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There are organizations founded on what they deem to be principles.  What in fact they are founded on is a postulate.  What is the difference?  A principle is an essential ground rule to guide the movement of the organization based on observable evidence to back its veracity.  A postulate is a  proposal, sort of a “toss it out and see where it lands” hypothesis.  The two are very different but many postulates are deemed principles because they sound so much more established and grounded.

As an example of this phenomena let’s look at the PETA “principle” promoted by them as follows:”PETA operates under the simple principle that animals are not ours to eat, wear, experiment on, or use for entertainment.”  This is not a principle but a postulate. In order to qualify as a principle this statement must be observable and verifiable.  For instance if you say,” I live by the principle that man must recognize individual rights in order to live in harmony with his fellow man”, this can be observed as true based on historical data that shows where individual rights are not recognized or violated the result has been violence and warfare.  But if you made the statement,” man’s rights are applicable to all living creatures,” you would be faced with issues like why don’t animals recognize their rights and live and let live?

When PETA postulates that animals are not ours to use they challenge the history of the domestication and use of animals by humans for eons. Where did this change in the thoughts of some come from?  Was there any evidence to support this notion?  Were our ancestors wrong to cross the prairie with oxen and horses?  Were they wrong to wrap their freezing bodies in the fur of animals they skinned to keep warm and survive?  Would man have survived if he had used the PETA postulate?  Would there be anyone now alive that could promote “animal rights” if such notions were prevalent when survival required the use of animals.  Where would the Eskimos be if they could not eat seal meat?  Where would the hunting tribes of Africa be if they could not eat their prey?

PETA could not even promote their message if they truly tried to follow their postulate.  For instance, animals are “used” to make paper.  They are killed by the millions when insects invade forests used for pulpwood and must be eradicated.  Likewise the fields contain droves of mice and rodents that must be plowed under and poisoned if a viable crop is to be harvested.  Grubs in the ground are eradicated with insecticides .  Pests such as flies are eradicated for our pleasure of living without their annoyance.  When a fly lands on your plate think how the postulate of PETA applies to your situation.  That fly in PETA’s eyes has a right to not be disturbed and shooed away because animals ( insects are animals ) are not to live according to our wishes or comfort.

Additionally lets examine the postulate of PETA further.  “Animals are not ours…..”  so the proposition of property is somehow negated .  How did this come about?  Does this mean that animals cannot be owned and cared for?  Property is a concept that is unique to the human species.  Animals of the lower order cannot “own” anything but they can be owned.  All PETA members own something so to deny ownership would be hypocritical.  Now to deny the ownership of animals is to come up with another postulate ( i.e. ownership is okay as long as it doesn’t involve what we ( PETA) want anybody to own.  This seems to be some sort of equation with slavery.  If you can’t own people , you can’t own animals.  But animals need to be owned to be cared for.  Can you imagine the trauma of wandering dogs , scrounging for unsafe food, drinking from sewer ponds and unable to be taken to a vet because no one could claim them?  This is ethical treatment of animals?  For animals to be treated ethically there must be ethics developed by humans as that is the only species that has the capacity to even know what ethics are.  Allowing animals to roam at will to become pack animals and vagabonds crying in the storm because potential owners are barred from owning them would be a very cruel fate.  I have a neighbor who raises cows.  Every day he feeds and checks them over to see if they have any problem,  He calls the vet to make them well and he keeps his fences mended so they won’t get out on the road and get hit by a car.  If he couldn’t own them I doubt he would care whether they lived or died.

The argument that animals should not be killed and used by man is simply an ill considered wish.  All animals eventually die.  Is it better to let them die from disease and predators than be utilized by man?  Why? Should a group seeking political power to force people to abandon animals to their own devices be given any credence?  For what reason?  These groups adamantly denounce the way animals are treated by man, but they consider the treatment of animals by each other to be simply natural and therefore acceptable to their notions.  If a falcon kills a dove that is nature.  If a man shoots a dove it is “unethical”.  By what standard?  Is not man as much a part of nature as any other living thing?  Does he not have as much right to live and enjoy his life as anything else?  The fact is man does have a right to live on this earth. This declaration requires an agency that can restrain  the unwillingness of aggressors to avoid the initiation of force.  That agency is the government and by its nature should not be allowed to act outside of that mandate. This declaration cannot to be extended to animals.  Animals have no rights.  Rights were discovered and delineated by man to survive in a social context.  He did not create a concept that could be applied willy-nilly to hoards of mosquitoes, viruses and rats.  But there are dishonest people who will steal a concept and twist it to apply to that which is inapplicable.  This is not new.  The Communists tried to redefine human nature by claiming there was a historical necessity to economic and political events.  They stole the concept of freedom and twisted it to mean that only those without want could be truly free.  The fact that they ended up creating a system of starvation was no accident.

The “principles’ of PETA can do no better.  What they seek are animals without human usage, but the end point of their scheme will be the abandonment of animal care.  It would be a world where ticks, flies and fleas infest at will and  even the most dedicated PETEAN would realize this was not what they sought but achieved.  Billions of dollars are now spent on animal welfare and this is because we can use them for food , clothing and entertainment.  If there is nothing to be gained from our benevolence then why should we sacrifice for the welfare of animals?  You see sacrifice of human welfare is what animals rights movements are all about.  It is an offshoot of altruism just as is communism, fascism and all forms of totalitarianism that ask man to be the sacrificial animal on earth.  They blame man for the plight of the world as they type on the invented computer (by man), write on the invented paper ( by man), and eat the raised, processed, packaged and distributed food that is the result of the inventiveness of man.  For the target of the animal rights movement is not the welfare of animals but the discomfort and shackling of man.  All in the name of the victim they create to be pitied.  The poor abused animal who has been abused by the hand of man.  Abuse in the pursuit of his survival , wellness and enjoyment.  Unanswered by their fellow altruists in the fields of  academics and politics they proudly shout theirs is a moral stance.  What they don’t know and seem unwilling to learn is that the  morality at the foundation of their beliefs is flawed.  Every other champion of those perceived to be less endowed and therefore to be protected, has failed from this emotionally seated dictate.  The statists who championed the “little people” like Mao, Lenin, Hitler, ad nauseam all held the belief that they were the moral for they were for the lowly.  The rich must suffer, the meek must inherit, the comfortable and happy should feel guilty for their inhumane treatment of the earth, the animals and the lowest of humanity.  This is the substance of their creed and the dirty little secret they will not face.  It is the right of property that makes it possible for the civilized to own and shelter and care for that which they value.  And this right trumps any imagined rights of toads and snakes, etc.  When people take a principled stand they should be able to show what evidence supports their views.  Shouting and violating property rights are not the ways of the reasoning mind, but the way of the mob that knows not what direction they’re heading , but shout, “onward”.  Following the unproven is the way to an abyss of chaos.  Postulating a chant is the first step on that road.

The opinions expressed in this commentary are solely those of the author and are not not necessarily either shared or endorsed by

Dale Netherton

Author of four published books, former Marine, forester, former plant services manager,former KT facilitator, former campgound builder and manager, handyman now retired to writing , chess , golf and fishing. ISU graduate, M.B.A. from Nova University and longtime supporter of ARI.


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