Thursday, March 3, 2011

Required Reading: Gary Francione's piece "And What About the Four Other Dogs?"... What a Masterpiece!

Anyone who has been following this Blog knows that I'm a huge Gary Francione fan and that his work has had (and continues to have) an enormous impact on my thinking. Even on those rare occasions when I do not entirely see eye to eye with what he says, I always respect his views 100 percent. He is a great thinker, an inspiring figure and just an all-around wonderful person.

I was completely blown away by his Blog Entry today on his Website Animal Rights: The Abolitionist Approach titled "And What About the Four Other Dogs?" Please, please, please take a minute to read this extraordinary piece. This truly is one of the best examples of writing I have ever read on the subject of animal rights, period.

Read it and you'll see what I mean. In this piece, Francione does what he does best: Cuts right through the bullshit and gets to the heart of the matter. In this case, he is writing about a little puppy who became famous across North America because he was one of five dogs who was euthanized by animal control authorities in Sulphur, Oklahoma. Amazingly, this beautiful puppy (pictured above) somehow survived being euthanized and actually emerged from the ordeal in perfect shape. When the story generated headlines, it triggered an avalanche of public support for the puppy in the form of donations and offers to adopt him. He has become something of a canine celebrity following his ordeal.

Francione's beautiful piece takes to task a public and a culture that celebrates animals who somehow - usually quite miraculously - manage to "escape" death, whether it's in factory farms (usually by getting loose and running away) or in this case, when a puppy somehow didn't die from an injection that should've been lethal. These animals are often singled out as "mircale animals" and they win the public sympathy by being portrayed as plucky and lucky. Meantime, the thousands, millions - ultimately billions - of animals that are killed, day in and day out, are forgotten, relegated to mass graves or the meat section of the super market.

I cannot recommend this piece by Gary Francione (pictured right) enthusiastically enough. It is Francione at his best: Brilliant, right to the point, and full of humanity.

1 comment:

  1. My thoughts on hearing the story were exactly those of Dr. Francione...what about the other puppys? what about all the others...kittens, bunnies, baby cows, baby sheep, baby chickens, baby pigs, adult dogs, cats, rabbits, cows, sheep, pigs? Why no outrage over using murder as a "solution". Why no outrage over the injustice of killing for pleasure, entertainment, profit?

    Sulphur is a small town not too many miles south of where I live. When the story hit the local news I had those thoughts and I also thought...this one will hit the national scene. This is exactly the type of story that gets publicity...because it lets many folks feel warm and fuzzy that the one puppy escaped death...but the others, all the others will not even be a blip on the radar screen of public consciousness.

    No serious discussion will occur, no move made to outlaw killing, no mature and measured movement toward serious, compassionate and respectful ways of coping with the problems of homeless domesticated animals, of "using" sentient beings for food, entertainment or profit. It will be "ooh" and "ah" and "isn't it great the puppy survived and now has a home".

    No expanded discussion about our appetite for death, for eating, using, enslaving sentient beings. Full stop. End of story...on to the next piece that will catch the public eye and assure the public that all is well (and that ensures that the status-quo continues unabated).

    Good for Gary Francione for writing what he did, good for you for writing what you did...and let us all remember that the trajectory of this story...the way it was "handled" is commonplace and predictible...this has been the method used for years and years.

    By the way, if you read the AP version of the "story" you will see all the societal buzz words that are ladled over horror and atrocity to make them more palatable. "Euthanized" instead of murder, "put to sleep" instead of all sounds so soothing. Most telling in the AP version is the quote": "...people are interested in the puppy because his story is unique."

    Sort of like someone going through the gas chamber twice at Auschwitz and surviving. I presume the Nazi press would have made much of that too.