Animal rights

November 30, 1994|By Ray Recchi

PERHAPS I'M NOT fully evolved, not the sensitive, '90s kinda guy I like to think I am.

Although I believe we still have room for improvement when it comes to women's rights, civil rights and gay rights, I think we may have gone just a bit too far when it comes to animal rights.

By today's standards, I guess that makes me a bigot. I like to eat beef, pork and chicken. I think the use of animals for medical experiments -- when necessary -- is a responsible decision.

What's more, I operate under the radical belief that human beings are superior to animals because we have consciences, greater intelligence and morals. Not all of us, mind you, but most of us.

According to one reader, I am guilty of "speciesism" because I wrote in a recent column that "manhood is the ability to recognize and develop those qualities that separate us from animals, things such as intelligence, sensitivity, morality and responsibility."

If that makes me a "species chauvinist," then I guess I'm guilty.

While I don't believe in cruelty to animals, neither do I believe they should get preferential treatment. And with increasing frequency, that seems to be the case.

Even as I write this, a Norfolk, Va., woman faces the possibility of spending a year in jail and paying a $2,500 fine because -- are you ready? -- her pig is too fat.

Virginia Hudgins' Vietnamese pot-bellied pig weighs in at approximately 200 pounds, twice what such a pig is supposed to weigh. When warnings from Ms. Hudgins' veterinarian went unheeded, animal control officers went to the woman's home and charged her with animal neglect. The pig was hauled off to a fat farm.

My first reaction to this was, "Aren't pigs supposed to be fat?" Indeed, aren't pigs considered universal symbols of obesity?

OK, so maybe even a pig can be too fat for its own good. According to reports, this one has a belly that drags on the ground and so much fat on her forehead that it flops down over her eyes, blocking her vision.

Still, it seems odd that law enforcement would intervene to protect the pig. After all, you never hear of anyone being charged with cruelty to children for having an obese child. Yet there are a lot of fat kids running around. Aren't they worthy of the same protection?

There are states that have laws to protect parents who spank their children. But in every state, a person can be arrested for "spanking" a dog.

I don't get it. Still, the law's the law.

So even though our family cat has lived most of her 10 years outdoors, I guess I'll have to force her to stay out of sight from now on.

At least until she loses a few pounds.

Ray Recchi is a columnist for the Fort Lauderdale Sun-Sentinel.

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