Monday, March 24, 2008

Abusive Animal Stunts for Easter??

PETA (People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals) had this to say about the Easter Weekend Services at Church by the Glades:
According to its news release, Church by the Glades in Coral Springs, Florida, intends to display an Asian elephant named Judy at the church this Easter weekend.

Elephants like Judy who are forced to participate in publicity stunts are trained through domination, fear, and punishment. Sharp metal bullhooks and electric prods are the standard training tools of the industry. Captive elephants are subjected to beatings, prolonged confinement, physically difficult routines, and exhausting travel. The agony these magnificent animals must endure daily is the dirty little secret of the entertainment industry.

Judy's lonely and unnatural life is in sharp contrast to what she would experience in the wild. Elephants are highly social animals who live in matriarchal herds, protect one another, forage for fresh vegetation, play, bathe in rivers, share mothering responsibilities for the herd's babies, and travel up to 30 miles each day. Their ability to feel pain—as well as sorrow, joy, and happiness—rivals our own.

Unfortunately, PETA didn't actually do their homework. Church by the Glades actually brought Judy the elephant in courtesy of Vanishing Species, a conservationist group that has rescued more than 300 animals and utilizes those animals humanely for educational purposes furthering conservation efforts. Judy's "stunts" and "physically difficult routines" consisted of her leisurely standing in the grass in front of the church occasionally being hosed off to keep her cool. And the one aspect of Judy's life that they conveniently leave out is that if she were indeed reintroduced to her "life in the wild", she wouldn't actually last long because she has already been "semi-domesticated". It wouldn't be in the best interest of my dog, Memphis, if I just opened the door and let her go free. It's no different for Judy.

My wife used to support PETA in college, but their antics like this proved to be too much to handle. PETA takes what is essentially a good idea and just simply takes it too far. Animals should be treated humanely by people of course, but animals are not people. This is where they get it wrong. Not to mention the fact that they obviously have no common sense. Attacking the concerted efforts of a conservationist group and a spiritually evangelistic group is a serious waste of time and resources. Why don't they give more focus to our overcrowded dog and cat shelters? That's what I'd like to see. Less focus on the lone elephant that resides in South Florida and more focus on the thousands of homeless dogs and cats that reside in South Florida.


fred said...

What Lew has conveniently left out here is that the picture at the bottom is HIM in a bunny outfit. We (CBG) actually had bunnies ready to picket with the PETA people if they showed up. They would have been holding signs like the one in the picture. Thanks for the help Lew!!! You were the best bunny ever!!!

rev'onite said...

Yeah well, I’m not a PETA fan and I was repulsed by the idea of parading an elephant around just to prove a point. I give kudos to Vanishing Species for rescuing animals. However, I still think it’s pretty crappy to haul an elephant around and put her on display for no real purpose. You say it didn’t harm her. Did it do her any good? Animals shouldn’t be used as promotional items.

Rev'onite said...

And Fred, If you had the opportunity to have people dressed as bunnies picket with the folks from PETA what would your message have been? What example would you have been showing them? Would you have been communicating Christ's love? Would you have wanted to? By your statement I would assume you just wanted to mock them

revolution said...

"Animals shouldn’t be used as promotional items."

I'd have to disagree with that statement.

Funny thing is, PETA would shorten that statement to just, "Animals shoudln't be used." And I'd disagree with that one also.

darkness said...

OK, so evidently people think there is harm in using animals in the promotional or entertainment industries. We think that it hurts or degrades the animals. First of all who knows what the animal is thinking or how they are feeling? Who knows whether the treatment that they receive is unfair? The fact of the matter is that this elephant clearly is used in an educational manner, which I have seen with a gentleman who lives in Homestead and keeps exotic animals for educational presentations.

But also let me point out, a lot of us have animals in our home and keep them contained in an environment that may not make them happy - myself included. I know that most would agree that if our dogs or animals were allowed to run free that they would gladly do so. Except for the fact that we have trained them where they are going to get food and so they may just want to stay. So the question is should we keep our own animals captive for the enjoyment of our own? (And I know your thinking this is two totally different things we are discussing here, but is it really? The only difference I see is the size of the animal in reference.)

Let's all stop complaining about the animals that may be in captivity. The last time I checked none of them came to tell me they were unhappy with the habitat they were having to live in day to day.

fred said...

rev'onite: the message would have been, "they care more about Jesus here than the Easter Bunny." But for some reason, I don't think telling you that is going to change your opinion on anything...cheer up mate!

Rev'onite said...

I am cheered Fred. Just because I disagree with your usage of animals doesn't mean I'm unhappy, just unhappy with your usage of animals. I'd try to explain further, but I doubt you'd get it.

And Darkness: "The last time I checked none of them came to tell me they were unhappy with the habitat they were having to live in day to day."
Seriously? Wow.

And yes, much like deabating religion, debating animal welfare is poitnless. Everyone is far too certain they are right for any real discussion.

Ro(bert)o Lopez said...

I was there and I thought it was a great illustration!

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