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Animal rights done right. January 28, 2014

Posted by ourfriendben in critters, wit and wisdom.
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Silence Dogood here. There’s a folk saying, “It’s easier to catch flies with honey than with vinegar.” This isn’t literally true; fruit flies love vinegar. But the meaning of the saying is that it’s easier to win people over to your view by being nice than nasty.

As a lifelong lover of animals and vegetarian for moral reasons, it has long horrified me how the animal-rights groups, PETA being the poster child for this, fail to internalize this lesson. Is throwing blood-colored paint on rich women’s fur coats or harassing Vogue‘s editor, Anna Wintour (the role model for the monster boss in “The Devil Wears Prada”), likely to win them to your side? History suggests that vandalism of any kind, and especially fanatic, intolerant, strident, one-dimensional violence and vandalism, is unlikely to win converts to your cause.

I was relieved to read that Italian animal-rights organizations didn’t make this mistake when two doves released by children at the Vatican in an annual peace ceremony this past Saturday were attacked by a predatory seagull and crow. (Fortunately, the doves only lost a couple of tailfeathers.) Instead of flooding the media with gory photos of animal abuse or suing Pope Francis for cruelty to animals, they mildly suggested that this ritual release of the doves, the symbol of peace, be stopped, since there are now too many predatory birds for the doves to be safe.

I hope Pope Francis heeds their call. The ceremony is full of symbolism and meaning, and I don’t think it should be stopped. But there’s no reason why the children can’t release origami doves to float down to Saint Peter’s Square, unmolested by hungry predators, as symbols of eternal peace.

Honey, not vinegar.

‘Til next time,

Silence

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