The media and society is vilifying Michael Vick (rightly I believe.) But is he relatively that much worse than the rest of us? Is what he did consciously to his pitbulls that much worse than what we do unconsciously to animals every day?
This is part of the piece in the Philadelphia Inquirer...
Some of us forget that dogs are mere animals, and that animal mistreatment is as American as Apple iPods. Like Vick, most of us shamelessly abuse and kill animals.
Homemakers employ deadly rat traps and poisons to rid their dwellings of vermin. Chefs place live lobsters in pots of boiling water. Hunters shoot down animals in cold blood for mere sport.
In university labs nationwide, scientists inflict spinal-cord injuries on dogs and cats, inject rats with carcinogens, test dangerous drugs on monkeys, and do all kinds of evil things to guinea pigs in the name of scientific research.
Americans systematically exploit and kill animals - sometimes for scientific progress; sometimes for leather jackets, ham sandwiches, or horse-racing.
So why is one type of animal cruelty (dogfighting) more reprehensible than another (lobster-boiling)?
If you are a non-meat-eating, non-leather-wearing, non-shampoo-using, animal-rights activist for PETA, then it is not hypocritical to judge Vick for animal abuse. But the rest of us rat-killing, horse-racing, lobster-boiling, deer-hunting carnivores should take the planks out of our eyes before trying to remove the speck from Vick's.
It's true. Many (though not all) animal lovers kind of suck too, including myself. I still eat eggs that come from battery hens, even though I do try to buy free range, and I wear leather, even though I only buy it used. None of us is pure. But the author ends with this thought, which I do NOT agree with.
Vick lost millions of dollars in income, spent hard time in prison, and faced public scorn for actions that did not lead to the abuse of one single human being. In contrast, athletes who beat their wives or drive intoxicated often spend not a night in prison and endure little damage to their finances and reputations.
I think we have it backward. Let's give the federal prison sentences to athletes who harm humans by beating them or jeopardize their safety by driving drunk. And let's give slaps on the wrist to animal abusers.
Sorry, hurting any living thing is wrong. Just because we are hypocrites in so many ways does not mean that we simply accept that behavior from ourselves or others. We just need to be willing to look at our own actions and hold ourselves to the same standards to which we hold others.