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Links With Your Coffee - Friday




Thanks Norm. I get annoyed when people use "animal" when describing "non-human animals." It's easy to do - even the venerable Jerry Coyne falls prey, apparently.

Though, from reading his article, I think what he meant to say was "mammals."

Which led me to wonder...where do you all think the line (even an approximate line) should be drawn on non-human animals as entertainment? The Orcas are a particularly egregious example, but what about smaller and/or less "intelligent" creatures?

Da Vinci purportedly went around freeing birds from cages in the market.

I get bummed seeing the Giant Octopods in the Seattle Aquarium.

My wife thinks butterflies should be in the tropical rain forest, not in a big hot house dome in temperate North America.


I think you're right about Jerry's intention, but I don't think it's just mammals he's speaking of but other animals too. It is extremely easy to leave the wrong impression. I'm not sure where I'd draw the line. I see some benefit to education, but see none to entertainment. I haven't thought about it too much but have found as I've gotten older I've become less and less sympathetic to zoos. Free the birds, indeed.

I have my doubts about your interpretation here, Norm. Jerry uses 'animal(s)' over 20 times and 'mammal(s)' 5 times. There is no mention of birds (other than the Mencken quotation), fish, reptiles or amphibians. My feeling is that he is using the (non-biological) interchangeable useage of 'mammal' and 'animal' as we all tend to do in general social intercourse, for the benefit of a generalist audience and because of the usually accepted 'closer' relationship we humans have to our fellow mammals.

I have my doubts about your interpretation here, Norm.

That makes two of us.

re: annimal rights terrorists target children.

Here we have yet another example of a poorly argued rant, lumping everybody (from ELF to Jane Goodall) together into one big basket.

1) Drop the 'T' Word?? No you didn't!!

2) It turns out that all of this hubub is over a group called "Negotiation is Over!" Have you ever heard of them? I haven't. They certainly aren't anywhere near a major animal rights group. Just look at their web page. Looks like someone's spare-time project.

3) The article, though, forges ahead making no distinctions, saying "they are now targeting children." Read the paragraph that ends with that quote and you'll see the author lumping all animal rights groups together with these very extremist sounding folks at Negotiation is Over.

4) "The core of the animal rights movement is about fear." What??!? The author provides no evidence to dispute here. Just assertion. Extremely bombastic, provocative, obfuscating, equivocating unsubstantiated assertion.

5) "Animal rights groups are among the most dangerous domestic terrorists in the U.S." Again, zero evidence is presented for this completely absurd statement.

6) The last paragraph paraphrased: "You're either with us or with the terrorists." Very nice.

I certainly could say a lot more, but I think I'll leave it at this for now...

Norm, I ask you: other than trying to provoke a response, why do you link to non-scientific ranting garbage like this post?

provoking a response just for it's own sake is what separates us from the animals, dontcha know. how do you feel about diatoms?

I think they're delicious with the correct dressing.

Yes, I was also not a fan of this article but I see you said it all so I'll just say "ditto."

I think you need to tune your paraphrasing skills. Here's the whole paragraph

Animal rights groups are among the most dangerous domestic terrorists in the U.S., and anyone who works for "animal rights" needs to recognize this. If your aims overlap significantly with those of terrorists, you must re-examine your position, and if you still hold it, make very clear that you are for something other than destruction and fear.

It's very clear from context that by "animal rights groups" he's referring to the extreme ones, but OK, bad choice of words, I agree.

Calling these people animal rights groups is probably a misnomer, but not in the least calling them terrorists. What is their aim in posting private info with a "we don't mean them harm, nudge nudge wink wink" disclaimer? What is their aim in making clear they know where the children of these researchers go to school? What about all the violence these extremists have done. They, as well as the anti-abortion extremists are out-and-out terrorists.

And what about groups like PETA? Are they considered "animal rights groups"? If they are the "moderates", I'd like to see them UNEQUIVOCALLY and clearly condemn these terrorists every time an act of violence or intimidation is committed and help the police catch the perpetrators if they're involved with them.

But read again the last sentence:

If your aims overlap significantly with those of terrorists, you must re-examine your position, and if you still hold it, make very clear that you are for something other than destruction and fear.

It doesn't say "you're with us or against us". It says, if you're against us, don't make violence and intimidation your method.

In principle, I don't disagree with you.

But the author simply asserts that "animal right groups are among the most dangerous domestic terrorists in the US today," providing no proof of this. Even the most extreme of the major animal rights groups are pretty careful about not hurting people (ALF is an apparent exception), which probably makes them less dangerous than other groups who clearly DO try to harm people.

I am not defending these extreme tactics (such as firebombing a UW campus building at night, which I totally deplore), and in fact I tactically disagree with PETA much of the time (I wouldn't call them moderate, by the way, but certainly less extreme than ALF).

[PETA does denounce violence here but doesn't condemn ALF tactics here].

Nevertheless, my problem with the tone of that piece is that its lumping everyone together with the extremists, and then asking us, now that we've been lumped, to justify who we're lumped with. That's disingenuous and manipulative.

Isn't PETA though, the biggest animal rights organization? Certainly the most visible one.

Anyway, you don't need to actually hurt people to be a terrorist, intimidation also works.

Starts to get dicey. Are union picket lines made up of terrorists?

Do union picket lines go to people's houses and mess with their personal possessions, or their workplaces?

So, if union picketers were at their workplace and firebombed the CEO's car, then yes, they're terrorizing. They don't need to cause actual harm to the victim.

I'm just saying that intimidation does not necessarily = terrorism. The example analogies you gave would be on the more extreme side of the intimidation spectrum, yes.

By the way, I am not advocating non-terroristic intimidation tactics. Confrontation, though, can certainly be justifiable IMO.

I believe PETA is the largest, yes, though ASPCA (what I would call a moderate group) is a close second, and if you add in all the other various SPCA iterations, I would guess that it would be quite a bit bigger than PETA.

should say " justify or condemn who we're lumped with."


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