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Who cares about fighting-dogs, anyway? Response to dog fight supporter

Dog baiting. 1938
Dog baiting. 1938
Wikipedia free public domain

Sometimes a comment in a Facebook thread can ignite a firestorm.

Such was the case when Fur and Feather Animal Sanctuary posted this graphic photo of a bloodied pit bull, who had presumably been used as a 'bait dog'. The post included an admonishment to people who want to 're-home' their pets, to ask for an adoption fee rather than offering their pet as 'free to good home', the rationale being that asking an adoption fee of some kind helps weed out those seeking a disposable 'bait' dog on which to train their illegal fighting dogs.

You can see the Facebook thread, here. The argument, however, accurate or not, is not the focus of this discussion.

This is about a comment left on the thread by a reader, which ignited an angry series of replies (the poster shall remain nameless so as to not give him or her publicity or attention, which they obviously crave).

This is the comment, verbatim:

"lighten up folks its only a dog, the way people were talking here you'd think it was human, its a fighting dog thats had a fight, if its going to heal it will be fine, if its not going to heal then put it down and buy another one."

Readers who have followed my posts already know this got under my skin in a big way.
So here is the reply I wanted to post:

"To (name withheld), first of all, you seem to be condoning stealing beloved pets from families (illegal), then using them as bait to be mauled and killed in this horrible 'sport' (also illegal). That reveals a disturbing deficit in your character, moral sensibilities and emotional repertoire.

"Second, you must never have actually loved, or gotten to really know, a non-human animal or a human animal.

"I say it that way because, the more we learn about non-human life, the more we find that there is very, very little, if any, difference between 'us' and 'them' - In fact, our shameful and arbitrary past distinction that some races of humans are 'superior', more 'civil', more 'deserving' or more 'human' than others, is just the most obvious example of the conceit and egocentric sense of entitlement by which you seem to be defining yourself. In other words; Get over yourself.

"The pedestal humans have been trying to keep atop of, has crumbled. Some birds, such as African Grey Parrots, of whom the famous Alex was the most well known, can not just mimic human speech, but also have been proved (through strict scientific methodology) to have cognitive, mathematical, emotional and linguistic capabilities rivaling human children - In other words, they can use the words and word sequences they learn, to communicate both practiced/learned and novel concepts to others.

"So, like us, non-human animals think, they feel, they communicate, they have self awareness, they have a soul. So do whales, dolphins, crows, ravens, parrots, elephants, wolverines, pigs, rats, horses, orangutans, chimps, gorillas, dogs and - well, the deeper we look, the more evidence there is that all animal life is but differing designs housing complexity and brilliance, passion and rival talents, including talents and abilities superior to our own.

"I ask again, is one feeling, thinking, (sentient, sapient) being somehow intrinsically 'superior' to another?

"I see no way to justify that conclusion.

"'Fighting dogs' have not chosen to be fighters, they are goaded into it, beaten into it, trained and even killed by their handlers if not 'reactive' enough.

"What if your child was abducted and forced to fight for her life, over and over until she was used up, and then beaten to death by her owner for no longer being able to fight? Or if she was used to give another fighter courage, enabled by using her as a 'punching bag' so the 'chosen' fighter can become more confident, more deadly? Will you just go out and get another daughter? Or son? Or mother or father?

"So, (name withheld), re-write your post and replace your words 'only' a dog 'with:'only' an infant, child, woman, boy, conservative, liberal, white, black, Asian, African, Indian, Bosnian, slave, prisoner, student, doctor, father, mother, neighbor, poor man, rich man . . . . In the end, we are all just variations on the same theme - If we are to boast of being superior in any way, we must, at the same time, be superior in our compassion, our ethics, our humanity and our humane treatment of other life forms."

Alas, we all know you can't fix stupid.

So instead, I posted this:

"Ignore him, folks. Only sickos, cowards and impotent (jerks) engage in the fighting and/or abuse of animals.."

There. That's something he can understand.

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