You already know the Ringling Brothers & Barnum and Bailey have folded up the Big Tent for the last time, a sad event. Any thoughts we have had about running away to join the circus (a viable option to kids growing up in Northern Michigan in the ’70s) must be abandoned.
Think of all the performers thrown out of work! Clowns will have a hard time—it’s no laughing matter—finding paying positions which allow them to scare the bejeebers out of kids. Maybe manning the Obamacare help desk? Little people will line up at unemployment offices seeking short-term work. The daring young men—and women!—on the flying trapezes had better hope Hollywood has another Tarzan remake in the works.
And all the animals will be shuttled off to catering houses and zoos. The circus had to endure “a long and costly legal battle with animal rights advocates, which ended with its hugest stars — the elephants — being pink slipped. Elephants had been the symbol of the circus since an Asian pachyderm named Jumbo joined the show in 1882.” One report said:
People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals, a longtime opponent of the circus, wasted no time in claiming victory.
“After 36 years of PETA protests, which have awoken the world to the plight of animals in captivity, PETA heralds the end of what has been the saddest show on earth for wild animals, and asks all other animal circuses to follow suit, as this is a sign of changing times,” Ingrid Newkirk, president of People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals, wrote in a statement.
PETA are, of course, animal “rights” activists.
Since every right entails a responsibility, if animals have the right, say, not to be killed, whose responsibility is it not to kill? Ours, say PETA and other activists, and they are correct—if animals do indeed have that right. But the animals would bear the same weighty duty. If any animal has the right not to be killed, then no animal can kill another animal. Any killing would be a violation of animal rights.
Thus if animals have the right not to be killed, the lion must perforce lie down with the lamb, or face the appropriate penalty. What that penalty should be and whose duty it is to enforce are open to question. The suggestion that PETA members be made to patrol the veldt armed with summons books and four-paired handcuffs should not be overlooked.
Once killing is banned, and before the creation of the new heaven and earth, a lot of beasts are going to go hungry since it’s doubtful we can make enough pseudo-meat tofu burgers to placate even just the birds, many of which are finicky eaters. And then, for example, Polar bears have an unfortunate cannibalistic streak, and there is doubt raising awareness among the ice bears will be sufficient to curtail their murderous proclivities.
Of course, we can argue that animals are allowed to slaughter each other, but that men are forbidden to slip the ax to our four-legged friends. But that would imply that man is different than animals, and lower than animals. Why?
In this scheme, animals are superior to men. After all, men would be forbidden to kill animals, but animals would still be allowed to kill men, and that difference in power structure makes them superior. Of course, they could also be restricted from killing us, but that seems odd: they can kill each other but not us? If they can kill each other, but not us, that implies men are superior after all, since the life of an animal to another animal is nothing—or dinner. But the life of a man to an animal is much.
And if animals are restricted, or barred, from killing us, who is it that is doing the restricting? Well, men. Again, that implies men are superior to animals, since we would use our power from keeping animals from their desires, and that power imbalance proves our superiority.
There just isn’t any way to work the argument that animals have the “right” not to be killed and remain coherent and consistent, except in two ways. The Texas BBQ path, in which the superiority of men is acknowledged and animals are allowed to kill each other for meat, pleasure (chimps), and access to females (rams). And the path of Starvation, where all killing is disallowed. Good luck enforcing that.