Thoughts on Animals Rights in Contemporary Society

Over the past two days, I’ve watched a few videos on my YouTube recommended videos page by this guy named Shawn Woods. From what it looks like, he creates a lot of videos about mouse traps. He has received millions of views and hundreds of thousands of subscribers all from mouse traps.

Who would’ve thought!

I watched a video of his that showed how to trap mice and rats in a bucket of water.
I watched the video a few times and honestly I couldn’t stop laughing at the mice fall into the bucket one by one all because they wanted the peanut butter on a rolling log.

I laughed because I’d assume that reason would say “warning..warning..don’t do that” then I thought about how some animals have greater degrees of intelligence than others, so mice might not be that fortunate. Then again humans with a vast capacity to reason do foolish things all the time like MTV’s Jackass show that was popular in the 00s.

I clicked on more of his videos, and the contraptions he uses range from very dangerous/lethal for a rodent to very humane. I didn’t expect to get much humor out of the humane traps, but I did. Basically, the mice get trapped in a small house with air holes and the owner can release them in a safer environment. There’s no killing at all in the Humane Smarthouse Mousetrap.

On the PETA Catalog online, they provide a description of the trap

“When tiny guests stop by, turn compassion into action. This plastic trap catches mice alive and unharmed. Be sure to check it hourly so that they don’t suffer needlessly or die from stress and/or dehydration. Don’t set traps if they can’t be checked frequently. Each trap is reusable, so you can catch each mouse and release the animal outside. We’ll include our Humane Control of Mice and Rats tip sheet with every order.”

Moreover, the PETA Catalog site provides a hyperlink to “Look here for more tips for living in harmony with house mice and rats.”

This got me thinking more and more about why I dislike the dissatisfaction with today’s animal’s rights movement. It’s so pet-centered at times that they exalt animals to human-like status over the condition and experience of humans. In modern-day animal right’s advocacy, it would seem that animal right’s triumph unborn rights. Pretty much this trap says mice are awarded more humane treatment than a human being who can feel and sense pain before birth.

Growing up in a wooden house that my grandparents built in the 1940s on a large lot of land, we occasionally saw field mice. Left not killed, they morph into rats. Both forms are horrible experiences. At times, papers were eaten, no food left out was free from a rodent assault, and the pestering madness of finding rodent droppings or traces of urine is completely disgusting. We took it as a duty to kill these rodents in our home the moment we saw a trace of their leftovers.

We used everything from very adhesive glue traps to the old-fashioned lever traps to rid the house of the infantry. Thankfully with persistence, we were able to get them out quickly. We knew if we allowed them to coexist with us peacefully they’d attract more rodents and make our life a living hell.

Similarly, on our property, we had tons of fruit and nut trees such as figs, pears, and pecans. In the spring and summer months, squirrels would leap from powerlines to steal fruit, eat a piece of it, and throw a near perfect pear down to the ground. This drive my mom nuts!

Now think. If my family were farmers and needed all the produce to make ends meet, we would’ve been in the poor house.

These situations I describe are not unique to me but really apply to many. We understand the hassle of living with rodents unsuccessfully. There’s no coexistence with the critters that are eating away (no pun intended) our sanity and security.

From my experience, unlike PETA, I don’t want to live in “harmony ” with a rodent that is nasty and maybe carrying disease. On their website, The Center for Disease Control (CDC) states the following in regards to diseases transmitted by rats:

“Lymphocytic Chorio-meningitis (LCM) is a disease spread by breathing in dust that is contaminated with rodent urine or droppings

Direct contact with rodents or their urine and droppings

Bite wounds, although this does not happen frequently”

Why would I want that?

The failure of the modern day animal right’s movement seeks to create an environment that is supportive of rodents and not public health. The more we can treat animals in a manner that esteems them with dignity and worth, and in the process undermine ours is their goal.

Not sure how we as a nation got to this point. If I had to speculate I’d narrow it down to :

1. Evolutionary science is the primary form of science in mostly all institutions and beliefs of many zoologists and biologist that influence the field. Evolutionary science would have us to believe that humans are 1) a more advanced form of lesser forms of other animals through or 2) all animals share a common ancestor. This helps us welcome all rodents as our “brother’s keeper.”

2. The growing influence of eastern religion and their emphasis on the sacredness of animals

3. Civil Rights Movement opening the door to hundreds of causes and advocacy groups like environmentalist aka Darth Day crowd. Many felt the Movement gave their lobby momentum especially considering the turmoil of the 1960s political and social setting.

With all that I’ve said condemning the modern-day aggressive animal right’s industry, there are points that we as Christians can learn and grow in our faith with.

As Christians, we’re called to be imitators of love, both to humans and animals. At the core, animals too were created by God, but not in his image (or at least Sacred Scripture never says anyone else was created in God’s image but a man). Therefore, being made by love and compassion, we should extend those virtues to all of God’s life through ethical and moral treatment. As Proverbs 12:10 ” The righteous know the needs of their animals, but the mercy of the wicked is cruel.”

I like the story of Balaam and his donkey in Numbers 22-21-39 that really illustrates why we should treat animals with compassion. The donkey tried to steer Balaam three times because it saw an angel of the LORD with a sword in the road. This angel was trying to stop Balaam in his path to prevent him from traveling further. Balaam smacks it three times and on the third blow the voice of God speaks through the donkey saying, “why have you struck your donkey these three times?” Balaam in his pride and bad motive failed to be humble like the donkey and open his eyes to see the Lord. In this case, the animal actually saved Balaam and he realized his sin against God.

In all, we must be skeptical of the moral equivalency of animals and humans. It creates a slipped slope of what actually constitutes as “rights.” On the contrary, Christians must treat animals and pets with compassion and kindness. Straying away from the literalist Dominionist interpretation, but seeing animals as an extension of God’s love in creation.

Follow me on Twitter @Menny_Thoughts

Sources

http://www.petacatalog.com/products/Humane_Smart_Mousetrap-117-25.html

https://www.cdc.gov/rodents/diseases/direct.html

4 comments

  1. But we should beware the attitudes that Christians are justified in doing whatever to animals because they’re not important. That’s why whole species have been wiped out or sent to the brink of extinction. That’s why teenage boys sometimes horrifically abuse cats and dogs. If we can’t treat our animals well, then it speaks to poor stewardship on our part. Some weeks ago, I listened to my pastor as he was using a sermon illustration where he and a group of others had caught a wild possum or racoon and the lot of them had encircled it and were taking turns beating it with sticks. That’s when I knew that Christianity has messed up priorities when it comes to animals.

    Like

    • Thank you for taking time out to comment. I appreciate it.

      You’re totally right. Christians shouldn’t treat animals in a harmful way purposely because that isn’t being a steward of love. I think many are still caught up in the fundamentalist approach to biblical literalism and they fail to see that animals are a part of creation just as humans. Maybe animals will be with us in heaven. God did create animals in paradise originally, so perhaps the new paradise will have animals too.

      Just as with any wicked practice humans do, its a failure on the Christian not Christianity. Christians are sinful and give into bad inclinations.

      Christians need better more awareness on issues such as animal cruelty or ethical treatment of animals.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. I thought the PETA approach was bonkers before I became a Catholic, and still do.

    What’s changed is that now I know more about why today’s ‘animals are people too’ attitude is as wrong in one direction as old-school sports like bear baiting were wrong in another.

    Catechism 2415-2418 ends with “…It is contrary to human dignity to cause animals to suffer or die needlessly. It is likewise unworthy to spend money on them that should as a priority go to the relief of human misery. One can love animals; one should not direct to them the affection due only to persons.” To me, that makes sense.

    On the other hand, I won’t blame evolution, or science in general, for today’s daft ideas.

    For pretty much same reasons I won’t blame Christianity or the Catholic Church for slavery. It’s true that some Christians, including some Catholics, made up allegedly-pious arguments for owning other people. I see that more as demonstrating that humans can misuse almost anything, than proof that Christianity promotes slavery. I haven’t run into the latter claim recently, but it was big in my youth.

    About animals, people, and making sense – I’ve talked about that fairly often, in the context of what the Church says and what I see when looking in a mirror. Example from last week: “Smoke and Monkeys” > Science http://brendans-island.com/catholic-citizen/smoke-and-monkeys/#science

    Liked by 1 person

    • All what you said in your post was good. You mentioned some very let points in regards to human dignity and “being animals but not just animals.” We’re animals made to reflect God’s love. The reference from the CCC you give speaks volumes.

      We should approach owning a pet with reason and compassion because they shouldn’t be neglected over humans but we shouldn’t neglect humans over pets. What a mind blowing thought you gave!

      Liked by 1 person

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