Have We Gone Pet Crazy?

I’ve had pets for most of my life, and I understand the value of their companionship.  However, I think that we’ve gone a little pet crazy in recent days, and I’m aware that my opinions will infuriate some pet lovers.  The love and compassion that some people have for their pets seems to equal that which they have for their own children.  Have we really become incapable of discerning the difference between a relationship with an animal and one with a fellow human being?

It even makes me uncomfortable to hear people tell their pets that they “love” them.  Do they mean that they love this animal in the same way that they love a fellow human being?  If so, doesn’t this belittle the effect when that person then tells another person that he “loves” him?  If not, then is this “love” another one of those words that actually needs further clarification?

We already spend billions of dollars on health care for our pets–so much that many pet owners now feel that it’s necessary to buy health insurance and even auto-injury insurance for their pets.  I recently read about a cat receiving the H1N1 vaccination even when most high-risk humans hadn’t yet received it.

Animal activists have become quite concerned about the methods of animal euthanasia, such as when a dog pound becomes over-crowded.  They’re fretting over whether carbon monoxide poisoning or lethal injection is more “humane” for these animals.  Incidentally, I find it odd that dictionaries have updated the term “humane” in recent years, to include compassion for animals as well as for other “human” beings?  Doesn’t it seem like we need a different word for this, since “humane” is just “human” with an “e” on the end?  To me, a term such as “compassionate” might be more appropriate.

In a recent episode of “Grey’s Anatomy,” surgeons were able to use certain body parts from pigs in order to correct certain ailments in humans.  Afterward, the story centered on the deep compassion of one of the doctors who was heart-broken to have to put the pigs to death after the required body parts had been successfully extracted from them.

When Michael Vick was convicted, most people were more concerned about his cruelty and abuse of animals than they were about his involvement in an illegal interstate dog fighting ring.  Even after he paid for his crime with 18 months in prison, many pet lovers not only wanted him banned from professional athletics, but they seemed to wish that he had received a life sentence without parole.  Hmmm, I wonder if this incident might have even changed the minds of some liberals about the death penalty.  After all, isn’t it logical that if a human being abuses an animal, the human being should be killed?  Now how would one justify such a code of morality?  Certainly not from the Bible.

Recently the local news in Dallas reported on a burglary where the intruder stole the family dog.  The owners said, “He is family to us,” and the reported ended his report by saying that the owners would never be able replace the dog, as it was “…the only thing they really valued.”  Really?  A dog is the only thing they really valued?  Isn’t that one toke over the line?

Post-Rapture Pet Care

However, speaking of the Bible, I recently read an article at http://tinyurl.com/y9v8shm entitled “No Rapture for Rover?”  It dealt with the end-days scenario where, as many Christians believe, Jesus Christ will return to earth to rapture (take up) His Church into heaven.  However, it added a new twist, citing that those Christians’ pets will be left “homeless,” without an owner to care for them.  The article spoke about a man named Bart Centre, an atheist and co-owner of Eternal Earthbound Pets, which is offering a post-Rapture pet care service.  It’s a satirical venture, since he believes in neither the Bible nor the rapture, where he would care for the wayward pets when their Christian owners are raptured.

Centre has a website where Christians in 22 states can sign up for his service for $110, which covers the 10-year period following the rapture; and, he’s even had some paying clients.  When a Christian signs up, Centre arranges for the post-rapture care of their pets, using his network of atheist family and friends (who will be left behind).  He also makes arrangements for any special needs of each pet, to make sure that they are comfortable during the tribulation–the seven years of trouble on earth which many Christians believe will follow the Rapture.

Of course, since Centre believes in neither the rapture nor the tribulation, his business venture offers no refunds.  He said. “If I thought the Rapture was really going to happen, I wouldn’t have the business.”

Some, of course, consider it to be a scam, since the client wouldn’t even be around to follow up.  Others who have heard about this idea have proposed that, if the people in Heaven miss their pets, they can decide to have them brought up later–apparently a fairy tale that makes some Christians feel better.

In speaking of Adam and Eve, Genesis 1:28 says, “God blessed them and said to them, ‘Be fruitful and increase in number; fill the earth and subdue it. Rule over the fish of the sea and the birds of the air and over every living creature that moves on the ground.'”  Our best theologians indicate that the word “subdue” here is best described with the phrases:  to tread down; to conquer; subjugate; violate; bring into bondage; force; keep under; and, bring into subjection.

Now, does this indicate that we have the right to be cruel to animals, and to abuse them at our will?  Of course not.  This is obvious from many other verses in the Bible that repeatedly command us to be compassionate beings, and to be good stewards of all that God has entrusted to our care.

It’s Just a Matter of Priorities

As I’ve said, it is obviously wrong for anyone to abuse animals.  It’s just that our priorities have become unbalanced on this issue.  There’s a television commercial sponsored by a certain humane society that shows skinny abused animals, and asks for donations to “help stop animal abuse worldwide.”  Now really, aren’t there more pressing (human) issues where these billions of dollars could be spent?

A related television news article reported on animal abuse at a pig farm where workers were “tossing baby pigs around like they were footballs,” and “pregnant pigs were being kept in very small pens.”  Now, back to reality, when they showed one worker tossing a baby pig about two feet to another worker, this was quite obviously the most efficient way for the workers to transport the pigs from one pen to another, with no “abuse” involved.  Also, farmers have always kept their pigs in small pens, pregnant or not (instead of in luxury hotels).  These are simply economic choices so that Americans can keep buying pork products at reasonable prices, and they do not constitute animal abuse.

All I’m saying is that we need to keep things in perspective.  Humans are intelligent creatures with a soul and a spirit, while animals are not.  Yes, I suppose that it takes a certain degree of intelligence (or instinct) to be able to be taught to perform some simple tasks through a repetition / reward approach, and a few animal species are capable of this.  However, this doesn’t qualify them to be categorized as intelligent creatures.  Intelligence includes some reasoning capabilities.  However, if a bird builds a nest that gets blown down by the wind or that gets destroyed by a predator, that same bird will rebuild its nest in virtually the same way, in the same place, and out of the same materials as before, instead of going through a reasoning process of improving the nest by perhaps using a different location, method, or set of materials.

Let’s be reasonable about this.  After all, our pets can’t be.  Shouldn’t we be more concerned with human abuse than with animal abuse?  Is it worse to keep pregnant pigs in a small pen and toss around their baby pigs, or to torture and kill human children by aborting them from a pregnant human mother?

4 Responses to “Have We Gone Pet Crazy?”

  1. Steve says:

    While reading the post I was hoping you were going to reach the main point. I agree completely with your last sentence. The outrage is not that we are concerned with the torture of dogs and pigs. The outrage is that some are only concerned with the dogs and pigs while condoning the killing of human babies. It defies logic.

    As for “loving” dogs. Perhaps it’s the wording that some don’t like. I don’t really know or care what it is…love, attachment, etc. All I know is that my dogs are a very fun and enjoyable part of my life. I don’t need to compare the feelings for them vs. my kids. There of course is no comparison. My feelings for one are in no way affected by my feelings for the other.
    Dogs are way cool to know and have around. I have several of them sleeping at my feet right now. They have a way of keeping this type A personality somewhat grounded :):)

  2. There’s really nothing wrong about taking care of our pets just as long as we treat others as how we treat our friend. If a cat was given H1N! shot, then give it to humans as well.

  3. Owen says:

    During the floods in southern California last week, the LA Fire Department was applauded for dispatching a helicopter for a daring rescue of a dog that was stranded–not actually in the water, like it was fighting for it’s life, but just stranded on the edge of a canal. They lowered a firefighter and he rescued the dog, but not before being dog bitten several times.

    Were they justified in risking the lives of the firefighters and the helicopter crew by dispatching the helicopter in bad weather? How many thousands of dollars were spent for the rescue, and the medical bills for the dog bites? Was there no better way to spend those tax dollars, or no better things for the firefighters to be doing during a crisis?

    Sorry, but I just don’t get it.

  4. admin says:

    Now people are taking their pets to church with them: Worship service for all members of the family – four-legged ones too – http://tinyurl.com/ydmzaxh

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