EDITORIALS: Why boycotts are not the answer to cruelty called "culture"

From ANIMAL PEOPLE, November/December 2012:

Editorial feature: Why boycotts are not the answer to cruelty called “culture”
Animal people at this writing has received a barrage of e-mails from both irate individual activists and several international online activist networks soliciting a boycott of Spain over the torture-killings of “fire bulls” at village fiestas.
There are few less defensible public practices involving animals than the ancient and widespread custom of attaching a flammable material to the horns of a bull, setting it alight, and then further tormenting the bull as he strives to escape the fire. Read more

EDITORIAL: Seeking an end to animal sacrifice

From ANIMAL PEOPLE,  June 2012:

Editorial feature: Seeking an end to animal sacrifice

Among all the many uses and abuses of animals which persist for a cultural pretext, animal sacrifice is perhaps the most widely practiced,  in a variety of different forms and contexts,  and the most difficult to address in an effective manner,  leading to fewer animals being killed–or ideally,  none.

The difficulty of stopping animal sacrifice occurs in part because the perspective of people who practice animal sacrifice tends to be almost incomprehensible to those who oppose it.  Opponents are sometimes many generations and often oceans away from any ancestors who ever sacrificed animals.  Killing animals to be eaten at traditional holidays remains as ubiquitous as the slaughter of turkeys at the U.S. Thanksgiving.  Yet,  from the perspective of people who believe in a just and merciful god, which includes about 85% of humanity according to recent global surveys of religious belief,  the theology of practitioners of overt animal sacrifice might seem to many to be blasphemous.

What sort of god would demand that animals be killed?  Even the priests of the Spanish Inquisition,  who accompanied the conquistadors to the New World and “converted” Native Americans to Catholicism through genocidal use of sword and flame,  theorized that animal and human sacrifices were so self-evidently evil that the gods of the practitioners of such sacrifices must be diabolical.

From a secular perspective,  animal sacrifice is relatively easily recognized as a set of rituals which permit the practitioners to kill and eat animals without guilt–whereas,  in other societies,  killing and eating animals is rationalized by arguments which draw exaggerated distinctions between the sentience of animals and humans.    Read more

Editorial: Evolving an ethical response to mice & rats

From ANIMAL PEOPLE,  March 2012:

Editorial:  Evolving an ethical response to mice & rats

Probably the most ethically vexatious of all mammals,  if not all sentient beings,  are mice and rats–who are also by far the most numerous,  problematic,  and at times the most deadly of all non-insect pests to human beings.

From the origins of food storage,  well before the beginnings of agriculture,  mice and rats were the most ubiquitous and successful of food thieves.  We owe our long association with dogs in great part to the role of dogs as rodent hunters,  attracted not only to our refuse but to the chance to eat the mice and rats who were already feasting on it. Read more

An appeal from the president of Animal People (December 2011)


Dear Friend,

We all long for a day in which human beings see themselves not as lords and masters of the earth but as good stewards of creation. To get there, the way of thinking about animals as things to be used and abused must be replaced with a model reflecting a more gentle meaning of the word “dominion.”

Contrary to the connotation of the word that has seemed to justify the tyranny of humans over animals, dominion may be interpreted as “sovereignty” as it exists in human government. A legitimate government holds the collective power of its citizens, and is thus able to exert a measure of authority that serves the best interests of all. What we think of as legitimate sovereignty in the human sphere of government does not include murder and mayhem of the sort practiced by humans against the animal kingdoms. Read more

Opposition to dog meat traffic rises in China, Thailand, and Vietnam

From ANIMAL PEOPLE,  October 2011:

– Public outrage on September 21, 2011 brought the abrupt cancellation of the eighth annual dog meat festival in Zhejiang,  China,  which had been scheduled for October 18.

From five to ten thousand dogs were to have been caged in the streets of Jinhua City,  Zhejiang province,  to be killed and butchered to visitors’ order.  “Dogs’ yelping fills the air throughout the the festival,”  reported The Shanghaiist. Read more

Editorial feature: Slaughtering animals, crime, & societal health

From ANIMAL PEOPLE, June 2011:
Phillip Danforth Armour (1832-1901) is
today remembered only for the meatpacking company
he founded, but in his own time was lauded for
allegedly contributing to the progress of
civilization by moving animal slaughter out of
sight, smell, and sound of women, children,
and decent men.
Born into an upstate New York farming
family, Armour drove barge-hauling mules
alongside the Chenango Canal in his teens, then
walked all the way to California at age 19 to
join the Gold Rush. He soon discovered that more
gold was to be made by starting a Placerville
butcher shop than in mining.

Read more

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