Another brilliant and cogent analysis by Marcia Mueller. In this essay she explores the absurdity of those who place cultural traditions above concerns for animals, and explains how our ludicrous international policies are pandering to cultural diversity fascists.
No cultural tradition should be tolerated which involves animal cruelty, just as no tradition which is cruel to humans should be tolerated.
Defenders of animal cruelty resort to cries of racism and xenophobia whenever cultural barbarism is criticized.
Animals are more important than are cultures. And focusing outrage on cruelty is hardly racist. There are animal activists of every race, nationality, and color united against the horrors animals endure.
Cultural Diversity Fascists and their Politically Correct Apologists
by Marcia Mueller
Since animals can’t vote or donate, Hillary will have very little interest in their well-being. So her lack of involvement with bullfighting, whaling, sealing, dolphin killing, horse roundups, live export and other atrocities against animals is not surprising. However, she may not be the only one unwilling to risk condemning animal abuse. Both diplomatic caution and political correctness may diminish that potential for other politicians and officials, as well.
For example, after Caroline Kennedy was appointed ambassador to Japan, she noted on Twitter that the dolphin killing at Taiji was cruel. That caused a backlash from Japanese officials who claimed it was inappropriate for Ambassador Kennedy to criticize a Japanese cultural tradition. Robert Dujarrie, director of the Institute of Contemporary Asian Studies at Temple University of Japan, said Kennedy’s remark “will start a nationalistic reaction against meddling by a [foreign] country.”
Papers on the art of diplomacy now discuss “how important it is that diplomats and politicians pay attention to and accept the fact of cultural diversity.“ And in the “Impact of Cultural Diversity on Multilateral Diplomacy and Relations,” Dietrich Kappeler tells those involved “to converse and interact . . . in such a manner as to not threaten sensitivities.”
But animal rights organizations and activists are threatening those sensibilities.
PETA has stated that animal abuse does not bring honor to any culture and condemned, for example, the Ukweshwama torture of a bull in South Africa under the country’s “cultural liberty” exemption. In Defense of Animals avers that “blind adherence to tradition is a dangerous thing” and has caused great suffering and oppression. The Humane Society International avers that culture is never an excuse for cruelty, giving bullfighting as an example of gratuitous violence and cruelty for the sake of entertainment.
However, some countries are fighting back. One way is to affirm and legitimize their traditions. For example, some locations in Spain have outlawed bullfighting. However, officials in other areas are attempting to save the barbaric spectacle. This March thousands marched in Valencia supporting the centuries-old tradition. Last year a pro-bullfighting lobby, The Bull Foundation, was started, and at one point the Ministry of Culture planned to petition UNESCO to include bullfighting in UNESCO’s Intangible Cultural Heritage List.
Africa is justifying trophy hunting by appealing to human welfare. As criticism mounted over killing wildlife for “conservation” and the travesty of Cecil’s killing by Dr. Palmer, more stress has been placed on how the money from the trophy hunts benefits the poor. And recently a 12-year-old girl was shown, beaming with delight, next to the giraffe she killed. After the killing was condemned on-line, it was reclassified by some as a charitable deed—the dead giraffe would feed 800 hungry orphans.
The appeal to human need has also been used to excuse whaling and sealing, as well as the poaching of animals for food or body parts. Attempts to abolish such hunting have been deemed culturally insensitive, since killing the animals provides money and food for people.
The battle against cruelty has also resulted in name calling. “Mother Jones” reported on the protests against the abuses in Asian live markets in California. Visitors to the markets saw fish “flopping in thin layers of water,” and stacks of “skinned amphibians.” The killing of turtles received the most attention. If the turtle stuck its head out, it was decapitated. If it did not, the shell was broken open in order to severe the head, which took another 1-1/2 minutes. The head was said to live for up to an hour after it had been removed. Activists said the process constituted cruelty, and Asian-American leaders in the community accused the activists of racism.
In “The Killing Fields of South Africa: Eco-Wars, Species Apartheid, and Total Liberation,” Steven Best discusses complaints against elephants who were regarded as pests by their human neighbors and accused of damaging habitat and crops and completing with cattle for food. The solution offered by government officials, park service managers, and even environmental groups such as the World Wildlife Fund was to “cull” the offending animals because “human interests trump the lives and interests of elephants.” Opponents of the killing maintained that destroying the elephants was unethical, that they had a right to their lives, and that there were alternative methods of controlling damage besides a death sentence.
But attempts to save the elephants was called “a form of eco-fascism: brutally authoritarian environmental policy, devised by activists, codified by democratically unaccountable technocrats, enforced by zealots–and thoroughly imbued with a poisonous misanthropy which rides roughshod over human desires and human nature.
Thus as the fight for animal rights grows, so does the backlash against it, and the final argument is always that human lives are more important. That is the universal ethics. Animals are at the mercy of cultural relativism and whatever traditional suffering awaits them.
So while government officials and politicians can influence opinion by calling attention to the evils of the world, they are also hampered by the politics of diversity. Criticizing the cruelty of other cultures and ethnic groups can lead to accusations of racism, bigotry, xenophobia, misanthropy, imperialism, Western elitism, and cultural insensitivity. Most politicians and diplomats are too ambitious to jeopardize their career for animals. So the fight will be left to activists and whatever celebrities are willing to join in.
Now in the age of massive trade agreements and with the TPP still threatening, more animals than ever are at risk. Advocates will have to fight hard against the abuse, the backlash, and the political correctness bullies.
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