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Wednesday, March 09, 2005

Eat an Animal for PETA Day

I just read about "Eat an Animal for PETA Day" at Yourish.com. While my first reaction was to chuckle about this, it made me think how often Christians in particular tend to be ambivalent at best towards animals.

Conservative evangelicals tend to react very negatively towards groups like PETA and rightly so. However, instead of offering a better vision of humane treatment for animals, we just ignore the issue.

I read an excellent book on this subject about a year ago that has had a big impact upon me. Matthew Scully, a former Bush staffer, wrote the book "Dominion". Here is what John Kistler had to say about the book in Library Review:
"This is one of the best books ever written on the subject of animal welfare. Scully, a journalist and former speechwriter for President George W. Bush, chooses to fight on his own ground, and he rightly argues that the important thing is not insisting upon equal "rights" for animals but in treating them with a modicum of respect and dignity. His book is as close as a philosophy can come to representing "animal rights" goals while not proclaiming animals to be equal in status to humans, as do classic works like Peter Singer's Animal Liberation. As a journalist, Scully personally investigated several major animal industries, including those of hunting, whaling, and factory farming. He asks penetrating questions and shows the logical and political inconsistencies used to defend cruel industries. Although some may balk at the author's sarcasm, it adds an emotional element to his unequaled depth of insight. Scully has a remarkable grasp of the issues and a unique perspective on our societal treatment of animals. Every library should purchase this book. Highly recommended."
I have long tired of hearing about "animal rights" but Scully simply asks us to consider how to treat animals as humanely as possible.

Anyone that knows me knows that I am as far from a vegetarian as you will find. I love my meat. However, this book has made me change my eating habits. I now buy only range-fed meat and eggs. This doesn't sound like much but for someone with my culinary habits, it was quite huge. I am more than happy to pay the extra money to get meat from animals that weren't abused and treated so horribly as is often the case in commercial meat factories.

I'm sure that there will be some that think that there are more important things to concern ourselves with. I certainly agree that an animal or a tree is not more valuable than a human life. But that doesn't mean they have NO value at all. We shouldn't just reject the cause of our political "enemy" out of hand without considering what truth their may be in their arguments.

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