I have to side with Art somewhat on this. We think that because we love our pets that they deserve rights for humane treatment not accorded to other animals. I see this as a blissful, suspension of disbelief by most of us. We chose to think that this cruel treatment of animals is something we don’t condone (or we rationalize it away with a pets vs food arguments) and that doesn’t happen except in those rare cases like the Vick case.
The tragic fact of the matter is that most of us could find a dogfight to watch within 25 miles of our homes. There are a lot more people out there who don’t share our enlightened views on animal cruelty than we choose to acknowledge. Though I wouldn’t go as far as to call someone hypocritical, naïve, or complicit, few of us here are pure as the driven snow.
In Vick’s case I will hope that the pets vs. livestock argument is the case and he has learned that dogs are pets and as such rely on owners for protection and safe treatment. However, I think many of those involved in dog fighting (or grayhound racing for that matter) don’t consider dogs to be pets, so if we remove that label from them, should they be any more or less protected than Bulls? What Vick did was scary-wrong, but how wrong was it if he didn’t feel any affinity towards fighting dogs? Hopefully he has changed and maybe others will learn from his example.
So don’t let Art Vandelay’s hatred of dogs (and probably butterflies, children, and America
) blind you to his point, because he is right. We have a tier system for ethical treatment of animals and choose to turn a comfortably blind eye to the ills that befall the animals we exploit in our daily life. So before you go running off to the Vandelay stoning take a moment to realize how little we know about how the animal cruelty that takes place to bring us some of the things we enjoy.
And no, I do not eat, nor condone the unethical treatment of tofu.