by Marcia Mueller
I became involved with animals much sooner than with any political theories or interests. I grew up in a small town that did not even have an animal shelter or a regular veterinarian. There were no mailings from humane organizations, such as PETA or FARM or MFA, because they were all in the future.
But I saw things I hated. Hunters did not invariably have pickup trucks then, so they came into town with dead deer and elk tied to their car bumpers and roofs. In the fall priests would give sermons warning hunters that if they skipped mass to go hunting, they would go to hell. It seemed to me they should have gone to hell for killing the animals not for missing church! The clergy had no satisfactory answers to my complaints about their misplaced threats. I was also taken to a kennel one day and saw men training hunting dogs. The dogs were roughly treated for any “mistakes,” and there were ducks with broken wings and legs who had obviously also been involved in the “training.” As they flopped around helplessly, the trainers’ kids kept asking, “Daddy, can we kill the birds now?” It was something they obviously looked forward too. So those were my first lessons in the great “sport” of hunting.
So small-town Montana was just a small sample of the animal abuse in the world. I did what I could with rescues, such as winning and raising the baby ducks given as prizes at carnivals, springing the traps that local businesses set outside for mice, and doing small burial ceremonies for birds who lost their lives flying into windows.
PETA (1980) and Farm Sanctuary (1986) were the first organizations that I first became associated with that revealed the extent of animal abuse, especially of farm animals, and that provided suggestions and opportunities to be active.
I tend to agree about capitalism/socialism. For whatever the reason socialism has not been that successful. I believe capitalism has had a different course because it unleashes and rewards greed. Note that the Catholic Church included greed and gluttony among the capital, or deadly, sins, “deadly” because they had their roots in the desire for more and the human need for excess. That made such sins both more attractive and more difficult to overcome. That belief also recognizes that the sins arise from drivers inherent in human nature and are what we could call genetic.
Thus capitalism not only encourages an ugly part of human nature, but greed has become more socially acceptable as wealth became more unequal. Note Gordon Gecko, Robin Leach, and Reagan’s Sunbelt Cowboys and the glorification of wealth and excess that began again in the 1980s. More and more people desire to join the ranks of the super-rich now.
So capitalism certainly drives some of the worse animal abuse, in terms of suffering inflicted, the number of animals involved, and the amount of money to be gained. But I question whether we can overcome a system that fits so well with our human genetic inheritance and wonder what we can successfully replace it with.
There have been studies that suggest empathy is also genetic. Psychologists from Stony Brook University and the University of California’s Albert Einstein College of Medicine conducted investigations, including MRI imaging, that revealed 20 percent of the population is genetically predisposed to empathy. Maybe we need to hope for an increasing number of people with the compassion gene to make the world better for animals.
In the meantime, revolution sounds good to me. Nothing else has worked.
• I am unaware of any other blog with the Armory’s mission of radicalizing the animal movement. I certainly hope I am not alone, and that there are similar sentiments being expressed by comrades unknown to me.
If you know of other blogs dedicated to animal rights and the defeat of capitalism, please comment with a link.
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You will find recommended reading on Animal Rights, revolutionary theory, politics, economics, religion, science, and atheism. There is also a section of supplies for animal liberationists, hunt saboteurs, and social revolutionaries. This is all brand new, and we will be adding lots more merchandise in the near future!
• Feel free to comment. I encourage open discussion and welcome other opinions. I moderate comments because this blog has been attacked by hunters and right wing trolls. I approve comments that are critical as well as those which agree with me. Comments that I will not tolerate are those that are spam, threatening, disrespectful, or which promote animal abuse and cruelty