Day By Day© by Chris Muir.

Wednesday, July 13, 2005

The perfect is the enemy of the good -- at least for some animals

Wesley J. Smith has an article about PETA, in which he points out that, in pursuit of its extraordinarily radical agenda, PETA has repeatedly been willing to see animals killed (or to kill those animals itself), rather than to compromise on its extreme belief system. Aside from finding the article interesting on its own terms, I also found it timely, since I'm looking to get dog through a rescue organization. To put things bluntly, I am a good owner -- I take excellent care of my dogs, treat them like beloved pets, provide them with a spacious home and yard, and give them good food and medical care. However, I am also someone who recognizes that a dog, no matter how beloved, is a dog. I've been turned down by private animal adoption organizations because I said that I'd put my family's social, economic and health needs ahead of any animal's needs. To these animal lovers, if it turns out your child is allergic to your dog, these organizations believe the child's comfort and health should be sacrificed, rather than placing the dog up for adoption again. Or if your family's financial circumstances change, forcing a move to an environment in which it would be difficult to maintain a dog, or in which the dog would suffer, the family should make the decision not to move, so as to accomodate the dog. I can't subscribe to this viewpoint. I also think this viewpoint has become more prevalent in past years. As a long-time dog owner, I don't remember any previous time in which, to get a dog, you had to deal with requirements as rigorous as, if not more rigorous than, those facing families hoping to adopt a child. These are dogs, people! We have an ethical responsibility to treat them humanely, but they are not human. They do not have the existential capacities given to people. They do not create government systems. They're not creating anything. They are wonderful, loyal, fun, often wackily compassionate creatues -- but they are not humans!