Posts Tagged 'protests'

Compartmentalizing compassion

John Sorenson responds to National Post article on misgivings around Windsor and Newmarket protests.

. . . it is completely untrue that “an animal receives more concern than a child” in Canadian society. Most obviously, we do not operate factory farms in which we raise children for slaughter. Nor do we skin them so that we can make them into clothing or use them in biomedical experiments. Many more resources and far more social advocacy groups are devoted to human problems than to the plight of animals. Even in the case of those animals we designate as pets, Canada’s existing animal cruelty laws are antiquated and inadequate and lag behind legislation that exists in many other countries.

Rather than compartmentalizing compassion and regarding activism as a zero-sum game, those who advocate on behalf of abused children and women should recognize that the abuse of animals is directly related to their own priorities.

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Dogs vs. women, children

Protests in Windsor, Newmarket met with misgivings.

The sexual mutilation of Tyson, the Windsor dog, is indeed a sad story, said Lee Lakeman, spokeswoman for the Canadian Association of Sexual Assault Centres in Vancouver. But where is that fomenting crowd when rapists and abusers of women appear in the same courthouse, she wondered.

“I would want that kind of unqualified support for women who are assaulted,” Ms. Lakeman said. Calling for “justice” for Tyson “dumbs down the word justice,” she said.

Weird society

A letter re: OSPCA protests.

What a weird society. More than 100 protesters want charges laid against the OSCPA for “causing unnecessary suffering, pain and death to the animals under its care.” I wonder how many of those people eat pork coming from those “torture camps” where a female pig lives a life in a cage so small it can’t even turn around or lie down into a comfortable position.

The misery some animals have to endure before they make it to our dinner plates sounds to me like a higher priority on the scale of animal abuse that needs our attention. I would stack a pig’s level of conscientiousness or emotional sophistication right up there with dogs and cats.

I am still a conflicted carnivore. The romantic notion of a hunter bringing down a noble pig that has lived a good life is long gone. But, I wish we could step back a bit from our business model that raises our food animals in such a despicable, horrible environment that squeezes the most profit and productivity without any compassion.

It is amazing to hear about the tears, despair, anger and outrage directed at people trying to humanely manage the lives of certain animals and the deafening silence in response to institutionalized systematic animal abuse.

Russell Pangborn, Keswick

 I wrote a letter to The Star that was somewhat similar to Russell’s:

The OSPCA’s response to the ringworm outbreak at its Newmarket shelter is indeed upsetting, but it needs to be seen in context.  Every day, shelters across Ontario “euthanize” animals that don’t even have ringworm due to lack of space.  Three out of every four cats admitted to the Lincoln County Humane Society, for example, never leave.  In 2008, the Kingston Humane Society put down 1092 cats and dogs out of 3000 admitted.  And in 2007, Toronto Animal Services killed 55% of the 8991 cats and dogs it took in.

Moreover, every year millions of animals are slaughtered in Canada not because they are ill, and not because we’ve run out of room for them, but because we like the taste of their flesh.  These animals are as capable of, and as interested in, living meaningful lives as the animals in our shelters and in our homes.  I am not suggesting we throw up our hands at these statistics and our contradictory reactions to them.  (Nor am I suggesting the above-mentioned shelters are not doing their best with the resources they have access to.)  Rather, I’m suggesting that the news from Newmarket is yet another indication of  how important it is that all of us reevaluate our relationships with non-human animals.

Probably I shouldn’t have used the word “flesh”.

Outcry heard

There’s “reason for hope” for animals that remain in Newmarket.

. . . the “aggressive strain” of ringworm was “not without its casualties,” Godfrey said, confirming that 99 animals had been killed since Tuesday morning.

He also said 15 animals had been stolen from the facility, likely by staff or volunteers who feared for the animals’ safety.

Besieged building

About 100 protest outside Newmarket OSPCA shelter.

Protesters yelling “killer” and “murderer” outside York Region’s OSPCA shelter — where 50 ringworm-infected animals were destroyed by Wednesday — were ordered to stop blocking vehicles.

Guards also repeatedly warned activists to leave a knoll overlooking a fenced compound, where several dogs removed Tuesday were back and barking, while slogans were screamed at the silent, besieged building.

The crowd of protesters, some with dogs, swelled to about 100, most of them waving placards and crosses at motorists.

Truth vs. spectacle

Against outrageous protests.

Animal rights activists have a powerful ally on their side: Truth. And they should use it to their advantage. Make whatever arguments you want to support killing animals for fur and leather, but it’s impossible to deny that it’s an ultra-violent act. Similarly, the factory farm system in North America kills billions of animals every year, yet it’s no accident that those companies make every effort to conceal the killings from the public eye.

Why? These companies know that millions of consumers engage in disassociation and denial every day in order to purchase their products.

Outrageous protests fail to draw attention to this reality. More often they end up polarizing the issue and marginalizing the fanatics.


@AIC

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