Dear PETA: I have a neighbor who is being extremely rough with his Golden Retriever. He kicks the dog with the side of his foot whenever she is in his way. The dog weighs about 80 pounds and is not likely to be seriously harmed by the kicking. However, the dog is pregnant. Is this animal abuse? Would you recommend reporting this to the police?
Mike, thank you so much for reporting this to us! Is there any change [sic] at all of sneaking some footage of this? How hard does he kick her? Also, could you give me the name and address of the owner, and can you tell me what her living conditions are like- does she live inside, outside, chained, is she fed properly, etc? Please be assured that we take your anonymity very seriously.
Thank you and I look forward to hearing back from you!
Dear Rachel: Thanks for getting back to me. I am not prepared (morally or technologically) to surreptitiously film my neighbor. He is not kicking the animal very hard. It would not be an issue but for the pregnancy of the animal. She lives outside, is unchained, and appears to be fed properly. As an armed citizen, I am wholly unconcerned with the issue of anonymity. I am more concerned with wasting my time with the authorities as I just don’t know whether there is a crime to report. The litter appears to be at risk, not the mother. I wonder whether the owner is even liable if any of those unborn puppies is either stillborn or deformed. I honestly don’t know the answer. Any help you can provide is appreciated.
Dear Rachel: Moments after I wrote you, I received an email from PETA containing the following passage, which is relevant to my inquiry: “We speak up for, among others, rabbits and foxes who are skinned alive for the fur trade, chickens and cows who suffer hellish conditions on factory farms just to end up on someone's dinner plate, and the dogs who should be treated as part of the family (emphasis mine) but are relegated to a lonely life on the end of a chain. PETA is the voice for animals who have none (emphasis also mine).”
It appears that PETA does not draw a moral distinction between dogs and humans. Therefore, in answering the question of whether the dog’s unborn puppies are protected, we must look to the alternatives available to us if the neighbor had been striking his pregnant wife. There are three distinct possibilities:
Obviously, the third possibility is precluded by the ruling in Roe v. Wade. According to that ruling, the unborn baby human is not given absolute protection. According to PETA’s stated position of dog/human equality, the unborn puppy must also lack absolute protection. PETA cannot say that the puppy does have absolute protection without elevating animal rights above human rights.
The second possibility is also problematic. A pregnant woman can decide to keep or abort her baby regardless of the input of the biological father. If the father becomes upset at the woman’s decision and strikes her causing miscarriage, then he may be criminally prosecuted – not just for harming the woman but also for harming the baby. Put simply, the woman can declare the child’s humanity merely by expressing a desire to bring it to term. Obviously, a dog has no such option.
This leaves us with the first possibility; namely, that the unborn dog has no legal protection whatsoever. This has to change. But it can only happen when members of PETA join the pro-life movement. PETA must somehow over-turn Roe v. Wade while maintaining its position on dog/human equality. Then and only then will people like my neighbor be forced to respect unborn doggie life. That kind of legal system would truly give a voice to animals without one.
I have some hesitation about asking PETA to join the pro-life movement. PETA has a disturbing history of following women in mink coats to the opera and giving coloring books to their children with pictures of dead animals inside. The captions in the coloring books read “Your mommy is a murderer.” Those words are hurtful to children and we must remember that children are just as valuable as dogs. PETA has also used large “Your mommy is a murderer” signs in other venues.
I know many women who have had an abortion and regretted the decision later. Some have partially assuaged that guilt by going on to have children. I hope that PETA will not locate women who have had abortions and hand their children coloring books with pictures of aborted babies. The words “Your mommy is a murderer” would be especially harmful to children who have lost a sibling to abortion. We must remember that children are just as valuable as dogs. It should be our guiding principle as we work together. The evolution of a grate organization depends on it.
Mike S. Adams