Animal Writes
From 27 June 2004 Issue

The Success of Our Efforts to Defend Animals Depends On Our Ability to Make Right Judgements, to Guide Our Actions
by The Friends of Guenady Association - [email protected]

[Editor's Note: Last week's lead article was about an incident at a Palm Beach conference where Captain Fred Mascaro was attacked for "owning" pedigreed dogs instead of getting them from the pound. We have since been informed that Captain Mascaro's dogs are rescued, not bought from pet shops. With that proviso, we offer the following rebuttal opinion to the original article.]

We read with interest the article entitled Those of You Without Sin Cast the First Stone : Judgementalism and Shaming in the Animal Rights Community, in issue # 06/20/04 of Animal Rights Online.

The problem of the differing levels of awareness of animal exploitation, as well as what this reflects, which is the differing levels of commitment to our struggle, is one which has often disturbed us. Here, in the South of France, where 'animal welfare' essentially means taking care of stray and abandoned dogs and cats, we have found ourselves at the meetings of large and well-financed associations (not ours), in which a great number of the women present were wearing fur, with no negative comments being made by the organizers, and not by the attendees, either. We made our comments discreetly to the organizers, in private, and received a shrug of the shoulders in reply... That's the way it is, the shrug was intended to convey, and we might as well face it...

We have also attended, as long-time vegetarians (and vegans), so-called 'vegetarian' lunches given by such associations, as an occasional 'exotic' touch, where the choice of main dishes was between fish and omelettes. They didn't have a clue about what to do for us vegans...

No, we made no waves on those days, but we did, as a result, think long and hard about the problem. And we decided that, as those who have come before us have so often said, albeit in different contexts, they who refuse to learn from the past are condemned to repeat its errors.

Our adversaries (who are rolling in money from their lucrative, ill-gotten --on the backs of animal suffering-- gains and who are well-armed with powerful --and ruthless--lobbies that exert pressuure on the level of governments and on the national and international media, which we cannot hope to match), these interests have always cleverly snuffed out from our sight the evidence of our movement's past. Do we know about the battles of those who fought before us? What they learned, why they succeeded in their actions, or, more often, unfortunately, why they failed?

Unless we make it our business to discover these things, we may believe that not pointing out contradictions to well-intentioned people is simply common courtesy... But in that case, we should not wonder why our movement has had so little impact on society, and why we are unable to effect real change for all animals.

We are of the mind that Animal Rights is a name covering too many disparate tendencies, a catch-all for everything from well-intentioned people who buy pedigreed dogs and cats, to those who profess, speaking as the 'leaders' of the movement (leaders chosen by whom? By the media, who report them, and not others... Why them? To put words in our mouths? To make us all look --too often-- ridiculous? In our opinion, all these strategies by our adversaries are possible), they are the spokespersons, we are told, of animal defense (not you or us). So, if they not only believe that animals have the 'right' to live their lives as Nature intended, but also that 'some' good for humans has indeed come from vivisection (for example) (a proposition which has been totally discredited, even though this great news has yet to be adequately disseminated), then not only is the principle being supported that Might Makes Right, but also this contradiction permits our adversaries to point and say, Why, even So And So, an Animal Rights Advocate, supports vivisection. Or, take another 'Animal Rights Leader' (again, as dubbed by the media) who just a couple of years ago was defending bestiality (and probably still is)... If the animal isn't hurt by it, perhaps it's not wrong... And no mention of the fact that an animal can hardly be considered a willing party in sex with a human being.

While it is not necessary to shout and insult those who do not understand the implications of their own and others' contradictory and inconsistent thinking, it is nonetheless important for those of us who are serious about making real changes for animals to speak out against these contradictions and inconsistencies, every time they crop up. We have a responsibility to educate ourselves, through this process, as well as to educate those who are newcomers, and learning that 'Everything Goes' cannot apply to our struggle if we intend to win. It is our duty to separate the Dilettantes from the Soldiers.

We are in a struggle that we will never win if we do not remember at all times what our objectives are, and where our loyalties lie. For the Soldiers among us (many are called, but few are chosen), our loyalties cannot be with our well-intentioned fellow humans, who wax sentimental about the pedigreed animals they have bought and loved (for every bought animal, how many died in the breeding process?), while comfortably installed at a dinner table where the fruits of other animals' sufferings are served for the greater pleasure of our species...

If we do not make the distinction between those of us who are serious about effecting change and the others, time will pass, as too much of it already has, and nothing will change. Let each of us decide where his or her loyalties lie, and then those who are not in this movement to see it through to the end, should step out of the way and let those who are committed, and who have a monumentally difficult job to do, get on with it without the additional obstacles.

One last observation: the same issue (# 06/20/04) of Animal Rights Online ended with a quotation from Christiaan Barnard designed to warm the heart of all animal lovers. But a closer look at this 'animal lover' reveals that in fact Barnard had a job of it, trying late in life to salvage his reputation --in the eyes of the public no less than in the eyes of his own profession-- as a result of what was considered (by his colleagues) to be his 'irresponsible' quest for self-glorification (at the time, one Nobel laureate spoke of 'criminal operations')... For heart transplants were technically possible long before Barnard first performed one; none were attempted because his medical colleagues knew that the chances of patient survival were essentially nil. Barnard captured the headlines over and over again with his human to human heart transplants, then with animal to human heart transplants (opening the way, by the way, to transmission to man of primate viruses), always with the same result: operation successful, patient dead. In Slaughter of the Innocent (for which, by the way, Christiaan Barnard demanded reparation from the author, while not disputing the facts revealed), Hans Ruesch wrote : " Zurich's daily, Blick, reported on June 24 [1977] that during the operation [to implant the heart of a female baboon into the chest of a 25-year-old Italian woman] the whole surgical ward of Groote Schuur shuddered again and again to the shrieks of the baboon lady, as her chest was being cut open and heart excised without the slightest anesthesia, because Barnard wanted to give to his patient a heart in perfect working order, completely free of any chemicals..." (Slaughter of the Innocent, p.413) The young woman was dead a few hours after the transplant took place. Pardon us if, after this report, and the self-admitted large number of primates vivisected and thereby 'sacrificed' by Christiaan Barnard, we do not applaud this late-life effort to redeem himself in the eyes of the world.

In vivisection (which has led to so much false medicine and resulting human suffering), it is particularly easy to see what is true of all 'Animal Rights' : "Animal protection is, essentially, the same combat as human protection," said Marguerite Yourcenar. Half-measures will get us absolutely nowhere in spreading this message, nor will they serve us in realizing the social changes that it imposes.

As Ayn Rand advised (not an Animal Rights leader, but one smart cookie nonetheless) :
Judge-- and be prepared to be judged..

The Friends of Guenady Association
Nice, France

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