L. Neil Smith's
THE LIBERTARIAN ENTERPRISE
Number 247, November 16, 2003
You Couldn't Pay Me Enough
Pamela Anderson and PETA's Animal Rights Insanity
Exclusive to TLE
When it comes to the loopy, obsessive "animal rights" agenda advanced by Hollywood celebrities and "animal rights" activists, it's obvious that all and any modicums of rationality and sanity pertaining to the issue just, in a word, fly the coop.
This is, of course, in reference to the recent actions by former Baywatch star Pamela Anderson and the radical leftist "animal rights" organization People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA), who all have come out strongly opposed to fast-food chain Kentucky Fried Chicken (KFC)'s business practice of treating its chickens. PETA initially filed litigation against the food franchise last summer, claiming that the company was misleading its consumers with "disinformation" about the way it handles its poultry by hiding "grotesque abuses inflicted upon chickens by suppliers." Since then, it has rescinded its suit after KFC caved in to pressure by agreeing to alter its statements on its Web site and its customer-service telephone service that the group says were deceiving the public.
Coincidentally, Anderson is one of a handful of stars that has climbed aboard the organization's bandwagon, sending a letter to the chain, in which she accuses it of "abusing" millions of its poultry. To top it off, she has clamored for a consumer boycott of the eatery.
In the letter she wrote to John Bitove, chairman of KFC's parent corporation, Yum Brand: "If people knew how KFC treats its chickens, they'd never eat another drumstick." She also wrote a letter that PETA forwarded on her behalf, branding the company's practices an act of "cruelty." "What KFC does to 750 million chickens each year is not civilized or acceptable, and you can help change that," she said. "Cruelty is cruelty, and KFC is being cruel in the extreme. I am calling for a boycott of all KFC restaurants until my friends at PETA tell me that you have agreed to be kinder in your practices." Unsurprisingly enough, other celebrities and groups joined in on the fight celebrities and groups like Paul McCartney, music magnate Russell Simmons, and National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) President and CEO Kweisi Mfume.
Anderson further claims that KFC's food suppliers drug the animals "so that they become crippled under their own hefty bulk" in order for the business to scald the birds to death. Really? Is that so?
Perhaps she should have taken notice of KFC's recent decision to implement an "animal welfare program," which contains a set of guidelines, which governs everything from how the chickens are raised to how they are skinned and killed in the slaughterhouse all in an effort to "guarantee humane treatment" for the birds. The program was established last May after having buckled under legal and public pressure from PETA, just so that their entire food supply would be properly treated. (Note: KFC claims that its decision to adopt these standards were, in no way, triggered by its clashes with the members of the organization, but that is entirely dubious, given the legal, extortive tactics that the group employed at its disposal.)
If the legal arguments supplied by PETA are true, then the organization may have a valid point. However, it stands to reason that the organization's broader objectives are not as valid and sound as they appear to be. If one surfs to the group's web site, one can see the following:
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.
(Another note: as it currently stands, it is not illegal to massacre animals for food, clothing, entertainment, or experimentation, the fact that PETA would be pleased if things went their way completely notwithstanding.)
As for Anderson, her web site contains the following passage which describes her quest to "save" the chickens from untoward abuse via her battle with KFC with PETA's help:
Interested in helping Pam fight the battle against Kentucky Fried Chicken? Read on!
Nevertheless, perhaps Anderson and PETA are unaware that the law with respect to the issue of "animal rights" is terribly convoluted, given that it invites a considerable amount of legal and moral disparity to the long-standing debate.
Case in point: Mircea Volosen, 44, a veterinarian of Colleyville, Texas, was arrested on Friday, July 4 for whacking a canine a dachshund named Ginger on the head with a log-splitting mallet after the animal entered his back yard to attack and kill his chickens. He was freed on a $2,500 bond, although he is awaiting trial for his "crime." If convicted, he could face anywhere from 180 days to two years in prison, including a $10,000 fine for committing felony "cruelty to an animal." Interestingly enough, Volosen, who had resigned from his practice, became the target of a group of protestors who marched in front of his business Pet Doctor Animal Hospital, charging him of butchering the animal. One protestor Leigh Ann Rodriguez, 38 held a poster board that curtly stated, "Our neighbor, your vet, kills a dog for entering yard (ask us how)." It's interesting that Pamela Anderson and PETA haven't bothered to issue their own press releases delivering accolades to Volosen as a fellow courageous defender of chickens.
Just so that we can understand the current mindset here, let's see if we can understand this: in the eyes of the law, it's wrong to defend your animals and your property by killing an animal that is about to kill your animals, but it's all fine and dandy to slaughter an animal during, say, deer hunting season? When KFC slaughters its animals daily without fear of penalty, it's all fine and dandy, but when Volosen kills an animal out of defense for his animals, he faces jail time for "animal cruelty"? How would Pamela Anderson and PETA respond to this matter? Would they support him for protecting the chickens or condemn him for "murdering" the dog?
It all comes down to the moral and legal disparity involving these two cases. If an animal has the right to be free from "animal cruelty," then it also must have the right not to be slaughtered for any reason at all. Isn't that the case?
Suppose one offered this absurd analogy: it's moral and ethical to slaughter your neighbor, as long as someone eats him afterwards. Any rational and sane person would know that this would amount to absolute, clear-cut insanity.
The problem here is that we have systematically established a socialistic mindset of protecting a lower class of species at the expense of the human species in the form of irrational and loopy laws regulating the "welfare" of animals. How is that so, you ask? Well, it all points to the insanity and irrationality of charging an individual with "animal cruelty" for slaying a canine, when human beings have been killing animals from time immemorial. In a nutshell, human beings have been legally slaying animals daily and for many inconsequential reasons including but not limited to sport (hunting), convenience (animal control), and fashion (fur coats).
Unfortunately, these inconsistent, collective mindsets advanced by Anderson, PETA, and the Colleyville protestors furnish mere proof of their failure and inability to understand the concept of natural rights that is, rights that belong only to human beings and not to any other recognized species sired by nature. Individual rights merely and consistently set the guidelines as to how humans must behave towards other humans. The truth is that without these guidelines humanity would plunge into the depths of barbarism, disorder, and chaos.
The concept of "animal rights" is non-existent, when animals do not have rights. Simply put, animals have no need for natural rights, given that they have neither the capability nor the reason to recognize and embrace morality that humans do in the same manner. Considering that morality has no meaning for them, it is realistically and truthfully impossible for them to possess "rights," simply because they don't exist.
Moreover, considering that said "rights" are incompatible with natural rights that belong solely to human beings, it stands to reason that animals can be bought and owned by those who can do whatever they please with them. That's called private property rights meaning that owners have a moral, natural, and ethical right to do what they want with them. There are no exceptions stating the contrary.
Nevertheless, the collectivistic, socialistic tenets of "animal rights" runs roughshod over private property rights with regard to how animals are bought and sold, simply because they intervene with an animal owner's right to do with what he pleases with his property.
Now KFC and any other fast-food eatery have the right to treat their animals as they see fit, given that it is their business and they are simply responding to the needs and desires of their consumers. If Anderson and other members of PETA are displeased with the way the chickens are treated, they could have refused to associate with KFC or anyone who buys food from the company. In addition, they could have refused to purchase any of KFC's products because of how they view the business practices of the chickens. That's called a free market. Neither KFC nor any fast-food business is twisting their arm to do business with them in any possible way.
Here's another possible solution that PETA and Anderson could have employed at their disposal: if they weren't satisfied with the "welfare" of the chickens, they could have bought the birds at any price that they willing to pay. If KFC and the food companies were interested in selling a supply of their livestock to her and the group, then Anderson and PETA could have legally owned the chickens and cared for them all by themselves.
Perhaps people like Pamela Anderson and PETA could have learned that animals kill other animals for the purpose of survival, just as humans kill them for the same reason. They are a function of nature's food chain. This is simply known as survival of the fittest. Without them, life could not possibly sustain itself, as we simply know it.
Should we encourage or even condone true animal cruelty? Absolutely not! Those who set out to needlessly harm animals ought to be rightly condemned by his peers the same way we condemn other immoral and unethical conduct.
The idea that natural rights must be extended to a cat, dog, wolf, rat, mouse, or baboon would not ascend animals to our level of existence. On the contrary, it would descend humanity to a level of non-existence a place where human life would be both impossible and irrelevant. Perhaps that is what Anderson and PETA have in mind.
For all those reasons stated above, we must reject Pamela Anderson and PETA's "animal rights" insanity. If we continue on this course, human rights will be second to that of an animal's so-called "rights." That would be a far graver threat to society than anything else would.
Supporter of the Michael Badnarik, Libertarian for President 2004 Campaign
Columnist, The Liberty Cap
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