Petulance: Animal ethicists are just more liberal killjoys


By: Daniel Clark

“I am not an animal! I am a human being!”

That John Merrick, what a bigot. Didn’t he realize that by claiming superiority over other creatures, he was being speciesist? Too bad there weren’t any “animal ethicists” around in those days to set him straight.

A new pseudo-academic periodical called the Journal of Animal Ethics claims that much of the language we use in reference to our furry friends is demeaning and exploitative, and may even contribute to animal cruelty. Among the chief offenders, believe it or not, is the word “pet.” Actually, they might have a point there. Andy Capp and Flo address each other as “pet” all the time, just before proceeding to beat the fish and chips out of each other.

But seriously, the journal frowns upon not only the word “pet,” but also “beast” and “critter” — and don’t even think about “varmint.” Furthermore, non-domesticated animals must not be referred to as “wild” or “feral.” That would be downright dehumanizing, if they were human. They must now be called “free-roaming,” or something equally nonjudgmental, lest we insult a jackal by suggesting it to be uncouth.

The new, preferred liberal term for the animals formerly known as pets is “companion animals,” which conjures the image of a six-foot rabbit strolling to the tavern with its arm around Jimmy Stewart. At least that’s the G-rated version. As steeped as we are in euphemism these days, “companion animal” could be taken to mean something more akin to “significant other” or “life partner.”

The lunatic-approved term for pet owners is “human carers,” which makes buying a dog or cat sound like bedpans o’ fun. Actually, that’s sometimes an accurate description, except that the phrase is redundant. The modifier “human” implies that some other creature may qualify as a “carer” as well, as if a companion animal might just as well have a “canine carer” or “feline carer.” Try telling the cat to remember to feed the goldfish while you’re away, and you’ll likely detect the flaw in that assumption.

Moreover, there’s an inherent conflict with this terminology, in that “carer” denotes a dependency relationship, whereas “companion” is egalitarian. If you’re caring for your companions, that means they’re taking advantage of you. So if you’ve been feeding, bathing, and scooping up after your poker buddies, please stop immediately and tell them to go home.

This logical inconsistency in the animal ethicists’ lexicon is due to the fact that they pinched it, at least in part, from Ingrid Newkirk, founder of the anti-human wacko group People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals. In a quote published in The Harper’s Forum Book in 1989, Newkirk explained, “I don’t use the word ‘pet.’ I think it’s speciesist language. I prefer ‘companion animal.’” However, she hoped that “eventually companion animals would be phased out, and we would return to a more symbiotic relationship — enjoyment at a distance.”

The animal ethicists are merely exercising the strategy that liberals originally called “political correctness,” before that term rightly became an object of derision. The aim is to fundamentally re-order society by first changing the way that people talk about things. It’s inconceivable that they borrowed Newkirk’s phrase without understanding her intention that it lead to the elimination of pet ownership. If we buy into their premise that the use of the word “pet” is unethical, then it cannot be ethical to treat an animal as a pet, regardless of what we call it.

Once we accept an equivalence between animals and people, then the lives of “companion animals” will appear to consist of little more than slavery, degradation and torture. After all, what kind of a sadistic fiend would lead his companion around on a leash, train him to fetch the newspaper, or give him a box of sand to use as a bathroom?

For every single thing in the world that brings people enjoyment, there are liberal activists who dedicate themselves to finding a way to spoil it. If they really liked animals, they’d never equate them with people, because then they’d have to spoil everything the animals enjoy as well. Under the guise of dogoodism, they’d dream up excuses to take away bones, catnip, squeak toys, scratching posts, and everything else that seems to make pets happy.

Already, they’re bent on depriving dogs and cats of comfortable lives, in warm houses full of friendly people who have only the kindest of intentions toward them. That may not be demeaning or exploitative, but it is certainly cruel.

Daniel Clark is a writer from Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. He is the author and editor of a web publication called The Shinbone: The Frontier of the Free Press, where he also publishes a seasonal sports digest as The College Football Czar.

About The Author Daniel Clark:
Daniel Clark is a writer from Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. He is the author and editor of a web publication called The Shinbone: The Frontier of the Free Press, where he also publishes a seasonal sports digest as The College Football Czar.
Website:http://theshinbone.com/

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