There's a lot of talk about an organization I'm sure many are familiar with, People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals, or PETA at Frizzen Sparks.
Bill, the freaky semi-libertarian author of Frizzen Sparks (who's actually been one of my best friends since like 1987, and still lives lives in my hometown in the enlightened bible belt state of Illinois) complains that the very premises of PETA are completely hypocritical. He is quite fond of dissecting their idiotic comments out of context a-la Rush Limbaugh (minus the oxycontin) and calling them (along with other liberals) 'moonbats'.
That's why I decided to write this short essay entitled, Why I'm glad PETA exists:
The fundamental idea of PETA, is that animals are sentient beings that should be afforded the same rights as human beings. In fact, from the PETA website:
PETA believes that animals deserve the most basic rights—consideration of their own best interests regardless of whether they are useful to humans. Like you, they are capable of suffering and have interests in leading their own lives; therefore, they are not ours to use—for food, clothing, entertainment, or experimentation, or for any other reason.
So clearly, this is a pretty extreme view, that is perhaps a little more than 3 inches to the left of reality. But in my opinion, it is to our benefit that such a view exists.
Currently, the idea of ethical conduct towards animals is something that is pretty well scoffed at in most industries that stand to profit of animals. The meat industries view animals as basically inconvenient blocks of meat, and are really biding their time until they can have what they really want, which is basically tank grown boneless cubes of meat that fit precisely into their slicing equipment.
But they don't have that yet, and animals fight and get deseases and such. So they pump them up with chemicals, feed them each other, and basically do their best to produce the cheapest possible meat without animals actually getting Mad Cow.
Does this benefit the consumer? No. I don't need to go into what the industrial attitude towards food creates...Upton Sinclair and Eric Schlosser have covered the topic pretty well.
The point I'm making, is that the extreme of profit is one extreme, and there has to be the other extreme to balance it out.
It's sort of like the ACLU putting incredible time and resources into making sure that neo-nazis can say all kinds of fucked up things. It's not that I'm glad the ACLU is there so that innocent Nazi's can be defended...it's because I'm glad someone's there vociferously protecting the erosion of free speech.
So PETA is the extreme voice that keeps industries having to do with animal production (barely) from going to the extreme of profit, and being able to endlessly bilk the public about it with their bottomless PR dollars. This is a good thing.
Would even Frizzen Sparks disagree?