29 June, 2007, 852 pm
Filed under: Uncategorized

I couldn’t even get through the Foreward of Targeted: The Anatomy Of An Animal Rights Attack without laughing out loud and saying, “WHAT?!” Here’s a quote from the Foreword, before the book even STARTS. First, some background on the one page I was able to read before it. John M. Orem of Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center “suffered” an animal rights attack in mid-1989, and after the attacks, some of his supporters sent him plaques of approval, I guess. But he sees them as a sign of his “struggles” and of his weakness.

“For my part, my broodings were alleviated by reading Primo Levi’s The Drowned and the Saved and Bruno Bettelheim’s The Informed Heart. The perspective obtained from these authors’ attempts to understand their experiences in the German concentration camps showed me, on the one hand, that my burden is small and insignificant and, on the other hand, that there are parallels between the techniques of Nazi Germany and those of the animal rights movement.”

I laughed and yelled, “WHAT?!” Haha, yeah…okay, so the animal rights movement is attempting to rescue animals from the horrid living conditions and the exploitation they suffer daily, to free them. We’re attempting to make them happier. Nazi Germany was making an attempt at genocide, because Hitler essentially piled all of the problems of Germany, corrupt after WWI, on the Jewish population, on Undesirables, on Gypsies, on the mentally ill, on homosexuals…on anyone who wasn’t just like him. Ever read Night by Eli Weisel? Yeah, his family was tricked into thinking that the train was taking them to a place with better conditions than their hometown, which had been staked out by Nazi soldiers. They thought they were being protected or saved. Yeah, they ended up at concentration camps, where Eli lost his family and his happiness and ended up an orphan. Let’s read on, though, shall we?

“This movement uses propaganda to accomplish its goals; it cares nothing about the truth and is even attempting to rewrite the history of science to discount the role of animal research. The movement has infiltrated our schools; it condones terroristic acts as a means to its end; it uses legal bullying to silence its critics; it is anti-intellectual and antihuman.”

Cares nothing about the truth. Propaganda. Hmm. What about people who like to cover up the truth? Okay, let’s look at a generic carton of cow’s milk. How about Lehigh Valley milk? You’ll see a graceful green field on the label, with a rising sun. On other dairy products, you might see pictures of cows roaming happily on the plains, eating grass, with a big red barn behind them. You’ll read picture books about it. You’ll even see commercials about it, like the Turkey Hill one, where there’s a little girl jumping on a trampoline on a farm in Hanover, Pennsylvania, or maybe Lancaster (I forget). They certainly don’t get their animals from these places. So where do they come from? Oh, yeah–factory farms. Or “free range” farms. Well…why don’t they plaster pictures of these places on their containers and in their ads and in their commercials? I mean, that would be telling the truth, after all. Oh, what? They’re disgusting and inhumane? But they show completely unrelated pictures to their customers? Isn’t that misleading? Do the meat eating customers ever see how their meat lives? Do they see how they’re slaughtered? Do they see the look of disdain in a cow’s innocent eyes in her last seconds of life? Do they know that their meat may have been conscious while being skinned? Do they know how much SHIT is in what they’re eating? Are you getting tired of my rhetorical questioning? The thing is, I don’t think it’s the animal rights movement that doesn’t care about the truth. I think it’s the other end of the spectrum. Like Iams testing on animals. That’s “science.”

Do you know what else about science? I’ve never had to dissect a frog, but my classes have dissected squids (fourth grade), female rats (seventh grade), and pig fetuses (tenth grade). And I wanted nothing to do with it. For the squids, my partner did everything. For the rats, I pretended I was sick so I wouldn’t have to, and for the pig fetuses, I opted out and my teacher almost sent me to the clinic because she thought I looked like I was going to barf all over the individual desk I had to do my optional assignment at. She never did collect that assignment; she gave me a free perfect grade. The thing is, one of the places I expect to escape cruelty is at school. We’re talking about math and chemicals and prose. But when it does come up at school–in the form of that huge bug in the hallway, or the bird on the side of the school, or the pig fetus, or the rat, or the squid–I normally lose it.

Back to how fucked up this book is. Anti-intellectual. So Orem is saying that it’s intellectual to exploit and control animals? It’s intellectual to attempt to be the master of someone smaller than you–someone absolutely defenseless against you? Come on, Johnny. Grow up.

“My conviction from this experience is that this movement can be stopped by doubt. Propaganda works because of the absence of doubt. Doubt is critical thinking, and, with it, although we may not arrive at the truth, we can ferret out many lies.”

Exactly. Propaganda, like the pictures that come on the cartons of animal products, works because of the absence of doubt. How many average, ever day people/soccer moms/grocery store workers are going to believe, after x years growing up with these fantasies, the pictures and videos PETA shows them? Probably none. And they’ll come away really pissed off. Doubt may be critical thinking, but it’s been a good fifteen years since our old buddy John M. Orem wrote this poor excuse for a Foreword, and I don’t think the animal rights movement is declining any.

While we’re talking about animal rights and PETA, take a look at this load of bull. If you don’t have time (if you don’t, then why are you reading this?!), it’s an article released by PETA about their opposition to the EU dog and cat fur ban. The comments on the article are complete bull crap from blind PETA supporters. PETA’s reasoning for their opposition is that the abuse will be displaced from dogs and cats to other fur animals, and that these animals, commonly known as household pets, will still be abused…just now they’ll be mislabeled as other animals. They say it will grease the tracks for the fur trade. As legitimate as this all sounds (and may be), the ban is still a small step towards change. My opinion is that they keep the ban. It’s raised awareness to those who were formerly unaware, and lifting the ban would allow for open abuse of cats and dogs. Though this ban may not be completely saving them–and may encourage underhanded practices–it’s a start. I mean, what animal abusing system isn’t underhanded about its practices? We need that to change, but let’s start by educating everyone that not everyone is as honest as they make their self out to be.

15 Comments so far
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okay, what the hell? peta is the fishiest thing i’ve heard of because half their stuff is crap and the other half is good. they confuse the hell out of me. what about when they collected cats and dogs and got them exterminated when they said they were taking them to good homes? are they believable? but yeah i want the ban to stay too.

Comment by divya

god, don’t get me started on PETA.

Comment by adam

i guess the novelty of peta has worn off because they’ve become so powerful. or rather, ingrid newkirk has become so powerful. i think they have the inherent intention of being good, and that some of ingrid’s subordinates are good, but that they’re rather controlling of their army.

Comment by leindiemeister

divya, peta confuses most everyone! They’re very inconsistent in general, and I certainly don’t trust much of what they say.

Speaking of which, their ‘accidently vegan’ or whatever page that is, take it with a grain of salt. 99% vegan is good enough for them, so even when they know for certain that some ingredients are animal-derived, they’ll list it on their page as vegan. They have a disclaimer about it (or used to), and talk about a mixed message!

leindiemeister, you bring up excellent points about research in schools. You should always be able to opt out for ethical reasons. If you are having trouble with your teachers and the school rules or whatever (and this applies in college too), there are people in the animal rights movement who have had years of experience arguing these points, and can help. There’s a growing movement against using animals in schools, so you might not face this, but keep it in mind if you do. There’s a guy, Dr. Andrew Knight, who was instrumental in starting a movement to not require animal experimentation in vet schools in australia!

My vegan teacher friend I mentioned earlier is a science teacher and he flat out refuses to do anything that uses animals. He’s taken some flak from parents, but his principal sticks up for him.

Regarding the fur ban, though, I actually agree with PETA on this one. Speciesm becomes a big word in AR, and I’m sure you’ll run across it as you start reading up on the issues. It is similar to saying that it is “better” to give hens an extra inch. You’re actually reinforcing the idea that there is something okay about them being in cages to begin with. Similarly with the fur, by banning fur from certain species but not all, you’re reinforcing the idea that some species (namely the cuddly cute ones that we bring into our homes) shouldn’t be killed for fur, but others can be. Mary explains it well in this post:

A friend is touring through various countries in asia right now, and she sent back an email describing some of the things she saw. It was really about all the things people managed to carry on the back of their mopeds, including two trees (on one bike), cows, pigs, and then she mentioned the dogs in cages. Dogs that were being taken to slaughter. She even apologized for mentioning it, knowing that everyone, vegetarian or vegan or omni, was going to cringe. But I was cringing about the pigs and the cows too. yet by her reaction to the dogs, she’s reinforcing that cows and pigs are different, and that something about their difference makes it okay to cringe at the impending slaughter of the dogs, while not even paying attention to the same fate of the cows and pigs. (and ironically, she was vegetarian for about 20 years, until fairly recently)

The point is that we have to be careful when we allow lines to be drawn simply because of things like species.

The intention is good, your point about at least some animals not being raised and killed for the skin on their backs is hard to deny, but when you look for the end result, it is more complicated.

Well, more to think about!

You’re jumping right into the AR issues, which is awesome!

Oh, wanted to also mention a couple books (no need to read both, either would accomplish the goal) that discuss the so-called history of science as relates to animal usage, and call into serious question exactly who has been rewriting that history. The books are by the Drs Greek, and are named “Specious Science” and “Sacred Cows and Golden Geese.” Good to read as “ammo” of sorts for when you’re faced with arguments such as in the foreword of the book you’re reading.

Keep it up!

Comment by Deb

Yeah, I’ve heard of specieism (sp?) before, probably in earlier research on the fur trade, which is why I didn’t really react in this post to the fact that cats and dogs are used as fur so much as I did to the fact that there was a ban. I didn’t quite realize how specieist I was sounding at the end of the post until I reread it just now. Whoa. It’s a bit like racism. I guess I need to watch myself. I’m not supporting the fur trade at all, and I don’t do wool or or leather or suede or anything like that, and you’re right–it’s not okay to kill any animals, not cats or dogs or minks or foxes or lynxes, not for fur or for food or for fun or for science. I liked your example of the friend touring Asia right now, too.

I guess I need to keep trying to dive into animal rights issues until I figure some crucial factors out and can take an intelligent stance and be able to back it up, and I suppose this would be the best place to do it. I surely haven’t given up. I’ll be sure to check out one of those books the next time I’m at the library. I appreciate your support and guidance!

Comment by leindiemeister

I think that speceism (which i never know how to spell either!) is one of the most difficult things to catch ourselves on, honestly. Don’t be discouraged at all. Posting like this is awesome, because you’re going through the process and effort of education, evaluation, introspection, all that.

One thing I’ve learned to look at is what we don’t explicitely say, but end up implying.

Just keep reading and thinking! Seriously, I’ve been nothing but impressed so far! :)

Comment by Deb

I think the name of that book alone immediately starts my “what the fuck…?!” alarm bells. Wowa.. back up a second. I’m not sure I even know where to begin.

In terms of the comparisons that can be made between the animal rights movement and Nazi Germany, I am more inclined to think along the lines of The Dreaded Comparison: Human and Animal Slavery by Marjorie Spiegel which details the commonalities between the two.

The idea of some parallels of technique between them comes off as a a tad absurd. Prior to technique we have motivation: on one hand actions to free species from slavery, and on the other, actions to enslave and commit nationalist racial cleansing. How intriguing. What a fuckbag.

I think you hit the nail on the head with this guy: grow up. Grow the fuck up and a brain, and stop shitting on those of us who actually have a properly functioning one. In fact, from what you have quoted, he seems like a carnist v animal rights equivalent of the stuff proposed by good ol’ McCarthy many decades ago.

1. Where is this illusive “infiltration” of schools? I don’t know about you, but I see infiltration by the meat and dairy industries, not by the “movement”.

2. We “condone” terroristic acts do we? This rides on the premise that whatever these acts he is alluding to are actually terroristic in the first place. And as with any population, certain sects support these “terroristic” acts while others don’t.

3. Legal bullying? Is that suggesting that we are not allowed to legally challenge things we deem as either a) illegal or b) wrong?

4. Anti-intellectual and anti-human? Because, clearly, the exploitation and enslavement of non-human animals is the very and sole definition of our humanity…

I’m going to stop because I could rant about this guy all day, and that would be waste of both of our time :p .

Comment by surplusvalue

After I found out what the book was truly about and how misleading it is, I wanted to throw it down, and I got extremely angry that there are people like that in this world. John M. Orem made it an attack on himself, and he wallowed in self pity that wasn’t even legitimate at the time. I decided that I’ll attempt to wade through the book, though, because it’s not very long and it’ll fuel my rage, and probably motivate me a good deal in my writing and in my steps towards veganism.

I think I read an article about Marjorie Spiegel, by the way, while doing my research paper on factory farming this year, and I may have even cited some of her work as a source. Her name sounds familiar.

Anyway, I’ll be sure to quote more from the actual mass that is the real book as I tread through it.

Comment by leindiemeister


Comment by adam


Comment by leindiemeister

marjorie spiegel’s book details the comparison between the roots of opression that allow people to hold humans in slavery, and the same mindset that allows them to do the same to animals. There is another book, Eternal Treblinka by Charles Patterson, that details the commonality between the Holocaust and the treatment of animals in our society. Both are excellent books to read!

It is always good to read opposing viewpoints anyway. Balance is key! Though I’m not sure I could stomach the book you’re reading. I think you’re braver than I am!

Comment by Deb

i’ve lost most interest in the book, but i’m trying. if anything, it’ll fuel my fire and give me more points to argue whenever it’s brought up in casual conversation. i mostly try to avoid reading it by distracting myself with “chocolat” (which is amazing and french and fantastic and has just swallowed me up), although i know it’s inevitable that i will get through it. i’ve decided this summer that instead of checking out the typical non-fiction ones that i do every summer, i want to learn something.

i’m excited for all the literature that you and luke have presented, though! i think i’ll make another quick stop at the library sometime this week before i head out to the beach so i have plenty to absorb.

Comment by leindiemeister

Is the book “chocolat” what the movie “chocolat” (with johnny depp) was based off? I took a couple semesters of french in one of my college stints, and really enjoyed it, but le petit prince is more my speed. ;)

Reading oppositional literature will definitely help you when it comes time to argue with people, so it will be worth it in the end, if you can stomach it!

Remember to read some fun stuff too though. I can get really bogged down in the AR stuff and feel like my head and heart are about to explode from too much info and too much heartache. And that’s when I read (oddly enough) vampire novels. Totally addicted! :D

Comment by Deb

I am obsessed with vampires, though I’ve only ever read one sort-of vampire novel. Ish. I like to draw vampires. Haha.

And yes, it’s what the movie’s based on. It only has a few French words interspersed with the many English ones, but it’s a fantastic novel. I’ve seen part of the movie before, but it was during band class and I wasn’t too interested.

Le Petit Prince is arguably the best piece of French literature out there, haha!

Comment by leindiemeister

I don’t think cows can disdain.

Comment by wut?!

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