Features

Why do we care about the mutts from Manchester and not the chickens from KFC?

There is a glaring double standard in our adoration for our pets and our tolerance for intensive farming

27 September 2014

9:00 AM

27 September 2014

9:00 AM

We love animals more than we love people. Of course we do. Following the recent fire at a Manchester dogs’ home, people donated £1 million and blocked the M6 with their cars as they arrived in their multitudes to adopt the displaced animals. It would have been heartwarming, it really would, if we hadn’t also demanded the death of the teenaged boy named on Twitter as the suspect in the arson attack. All over the internet apparently normal people, including ‘friends’ of mine on Facebook, called for a 15-year-old boy to be burned alive.

I feel sick about the dogs too. I’m an animal lover. I adore my dog and my horses possibly more than anything else in the world. I couldn’t bear it if anything happened to them. But perhaps that in itself gives me an insight into why we respond to the death of 50 dogs in a way that precludes all mercy for the screwed-up teenaged arsonist responsible for their demise. Why do we apparently value some animal life (the ‘some’ is crucial) as equal to or even superior to human life?

Here is my thesis, for what it’s worth: having a relationship with an animal is easy compared to having one with a person. To love a dog is a walk in the park. The dog will love you unconditionally and for the most part won’t answer back. Meaningful human relationships are difficult and arguably, in the age of social networking, increasingly elusive. More people opt for a spaniel or a horse over a husband or a wife. No wonder the Pope feels he must warn young people against buying a lapdog instead of knuckling down to marriage and parenthood.

But the fact that we can understand the reason for the Manchester dogs’ home furore does not make it any less scary. When reasonable people demand the death of a teenager in recompense for the death of 50 dogs, something is amiss. And when they compound the confusion by going home that evening to eat a dead animal, society ought to ask itself some awkward questions.


We need to know why it never occurred to the people who blocked the M6 to queue up outside their local abattoir to offer help to all those poor sheep, pigs and cows who are just as sentient and capable of pain and distress as dogs. Why do we care about the mutts of Manchester and not the countless animals that have their throats slashed every year in the halal method? In short, our attitude to animal suffering has become bonkers.

Reluctantly, I’m afraid I must agree with Sir Paul McCartney, who sang a funny little song this week in support of ‘Meat-free Mondays’. If we really wanted to help animals, we would stop buying so many cheap chicken dinners and curry takeouts. We would stop going down the Chinese on Friday night, and spend more money in the supermarket on more ethical produce. But we don’t. We go on buying cheap meat, the biggest sole cause of animal suffering in this world, and we go on demanding an end to animal cruelty.

It wouldn’t be so bad if this attitude were not making inroads into official policy. In the United States this week, it emerged that animal cruelty offences will soon be reported to the FBI following a proposal from the National Sheriffs’ Association and the Animal Welfare Institute. However, this will not apply to anything killed to eat.

In Australia, a shark cull is to be halted after the state’s environmental regulator advised against it. The baited traps were set up along seven beaches after a series of fatal attacks. But critics argued it could damage the marine ecosystem. Never mind the tourist ecosystem. The regulator cited ‘a high degree of scientific uncertainty’ about the impact on the white shark population. Never mind the humans.

It seems that we are not allowed to prefer our own race any more — that’s racism. In a long-running spat I am having with the RSPCA, I find myself debating with the charity’s ruling council member Richard Ryder, who believes that ‘speciesism’ is on a par with racism. Dr Ryder reckons that hurting an animal is as bad as hurting a human, because both feel pain. After gender equality and race equality, equality of the species, apparently, is the next big debate. But if we really think animals are equal to humans, then we need to make some urgent changes. Vegetarianism will have to be compulsory and Buddhism the national religion. No more halal chicken, no more Sunday roasts.

What we have is a glaring double standard: some creatures are so lacking in rights they hardly figure in the debate — cows, sheep, pigs — while others have so many rights they trump the needs of humans — foxes, badgers, bats. Sorry, you animal lovers blocking the M6, but it won’t do. It is no use protesting about 50 dead dogs when you implicitly sanction the slaughter of millions of animals a year so you can gorge on burgers and KFC.

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Show comments
  • John Matthews

    I’d hope that for the most people calling for the head of the arsonist were reacting instantly to a situation they didnt understand and woke up the next day with a more rational frame of mind.
    I agree with much of what you said and on the podcast though I dont see any good reasons for fox hunting to come back.
    You havnt mentioned the biggest cover up of animal cruelty next to intensive farming which is animal testing. This is a subject which needs more exposure so the public at least have an understanding of what goes on. Currently puppies and kittens are are bread just be tested on.

    • John Croston

      The biggest cover up of animal cruelty is halal and kosher slaughter. And halal meat is on general sale in our supermarkets – unlabelled as such.
      BTW – I’ve heard of all kinds of bread, but never one made of puppies and kittens.

      • mohdanga

        Sshhh, can’t say anything about halal, it might upset ‘community cohesion’…..
        Or the fact that halal was secretly put on the menu in many schools without informing non-Muslim parents. Just one more example of stealth jihad.

    • dee

      I expect you are townie, and not one who lives in a London suburb plagued
      by mangey, smelly, destructive foxes who forage through waste bins for food, and find plenty. Hunting is natural for a fox, so is slaughtering all the chickens and leaving them dead – nice. Let’s not be sentimental about the fox!

      • John Matthews

        I live in a town which rand often see foxes. perhaps the problem is people not taking care of their rubbish? I’m not against fox culling if its abs necessary just the act of toffs getting some sick boner of chasing them down for blood sport.

        • dee

          So you are classist, as well as being quite wrong that only ‘toffs’ hunt foxes. You’ve obviously never bothered to check this out, when you would find that non-‘toffs’ hunt, middle classes hunt, and that you a prejudiced ignoramus.
          try and get over this chip

          • John Matthews

            please prove me wrong with some evidence. vast majority of fox hunters just as vast majority of grouse moor shooters are the gentry. And no I dont include fishing.

          • Fergus Pickering

            Why don’t you include fishing?

        • Fergus Pickering

          I am told that many people who hunt foxes are not toffs. Certinly in Somerset where they hunt stags, the hunt followers are not toffish at all. Don’t be so class conscious.

      • Fergus Pickering

        We have plenty of fine foxes round here. If you slaughter something you necessarily leave it dead. The solution is to shut up your chicken coops securely.

    • Fergus Pickering

      Fox-hunting is back, old fruit. It never went away. I’ve never seen a hunt and I can’t ride a horse. But Iwish them all well.

  • Ne11y

    I’m a vegetarian. For me, any other position is just hypocritical. You cannot be selective in the meat you eat. It makes no sense to happily eat cow but be outraged at the thought of eating horse.

    • Corbus

      Quite right. I eat chicken and dog.

    • David Glen

      I agree. As a vegetarian you put up with accusations and surprise morality thought experiments all you’re dinning days – yet it’s the everyday meat eaters that demonstrate the oddest inconsistencies. If you don’t eat meat, and don’t kill for fun, you simply don’t do those things – without contradicton. You don’t tear one dog apart while petting another, show kids lovely lambs without making the tesco connection, get fat from pumped up chicken while using the cheap meat to fund trill and fatballs for the garden, or start crying because some bits of an animal were left in the burger.

      I don’t think meat eating is amoral – i just don’t want to be a hypocrit – which I am if I can’t ring my dinners neck, or find the idea of a lovely bull dog fleeing from a pack abhorrent, but not a fox.

    • dee

      There are horse-meat butchers’ shops in France. No outrage there.
      I’ve eaten it. I prefer cow.

    • Matthew Glover

      I’m a vegan. For me, being vegetarian is equally hypocritical. You cannot be selective in the animal products you eat. It makes no sense to be outraged at meat eaters, and then eat eggs where the male chicks have been ground up alive in hatcheries, or milk where the male calves have been taken from their mothers and shot dead, or raised for veal. I was vegetarian for years and assumed it was an ethical diet until I realised that milk/cheese/eggs is all the meat industry too.

      • AndrewMelville

        I’m an omnivore as humans are meant to be. For me, vegetarians and vegans are boring nutters. I wouldn’t lock them up or deny them the vote, but I would ask that they not be seated near me at dinner parties

        • Matthew Glover

          Are you so rude to people in real life Andrew? If so, I’m not sure anyone would wish to sit near you at a dinner party either.

          • AndrewMelville

            …and it is not rude of you in the first instance to label as hypocrites those who don’t share your tortured logic and nice distinctions?

            I withdraw my invitation to join me at the Flesherton Bacon Festival.

          • Matthew Glover

            It’s not a tortured logic Andrew. You’re the one suffering from a moral schizophrenia. Please research ‘speciesism’ and learn that your prejudice against other species is uncivilised and cruel.

          • AndrewMelville

            Matthew, you’re being daft. We are animals, and like many other animals we are meant to eat a broad range of foods, including other animals. There is nothing hypocritical or schizophrenic about that. My values are quite clear: my survival and comfort is more important than animals, so I am quite prepared to use them and kill them. I would not willing cause anyone or anything unnecessary pain, so animals should be treated well and killed humanely – halal meat and kosher meat is barbaric and should be banned. Animal testing is unpleasant and distressing and should be minimized and regulated but not banned. Vegans and vegetarians are welcome to live as they choose but should keep their views largely to themselves. Animal terrorists are criminals and should be prosecuted and gaoled.

            Speciesism is a concept with which I am well familiar, it is a silly position adopted by folks living comfortably in a civilization built on normal human behaviour.

          • Matthew Glover

            I think it’s pointless going any further with this discussion Andrew. I think you must generate much of your thinking from the Daily Mail. Who decides what we are ‘meant’ to eat? You have been conditioned by society to think that way. We can live perfectly healthy (if not healthier) lives without inflicting unnecessary suffering on innocent beings we have created and treated as objects. There was a time when society believed that human slavery was perfectly acceptable and meant to be. But that didn’t make it fair or right. You would have been one of the majority who would have thought it was acceptable had you been alive 250 years ago. As for your comment about ‘animal terrorists’. WTF? And, exactly why should vegans and vegetarians keep their views to themselves, when the exploitation of animals is rammed down our throats all the time. I suspect you’re the sort of person who would love cats and dogs, and not see the hypocrisy of then eating pigs and cows. This is a moral schizophrenia if ever there was one.

          • AndrewMelville

            Matthew, your position militates against human history and biology. We agree that unnecessary suffering is wrong and should be avoided. We disagree that that we have been conditioned by society to eat meat. This is not a matter of opinion, it is a matter of fact. We are omnivores; we are meant to eat a wide range of things, including meat. It is unnatural (and usually unhealthy) for us to eat no meat. No one has “decided” what we are meant to eat. Our diet is a product of natural selection.

            The comparison with human slavery is absurd and I suspect you know it.

            There is nothing hypocritical about treating one species in one way and another differently. It is just common sense – trying petting a kitten and then a rattlesnake if you doubt this.

            I understand that you disagree with me, but don’t make yourself absurd by insulting me and suggesting I am ill informed.

            Animal rights terrorists: e.g. campaign against Huntingdon Life Sciences. Feel free to look it up.

          • Matthew Glover

            I’m wasting my time debating with you, but for what it’s worth:

            We agree that unnecessary suffering is wrong, but unnecessary suffering takes place on a massive scale. Piglets have their testicles cut off without aneasthetic, male calves are shot at birth, male chicks are ground up alive in mincing machines. I could go on.

            The comparison to human slavery is only absurd to you because you are speciesist in your current thinking.

            Vegans live longer than vegetarians, vegetarians live longer than meat eaters. There’s lots of scientific research backing this up, so I don’t accept your argument that it is unhealthy.

            If eating animals is natural, then so is raping women as men have done this for millennia. But most rational people wouldn’t condone rape in our society. There’s certainly nothing natural about artificially inseminating other species, stealing their milk, pumping them with antibiotics, storing them in industrial warehouses or killing them in slaughterhouses.

            Yes, I’m fully aware of Huntingdon Life Sciences, whose practices also cause unnecessary suffering. I personally prefer a peaceful approach to achieving positive change. But, your implication is that anyone who believes in the rights of animals is likely be a ‘terrorist’ is badly is badly ill informed.

            The reality is simple. If we are to evolve into a more civilised society then treating animals as we do will become increasingly difficult for people like you to justify. Eating a whole foods plant-based diet has been shown to have significant health advantages, compared to a standard Western diet. Animal agriculture is an extremely inefficient way of producing food, and if we’re going to live sustainably on the planet then reducing and eliminating the exploitation of animals is required.

            I realise all of this is unlikely to make a difference to your views, so I’d like to thank you for the conversation, and be careful not to choke at Fleshington Bacon Festival 😉

            All the best.

          • dmml

            You are conflating the idealogical position on eating meat with the harsh realities of the mass consumer meat industry. You can disagree with the latter whilst still taking the position that it is natural and preferable to eat meat. The irony is that the meat industry is increasingly barbaric but our experience of eating meat is one of complete denial once it has been packaged and then served on our plates. I personally think we would do well to take a step back and lose our hypocritical squeamishness and embrace small farmed organic meat. Perhaps we should all learn how to skin a rabbit or gut a chicken and lose our peculiar, detached attitude to meat which most would agree, is schizophrenic and eating less, more expensive, better quality meat and exposing ourselves more to the realities of the slaughter of animals would help with that. But what is this nonsense about speciesism? Has this come from the animal rights lobby (over-represented by the violent and irrational)? Nobody is going to seriously accept that as a sensible concept. If we cannot even discriminate amongst the animals of the natural world then we are truly lost as a species ourselves.

            Many people become vegetarians because of their squeamishness rather than any genuine compassion for the slaughtered animals. Of course they couldn’t admit that even to themselves. So they are just as schizophrenic about meat as the omnivores.

          • Fergus Pickering

            You lot livwe longer becuse you belong to the middle class. I don’t think you live longer than other middle class people.

          • Matthew Glover

            Just read the China Study.

          • dmml

            Sigh the Daily Mail straw man argument. Why do people do this? Its almost an accusation of witchcraft. You must hold such and such opinion because you secretly read the daily mail ie. you are a witch who must be drowned or burned.

          • Fergus Pickering

            For somebody who thinks a discussion is poinjtless you do go on. I tell you what. You eat what you like and I’ll eat what I like. And if we meet we can talk about something else. Like cricket or English literature.

          • Fergus Pickering

            Do you keep a vegetarian cat? Or would it be a vegan cat?

          • Matthew Glover

            No I don’t have a cat. Cats are carnivores and need to eat meat to survive.

      • uberwest

        Don’t you feel terrible about all those little organisms (viruses, bacteria and such like) that your body ruthlessly murders, along with their lovely virtuous wives and their poor little innocent children?

        • Matthew Glover

          No.

    • Terence Hale

      Hi,
      Vegetarianism a form of self-righteousness apt to develop megaloblastic anemias in there late forties I always wonder what happens when they eat a worm in the salad.

  • Andy

    Dogs=Companion animals

    Chickens=Food animals

    Argue as much as you want about them being the same, they simply are not.

    • red2black

      Animals are often far more than both companions and food.
      (Shackleton’s Antarctic Expedition)
      On Thursday 30th March 1916 the remaining dogs were shot, and a number skinned and eaten. John Vincent in a press interview in London on 3rd August 1916 is quoted as saying “I ate two of the dog steaks, they tasted just fine!” The dogs had served their purpose and the men were genuinely sad that they had been forced to end their lives in such circumstances.
      Frank Wild, who’s duty it was to shoot the dogs recorded: “I have known many men who I would rather have shot, than these dogs”. Prior to this, the ship’s cat had fallen overboard in the South Atlantic, and the crew had taken the time and trouble to rescue it.

      • Gwangi

        Well, what about ‘Alive’? Or the many other expeditions where some bon appetit man-on-man action took place?
        Still, it’d be one way of coping with overpopulation, surely?

    • Kenneth O’Keeffe

      pithy. And on the money!

    • Andy, that’s simply a cultural assumption. We use other animals as “companions” according to the culture we’ve been raised in. Dogs are pets in most Western cultures and food in other cultures, as are kangaroos, cows and almost all of the other animals we use for different purposes – all dependent on our culture.

    • dmml

      You have heard about the dietary habits of the Chinese, Koreans etc? Doesn’t quite fit with your classifications

  • Richard@DigitalP.

    Take your argument to its logical conclusion. We have no physiological need to consume animals; therefore it is immoral and wrong to do so. Indeed there are great health and fitness benefits to be had in NOT consuming them.

    Check:

    http://www.adaptt.org/videos.html

    http://cowspiracy.com

    • dee

      We have no physiological need to consumer alcohol so I suppose it is immoral and wrong to do so. Indeed there are great health and fitness benefits to be had in not drinking alcohol.

  • Guest

    Its quite simple. Dogs are a man’s best friend and chicken is a man’s favourite food
    item. You never befriend a chicken and you never eat a dog.

    • rosie

      Speak for yourself. I and several other people I know have pet chickens and they are wonderful, intelligent animals. In several countries of the world dogs are a food item, so how does your argument stand there?

      • dee

        Rosie, hens are beautifully painted in many Victorian paintings.
        They are decorative but I’m not too sure about intelligent.

        • rosie

          They are much more intelligent than people give them credit for. Chickens have the ability to understand that an object still exists, even when it is hidden from view. Humans do not develop that understanding until they are around three years old.

          • Phleb

            But we’re not stuck at three yrs old. I have chickens also. They free range around my two acre backyard. Intelligent?? Guess we’d need to know the parameters of that test. LoL.

          • rosie

            Well no, but I wasn’t trying to say that they were as intelligent as fully grown people- that would be extraordinary. They are however, much cleverer than a lot of animals. Other animals that are considered very clever like parrots are also thought to have the understanding and intelligence of a young child. That is how it is measured.

      • Phleb

        You have pet chickens in your home?

        • Fergus Pickering

          Why not? My children had pet rats.

          • Phleb

            “My children had pet rats.” Oxymoron. Additionally, keeping anything in a ‘cage’ is not a healthy relationship. Unless your children are “studying” these animals…but then, we wouldn’t call them PETS.

          • Fergus Pickering

            Oh come. You are being a pedant. The bloody rats spent lots of time running about. I didn’t like them much.

          • Phleb

            Pedant? LoL I stand by my statement. Keeping anything in a cage for a ‘pet’ is wrong and inhumane.

          • Fergus Pickering

            Perhaps. Perhaps. But people still do it and have since the dawn of time. Stop trying to show how holy you are.

          • Phleb

            You keep throwing these words around…”holy”?? I’m entitled to an opinion just like everyone else. You don’t have to agree or like it.

          • Fergus Pickering

            I don’t agree and I don’t like it. And no-one has a human right to talk unmitigated balls.

          • Phleb

            Like I said, You don’t have to agree and you don’t have to like it. I won’t even presume to know what “unmitigated balls” is (sounds kinda trashy). Believe it or not you don’t OWN my conversation. Stop trolling.

          • Fergus Pickering

            Is trolling replying to your ridiculous comments? Stop making ridiculous comments, old fruit

          • Phleb

            Again, “old fruit”? “Pedant”? “Holy”?
            you’re so intelligent with bs name calling. You can’t come up with a proper way to cover you’re side of the discussion…so you revert to being an 8 yr. old. Oh wait..are you 8 and “making up” children. …when all along it’s you, with the pet rats?

          • Fergus Pickering

            Old fruit, is not name-calling. It is joshing. I can’t really glorify this stuff with the word ‘discussion’.

          • Phleb

             “”I can’t really glorify this stuff with the word ‘discussion’.””
            I agree, the statements you’ve made are along the lines of bullying. “Whaaa, I don’t like what you’re saying… so I’ll call you a pedant, holy (sic), old fruit” “Go away, I don’t like you blah blah blah”.

            Joshing is to make or exchange good-humored jokes or be witty. You are neither.

  • JamesChambers123

    I refer all defenders of the chickens to Pulp Fiction:

    Vincent: Want some bacon?
    Jules: No man, I don’t eat pork.
    Vincent: Are you Jewish?
    Jules: Nah, I ain’t Jewish, I just don’t dig on swine, that’s all.
    Vincent: Why not?
    Jules: Pigs are filthy animals. I don’t eat filthy animals.
    Vincent: Bacon tastes gooood! Pork chops taste gooood!
    Jules: Hey, sewer rat may taste like pumpkin pie, but I’d never know ’cause I wouldn’t eat the filthy motherf*cker. Pigs sleep and root in sh*t. That’s a filthy animal. I ain’t eat nothin’ that ain’t got sense enough to disregard its own feces.
    Vincent: How about a dog? Dogs eats its own feces.
    Jules: I don’t eat dog either.
    Vincent: Yeah, but do you consider a dog to be a filthy animal?
    Jules: I wouldn’t go so far as to call a dog filthy but they’re definitely dirty. But, a dog’s got personality. Personality goes a long way.
    Vincent: Ah, so by that rationale, if a pig had a better personality, he would cease to be a filthy animal. Is that true?
    Jules: Well we’d have to be talkin’ about one charming motherf*ckin’ pig.

    Clearly chickens need to improve their conversation skills…

    • Kaine

      The irony of course being that pigs, left to their own devices, are very clean animals. It’s the conditions we keep them in that make them dirty.

      • Kenneth O’Keeffe

        well said

      • Toy Pupanbai

        Pigs roll in mud to get a protective coating from the sun and insects.

  • Matt Sharp

    “After gender equality and race equality, equality of the species, apparently, is the next big debate. But if we really think animals are equal to humans, then we need to make some urgent changes.”

    I think speciesism is just as daft as racism, but that doesn’t mean it’s speciesist to view different animals differently. It’s only speciesist to discriminate on morally irrelevant characteristics. So it wouldn’t be speciesist to deny pigs and chickens the right to vote or the right to an education, simply because they have no need for such things!

    It *is* speciesist, as you point out, to care about dogs but not care about the many other animals that many people pay to have killed.

  • naw

    There’s a difference between humane slaughter and being burned alive you stupid fucking cunt.

    • Ben Williamson

      ‘Humane slaughter’ is an oxymoron. You are just a moron.

    • dee

      There’s a difference between presenting your argument reasonably, without having to revert to offensive language. Grow up!

    • rosie

      The way that animals are slaughtered for mass consumption is anything but humane. The only ‘humane’ way to end an animal’s life is to euthanise it, and that is not something that ever occurs in animals produced for human consumption.

    • Kenneth O’Keeffe

      I wouldn’t have put it quite like that (at least not this side of ten pints), but you are ABSOLUTELY SPOT ON. I made the same point above. I can’t believe how stupid this article is. Now, about those pints…..

  • Ben Williamson

    “We go on buying cheap meat” – Do we really? Those of us with a conscience choose to live VEGAN lives. lament your OWN hypocrisy if you will. I am on the path of the consistent and the good, and it leads straight to happiness.

    • dee

      Wish I could find a path which leads straight to happiness.
      Does this also apply to depressives, the bereaved, the seriously ill?
      Do tell us how to avoid being human.

      • Ben Williamson

        Get plenty of exercise; make good friends and spend time in the company of other people; try new things; do things for other people; get sleep; and leave animals off your plate. If that doesn’t work, there’s no hope for you.

        • dee

          What a kind and caring remark. I hope there’s no hope of ever meeting you.

          • Ben Williamson

            That’s not very nice Dee. I was only trying to help.

    • Phleb

      Oh dear lord…

  • Lina R

    There was a ‘furore’ over what happened to the Manchester dogs’ home because it enabled dog (animal) lovers to express their love for animals on a public platform. Animal welfare issues never make the headlines on BBC News or appear on the front page of national newspapers, this one did that’s why us animal lovers were keen to express our support.

    As for factory farming – if more people knew the cruetly shown to these animals in order to produce the unhealthy, chemical-laden meat we consume in vast quantities, there would be outrage, but the knowledge just isn’t out there and people don’t make the connection with what they’re eating and the torturous life the animal was subjected to.

    • mohdanga

      “…but the knowledge just isn’t out there and people don’t make the connection with what they’re eating and the torturous life the animal was subjected to.”
      The knowledge is there, people are wilfully blind or ignore it because they don’t want to know, it upsets their belief system so it’s easier to close their eyes to it. The old saying “If you knew how sausage was made you wouldn’t eat it” is 100% accurate.

  • picquet

    People who have “friends” on Facebook or Twitter should be burned alive. In a Safe and Caring way, of course.

  • dee

    Animals are not equal to humans, but superior, and not capable of all the cruelty mankind demonstrates perpetually.

    • The Hun

      You have to see how wild animals live and behave. Watch how wild dogs kill a zebra and still claim that they are superior. Unfortunately even the so called nature shows are edited heavily not to upset viewers. Have you never seen a cat tease a mouse?

      • dee

        Why do they kill a zebra, do you think? How can they kill it ‘humanely?
        Have you ever seen a man tease a bull? People watch this for FUN.
        Have you ever seen a bad dog? As in cruelly treated by a human.
        Cats play with small moving things, a cork or feather on a string just as happily as with a mouse. Wild animals are not paedophiles, do not torture children, nor corrupt with porn and perversion.

        • The Hun

          Wild animals might not torture children but they definitely kill young ones, often their own and not for food! Animals which live in packs or groups like baboons, lions etc select the head by fighting often to the death. Would you prefer if politicians fought it out to the death to decide who gets into the parliament? Or selecting a company chief? Would that be more “superior”? You claim “Animals are not equal to humans, but superior”. It seems that you get your view of animal life from Disney movies.

        • Fergus Pickering

          Of course wild animals are paedophiles. They will copulate with absolutely anything. And they regularly eat their own children.

    • Fergus Pickering

      Oh come. Animals are quite capable of cruelty.

  • Kenneth O’Keeffe

    Melissa. We kill animals humanely in order to eat them. Death is instantaneous. These dogs, by contrast, as well as being of a species that is companionable to humans, died horribly. That is the difference. Jesus!

    • rosie

      If you looked into slaughterhouses and how animals are killed you would find that it is often not instantaneous. For many animals it is horrifically painful. That and shackling them up by their legs while they are conscious in order for them to be killed is very traumatic. I think that you need to research the issue more before you make a statement on it. And the fact that they are different species is completely irrelevant. Chickens can be companion animals too.

      • Phleb

        Chickens can be companion animals?? I’ve got chickens and I can tell you someone would have to be desperately in need of companionship to call that relationship healthy.

        • rosie

          In which case I kind of pity you. What just because they aren’t furry they can’t be companion animals? They know their names and have been known to sit on people’s knee for a fuss. If you view your chickens as nothing more than egg machines then that’s your problem. They have a lot to give as companion animals which is one of the reasons that they are becoming more popular as pets.

          • Phleb

            I don’t view chickens as egg laying machines, in fact I abhor the taste of eggs. The chickens in my backyard are actually owned by my neighbors but they happen to prefer my yard and hardly ever leave.

            I don’t recommend keeping chickens as pets..or any birds for that matter. I think it’s cruel and inhumane to keep them from their natural habitat….additionally, they sh*t all the time- on your knee or otherwise.

          • rosie

            Chickens are domesticated birds- unlike many other species like parrots they have been bred over hundreds (if not thousands) of years to become the animals that they are now. As such they don’t have a natural habitat. We have made them dependent on us. They are nothing like the jungle fowl from which they were originally bred.

            I agree that parrots shouldn’t be kept as pets as they need the room to fly properly and we can’t provide them with anywhere near as much room as they would have naturally. But chickens are completely different. Most of the chickens that I have had as pets have been ex-battery hens so would have ended up as pet food if I hadn’t rehomed them. With enough room to roam, soil to bathe and dig around in and things to stimulate them so that they don’t get bored, I think that chickens can be excellent pets. And for the record, I’ve never had one of mine shit on my knee!

          • Phleb

            We have made them dependent on us. **

            Um I’d have to disagree. The chickens in my yard are free range, they don’t come running for someone to feed them and they drink from the creek that runs through my property. So you’re wrong on your broad speculation.

            Chickens as well as parrots can fly, are you clipping your pets wings?

            As far as never having chicken shit on you…sorry I just don’t believe you.

          • rosie

            They are for the most part dependent on people. Especially those who are ex-commercial hens as they have never been outside and lack a lot of wild instinct. My two spent the summer being broody and refusing to eat as a result. They are now moulting and refusinformation to eat as a result. If I wasn’t able to force feed them then they would die of malnutrition.

            Regular sized chickens cannot fly. They can jump pretty high by using their wings as a boost up but they cannot take off and fly like a pigeon can. Some little bantams may be able to but your average hen cannot. As long as they have things to jump on and perches to sit on, they are pretty content.

            And you can believe what you like. They’ve crapped on the kitchen floor when they’ve been inside being nursed through illness but they have never crapped on me.

  • Oh dear. We love the animals that are most like humans, and can reciprocate. We are careful to divide between pets, wildlife, vermin and food. There might be some blurring at the edges such as foxes and badgers – wildlife or vermin? with rats and mice as pets, and the occasional food animal that becomes a pet – but in the UK we choose not to eat horses or donkeys, and that becomes a taboo over time, It’s really that simple. The anger is that the dogs were locked up, and defenceless against a wilful attack.
    But animals don’t have inalienable rights; they have our husbandry to one extent or another depending on what we use them for. We protect them in so far as they need protecting; we seek to treat them humanely when we have to kill them, and prosecute those who don’t. Unless it’s halal of course.

    • Fergus Pickering

      A French poet, I forget who, had a pet lobster. He took it for walks on a lead in the Bois de Boulogne, if that’s how you spell it.

  • b12 Fighter

    Arguments against lifestyle choices aside – I think the article is highlighting the issue that most meat eaters are hypocritical. I found the same thing with the fox hunting argument. People widely against hunting a poor animal for ‘fun’ but who see nothing wrong with celebrating at Christmas around a creature who has been reared and transported in terrible conditions, to fill their already full stomachs. They don’t draw an analogy. In our culture, if an animal is deemed a ‘product’ then no one really cares how it lives or dies, as long as it’s cheap and plentiful.

  • chrisp

    This article totally misses the point. Some of the most notorious sadistic killers (of humans) start off with lack of empathy and cruelty towards animals.

    To compare the killing of a chicken or a cow humanely with causing the death of that many dogs by burning to death in agony with no escape seems a bit odd.

    Obviously we don’t respond by threatening hideous retribution on this messed up child BUT don’t you think it might be an idea to monitor him for other signs of problem behaviour before it manifests it self as a threat to people around him ?

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