I need to get this off my chest...
Long ago (though not long enough), I faved a page on Facebook called "In Defense of Animals", an animal rights organization centered in San Rafael, California since its founding in 1983. Their slogan is: "working to protect the rights, welfare, and habitats of animals."
But the cost is too much. Instead of being dispassionate and constructive, their language is worded like some obsessed fanboy who completely abandons reality. This is a blatant strike against the do and don'ts of journalism (my first BA major in USD). They use colorful adjectives to speak their point. Here's an example:
In Defense of Animals President, Dr. Marilyn Kroplick, said 'if you want to help protect elephants, don't visit the zoo. Instead help support real conservation efforts that keep wild animals in the wild where they belong.'
They also force us to abandon carnivory and embrace veganism because it is "our moral duty".
As I have said, writing and speaking like some angry fanboy will not get your point across. Instead, it will make it hard for people to take you seriously. Saying that you have evidence is not enough--not even close. Per the rules of journalism, avoid colorful adjectives as they are more often than not subjective, and journalists--at least proper journalists--can't take sides.
Not everyone has the money to go to the wild. Not only is it too expensive, for many people, it's just too far, and some health issues must be taken into consideration as well. Here is how much it costs for a commercial tour to Yellowstone National Park, the first of its kind:
Fee schedule by vehicle capacity:
- Commercial Sedan (1-6 seats): $25, plus $15 per person
- Commercial Van (7-15 seats, regardless of occupancy): $125
- Commercial Mini Bus (16-25 seats, regardless of occupancy): $200
- Commercial Motor Coach (26 or more seats, regardless of occupancy): $300
Also, it's becoming less and less possible to return animals to the wild, not while the issues of poaching, climate change and habitat loss are still apparent. Without zoos, where else would they go? The folks at the IDA page on FB insistently suggested sanctuaries, but my experience at the Wild Animal Sanctuary in Kennsburg, Colorado, tells me that sanctuaries are not viable alternatives because breeding is not allowed.
An even bigger beef I have on IDA is that they are shoving veganism down our throat. But the reality is that human evolution would not have taken the path it did without a taste for meat. Without meat, our brains would be smaller and less sophisticated. Without cooked
meat, small brains would still be a problem, but now added by larger stomachs, hairier skin and spending most of each day doing nothing but chewing.
There is another reality that IDA, for whatever reason, just missed--there are too many livestock!
There are currently half a million bison and 70,000 bighorn sheep left in the world. How does that stack up to farm animals? As of 2014, 1,400,000,000 head of cattle, two billion sheep, 980 million pigs and twenty billion chickens. If the fact that domesticated livestock one-sidedly outnumber their wild counterparts is concerning enough, get ready for a bigger shock.
The ruminant animal is unique because of its four stomach compartments: reticulum, rumen, omasum and abomasum. The rumen is a large, hollow muscular organ where microbial fermentation occurs. It can hold 40 to 60 gallons of material and an estimated 150 billion microorganisms per teaspoon are present in its contents. The function of the rumen as a fermentation vat and the presence of certain bacteria promote the development of gases. These gases are found in the upper part of the rumen with CO2 and CH4 making up the largest portion (Table 1). The proportion of these gases is dependent on rumen ecology and fermentation balance. Typically, the proportion of carbon dioxide is two to three times that of CH4, although a large quantity of CO2 is reduced to CH4. Approximately 132 to 264 gallons of ruminal gas produced by fermentation are belched each day. The eructation of gases via belching is important in bloat prevention but is also the way CH4 is emitted into the atmosphere.
So for the sake of conservation and climate, the slaughter needs to be updated, not uprooted.
Another reality is that dairy cows do not live their lives naturally. Set them free, and what would happen? They'd panic.
The demand for milk is so high that in order to raise efficiency and productivity, dairy cows are artificially inseminated. Once the calf is born, it is taken away to be bottle-fed so that the cow cannot focus her efforts on lactating her young. "Liberating" them would be their death knell because they don't know how to do what cattle are supposed to do.
On a personal note, I'm diabetic. A world without meat is a world where my blood sugars spike up and down constantly, and I find that notion more than unacceptable. I need meat to stay alive--all of humanity needs meat to stay alive because an all-plant diet is not a natural function of our species' anatomy. Meat from a livestock (cow, poultry, pig, sheep) I bat no eye on. Meat from a pet (dog, cat, horse) or a wild animal raises justifiable concern.
In Defense of Animals, for reasons that escape me, can't see that reality. It is too passionate, discriminate and biased for its own good. It villifies and demonizes everything for the actions of the one or the few.