Sunday, February 13, 2011

Who Are We To Say An Animal's Life Is Less Important Than A Human's....Or Vice Versa?

Two major events within the past year alone have sparked a public outcry, both nationally and beyond our borders.  I'm speaking of course of the Ontario Society For The Prevention Of Cruelty To Animal's (OSPCA) mass euthanization of at least 100 animals as a result of an outbreak of ringworm at the organization's Newmarket shelter last May, and the more recent story of Whistler, Vancouver dog sledding company Outdoor Adventure's culling of 100 sled dogs (though "slaughter" is perhaps a more apt term).

Response to both events has been overwhelming by the media, animal rights and welfare groups, and everyday citizens, who have taken to social network sites such as Facebook to express their horror of the events (the respective Facebook groups pertaining to both events number in the tens of thousands).

While both groups have garnered tremendous support for their causes, there are still many who attempt to detract from the groups' messages, and seem to place the above mentioned events on a "scale" of where we as citizens should place our concern (you can read responses submitted to the National Post by following the link at the bottom). Comparisons are drawn to abortion, murder, rape, genocide, and other human horrors that we face on a daily basis.

Simply put, such opinions should be directed to the appropriate audience. In no way am I saying that one life should be placed in higher regard than another, be they based on sex, age, race, gender, or yes, even species. What I am saying however, is that making such statements does more harm than good. Say for instance I believe that harming a pet is a worse offense than sexually assaulting a person. Would it be appropriate for me to read a news item about the assault of an individual and comment along the lines of, "Oh come on people, what about the poor animals?" Of course not, as such a sentiment would take focus away from a very serious event.

Here's the deal. There are more than enough individuals on this planet to support whatever issues they are drawn to, and we as a global family should make it our goal to support as many of these atrocities as we can. You don't have to rally behind causes you don't believe in, but for the benefit of the individuals fighting for these causes, if you don't have anything positive to say, don't say anything at all.

Read responses addressed to the National Post here.

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