Well, it looks like President Obama really stepped in it this time. He was callous and cruel, with the whole world watching. At least that’s how that the nutjobs at People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals see it.
In case you haven’t seen it, the president swatted a fly on national television. When the PETArds witnessed this on-air murder, they chided Obama and released this statement:
“We support compassion even for the most curious, smallest and least sympathetic animals. We believe that people, where they can be compassionate, should be for all animals.”
I realize the PETA folks like to blur the distinctions between various life-forms, but flies aren’t animals. They’re insects. They don’t plan for their futures, they don’t fall in love, and they don’t miss their cousin Boo-Boo if he has an unfortunate encounter with a presidential hand. A fly is probably about as intelligent as a medium-sized potato – and therefore only slightly more intelligent than a medium-sized PETA volunteer.
PETA was probably also upset that Obama referred to the fly as a “little sucker.” As anyone who’s at least my age knows, “little sucker” was used to denigrate insects for much of this country’s blemished history – especially back in the days when insects weren’t allowed to sit at the counter at Denny’s. Waitresses and customers alike yelled, “Get out of here, you little sucker!” It’s only been in recent, more enlightened times that the public has been trained to refer insects as “differently-structured animals.”
Hoping to rehabilitate the president, PETA also announced they’re sending Obama a “humane flytrap” that would allow him to capture a fly and then release it outdoors. This is stupid for a couple of reasons. For one, catching and releasing flies is not a good use of Obama’s time. He’s the president, not a border guard. For another, catching and releasing a fly isn’t any fun. But squashing a fly is great fun.
In fact, one of the few things I’ve enjoyed about living in Southern California is the relatively slow reflexes of the flies. I don’t know if they’re a different breed out here or if too much sun just makes them lazy, but for whatever reason, they lack the quickness of their Midwestern cousins.
In Chicago, you need a turbo-charged, spring-loaded flyswatter to splatter a fly on your kitchen counter – and even then, you have to disguise yourself as a houseplant and sneak up on it. One over-eager step, and the fly will launch into a series of evasive maneuvers that Luke Skywalker would envy, then settle on a wall across the room and give you the finger with one of his legs.
But here in La-La-Land, I don’t even need a flyswatter. I can literally walk up to a fly and smack it with my hand. Most of the time, they don’t even move – although once, just before impact, I heard one mumble, “Bummer.”
PETA refers to a fly-smacker like me as a “speciesist.” The “ist” suffix is intended to put the word in the same emotional category as sexist and racist … you know, as if I’m some kind of bigot who believes certain species are inherently superior.
Well, they’ve got me on that one. I do believe my species is superior. If I’m interviewing a human and an antelope for the same engineering job, I’m going to assume the human is more intelligent and the better candidate. I may not even listen to the antelope’s replies – and if I can determine the antelope’s species from his job application, I won’t even interview him. Likewise, if I owned an apartment, I would rather rent to a human than a pig – although if I were a landlord in a college town, I might change my mind on that one.
If the PETArds merely believed in avoiding needless cruelty to animals, I wouldn’t mind them. I might even support them. But that’s not what they believe. They believe humans and animals – and insects, apparently – are all equals and should be afforded the same rights. They actually spout nonsense such as, “A pig is a dog is a boy.”
A couple of years ago, I heard Dennis Prager interview one of the PETArds on his radio show. After several minutes of sparring over animals rights, Prager said, “I’m going to ask you a question, even though I already know the answer: do you have any children?” The PETArd tried to dance his way out of answering, but Prager was insistent. And of course, the answer was no — as everyone listening knew it would be.
If you have kids (and you’re sane), you can’t possibly believe they’re the existential equivalent of rats and pigs. But the childless PETArd insisted that’s what he believes. So Prager asked a clarifying question: If you see a dog and a child both drowning, which do you save?
The PETArd tried dancing out of that one by replying, “I’m a vegetarian, so I’m strong enough to save both of them.” Yeah, right. If avoiding meat was the key to superior strength, the NFL, the NBA, the NHL and the major leagues would be overwhelmingly vegetarian. Pro athletes will do almost anything to gain an edge.
Here’s my answer to Prager’s question: I’d save the child, even if the dog was the schnauzer I loved as a boy and the child was the bully who used to torment my sister. (The bully was also the only human I’ve ever intentionally harmed, and I felt bad about it later, even though he deserved every punch.)
But the PETArd simply refused to answer — because he couldn’t, at least not without looking like a fool. If he answers, “the dog,” he exposes his organization as a bunch of kooks. If he answers, “the child,” he proves he’s a hypocrite.
But course, the PETA folks are hypocrites. It came out in the news some months ago that a PETA chapter in North Carolina relieved the over-crowding in one of their shelters by removing some cats and dogs and killing them. After they were caught dumping the corpses, they said they were very sorry, but they just couldn’t find homes for their little furry friends and had no choice.
Now, try to imagine those same PETA people offering this explanation for a slightly different scenario: “We’re very sorry about the homeless men we euthanized. The homeless shelter was very crowded, and we tried to find families to adopt the men, but people these days don’t have the proper sympathy for alcoholics and schizophrenics, so we really had no choice except to put them out of their misery.”
If they would never, ever do that (which I hope is true), then they’re hypocrites. If they would do that, they belong in an institution – preferably one that only serves pork.
As far as I’m concerned, the PETArds are hypocrites every time they sit down for a nice, yummy, insulin-spiking meal of whole-grain goodness. One of my best friends grew up on a farm. As we were watching the corn being harvested one day, I was stunned at the number of squirming insects and insect parts. (Yes, some of the parts will still squirming.) My friend just laughed at me and explained that all crops end up with insects in them. The FDA even has standards about how many insect parts are allowed in our food.
So if it’s murder to kill an insect, vegetarians are the chief customers and financial supporters of the insect world’s Pol Pots. I just hope they enjoy the extra flavor provided by all those little suckers.
p.s. – some months ago I wrote a little poem in a comment on Mike Eade’s blog:
PETA, PETA, Pumpkin eater,
Had a wife but served no meat her.
Fed her corn and pasta shells,
And only killed her beta cells.
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