This is my second encounter with the whole "omnivores have no moral standing on this issue," in the past week or so, and while I understand the reasoning, I don't agree with the premise.
a comfortable block of swaddling lucite
I say bullshit. There are the animals that our culture eats, and the ones it does not. We've decided as culture which ones can get the live-in-tiny-cages-and-never-see-sunlight-until-they're-executed-humanly-for-food-etc. and the ones-we-won't-tolerate-abuse of. I refer to domesticated animals, for the most part, and part of that domestication giving them a particular place in our culture. Cows = food, dogs = companions. Food lives those nasty brutish and short lives, while companions are given expensive life-extending procudures thanks to our large disposable incomes.
Because, for all their rights we don't recognize, animals are still property, and we've chosen whose property is limited (can't own 800 cats that create a biohazard and who eat one another, etc.) and whose property is not limited (shoot the horse when it breaks its leg/kill and eat that pig).
--LAN3 Sun Aug 26 14:44:08 2007
So, the Koreans eat dogs. They also have dogs as pets. Now, they're very careful to make the distinction: some dogs are companion animals, others are bred for consumption, and you wouldn't mix the two.
I would argue the exact same logic applies perfectly to this situation: these pit bulls are bred for fighting. And bred for dying in brutal ways. In fact, these dogs are so bred and raised so that they can never be 100% fit for a normal companion life.
So, you might argue, "we as a culture" haven't made the same decision as the Koreans. Well, A. This culture of rednecks *has*, and by rights has for a long time and B. it's frickin' arbitrary anyway. I think an objective view would say that favoring dogs as companions and, say, pigs as dinner is pretty arbitrary: the latter would seem to have about as much emotional and intellectual depth as the former.
So from that point of view, I would say that the omnivore angle seriously undercuts the moral and even cultural arguments.
But still: people outside of this culture find it reprehensible. And maybe the best argument is that anecdote where the adult intervenes to stop the kid from picking legs off of ants. "But why?" protests the kid "Ants don't feel pain like we do!" And the adult response is "I'm not worried about what it does to the ants. I'm worried about what it's doing to you."
Which then, I suppose, brings us to some of the more technical arguments for hating dog fighting... I'd say that what you can get a dog to do to other dogs, you can probably get to do to other humans, or generally foster a respect a brutal disrespect for the well-being of intellectual and emotionally advanced mammals... a family of which people are a part.
So, I may have just undercut my own argument a bit, but the core idea that the fighting is digusting, and against the law, but not necessarily something that should cost a career and jailtime stands... besides the anti-black or anti-southerner nature of it, I also think he's a high profile target, the big name sacrifice that may lead a lot of other players to change their behaviour before the NFL has to go through an even larger purge.
--Kirk Sun Aug 26 15:18:29 2007
I thought it was the gambling aspect that was costing him his job, not necessarily the dog fighting.
One radio sports host here in Chicago pretty much made the claim that "gambling begets gambling."
--The_Lex Sun Aug 26 21:08:08 2007
When I say "we as a culture .. have decided," I was referring to the act of codifying our decisions into the laws we have, where animal slaughter for food is a legal, regulated industry, and dog fighting is illegal. True, the law does not reflect every microculture within its jurisdiction.
You're right about the gambling, I think, Lex, and dogfighting and gambling are so well married together that I wonder what legalized gambling would do to illegal dogfighting.
--LAN3 Sun Aug 26 21:26:06 2007
Having calmed down slightly - I suggest you check out some pictures of the results of dog fighting. Compare them to pictures of boxers post-fight. Reflect briefly on the fact that we don't generally torture our livestock to death over a period of months.
Then tell me this is an overreaction.
--Cordelia Mon Aug 27 08:07:49 2007
OK, I may have been misunderestimating the brutality of this sport.
(The gambling angle, I'm less concerned about. As long as a person involved in a sport isn't betting on that sport, or for that matter, betting against a side they can help lose, I don't find it awful. Is it that much of a slippery slope?)
Anyway, http://www.pitbullsontheweb.com/petbull/articles/brownstein.html helped me gain some perspective. Obviously not for the squeamish.
So now my concern is an "us vs them" thing: if there are some people who don't have a problem with it and it is as pervasive as they say, that would seem to be a big cultural divide.
--Kirk Mon Aug 27 08:47:24 2007
I was just addressing your concern over the NFL penalizing Vick for his dog fighting activities. Essentially, I was saying that when it comes to the NFL, they not concerned about the dogs fighting each other, they're concerned about Vick gambling on them fighting each other and plan on penalizing him for the gambling aspect.
--The_Lex Mon Aug 27 09:23:21 2007
Go Cordelia! I also have seen documentaries on the torture and abuse of dogs this last year, and find this psuedo-intellectual discussion of non-vegitarianism = ok to brutally torture other creatures rather cold and naive. COME ON GUYS, I know you all went to college, and are moral people, but your ignorance of the level of evil purportrated in the world astounds me. Please stop making educated people look bad by using your reason to justiy your ignorance and apathy. If you ever lost a pet dog, this is what happend to it:
--Erin Mon Aug 27 20:09:13 2007
Guess what? Some of us haven't seen documentaries on the torture and abuse of dogs. And some of us don't live in neighborhoods where there is dogfighting, or enough so that you'd notice it just by walking on the street. In fact, I have zero *personal* empirical evidence that dog fighting happens. And so confronted with reports, but not detailed ones, I naively applied my "give humanity the benefit of the doubt". Mea frickin' culpa, as I've already posted on the next days entry.
(And I'm not a "dog fight denier" but there are parts in how this has been reported that remind me of some previous scares that turned out to have less merit, like all the Christian fundies in 80s who saw D+D leading to Satantic cultism and ritual sacrifice. So I think one should be cut a little slack for not realizing the scope of the brutality.)
I still think there is a bit of dilemma for people who don't care about the conditions for the animals they eat. I'm not saying that there is no difference, but at this point I'm not willing to state if I feel the difference is qualitative or quantitative.
And you say pseudo-intellectual like it's a bad thing. ;-)
But jimminy fucking crickets, your strawman simplified representation of the viewpoint expressed here as "= ok to brutally torture other creatures" is a bit much.
--Kirk Tue Aug 28 08:41:07 2007
So defensive, a simple "I was speaking before being fully informed" mea culpa will do.
--Erin Tue Aug 28 17:11:36 2007
Well, that's what I had posted on the frontpage of the site the day before your comment, and your attack was pretty harsh.
--Kirk Tue Aug 28 18:01:39 2007
After thinking about this for a day or two (thought-provocation = good!) I also got to thinking about the violence angle before I read Cordelia's post mentioning it.
One animal is killed (humanely/instantly, one hopes, and in some cases, one is certain, i.e. kosher/hilal meats) while the other leads a prolonged violent life of assault, training for aggression, and pain, all for the sport of someone else.
There's some gray area on the animals-for-entertainment issue-- racing horses get better treatment than racing dogs, even though roughly the same thing happens when a leg gets broken.
Also, there's the issue of fighting sports in general: Certainly there are people who don't believe in fighting sports of any kind, and I'm not one of them, but at least boxers are consenting fighters. I would think that a believer of animal rights would find dog-fighting as immoral as any unconsenting physical assault.
Also, I think Erin's strawman was pretty close to what I thought you were initially expressing, at least when compounded by the previous discussion (recall I mentioned that it was the second instance) was.
--LAN3 Wed Aug 29 17:09:33 2007
Well, there seemed to be some confusion w/ Erin's comment, in that I had retracted a big part of it in the next day's entry (and that day's comments) by the time that comment was made.
At the risk of being too much of a cultural relativist, my argument was a bit meta- ... not that "= ok to brutally torture other creatures", but that certain subgroups might have different standards about the issue. In fact, to some degree, it's not necessarily the fighting itself so much as the related environment and conditions that are really repugnant.
--Kirk Thu Aug 30 10:31:05 2007
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