Two months ago, I wrote about the dog meat trade. That post — based on a Los Angeles Times article addressing Southeast Asia’s dog meat industry — included this quote from scientist and animal advocate Mark Bekoff:
“If we wouldn’t do something to our companion animals that we do daily to mice, rats, monkeys, pigs, cows, elephants, chimpanzees, or even non-companion cats and dogs, we need to ask ourselves why!”
Today, as I read this CBS Miami article on the use of live jackrabbits as “bait” for training greyhounds to race, Bekoff’s quote came to mind.
The article recounts the effort of animal abuse investigator Pete Paxton to go undercover and document this horrific “training technique.” Videos like the ones he filmed were instrumental last year in passing the PACT (Preventing Animal Cruelty and Torture) Act. It got through both houses of the U.S. Congress by unanimous consent.
In an interview with CBS Miami’s reporters, Florida Congressman and PACT Act co-sponsor Ted Deutch said of Paxton’s footage:
“A lot of people said when we worked on this legislation that that it’ not the most important issue there is in the world… right now… we’re battling this pandemic… But it still matters. And anyone who watches that, except I guess for the people…responsible for that brutality, would be horrified. And that’s why it is necessary to do what we did.”
While a step in the right direction, however, the law still exempts “customary and normal” agricultural practices and slaughter.
In reality, the “culture of cruelty” extends far beyond dog racing. Were Congressman Deutch to view undercover videos of rabbits being skinned alive or terrified, kicking and mooing cows being slaughtered, would he be equally horrified?
By what mental gymnastics do we agree to ban the animal cruelty committed in the name of raceday thrills, but accept the animal cruelty that puts food on our plates?