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From 20 June 2004 Issue

Those Of You Without Sin Cast The First Stone: Judgementalism and Shaming in The Animal Rights Community
By Stephanie L. Weiss Ph.D - PsychSLW@aol.com

First off, I would like to congratulate Michelle Rivera on organizing a wonderful, informative conference in Palm Beach Gardens yesterday, June 12, 2004. The speakers were articulate, admirable and educational in their speeches. The food was delicious too!

One of the speakers, Captain Fred Mascaro, a warm compassionate animal guardian in his personal life and a strong advocate for animals in his work, delivered a heartfelt presentation about his love for animals that stirred the audience to tears, and he shed quite a few of his own. When the floor was opened up for questions, I found myself shocked, disturbed and ashamed of being part of the group among which I sat. Two women began attacking Mr. Mascaro for owning pedigreed dogs instead of getting them from the pound. This became the focus of the question and answer section, and this well meaning man's pain at being attacked and shamed, was visible. He was already vulnerable from talking about the bond between animals and humans that has deeply touched his life, and then arrows were being slung at him for buying his dogs from a store.

The ironic part of this is that there were milk and egg products on the menu, therefore the participants who ate these were contributing the forced molting, forced lactation, and numerous other crimes perpetuated by the factory farm industry. Brings to mind the saying, "Those of you who are without sin cast the first stone." If the women who addressed this with him as he stood bearing his heart at the podium had a modicum of insight and empathy for this human being, they would have sensed his pain and either held their tongues or addressed him privately about their feelings about the sale of pedigreed pets. He is a public figure and finding out how to reach him is very easy. I found his number myself, and called him to express my support and address the insensitive treatment he received as a guest at the conference.

This is the very behavior that alienates people from joining animal rights groups. Animal Rights People sometimes forget that humans are part of the animal community too. They are not perfect. When a human animal is good and well meaning and trying hard to please, as Mr. Mascaro obviously was, how can we in good conscience publicly slap him with a newspaper because he wasn't what might be considered perfect in all of his choices? Shouldn't we offer our fellow humans the same understanding and gentleness that we offer our animal companions?

Go on to Dolphin Freedom Haiti
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