1) “It is remarkable, too, that in this country animal rights protests are usually made up of whites, with little representation from Asians, Hispanics, or African Americans. It seems that to some extent prosperity and material comfort release energies that people turn to animal welfare, and sometimes, animal activism” (Anthology 861).
How true is this? I must admit that I know many white, older women who spend an excessive amount of money and time on their pets (for hospital bills, animal comforts, etc…).
What does this mean in terms of our priorities? Is it admirable that my aunt paid for a dog whisperer to calm down her schizophrenic dog (I’m not joking – it chases and bites imaginary rodents) instead of giving that money to a disaster relief agency or a homeless shelter? If I’m being honest, I love that my aunt cares so much for her dog – to me, it shows how incredibly compassionate and loving she is.
But, at the same time, shouldn’t we take care of other humans first? Is that flawed thinking? Maybe it is. Maybe I’m missing something. Perhaps, we just have to do the best we can to love those around us – both humans and animals.
2) “Animal extremists are idealists turned revolutionaries … their intense idealism has found a constituency—innocent animals—that is above reproach and will never disappoint their dream of a better world” (Anthology 862).
I was shocked by the potential truth of this passage. I never considered animal extremists in this light before, but it certainly makes sense. For someone to develop extremist passions for a subject/theme/belief, such a subject must maintain a sense of infallibility in order to justify and even encourage their actions. Animals, who aren’t cruel, greedy, or manipulative, thus serve as ideal subjects for some extremists.
3) The PETA Practical Guide to Animal Rights: “Don’t dissect. If you are a student, refuse to dissect” (Anthology 612).
Wow, this elicited a flashback to 10th grade when I dissected a frog in Biology class. In reading all about animal testing and research, I never once thought of my frog dissection as questionably moral. During the dissection, I learned a lot about a frog’s anatomy, and though I have no immediate plans to enter the medical profession, I would assume the young doctors in my class significantly benefited from the dissection. Nevertheless, as I look back on that time, I can’t recall if my teacher said where the frogs originated. Were they gathered and killed only to be sold to schools? Did they die of old age? I have no idea. Of course, I hope it was the latter, but I wish I had been more cautious and questioning.
4) Batty Rap: “And exercise a little prudence, When dealing with humans, *people talking* Phone call Mr. Darwin All the graduate students please move closer…scapel, more nitrous oxide” (Anthology 851).
I’ve never heard of Ferngully before, but I just had to figure out how this song came about. I listened to Robin Williams’ delivery of the song, and it’s actually much more frightening to hear it than just read the lyrics. Over the “*people talking*,” lullaby-like music plays, giving a stark juxtaposition to the grotesque dissection being verbalized and the sweetness of the tinkling music. Young children probably find the song catchy and entertaining, but adults would certainly be aware of its deeper issues, startlingly portrayed in a light-hearted way.