Friday, September 17, 2010

The unfortunate toll that violence takes on good people

I received an invitation to join a new Facebook group called "Animal Revenge Movement." The poorly worded description on the group's page reads: "With 156 billion animals being killed world wide [sic] every year just for what animal eating humans call food? Animal Revenge Movement is for people that believe it's okay to kill humans to help and save animals."

The group's Facebook page is a gathering place to celebrate the maiming, mutilation and death of human beings by animals (and, presumably, by animal rights advocates who have the proper credentials to tell us who deserves to live and who deserves to die). The page includes unsettling pictures of animals harming human beings. The group's profile picture is of a person whose face is concealed by a bandana, wearing a black T-shirt with white lettering that says, "IT'S OK TO KILL HUMANS TO SAVE ANIMALS." And on their Facebook wall, malcontents post messages praising animals that inflict pain and death on human beings.

It's a grim, sad spectacle. It's depressing as hell to see. This group's page is brimming with nastiness. What do you expect from a place on Facebook where people assemble to fantasize about inflicting violence on "corpse munchers" (as one caustic poster calls omnivores)?

Needless to say, I'm not about to hit this hateful group's "Like" button.

The most unfortunate thing about this grim page - and all of the other spots on the Internet where infantile misanthropes gather to wish ill upon the human race - is that it shows the violence of the system rubbing off on people of good conscience. You can find this ugliness in other places on the Internet. The website of the North American Animal Liberation Press Office includes a page called Payback that tragically celebrates acts of animal violence carried out against human beings. The following is fairly typical of the tragedies listed on the NAALPO's Payback page:

28 June 2009
Longmont, CO

A 12-year-old boy was killed Sunday when stomped on by a bull that threw him while he was competing in a rodeo in Colorado, authorities said. Boulder County Sheriff's Deputy Cathy Bryarly said the youth was tossed from the bull's back before he completed the 6-second ride and the animal's rear legs came down on his lower abdomen, missing a protective vest he was wearing, the Longmont Times-Call reported. The accident occurred about 11:20 a.m. during the Little Britches Rodeo at the Boulder County Fairgrounds. The boy, whose name wasn't released, was conscious when rushed to Longmont United Hospital, where he died, Bryarly said. "Although youth rodeo events use animals that are age-appropriate in size and demeanor, there is always an inherent risk to rodeo participants when dealing with these animals," Sgt. Mike Dimond of the sheriff's office said in a statement. Dimond later told the newspaper such accidents tend to be rare. "It could happen any time," he said. "I'm just surprised it doesn't."

It is unsettling to see this type of story celebrated, even though I completely understand the frustration that drives animal rights activists to cheer on such acts of violence. I often share that frustration, that sense of despair, that feeling that everything is hopeless. How many entries have there been on this blog where I've lamented the collective callousness, ignorance and violence of the human race? How many times have I felt a deep sense of despair about the billions of animals murdered each year by human beings? More than I care to count.

And yet there is something profoundly tragic about embracing the violence that forms the very foundation of the global animal killing machine. The factory farm system, the fur coat industry, the foie gras racket - these are all things that should have been done away with long ago. These institutions are eating away at the human race like cancer. Do not be surprised when those who resist these ultra-violent systems become tainted by the violence, eventually embrace it and take great satisfaction from acts of brutality, degradation and, yes, even death.

The alternative to such destruction is Mahatma Gandhi's concept of ahimsa or nonviolent action. Ahima predates Gandhi by centuries, but he successfully wove the concept into his teachings. Gandhi, more than most people, understood the toll that violence takes, both on the recipient and the aggressor. If there is hope for humanity, it rests in our ability to completely jettison the cultures, customs and traditions of violence that we have consciously and subconsciously embraced over the years. Each one of us has it within us to become living, breathing examples of ahimsa, if only we rise above the brutality that engulfs us and promote a new and different way of living, one free of exploitation and bloodshed.


  1. Yes, it's anger gone out of control. That anger has to be processed, sublimated, turned into something better. Speaking as a Freudian here: anger is unprocessed grief, too.
    It's so sad that this group has popped up because it discredits all of us. We don't more violence; we want no violence.

  2. I agree, non-violence is the only worthwhile path. I do not, however, include open-rescue efforts such as those implemented by Patty Mark and her followers ( as violent in nature.

    The abjuring of and elimination of oppression and/or violence (harm) toward sentient beings is a worthy goal of all supporters of animal rights.

    Whether property destruction is considered to be "violence" is something I am still struggling with sorting out.

  3. The sad truth is i bet they have more members then you and I will ever achieve.