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American Enterprise Bank

‘Disconnect’ over animals’ role

Sharpen your pens, you animal rights people. You’re not going to like this.

How tiresome it’s become to witness the exaggerated fawning on the part of popular media over the animal world. The breathless accounts on the plight of the loggerhead turtles, the gallant efforts to save beached whales, the wailing over horses heading for slaughter so the French can have “horse steaks” or whatever they eat.

“Animal” stories have always been a part of news reporting. They touch an emotional cord in humans, and that is as it should be. Animals are with us here on earth, part of God’s creation. I get that.

What I don’t get is the inference that because they are part of the planet’s mix, they are somehow “equal” to humans. They are animals, to be treated humanely and, in the case of pet animals, enjoyed. I get that also.

Witness a recent “above the fold” article in the B section of the Florida Times-Union, our big brother newspaper to the east.

Under a banner headline, it told of two kittens mistakenly euthanized at a Jacksonville shelter. Unfortunate, yes. “Above the fold” news?

We live in a culture where people kill other people they know over the stupidest things. Many of us believe it’s perfectly okay to take the life of the unborn and call it a “choice.” Our public schools are dysfunctional and jammed packed with air-headed kids whose parents are content to let someone else raise them.

And we’re supposed to be worried about two kittens?

There’s a disconnect here.

Maybe it’s a result of living in a world where the basic needs of many are so well met (at least in western cultures) that we have a more exalted view of the animal world than, say, we’d have if our survival was paramount.

Or if maybe the animals were trying to eat us.

Perhaps the pet industry with its custom “dog purses” and its “pet hotels” and lavish “pet services” for the deceased run parallel to the diminishing need of “person-to-person” contact in daily living. The people we depend on for our basic needs after childhood, we often never actually see.

If we interact, it’s electronically not physically. It’s possible to be “social” now and not actually “see” anyone at all.

So for many, pets take on an elevated significance in their lives. Pets are the “perfect” company; they’re always loyal, they don’t lie or cheat and they seldom if ever let us down.

Hence the exploding pet industry; there are mutual funds investing in nothing but goods and services directed toward animals, and pets in particular.

And so as animals take on an accelerated role in our lives, so goes their relative place in the pecking order.

Human attraction to the animal world, and pets in particular, is part of our psyche. It’s great to see people walking their dogs, or visiting the zoos or horses grazing on a foggy morning.

But it’s bizarre to see activists telling the world — and the compliant media — all about how animals have status and “rights” heretofore unheard of; closer to those of mankind than we ever dreamed.

Like grieving over dead kittens or thousands of condolences from all over the world to the National Zoo in Washington because a six-day old panda died this week. Really.

That’s kinda nuts.

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