Sunday, July 27, 2008

live-blogging aka ranting


Random notes while watching the reality show "30 days" where a bow hunting meat-eater lives for 30 days with a family of vegan animal rights activist. (Aired June 17th, but didn't watch it until tonight). Tom turned it on, and I immediately started bashing PETA (biased? Me? Nooo...), so he told me to keep comments to myself until the show was done. My laptop's right here, so I'm taking notes, instead.

Right from the start, I identify more with Mr. bow hunter.

PETA sure does try to make itself look good (as always). I can't tell if the activists are being dishonest (both with themselves and the cameras) or if they truly don't know that PETA's overall goals are not to improve animal welfare, but to cause the extinction of all domestic animals so that humans can never use them.

(OK, I have to admit: I'm having a hard time distinguishing between the well-meaning people who happen to be PETA activists, and PETA itself. I just wish they'd chosen a different club to join)

PETA / PETA members / vegans try to frame a dichotomy: either you're a vegan, or you support factory farming. There's no room for sustainable, ethical animal products.

It only took about 5 minutes for a PETA member to compare people eating animals to Nazis killing Jews. Tally of the use of that analogy so far: 2

Seeing Mr. bow-hunter dressed in a chicken suit pretending to kill a woman dressed as Colonel Sanders = LOLZ

Even after seeing some horrific images, bow hunter is very reluctant to reject factory farming. The dichotomy that PETA frames in the beginning works on him: he thinks he has to choose between factory farm animal products or veganism, and he does love him his meat. No one explains that you can choose different types of animal products. You can CHOOSE humane food. That's never mentioned. It's either "you eat factory farm meat" or "you don't eat meat at all".

Bow hunter visits a farm that specializes in rescuing animals from factory farms ("rescuing" = "stealing"? Not sure... There's a sequence where they "rescue" a sick veal calf at 3am that makes me wonder). Owner lady goes on and on about how humans don't have the right to keep animals for food, and don't have the right to force animals to do what we want, etc, etc. Yet, I see a lot of fences on her property. She treats her animals very well, but she's still keeping them captive "against their will", she still forcing medication on them, even though they obviously don't want it - who is she to force them to do what SHE wants?

Cue images of a factory milk farm. OMG. Factory farms are bad. Wow. Only PETA could have given us this revelation.

(It's actually good to see, on a mainstream cable show, images of a commercial milk farm - but having PETA take credit for exposing these practices makes me mad. Like they're the only one's doing anything about it.)

Image: bow hunter walking the family's small dog. The small dog pulls on the leash like crazy.

Owner of the dog: "Don't choke him!"

Tom: "Then leash train him, lady!"

Me: "lol"

PETA lady also implies that PETA is behind important spay and neuter campaigns. Yup. They're certainly the only ones who send out THAT message.

Cue sequence where they visit an animal shelter and show a healthy, friendly, young pit bull being taken to the back room to be euthanized, all the while talking about how this could have been avoided if only people spayed and neutered their pets. The hypocrisy kills me. PETA's official stance on pit bulls is that they should all be euthanized, anyway (well, they think all pets should be killed, but ESPECIALLY pit bulls). How horrible to use the tragedy of this dog's life to further their agenda.

I like bow-hunter even more by the end of the show:

"Am I going to hunt again when I go home? Yes I am. But I do believe animals have rights. Animals don't deserve to suffer or be abused."


Final thoughts:

Every time I see something about "animal rights", I feel left out (and usually angry). I rarely see anything even close to my views portrayed in the media.

Anyone who knows me, knows that I love animals (even the ones that PETA forgets, like bugs). Pretty much the only time I act "girly" is when I'm around a dog (or frog. or beetle.) My life, actually, pretty much revolves around animals. My art and photography centers mainly on creatures great and small. I volunteer at my local shelter. All my pets are rescues of some type. I want to be a vet tech. One of my main life goals is to own a small farm and have a huge garden and rescue un-wanted dogs and horses.

I also want to raise my own chickens for eggs and meat, goats for milk, and maybe a pig or two for meat. I also hunt and fish. I have no trouble killing and butchering animals for food. Right this moment I have a freezer full of elk meat and I know exactly where it came from, how it died, and how the carcus was handled and cleaned. I also saved the hooves and bones for future artwork, and I'm in the process of tanning the hide for leather.

I see nothing wrong with eating meat, or using animal products. I feel that my views of food and animal welfare are pretty enlightened and well-balanced, but I rarely see them in the mainstream. Here on campus, yes. In books, yes. In blogs I read, hell yes. But PETA's false dichotomy is very pervasive.

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