Are we all as guilty as Michael Vick?

Over at the Huffington Post, Lawrence O'Donnell makes a hard-nosed argument about animal cruelty.

What's wrong with what Michael Vick did? I have no inclination to do what he did with dogs, but I have no comprehension of what all the fuss is about.

Most people who are upset about killing dogs or letting them attack each other have at some point in their lives caught a fish, which is as extreme a form of murderous torture of an animal as I can imagine. ...

Americans revere horses too, but it's okay to shoot your racehorse in the head in public if it so much as breaks a leg--something I saw the first time I went to a racetrack. And it's more than okay--politicians consider it a leadership demonstration--to hunt. Shoot 'em, kill 'em, cook 'em, eat 'em is the American way for a lot of pretty birds and every four-legged animal other than dogs, cats, and horses.

Between bites at McDonald's today there will be a lot of outrage expressed about Michael Vick getting off easy. I won't understand a word of it.

Yikes. That's pretty graphic. Does he have a point? Is he wildly wrong? If so, why?

Read the rest.

Discuss.

Comments

  • Steve Bucknum (unverified)
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    I sure don't like what appears to have been the treatment and life of those dogs, but I too had the same thought regarding our relationship to animals. I eat animals too.

    But the issue is one of respect. I am not cruel to the fish I eat, as far as I can tell. I throw back the ones I'm not going to eat because they are too small or whatever. I suppose somewhere someone treated an animal I ate badly just before it died. But I can't help that. Mr. Vick could have helped - could have prevented - but didn't.

    So we have an intent versus outcome argument. While I have no intent to be cruel to animals, the outcome is that somewhere (not by my hand) animals were treated badly that I ate. The only difference between Mr. Vick and myself then is intent, but not outcome.

    So, am I guilty too. I'm sure that some vegetarian will tell me I am (while wearing their leather shoes).

  • (Show?)
    <h1>1 There's a difference between animal death and animal suffering.</h1> <h1>2 There's a difference based on necessity. Cattle graze grasslands that would otherwise be nonarable, and their meat provides cheap protein to the poor. That's different than killing for entertainment.</h1> <h1>3 What really pissed off the NFL wasn't the dogfighting. It was the illegal gambling.</h1>

    Yes, it's true. If Vick spent his off season in Spain and Southern France as a bullfighter, it would be nothing more than a "color" story for the local sports section. But even as I disapprove of torturing animals (and people), I refuse to accept PETA's framing of this.

  • (Show?)

    Cattle grazing is enormously damaging -- not only to the climate (the UN's Food and Ag Organization recently found animal-based diets are a leading cause of climate change, 18% of all emissions) -- but also to local environments.

    One environmentalist wrote: "Cattle grazing in the West has polluted more water, eroded more topsoil, killed more fish, displaced more wildlife, and destroyed more vegetation than any other land use."

    Are you claiming cattle grazing is necessary (in the US)?

  • Bill R. (unverified)
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    Forcing dogs to fight for their lives as they get maimed and killed is torture for the sake of entertainment and profit. Then using cruel and sadistic means to end their lives, slow hanging, drowning, sticking electrified prods up their anus to electrocute them, etc. Animal torture is not animal killing for food. By contrast the killing of beef cattle for food is regulated to be done in a humane fashion.

    O'Donnell doesn't seem to have any moral compass at all. We rightly make animal torture and cruelty a crime. We rightly consider betting on animal torture as a crime also. It's a crime because it's immoral and a gross transgression of everything we consider good and humane about our own species.

  • trishka (unverified)
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    Cattle graze grasslands that would otherwise be nonarable,

    whoa, wha??!?!?!?!

    oh but that were true! are you aware of the incredible environmental havoc wreaked by cattle grazing? and not on "nonarable grasslands", but on sensitive riparian areas? the degradation of stream quality in the west has at it's roots not just erosion from clearcutting but damage from cattle grazing.

    and the whole "cheap protein" for the poor, well, if that's the case, why is there such an obesity problem amongts poor people? methinks there diet is comprised of a whole lot more corn and corn by-products than protein from beef.

    anyway, not that it has anything to do with michael vick. my take on this whole scandal is that it is indeed a bit hypocritical the way folks are getting all bent out of shape over it, and not just because of all the other ways we are cruel to animals. (do. not. get me started. on horse racing.)

    but the bigger picture to me involves professional football, and the irony of how we all love to watch - and bet on - (mostly) black men beat the living crap out of each other on a weekly basis, with disastrous results to their health. but if one of them likes watching dogs tear each other to pieces, well, that's just shocking, SHOCKING!!!

    and yes, blah blah, NFL players are well compensated and noone is forcing them to participate, dogs were helpless, blah blah, but: given the extreme inequities in our society in terms of social and economic opportunities for black men, it's hardly a level playing field in terms of choices made. (same argument that is made about prostitution, actually).

    i realise that this probably puts me in a minority position, and in no way do i condone what this man did in terms of torturing animals. it's just that - we pay him lots of money to make a career of violence. and then we're horrified when he extends that violence into non-sanctioned realms.

    it kind of bugs me.

  • Jamie (unverified)
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    The difference between what Vick did and what I did last night when I ate a fish is simple. By his own admission he committed one or more felonies; I did not. If any of us feel that the laws need to be changed to make eating fish a crime, fight for candidates who will push for that. In the meanwhile we have, for better or worse, a system -- imperfect as it is -- for regulating what we consider acceptable and unacceptable behaviors. Arguing the merits of his criminal behavior without acknowledging the crime seems intellectually dishonest.

  • tl (unverified)
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    As I expected, over 90% of the comments to his post over on Huffington Post were of the vegan/veggie vs. omni/carnivore debate variety. Some talked about cruelty, "sport" and violence versus sustenance, medical/scientific research, etc. Given the intractability of the meat-eaters vs. none-meat eaters, it doesn't surprise me how quickly people are distracted from some interesting points O'Donnell makes.

    Bill R. thinks "O'Donnell doesn't seem to have any moral compass at all." I disagree. Almost no one responded to O'Donnell's example of shooting a race horse. To me, there is a lot more similarity between shooting a race horse and the barbaric treatment of Vick's dogs.

    In both cases, animals were killed not for food, research, etc. These animals were trained to compete for human entertainment. Admittedly, racehorses are not drawing blood and trying to kill their rivals. But shooting a horse that has broken a leg, is that humane? Does a horse suffer to the extent that your terminally ill dog or cat suffers, justifying euthanasia?

    Also, although O'Donnell doesn't distinguish between hunters who eat their kill, I think there is a valid question about those people who hunt for the trophy (bear rug, tiger's head, antler rack). The vehemence of reaction to Vick's situation versus to those who hunt for "sport" doesn't make sense to me. I think meat eaters and vegans alike were disgusted by the Vick story. I don't see the same kind of reaction from meat eaters to trophy hunting.

    Granted, O'Donnell's post was pretty wild and intended to provoke, but I see valid points of discussion amidst his railing

    -tl

    P.S. Being an Oregonian, I did find O'Donnell's comments about pet euthanisia ironic.

  • trishka (unverified)
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    tl, i warned you not to get me started, but track horse racing is so thoroughly cruel and inhumane it's disgusting, if one looks into it at all. it's not just the shooting them at the end of their lives, but the way they are brought up, raised, trained, and exploited from the day they are born that is unconscionable. it may not be quite on a par with dog fighting (or cock fighting) but the abuses are still horrific.

  • tl (unverified)
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    trishka, I don't disagree with you. And this is exactly the point I want to make: why is there such a huge reaction to the Vick story when there is little/none about horse racing, the shooting of horses, trophy hunting, etc.? I don't think you can simply blame the media circus coverage of the Vick story. There is something else, and I'd like to know what you and others think that is.

  • (Show?)

    Where is the line drawn between what is torture and what is just food? It seems to me, raising an animal in a warehouse where it is forced to compete for food, the lights are left on almost 24 hours a day, and the conditions are terribly conducive to disease, anemia, and other horrific ailments is pretty damn close to torture.

    If the USDA actually enforced regulations and actually enacted regulations that realistically forbid torturous and inhumane practices, it might be a different story. But for now, I think that Mike Vick and Oscar Meyer are in the same boat.

  • Ameglian Major Cow (unverified)
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    but the way they are brought up, raised, trained, and exploited from the day they are born that is unconscionable.

    Let's ban spelling bees, then.

    Actually, I think Jen Sorenson has a pretty neat take on this phenomenon.

    (Meat is murder... tasty, tasty murder.)

  • daniel spiro (unverified)
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    I'm a vegan, so I'm the wrong guy to start justifying the consumption of animal flesh. But there is a major difference between going to the store, picking up some packaged cow flesh and eating it, on the one hand, and joyfully torturing and killing dogs for sport, on the other. Actually, there are many differences. But let's just focus on one (because I've got to get back to work.)

    We call dogs "man's best friend" and we do it for good reason. While I'm not a teleologist, from all appearances it almost looks like dogs were put on this earth for one reason and one reason only: to give the human species the love that we seem not to want to give to one another. So, with that in mind, the idea of repaying all that love with gleeful torture strikes me as the heart of depravity.

    Do I want to see Vick punished ad nauseum for his crime? Actually, I don't care so much about the length of time in which he'll be incarcerated. What I do care about is being able to watch my beloved NFL football on Sunday afternoons without feeling morally sick. And as I have written to Commissioner Goodell, I absolutely will not watch a game in which that man is a participant. Playing in the NFL is a privilege, not a right, and he's violated that privilege as far as this fan is concerned.

  • Ameglian Major Cow (unverified)
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    Where is the line drawn between what is torture and what is just food?

    If you eat it, best bet is that it's food. (Unless you're three years old and you're eating Legos.)

  • (Show?)

    The thing that distinguishes most of us from Michael Vick is that we are willing even to ask a question like this in the first place.

    Most people eat meat and other animal products. Most people wear and use leather, at least in shoes (belts, bags, etc.). What's vital is for us to demand that the most humane standards be applied to the care and slaughtering of the animals we press into our service.

    And Daniel is right -- there is something special about dogs (and cats and other domesticated house animals) that makes cruelty to them seem even more heinous than cruelty to anonymous animals somewhere in the food chain. But we owe our duty of care to all of them.

  • (Show?)

    Look people, sometimes it's impossible to be politically correct. Cattle herds do cause environmental damage. Their meat goes to feed people. These are two indisputable facts.

    In fact, to be even more blunt, people cause environmental damage. Should we be anti-people?

    Well, maybe if you're a single-issue green. But I have a different take.

    And in terms of love of nature, I often see people who talk about animal cruelty being simply unaware of the basic savagery of nature. Race horses are shot through the head by their owners when they break a leg. In the wild, the inevitable fate of all grazing animals is either 1) to be chased down by wolves or other predators and eaten alive, or 2) to starve to death in winter. Usually it's the first.

    Please don't go pretending that humans are a uniquely cruel species. It's absurd.

  • trishka (unverified)
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    ameglian, that is a great cartoon! i couldn't agree more. i remember all the money being ponied up 2 years ago to save the pets that were homeless after katrina. i lerve animals a great deal, but, um, there were an awful lot of humans who were homeless. i was kind of thinking maybe we should take care of them first and then find homes for their pets.

    as far as comparing horse racing to spelling bees, WTF? or are you just trying to push my buttons?

  • Miles (unverified)
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    Okay, Vick's bad. What grates on me is that the media has focused intently on this episode of moral depravity, while ignoring the moral depravity surrounding professional sports. What about the prostitution rings that exist in every major city to "service" visiting players? What about the incredible number of out-of-wedlock kids born to these players, many of whom never receive a bit of support? What about the rape and sexual assault that occurs, one has to assume, multiple times each season but is never reported. (I mean, do we really think Kobe's the only one? And after what happened to his victim, would you report it?)

    Killing and torturing dogs is bad. But on my moral compass, exploiting women, abandoning kids, and engaging in violent sexual assault is far worse.

    I'm reminded of the Sopranos episode where Tony beats Ralphie to death because he killed Tony's horse after setting fire to the stable. Tony -- immune to unspeakable acts of violence against humans -- loses it over a horse. Certainly seems reflective of society's reaction to this.

  • Ted (unverified)
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    All fine arguments, but there's something more black and white than all that. Dog fighting is illegal. Vic broke the law. Laws are a reflection of what society at any time deems to be acceptable. Horse racing, deer hunting, etc, are all conservations of archaic sport, as with bull fighting in Latin America and Spain. It's not an absolute philosophical argument, but a balance of what society thinks at any given time.

    Then again, Congress recently caved on Bush's demands to be able to torture and rendition human beings, so I guess all bets are off in Bush-Cheney World.

  • Bill Bodden (unverified)
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    If you look at human history you will find an appalling capacity for inhumanity to humankind and animals. At the same time, we have made some progress of the generations and become less barbaric than our ancestors; although, the Iraq and other wars confirm we still have a long way to go. We need to continue that civilizing trend and devote efforts to any cause that will help - not indulge in any asinine rationalization of acts of barbarism.

    At the same time, we might also consider studies that have shown that people, especially younger ones, tend to have limited respect for human life if they indulge themselves in being cruel to animals.

  • lin qiao (unverified)
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    This hasn't been mentioned, but the pit bull happens to be banned in some countries, for example, the United Kingdom, where the old claim that "the problem is the owner, not the dog" finally fell by the wayside after one too many kids got mauled. Look, folks, breeding is deliberate selection for certain traits, whether one is talking about a dog or a cow, and fighting dogs have been bred to be vicious. You can take any particular pit bull and do your damnedest to try to make it play nice, but the fact is that you'll be fighting against the animal's genetic heritage.

  • lin qiao (unverified)
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    This hasn't been mentioned, but the pit bull happens to be banned in some countries, for example, the United Kingdom, where the old claim that "the problem is the owner, not the dog" finally fell by the wayside after one too many kids got mauled. Look, folks, breeding is deliberate selection for certain traits, whether one is talking about a dog or a cow, and fighting dogs have been bred to be vicious. You can take any particular pit bull and do your damnedest to try to make it play nice, but the fact is that you'll be fighting against the animal's genetic heritage.

  • lin qiao (unverified)
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    This hasn't been mentioned, but the pit bull happens to be banned in some countries, for example, the United Kingdom, where the old claim that "the problem is the owner, not the dog" finally fell by the wayside after one too many kids got mauled. Look, folks, breeding is deliberate selection for certain traits, whether one is talking about a dog or a cow, and fighting dogs have been bred to be vicious. You can take any particular pit bull and do your damnedest to try to make it play nice, but the fact is that you'll be fighting against the animal's genetic heritage.

  • (Show?)

    Larry O'Donnell loves to be irreverent, but his point is well-taken. I've wondered why it took a dog-fighting ring to outrage America when other NFL stars are regularly charged with other violent crimes and evoke only yawns. Kobe Bryant--a star of equal stature--got away with rape.

    There has been some talk of a racial element in all of this, and I think there is one, but it's not the one the NAACP brought up. I put my mind to the question, "why are Americans more outraged by abuse to dogs than to humans?" I think it is a symptom of our polarization in America. Everyone relates pretty closely to dogs, so the outrage is visceral. But when there's a shooting at a night club and a black athlete is killed, that visceral outrage is absent. Why? There are some ugly truths in this case, but you have to dig a little to see them.

    (Of course, I'm horrified by Vick's behavior, just to be clear.)

  • Faolan (unverified)
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    The arguments on this website stun me sometimes. Comparing the eating of fish to the torture of an animal who is dependent on you for survival is on it's face completely ludicrous.

    The difference is not that he killed dogs. We, as a society, kill thousands of dogs every day. What Michael Vick did was torture above and beyond the need to kill. He did what he did for enjoyment. When he had them fight in a bloodsport Vick was taking joy from the pain of an animal that had no other comprehension.

    We don't pit our beef cattle, or pork-pigs in gladitorial combat before we kill them. We just kill them, in the most humane way possible with the limitations of industrial meat processing. Lots of argumants can be made in support or not of that process. But to compare it directly to Michael Vick's actions displays a startling lack of comparitive reasoning.

  • Ed Bickford (unverified)
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    The point of the Vick scandal is not that he was killing dogs, per se, but that Vick set himself as an example for others to admire by taking a job in a national sports franchise, which demonstrates that young people can channel their aggression into socially acceptable venues and benefit society; Vick has turned this proposition on its head by indulging in one of the most primitive celebrations of violence for the love it all. This guy was a lot of people's hero!

  • Scott in Damascus (unverified)
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    I'm still waiting for someone to use the words "rodeo" or "circus" in the discuss of animal abuse.

    Ignore all the BS surrounding his money, his NFL connections, or the type of "sport" he was engaged in - abuse is abuse is abuse.

  • Sally (unverified)
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    The original article also ignores damage to society caused by dogfighters.

    --They use cats, kittens, puppies that are often stolen to "bait" and train their dogs. Would you like to lose your cat or dog to this? --They often dump badly wounded dogs in surrounding neighborhoods where they become a hazard to the public until they're caught. --In Scotland, dog fighters were going around neighborhoods sicking their dogs on cats then recording it when their dogs ripped the cats to shreds.

    This is a small part of the brutality that dogfighting engendars in the participants.

  • LiberalIncarnate (unverified)
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    "Please don't go pretending that humans are a uniquely cruel species. It's absurd."-Steven

    Let's get this straight, Steven. HUMANS have created the definition of what is cruel and what is not. NOT ANIMALS. This is Philosophy 101.

  • Sally (unverified)
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    Let's get this straight, Steven. HUMANS have created the definition of what is cruel and what is not. NOT ANIMALS. This is Philosophy 101.

    Humans are animals--mammals specifically. That's a scientific fact not a simplistic philosophic argument.

  • LiberalIncarnate (unverified)
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    Thank you know-it-all Sally.

    You have hereby insulted every philosopher ever throughout history.

    You are a God. This is a scientific fact.

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    I suppose somewhere someone treated an animal I ate badly just before it died. But I can't help that.

    If you truly believe this argument, you can rationalize anything -- buying products by companies using slave labor, products from companies that destroy the environment, etc. You vote with your dollars, including how animals are treated to meet your demand.

  • Sally (unverified)
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    LiberalIncarnate | Aug 29, 2007 1:54:01 PM Thank you know-it-all Sally.

    You have hereby insulted every philosopher ever throughout history.

    I didn't realize they'd elected you to speak for them. I thought I was refuting a silly, unscientific argument.

    You are a God. This is a scientific fact.

    That's Goddess to you, sir.

  • andy (unverified)
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    Sorry, I'm not guilty at all. I don't run an illegal dog fighting ring, I don't float the money for the gambling pool and I don't kill the dogs that aren't good fighters. I've got to go now, it is time to toss a big steak on the grill and get ready to watch some football.

  • Ed Bickford (unverified)
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    No guilt on your part andy, so long as you are not also posing as some impressionable young man's role model.

  • Zarathustra (unverified)
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    Oh, you can't define what makes you human but you're going to argue about where human rights end!

    Look at it this way. Most of the "animals" that you use in your examples where created by humans. They're no more a part of nature than bio-degradable trash bags are. Purists would say that the superfluous creation of species, in and of itself, is cruelty. A cut and paste creature, created for a single, human goal, cannot possibly live well. You act to maximize your hedonic tone- how things feel. I bitch and moan because you don't use your technological advancements to change the goal, only further indulge prima facie hard-wired biology. But what of a creature whose only evolutionary selection pressure was a stupid consumer? Pamper them all you want, their life will never be good.

    Basically the rule is, if it isn't real, it doesn't have rights. And if it's real and non-human, we'll give it some rights if it doesn't inconvenience the burgeoning human troupe. Fine. Question is, how many generations until humans become just as genetically modified as their livestock? Don't care about animal rights? That could be your grandchild. We don't treat them like krap because we hate animals, but because they aren't soul-carrying humans. At what point will humans become modified to the externt that others regard them as without rights as well?

    Remember the line, "Black man, white woman, black baby"? How long until it's "human woman, pig's cell-membrane, my slave"?

    All these "rights" questions are about the actor, anyway, not the target. You cannot exhibit cruelty without becoming cruel. You reject that you are condemned to radical freedom, then argue about how to implement it. Humans.

    And all you "the children, the children types", who cheapen every issue by treating every question through the lens of the pop rat-mongering culture, stay at home frauds and the like... Does the window break because the rock hits it or does it break when the rock hits hit because it's brittle?

    You live in a backward police state. Prepare your children appropriately, which starts with how to think, to question everything, and actively create their own role models. Too tough? Then you shouldn't have handed them the bleeding ridiculous situation that you did! Do you really think this is going to be the pivotal decision/identification they make in their lives? How about, is it OK to join the military and be a hired killer? A little more pressing, a little harder question. Would love to hear this continued when you've sorted that out.

    So, "Hell yes"!

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    Posted by: Ed Bickford | Aug 29, 2007 3:23:45 PM No guilt on your part andy, so long as you are not also posing as some impressionable young man's role model.

    So were Andy to be posing as a young man's role model, tossing a big ol' steak on the grill and watching football would make him guilty?

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    Posted by: Zarathustra | Aug 29, 2007 4:11:24 PM How about, is it OK to join the military and be a hired killer?

    And we wonder why most progressives are not taken seriously on issues of national defense with statements like the above?

  • truffula (unverified)
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    But there is a major difference between going to the store, picking up some packaged cow flesh and eating it, on the one hand, and joyfully torturing and killing dogs for sport, on the other.

    Selective ignorance? We choose to ignore some kinds of suffering on the part of others for the sake of our own convenience.

  • (Show?)

    Posted by: lestatdelc | Aug 29, 2007 4:17:22 PM

    Posted by: Zarathustra | Aug 29, 2007 4:11:24 PM How about, is it OK to join the military and be a hired killer?

    And we wonder why most progressives are not taken seriously on issues of national defense with statements like the above?

    I am coming to the conclusion that Zarathustra is a troll.

  • unrepentant Liberal (unverified)
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    Mr. O'Donnell lost me when he stated, catching a fish is, "The most extreme form of murderous torture of an animal that I can imagine." He has no imagination and most certainly has not been fishing before.

    What about the plants? Don't they have feeling too? Isn't this just another "animal centric" argument where growing things are just completely shut out of the discussion.

    Don't you hear the endive scream, Mr. O'Donnell? The broccoli weep? The miniature vegetables cry? If you are going to make everything equal, then veggies too should be free to live their lives in peace and celestial harmony without interference from Mankind as well, don't you think?

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    Posted by: Stephanie V | Aug 29, 2007 4:43:48 PM I am coming to the conclusion that Zarathustra is a troll.

    Finally. We can get back to vehimently agreeing with each other.

    ;-)

  • Ed Bickford (unverified)
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    Ah lestatdelc, you seem to have missed andy's implied approval of dog-fighting, which I obviously do not deem worthy of emulation. Any other intimatons of membership in the Association of Cave-Dwellers is superfluous.

  • megs (unverified)
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    What about those chickens in cages with their beaks growing into the wire, or worse. You probably eat them once a week. Or ....VEAL? How is that baby calf treated. Saul Bellow, in one of his novels....Can't remember which...talked about how man (and some women) can be turned loose in nature and can't think of anything better to do than shoot at it.....Hmmm.

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    Posted by: Ed Bickford | Aug 29, 2007 6:03:38 PM Ah lestatdelc, you seem to have missed andy's implied approval of dog-fighting

    What blather. Andy did no such thing.

  • Omnivore (unverified)
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    Zarathustra... Where can I get me one of those half-man, half-pig slaves to do some chores around the house? :)

    Hilarious.

    I just wonder how many of the vegans out there also have those bumper stickers on their cars that say "Don't like abortions? Don't have one!" Of course, when it comes to something like meat or fur, it's the extreme left that suddenly feels the need to impress its morals onto other people... heck, we'll picket restaurants, splash paint on people, even drive businesses out of town. Just so long as we don't pick up the idea from the Bible, it's perfectly progressive.

    (Oh, and Vick should be tossed out of the NFL because he's a role model for young kids and should have known much, much better than to engage in illegal activity at all, much less illegal activity that involved much-publicized violence.)

  • cyk (unverified)
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    I can understand some of the sentimentality of this argument, but I think it missed the point by a large margin.

    I am not going to defend the horse racing industry, but killing a horse with a broken leg has a VERY HUMANE reason behind it.

    Horse not only live on their legs, the evolved to make their living with their legs. A horses digestion is tied into the mechanical motion of it walking. If it can't walk, it can't digest.

    Remember the famous horse (forget the name) that won the Kentucky Derby, and then broke it's leg. They tried to save it's life, granted for econmic reasons, but they spent an untold fortune on the latest and greatest Vetenary Hospitals and Surgeons and he still died!

    So while I do see hyprocrisy in this society, (and if you don't you have rose colored glasses) but to say we are all complisite with organized Dog Fighting, or to compare it with horse racing or meat eating is in my opinion, is half a breath short of MORONIC.

  • Chuck Butcher (unverified)
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    Oh gee, so much and so little time: shooting race horses - until very recently there was nothing to be done for a horse (race or otherwise) with a broken leg and even now it is extemely iffy. They will just insist on putting too much weight on it.

    Hunting and fishing - since I engage in that sort of behavior, it should be obvious that I have no problem with doing it, oddly enough there are ethics involved in hunting and fishing, if that seems odd, google it. I certainly do not torture the animals, besides the ethical question it ruins the taste of the meat.

    I've tried vegetarianism, didn't like it, it left a huge "meat" hole in my diet and since my specific gravity already exceeds 1.00, the results were not desirable.

    Dogs lack the capacity to make judgements, teaching them to fight and maim is cruel, as it would be with any animal. It is not in the nature of animals to fight to the death, sorry lin, that's not how dogs sort it out. Dominence fights between dogs are generally over quickly and with minor injuries, frustrating that or training to fight causes a different result.

    Humans killing humans - that is utter nonsense, there is something that will allow any human I've ever met to do so, some circumstance that will make it ok to do. There is something, it may be very extreme, but it will do. To be sure, the bar ought to be high, but that doesn't preclude it. What is done with the military may not be honorable, but in and of itself, it is honorable.

    Eating dog is not on my list of things to do, but it certainly is done, it also is not torture, you do not scare and harm meat if you intend to enjoy the taste.

    I know beef ranchers, they are very careful with their animals, they intend to make money from them and poor treatment reduces the value of their herd and poor treatment of the land reduces their investment's value and while it may seem odd, these folks tend to have a rather high regard for the outdoors. Blanket statements can always be refuted by a narrow example, but the general case here is good land stewardship and humane treatment of animals.

  • Ed Bickford (unverified)
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    Ah lestatdelc, you're just pretending to be thick, right? I'll quote andy:

    "Sorry, I'm not guilty at all." but he attempts to deflect guilt in a discussion of dog-fighting "I don't run an illegal dog fighting ring, I don't float the money for the gambling pool" but he knows of illegal gambling on dog-fighting "and I don't kill the dogs that aren't good fighters." he's not the killer but doesn't condemn it

    He may not feel guilty, but certainly makes no claim of innocence.

  • Madam Hatter (unverified)
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    Imagine that! Only one Pit Bull bashing post (though it was repeated three times...)

    To lin qiao:

    Perhaps that hadn't been mentioned because your premise is just wrong. Yes, breeding is deliberate selection for certain traits, but Pit Bulls have NOT been bred to be uncontrollably "vicious" to any and all other living things. This was true even back when they were bred mainly for fighting, which most have not been bred to do in the past 30 or 40 years.

    From the San Fransisco SPCA:

    The original Pit Bulls were bred for fighting qualities: a fearless willingness to fight on in spite of injury ("gameness"), high pain tolerance, a low threshold for aggression towards other dogs, a high threshold for aggression towards humans, formidable strength, a muscular build and great agility. Dogs without these qualities were culled from the gene pool.

    Think about it. Dog owners and trainers had to be able to get into the ring with two fighting dogs and control them. Dogs that bit (or killed) the hand that fed them didn't live to do it again. Pit bulls were actually bred to be very people oriented and friendly. Dog fighting is despicable, but the facts are the facts.

    Sorry lq, the problem usually IS the owner, not the dog. EVERY dog should be socialized, obedience trained, kept on a leash or otherwise contained, (and treated humanely, of course). But this is especially true for Pits, who are high energy, intelligent, and powerfully built dogs. Responsible Pit Bull owners know this, take the time to consider the source, upbringing and temperament before choosing a dog, and deal with these traits appropriately. There are no breeds of dog that are right for everybody and Pit Bulls are no exception.

    And while some Pits can be aggressive toward other dogs, many are not. I have a 4-year-old male Pit, and a 2-yr-old male Fox Terrier. My 20 lb. little yapper beats the crap out of my big (75 lb), "vicious" Pit Bull. Ironically, the little guy is also the one I have to watch around strangers.

    Our Pit is the sweetest, most gentle, big fat baby of a dog... and the best pet I've ever had. Many of my friends have them too, (we often get together with all our dogs - imagine!) and I don't know a vicious or mean one among them.

    "Pit Bulls" (a category in which three different breeds of dog are included, as well as all mixed breeds that even remotely look similar) are just the latest in a long line of dogs that have gotten a bad wrap over the years. Back in the 60's, it was German Shepherds. In the 70's, Dobermans. In the 80's, Rottweilers. And now, it's the Pits.

    Perversely, the bad rep feeds upon itself. When the bad guys hear that Pits (or another breed) are supposed "bad asses," more bad guys buy them and raise them that way. The bad guys are to blame, not the dogs. And that is why I heartily and loudly applaud the sanctions and extreme criticism Vick has received. We need to stop making excuses for animal cruelty, neglect, and irresponsible ownership. This goes beyond Vick and his cruel cronies. As a NFL star, he is a role model and hero to many, and he must be punished, lest others emulate his despicable behavior.

    Pit bulls have distinguished themselves as search & rescue and police dogs, one was awarded a Medal of Honor in World War I for saving an entire company of American soldiers during a gas attack, and in the 30's-40's, they were immensely popular as family pets. The dog Petey, of Little Rascals fame, was a pit bull.

    Generalizing the way you do about one whole particular group is ignorant, prejudicial, and just plain wrong - whether it be about a breed of dog or a race of people. And I wonder why you even brought it up here. Is it your contention that these dogs somehow deserved their fate?

  • andy (unverified)
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    No need to argue about what I ment, I'll try to be clear with this post.

    I think O'Donnell is an idiot. Eating meat isn't the same as raising dogs for fighting, engaging dogs in fights and profiting from it. That is why Vick is going to jail and I'm not.

    If O'Donnell really wanted to start an interesting discussion he would ask why Vick is going to jail for dog fighting but Kobe didn't serve any time for raping a woman. Or if you don't like the Kobe example (no guilty plea in that case) then pick any other high profile pro who hasn't gone to prison for beating up his wife/girlfriend.

    The veg tangent is a dead end but the dog fighting vs. rape angle might have some legs.

  • (Show?)
    Posted by: Ed Bickford | Aug 29, 2007 11:21:32 PM Ah lestatdelc, you're just pretending to be thick, right? I'll quote andy: "Sorry, I'm not guilty at all." but he attempts to deflect guilt in a discussion of dog-fighting "I don't run an illegal dog fighting ring, I don't float the money for the gambling pool" but he knows of illegal gambling on dog-fighting "and I don't kill the dogs that aren't good fighters." he's not the killer but doesn't condemn it He may not feel guilty, but certainly makes no claim of innocence.

    ROFLMAO

    So if someone says, "no I am not guilty of murdering someone like that convicted murderer in jail", then you condone murder?

    That's the "logic" of your tripe and is the most ridiculously stupid and absurd (bordering on demented) attempt at "logic" and sophistry I have read in quite some time. Congrats.

  • Sally (unverified)
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    Of course Lawrence O'Donnell is wildly wrong. He states that fishing is equivalent to dogfighting. He goes on to forward more fallacious assumptions by claiming that anyone who eats meat has no right to voice objections to animal cruelty.

    Using unfounded assertions to "prove" your argument doesn't work on the left or the right.

    More popular examples of "begging the question" or false premise arguments:

    You can't condemn the war unless you have a better alternative. You can't criticize the military unless you've served in combat. Rich people have more rights to complain about how our taxes are spent because they pay more. You can't be pro-life if you support the death penalty or conversely, you can't be pro-choice if you don't support the death penalty.

    It's about excluding the viewpoints of people who disagree w/ you by eliminating them from the discussion.

    It's a common tricke employed by people so blinded by their own ideology that they're incapable of discussions w/ others who don't share their worldview.

  • Tom Civiletti (unverified)
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    Steve Bucknum gets it right with the first comment to this post: it's all about respect. As omnivores and skin-wearers, we can take what we need from our animal cousins without cruelty or waste. There is no need served by dogfighting beyond satisfaction of blood-lust.

  • Zarathustra (unverified)
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    Posted by: lestatdelc | Aug 29, 2007 4:17:22 PM

    Posted by: Zarathustra | Aug 29, 2007 4:11:24 PM How about, is it OK to join the military and be a hired >>killer?

    And we wonder why most progressives are not taken seriously >on issues of national defense with statements like the above?

    I am coming to the conclusion that Zarathustra is a troll.

    Electronic, or as in "not one of you"? If the latter, it's a more of a compliment than you intended!

  • Zarathustra (unverified)
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    Zarathustra... Where can I get me one of > those half-man, half-pig slaves to do some chores around the house? :)

    Hilarious.

    At a real news source, http://www.guardian.co.uk/science/2007/sep/04/stem.cell.research

    Hmmm, how did I post that a week before the announcement?

    Do the planet a favor omnivore and eat your own sausage.

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