PETP

The problem with People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals is that it is not really People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals.

I am for the ethical treatment of animals. Most people fully support treating animals ethically. Nobody would have a problem with an organization that promoted ethical animal treatment.

But that is not what PETA does.

PETA believes in the god-like treatment of animals, while treating other humans like dogs. PETA always gives animals 100% benefit of the doubt, while accusing, convicting, and condemning any non-PETA human of horrific crimes if they merely do treat animals “ethically”.

PETA’s actions after the recent Kentucky Derby provide an excellent and infuriating example, as this news story shows:

People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals is seeking the suspension of Eight Belles’ jockey after the filly had to be euthanized following her second-place finish in the Kentucky Derby on Saturday.

Gabriel Saez was riding Eight Belles when she broke both front ankles while galloping out a quarter of a mile past the wire. She was euthanized on the track.

PETA faxed a letter Sunday to Kentucky’s racing authority claiming the filly was “doubtlessly injured before the finish” and asked that Saez be suspended while Eight Belles’ death is investigated.

“What we really want to know, did he feel anything along the way?” PETA spokeswoman Kathy Guillermo said. “If he didn’t then we can probably blame the fact that they’re allowed to whip the horses mercilessly.”

It is amazing that such a discrepancy between the facts of the real world, and the deluded fantasies of the PETA world, can be presented by the press with such a straight face, and without any comment. But I am going to comment, because this kind of thing really ticks me off.

Eight Belles, may she rest in peace, broke her front ankles a quarter-mile after the end of the race. This isn’t some kind of guess; it was witnessed on video by millions of people, and is stated right there on the story. In the next couple of lines, though, PETA proclaims through its great omniscience that Eight Belles was “doubtlessly injured before the finish.” Doubtlessly? Are you kidding me? How can you say, in an official statement from your organization, that there is no doubt Eight Belles was injured before the end of the race? The horse came in second place! I would say that casts a pretty freakin’ big doubt on any thought that Eight Belles was anything other than 100% healthy, up to and including the point of crossing the finish line. A second-place finish is really, really good, and would be essentially impossible if the horse had been injured before the end of the race. This is the Kentucky Derby, not the Special Olympics, and the top racehorses in the world compete for this title. Coming in second gives you a pretty good claim to being the second fastest horse in the world, and if you can accomplish that on two broken ankles, maybe you really are a god.

Since the horse was “doubtlessly” injured, though, PETA could go ahead with its next baseless accusation: that the human involved was at fault, and had caused the fatal injury through willful cruelty toward the animal.

“What we really want to know, did he feel anything along the way?” PETA spokeswoman Kathy Guillermo said. “If he didn’t then we can probably blame the fact that they’re allowed to whip the horses mercilessly.”

That is a nice set of options there: either you are guilty of animal cruelty, or you are guilty of animal cruelty. It is the only two possible options. PETA says they want an investigation, but that would really be a waste of time and effort: by their own official statement, there is no way that the jockey is not guilty, and should not therefore be punished.

This is what I refer to as PETA logic. It is similar to “damned if you do, damned if you don’t”, but with PETA it gets simplified: you’re just damned.  Your fatal flaw comes from being a human, instead of an animal-god.

Just to be clear, I do think it is extremely sad that Eight Belles had to be euthanized. I do actually care for horses, and would bet money that I have spent more time with horses and know more about the creatures than Kathy Guillermo will ever achieve. They do have personalities. They are generally competitive, which means many of them do like to race each other, and they do want to win. It also means they develop pecking orders, and can be rather cruel to each other. See, they are animals, and they treat each other the way animals treat each other: inhumanely. Survival of the fittest. Eat or be eaten.

Speaking of which, this whole animal-worship thing reminds me of Timothy Treadwell. The film Grizzly Man tells the story of Treadwell’s life, and his love of Alaskan grizzly bears. Treadwell idolized bears, to the point that he decided to live in the wilderness with them, to “protect” them from humans. Want to guess how that ended?

Come to think of it, I’m not sure which group is more cruel to humans—PETA, or the bears. It is enough to make me wonder why we don’t have a PETP: People for the Ethical Treatment of…People.


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© 2008 by Kevin McConaghy. All rights reserved.