Tags: Travel | animal | animals | rights

Animal Rights Extremists Undermine Their Cause

By Friday, 20 May 2016 05:11 PM Current | Bio | Archive

Nothing can prepare one for seeing the Grand Canyon in person. Its sheer immensity is nature at its most spectacular.

Yet many are equally impressed by something else near the Canyon: huge elk, often grazing mere feet from the road.

How times have changed, because just over 100 years ago, there were no elk left in Arizona. They had been slaughtered to extinction.

Similarly humbling is coming face-to-face with the world’s greatest leviathans: whales.

And millions do, through whale watching trips. This wasn’t always the case, however, as unchecked hunting left several species on the verge of extinction.

Now, whale numbers are steadily climbing.

And wild bison are recovering after being reduced from 6o million to just a few hundred.

So what evolved in our collective psyche to make us go from accepting full-bore killing sprees to championing conservation?

Seeing these animals in zoos, aquatic parks, and yes, circuses. Yet that experience is quickly becoming more endangered than the animals themselves, courtesy of an extremist animal-rights movement that has a cow over animals in captivity, and bullies entities that showcase them.

Their aggressive tactics, combined with a deer-in-the-headlights response by corporate public relations departments, have led to the impossible: the Ringling Brothers’ circus no longer features elephants, and SeaWorld will be discontinuing its world-famous Orca shows. Yet these decisions were not necessarily the right ones, especially for the animals.

Ironically, those “victories” for the extremists ring hollow, as they will have counter-productive, and perhaps catastrophic, effects on the very animals purportedly being “saved.”

In the movie "Silence Of The Lambs," Hannibal Lecter explained, “We covet what we see.” He was right, meaning that if younger generations never have the opportunity to see animals “up close and personal,” they will never covet them.

And if they don’t, their eyes will never grow wide with excitement that only comes from seeing bigger-than-life animals do amazing things. In the absence of that “love,” empathy for their well-being will quickly evaporate.

Out of sight, out of mind.

If we are to truly “save the whales” (and elephants), we have to take on the often-disingenuous animal rights movement, and talk about what’s really best for the animals.

Last year, there was international outrage over the killing of the iconic Cecil the Lion. And just recently, there was a headline story that Scarface, America’s most beloved grizzly bear, had been killed.

At one time, those developments would have been met with an “I-don’t-care” shrug. But because we “know” these types of animals through zoos and circuses, which “humanize” the animals and increase our affinity for them, people took offense to the senseless killings.

But take away that special “bond,” and demand for animals’ welfare will wane dramatically.

But the animal rights movement won’t stop until circuses are devoid of all animals (lions and tigers are next), zoos are closed, and aquatic parks are a memory. Enough is enough.

There is a clear correlation between animal populations rebounding and the rise in popularity of zoos and aquatic parks. SeaWorld opened in 1964, and after two decades of treating people to the wonders (and plight) of whales, a whaling moratorium was instituted by 89 nations in 1986. That ban would not exist had the will of the people not been behind it.

Likewise, poaching has been decreasing, due to people’s awareness of that threat, and their desire to fight back. But take away access to animals over here, and poaching reverts to being “someone else’s” problem over there.

Result? End of story for species such as the black rhino.

Should there be additional oversight (or at least better enforcement of existing regulations) on how animals here are trained? Absolutely. But since there’s more than one way to skin a cat, let’s focus on no-pain, humane methods to train these intelligent animals.

So why not limit the service life of circus elephants to five or ten years, after which they can “retire” to animal preserves? That way, everybody wins. How can anyone have a beef with that?

Zoos and aquatic parks literally preserve the bloodlines of species that would have otherwise gone extinct in the wild and their research leads to cures for both people and animals. Most important, today’s children (tomorrow’s zoologists, marine biologists, and naturalists), are inspired by experiencing animals in a hands-on way.

If we don’t showcase the magnificence of wildlife to our young minds, then their imaginations will never be ignited, and the fire to protect animals will be left to others.

Translation: it won’t happen. How’s that in the best interest of “animal rights?”

It’s time to stop ducking the elephant in the room — that animal-rights extremists are the biggest threat to animals — and whale the tar out of those hell-bent on disenfranchising future generations.

Chris Freind is an independent columnist, television commentator, and investigative reporter who operates his own news bureau, Freindly Fire Zone Media. Read more reports from Chris Freind — Click Here Now.


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It’s time to stop ducking the elephant in the room, that animal-rights extremists are the biggest threat to animals, hell-bent on disenfranchising future generations.
animal, animals, rights
Friday, 20 May 2016 05:11 PM
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