In a landmark book two decades or more ago, Marvin Lubenow shined a light on the strange ideology of activists who elevate animal rights above those of humans. I well remember thinking that the chapter in his book, “Bones of Contention,” that addressed this issue was one of the most important I’d ever read.
With groups like People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals inserting themselves into the national culture, we’re all aware that there are people out there who – in theory – believe a spotted owl has more intrinsic worth than the activists themselves. At least, that’s the ideal. One suspects that if push ever came to shove, said activists would roast a bunny in order to eat and survive.
In any event, an electrifying new book by Wesley J. Smith informs the rest of us that the animal-rights movement is a danger not only to people, but, oddly enough, to the very animals the activists profess to love. Smith’s “A Rat Is a Pig Is a Dog Is a Boy: The Human Cost of the Animal Rights Movement” tracks the real-world implications of elevating animal rights over those of humans.
An aside: the publisher of this book, Encounter Books, is one of my favorites. The company is known for taking on politically incorrect projects that present important topics that help us all make the best choices for living in our society. Encounter, like its few peers such as Regnery and WND Books, serves as a worldview publisher standing in the gap.
Smith, a senior fellow at the Discovery Institute, has taken on a critically important battle in a cultural war that watches over multiple battlefronts every day. By the way, another great title from Smith is “Culture of Death: The Assault on Medical Ethics in America.”
In “A Rat Is a Pig Is a Dog Is a Boy,” Smith manages to report on a subject little understood by what I call “real America” – citizens whose worldview is rooted in a commitment to Judeo-Christian values.
Fellow author Dean Koontz sums it up nicely in the foreword when he states: “Like every antidemocratic ideology, this one [animal rights] is by definition antihuman, and like any antihuman ideology, it ultimately deteriorates into a nihilistic bitterness that is anti-life. … Wesley J. Smith knows too well that if the activists ever succeeded in their goals, if they established through culture or law that human beings have no intrinsic dignity greater than that of any animal, the world would not be a better place for either humankind or animals.”
Well, now to the book.
As I began the book, I just knew that Smith was a stand-up guy, because he discusses dogs in a warm manner. Anyone who loves dogs as much as I do must have an almost perfect worldview, right?
But the author made a great point in discussing the fact that during his research phase, he visited the Assistance Dog Institute of Santa Rosa, Calif. During his time there, he noticed all the well-trained and well-cared-for dogs, who go on to assist persons with disabilities, etc. In other words, in a dog-eat-dog world, there is at least here and there a humanitarian oasis; and guess what? The dogs are treated well, too.
As Smith points out, however, animal-rights activists – if they had their way – would have such places as the Assistance Dog Institute shut down because activists believe “all instrumental uses of animals are immoral.” Bizarre, huh?
This is a theme of “A Rat Is a Pig Is a Dog Is a Boy”: the socialists and Marxists who embrace animal-rights activism actually wind up harming animals (and definitely humanity) by advocating absurd positions. For example, if the Assistance Dog Institute didn’t exist, wouldn’t many of those animals be destroyed? Not to mention the increased difficulties for special-needs people who rely on the kindness, companionship and practicality of trained dogs.
In the chapter entitled “Advocating Terror,” Smith outlines some of the extremes animal-rights activists go to when demonizing humans. Recalling a trip to London in 1998, Smith remembers that a group called Animal Rights Militia (and leftists want to spotlight right-wing militias?) “announced a list of ten vivisectors who will be assassinated if animal-liberation hunger-striker Barry Horne dies through Labour’s broken promises.”
Smith recounts that, much to his surprise, there was a growing number of citizens who began to sympathize with Horne (who’d been convicted of torching a department store that sold furs). One can see the logical outcome of socialist thinking, and is it any wonder the Brits are flirting with Shariah law?
In a chapter that will find favor with all real Americans, from Sam Elliott to Ted Nugent – “Meat is not Murder” – Smith really hits his stride. In the kind of logic that seemingly only those to the right of the left can fathom, Smith lays out the simple, factual case that an omnivorous diet has served mankind well from the beginning. Citing studies and even archaeological findings, he lays out the obvious proposition that some meat in a person’s diet is good.
America’s sensible readers will recognize the truth in Smith’s book. His clear writing and sensational research will enable readers to engage in important, healthy debate with people of goodwill everywhere who are confronted by the radical left.
Besides making for fascinating reading, “A Rat Is a Pig Is a Dog Is a Boy” serves as another weapon in our arsenal as we confront a culture that has largely gone to the dogs.