Time for another dose of anti-industry craziness.
It’s important to understand the extremes to which activists will go, because in asserting their ridiculous positions in opposition to any and all engagement with animals, they pull the public’s perspective out on the fringe.
And that ain’t good.
Today’s outrageous statement comes from a pair of hardcore haters, who have inexplicably been elected as trustees of the prestigious Royal Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals in Great Britain.
For the record, the RSPCA prides itself as being the “oldest welfare charity,” a group that according to its own PR materials “pushes for laws to be changed, improving the welfare of animals on farms, in research labs, in the wild, in paddocks or on homes.”
RSPCA’s mission statement goes on to state that, “All our information, advice and campaigns are evidence-based. Since our creation in 1824 we have worked to protect animals through using the law and where necessary called for legislative change to provide better protection. We engage with governments, institutions and public bodies and advise on key animal welfare issues or concerns. In particular we encourage the development of new policy and laws that improve the welfare of animals.”
I bother to quote all this because it stands in stark contrast to the statements of the two new trustees.
One of them is the notorious Peta Watson-Smith. You don’t need to be Sherlock Holmes to deduce from her “adopted” first name where she’s coming from, and true to form, she told the International Business Times last year that, “I don’t think people always appreciate what is the Holocaust going on behind closed doors. You talk about the Jews. If we recognize animals as sentient beings, why are we treating them so abysmally on farms?”
The newspaper story noted that her comments “distressed leaders of the Jewish community.”
But wait — there’s more.
Ms. Peta also voiced her opinion of hunting, saying that, “Hunting turned people into sadists. There is a scientific psychological link between cruelty to animals in early childhood and delinquency and sadistic behavior in later years.”
Yeah, I got your “psycho link” right here.
The real agenda
Another hardliner elected to RSPCA’s board is Dan Lyons, the CEO of the activist group Centre for Animals and Social Justice. And what is the center’s mission, you ask? I kid you not: It’s “researching democratic theory and practice in relation to the representation of animals’ interests.”
In other words, investigating ways that animals could be represented in the British Parliament.
I’m assuming Lyons is aiming at seating animals in the House of Commons, the lower body of Parliament that actually conducts legislative affairs. Even for a whacko like him, suggesting that cattle, sheep or dogs and cats should be seated in the House of Lords might be a bit much.
Equally absurd is Lyons’ insistence that prospective pet owners be required to take and pass a test before they are allowed to bring Fluffy or Fido home to the family.
Not sure exactly what questions might be asked, but you can bet that one of the Yes of No choices will ask, “Are you prepared to provide only organic, vegan-approved food for your new companion animal?”
All this manufactured controversy might be worth no more than a chuckle or two before returning to reality — except for the fact that the RSPCA operates on an annual budget of about $200 million, has enormous storehouse of goodwill and enjoys the reputation of being a sober, serious, scientifically oriented group of do-gooders who only want to improve animal welfare.
When so-called mainstream organizations that claim to be interested only in reforming such institutions as farming begin bringing onboard radicals nut jobs who want to abolish animal agriculture and criminalize animal ownership, the debate gets shoved to the margins, and people begin seriously discussing whether animals deserve representation in Parliament or not.
It’s not far-fetched to assume that the RSPCA knows exactly what it’s doing: Maintaining its established fund-raising channels, while reaping a whole lot of media coverage due to the wildly inappropriate statements of a couple of extremist board members.
That may seem politically savvy, but it’s the height of hypocrisy and deception.
Either you’re in favor of “reforming” livestock production, or you want it abolished.
There’s nothing in between. □
Dan Murphy is a food-industry journalist and commentator