Sunday, January 2, 2011

Animal Rights

The animal rights movement traces its roots back to the late 18th century and early l9th. Anti cruelty to animals bills were first passed in New York in 1828, Mass. in 1835, and in Connecticut and Wisconsin in 1838.

On on April 10, 1866 Henry Bergh began the ASPCA, American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (details here). In the late 1800s, several Societies for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals had been established throughout the United States.
By 1870 four years later, delegates from 27 humane organizations from 10 states joined together in the first forum where they could combine their strength and unite their missions. It was at this meeting that the American Humane Association was founded,  Today there are animal shelters and political activism of all kinds to raise awareness against factory farming practices, pharmaceutical testing on animals, animal fighting and abuse, and other inhumane acts against our four-legged friends. I have been unable to find membership and budget numbers of the various animal rights organizations. I know it's huge, but if you know exact numbers, please share!

At this time, children were treated as property owned by the parents. Parents, particularly fathers, had great latitude over the treatment and discipline of children. This English common law outlook was carried to the American colonies and incorporated into early laws in the United States.

Eight years after the ASPCA was founded, a young girl - of the humanoid variety - was found tied to a bed like an animal, neglected and brutally beaten by her foster parents

In 1874, animals were legally protected from inhumane treatment, children weren't.  Child abuse and neglect was considered a family matter and there was no one to intervene on behalf of the child.

It was until1875, in New York -- with the assistance of Henry Bergh -- the first organized child protective institution in the world: The New York Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children (NYSPCC) was created. The foster care  system quickly became an overstocked warehouse of allegedly neglected and abused children.  Louise Armstrong reports, based on 1993 reports of the national center on Child Abuse and Neglect, that:
"Neglect" continues to account for twice as many removals (49 percent) as physical abuse (24 percent), three times as many as sexual abuse (14 percent) [although mother's neglect may be the official charge in sexual abuse cases, as may the child's conduct, getting her declared a child in need of supervision.] Something called 'other" [other than medical neglect, emotional maltreatment, or unknown!] accounts for 15 percent.
It wasn't until 1962 with the publication of an article "The Battered-Child Syndrome", by Dr. Henry Kempe in the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) that attention focused on the cruelty and abuse of children, bringing national attention to the issue.

The article resulted in widespread awareness of child abuse and prompted further public discussion on ways to address the problem. By 1970, every state had enacted laws requiring certain professionals, such as teachers and doctors, to report incidents of suspected child abuse to law enforcement agencies. In 1974, the Federal Child Abuse Prevention and Treatment Act (42 U.S.C.A. §§ 5105–5106) became law, authorizing federal funding for states to identify child abuse and to offer protective services for abused children. 
Thus, while animal abuse is a crime, reports of child abuse are not investigated by the police as a criminal matter but rather by Child Protective Services who notoriously  are too quick to remove children for "offenses" such as being nursed "too long" by someone's judgment while failing to act in cases that have resulted in children's deaths.  The National Child Abuse and Neglect Data System (NCANDS) reported an estimated 1,740 child abuse fatalities in 2008. This translates to a rate of 2.33 children per 100,000 children in the general population. Many researchers and practitioners believe child fatalities due to abuse and neglect are still under reported.

Killing children has resulted in sentences of 2-1.2 to 18 years. The most notorious child abuse killer. Joel Steinberg was sentenced to 8 1/3 to 25 years in prison after six years of sexual and physical abuse led to the death of Lisa, a child he illegally "adopted." Steinberg and is a free man after he was paroled under the state's "good time" law after serving just 16 years.

Jacob Lindorff age 5, of Gloucester Twp, New Jersey died of blunt force trauma to head. He also suffered from 2nd degree burns on feet, hemorrhaging in 1 eye; bruises, and seizures. Adoptive mother Heather Lindorff, was found guilty of 2nd degree endangering, aggravated assault and sentenced to 6 years. Adoptive father, James, sentenced to 4 years probation and 400 hours of community service for child abuse. Adoptive mother claimed that the injuries were accidents. Jacob was in the US 6 weeks before his death.

Yet many fight harder to convict those who abuse animals resulting in these sample sentences;

Deshawn Brown  was sentenced in Dallas to four years in prison for stabbing his dog, dousing her with gasoline and setting her afire in April 2006.

Christopher Adam Bagwell was sentenced to the maximum one to five years in prison for breaking into a Florida  home and performing an act of bestiality on the family pet.

I personally know of people who have stated that they are far more passionate about the rights of animals than they are about humans.

Because of my association with some of the most fanatical animal rights activists in my home state, and as a result of my dear friend saying she is far more passionate about the rights of animals than humans. When I replied with some shock, saying: "Really?"! She clarified her position by stating that she believed animals to be more helpless.  My mouth was too agape to ask: What about infants and young children?

This thought sat with me, causing me to construct the following scenarios in my mind:

If my house was burning, I WOULD rush in to try to save my pet (and family photos, if I could!).  If your house were burning with your pet in it, far less eagerly would I risk personal harm to save YOUR pet and if it were a pet store I would shed many tears.

However...if a building were burning and inside were animals and infants and young children, there is absolutely no question in my mind who would get priority. I'd save every single human child before attempting to go back in for one single animal! 

I wonder: Are there animal rights activists who do the reverse??? 

What about the case of an animal attacking a child viciously...  unstoppable without resorting to harming the animal to stop him from killing or permanently mutilating the child?  Would it be justifiable homicide to kill or maim such an animal? For me, there is no question. Even animals fighting one another are often exposed to human harm to be stopped.

One very interesting phenom I have observed - in my very small microcosm of a very unscientific test group: many of the animal rights activists I know personally are childless. Is this, I wonder, intentional because they intentionally chose not to create more environmental impact by further populating the world?  Is there love of animals to such an obsessive degree they substitute and sublimate all parenting "instincts" and desires human children into animals? 

Surely for some who address their pets as "their children" the answer is a huge yes. As it is when you read the obscene amounts of money people spend on their pets. Besides THOUSANDS on veterinary bills for surgeries (some I would not put myself or any other human through) and prosthetic limbs etc... I am talking about the people who buy clothing and strollers, etc for their pets...which in fact be UNKIND and even a form of cruelty to animals in the name of overbearing love!  Of course many of these big spenders are NOT the animal rights activists as most of these big spenders have purchased their pedigree pups from breeders and even supported puppy mills, rather than adopt a homeless animal from a shelter.
But I digress in my wondering if childlessness is the cause or the end result effect of an obsession with animal rights?  And is there a connection at all? Would children's rights seem more important to these same people if they held in their arms a totally helpless newborn infant who relied solely on them for all sustenance and care? I know it changed my life forever in untold ways!!

In any event, I am dismayed at the amount of money and effort expending on animal rights versus child rights, which we simply all assume is a matter for the government.

Bottom line is that while I am foremost a human rights activist with a focus on mother, father, child and family rights...I also love animals. I wish some of the animal rights activists would likewise share some concern and try to be a bit more educated on the issues of foster care, adoption, family preservation and child trafficking. Human animals are worth saving, too!  

Learn what the issues are and the proper solutions. Do not simply accept the mass media reports of children needing "saving" by adoption!  Read articles such as The Lie We Love by E.J. Graff and Save the Children? by Patricia Williams. This topic does not have to be your prime focus in order to educate yourself to the simple fact that all adoptions are not equal and most are not altruistic, but rather children being commodified to meet a demand with what is parallel to the puppy mills you work so hard to close.  As with pets being sold and bought while thousands of homeless animals need adopting, so too are tens of thousands being spent PER CHILD for international and domestic INFANT adoptions, while ignoring the kids in foster care and the real orphans!

Unlike animals, human beings suffer on a very deep level being separated from their kin and clan and all who look like them. Thus any such separation should be a last resort!  [See UN quotes under the header of this page.]

Animal lovers are compassionate, caring people. Please join us!! Don't limit your compassion to the needs of four legged creatures. 

UPDATE 1/20.11: Just announced: "Justin Bieber Joins PETA Campaign for Animal Adoption"
And this adds to my frustration. Celebs will publicly support animal rights. They sing song for the poor abused animals while CHILDREN are caged, burnt, beaten, starved and killed....and who is standing up against those abuses??? WHO? 

Who is standing up against those abuses??? WHO? Who speaks for the 16 kids from Russia who were MURDERED by their abusive adopters? Who cares about the kidnapped children - and the families they were taken from, some at gunpoint in Guatemala who are living in the US with adoptive parents and the US won't even do DNA tests to confirm or deny a felony has occurred? But we campaign against animal cruelty. Animal rights came first and they still get far more press coverage and money than child rights. SHAMEFUL, IMHO. 


Anonymous said...

I am an animal rights activist and an adoptee rights activist. I try to devote my time 50/50.

I love animals because they are incapable of the machinations that humans are capable of. They are oftentimes tortured and killed by humans. Animals do NOT torture and kill us. If they kill a human it's because they are hungry or have gone mad.

I think many people love animals and never have children because they don't want to bring more humans into an already over-populated planet. Humans are killing this planet and all the creatures in it. Greed and selfishness has turned bodies of water into bodies of oil and has clear-cut and burned our rainforests. Animals are factory farmed in Auschwitz-type "farms" and suffer horrible abuse before being killed and reaching our dinner tables.

mherzog said...

Here is a video on animal rights:

Mirah Riben said...

Thanks. So is "Meat the Truth" at

Mirah Riben said...

Also the full length film: "Peaceable Kingdom"

I have heard Campbell the author of The China Study speak and also the dude called the Mad Cowboy - a factory farmer turned vegan! My kids are vegan.

RussiaToday Apr 29, 2010 on Russian Adoption Freeze

Russi Today: America television Interview 4/16/10 Regarding the Return of Artyem, 7, to Russia alone

RT: Russia-America TV Interview 3/10

Korean Birthmothers Protest to End Adoption

Motherhood, Adoption, Surrender, & Loss

Who Am I?

Bitter Winds

Adoption and Truth Video

Adoption Truth

Birthparents Never Forget