation the benefit of considerable doubt.
It’s the old story of moral equivalence: someone’s freedom fighter is someone else’s terrorist.