Thursday, March 26, 2009

Michael Vick or Ingrid Newkirk?

From today's sports column in The New York Times

Here’s a hypothetical. You have to give up your beloved family pet, a pit bull terrier, and you have the choice of entrusting it to Ingrid Newkirk, president and founder of PETA, or Michael Vick, trusting that whoever you pick will find the dog a good home. Who do you choose?

.... Humans are not necessarily born with an innate emotional bond to dogs, and it is not a sign of abnormal pathology when some individual lacks that bond and the compassion that it implies. It still leaves Vick as a bad guy, but a different level of bad guy — one who can conceivably reform.

In the meantime we have PETA, protector of animal rights and their leader, Ingrid Newkirk, a strange bird to say the least. Newkirk got her start in the animal rights business while working at a shelter in DC. Revolted by the living conditions of the animals there, she decided to do something about it. That something was euthanizing them. When she couldn’t get the administrators of the shelter to go along with her plans, she just took matters into her own hands: “In the end, I would go to work early, before anyone got there, and I would just kill the animals myself. Because I couldn’t stand to let them go through that. I must have killed a thousand of them, sometimes dozens every day.”

This (killing as a means of rescue) continues as a common theme of PETA today. I have trouble sorting out exactly what it is that PETA and Newkirk regard as animal rights. I am clear that they don’t want animals used in any way that might be useful to humans, such as for food or research. Newkirk again:

“Even if animal research resulted in a cure for AIDS, we’d be against it.”

But the right to life does not seem to be an animal right that they put a lot of stock in. PETA as an organization euthanizes a higher percentage of the animals entrusted to them than just about any other animal “rescue” organization. As high as 90 percent in some years. Some breeds go higher than that.

Newkirk seems to have a particular problem with pit bulls, and recommends that all breeding of them should stop and that pit bulls be euthanized as a matter of course. She says this is because they are more likely to be abused than other breeds, but it is noteworthy that she has been attacked by a pit bull in the past.

... As to my hypothetical question? If I delivered my pit bull to Newkirk, I would at least know his fate — he’d be headed out the back door in a plastic bag by the time I drove back home. I couldn’t be completely sure about Vick, but I think I’d have to take my chances with him.

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2 comments:

Viatecio said...

Very interesting. I think I too would have to go with Vick. Dogfighters do love their dogs, in different ways than pet owners do, but with that and his hopeful enlightenment period to think about his wrongdoings, that's a lot better than the alternative.

Then again, if I somehow couldn't afford the $45 to have my old, deaf/blind, crippled pit bull put to sleep, I'd send it to Ingrid. Then again, if I couldn't afford that, I wouldn't have the dog in the first place.

foxstudio said...

The author has been talking to the right people, but what a devil's choice.

Newkirk's "epiphany" is interesting. Never heard that before. I guess improving the conditions or getting the animals out of there however she could never occurred to her. She is seriously, seriously sick, as in mentally ill.