Saturday, December 13, 2014

Wearing dead animals

Back when just about all I wore were buckskin clothes, I used to have animal rights advocates fuss at me from time to time over my buckskin jacket. Possibly only the ones who didn't notice the guns and knives hanging on my belt. For some reason they never seemed to get upset that my pants were also buckskin.

The question was always the same: "How can you wear dead animals?"

My answer evolved into this:

"I know how many vertebrates died for me to make my jacket. Three deer, a pig (for the brains I used to tan the hides), and an elk, which is where the sinew used to sew the jacket came from. (Various numbers of yellow jackets were also crushed when I rung out the wet hides during tanning.)
"How many animals died due to the farming or manufacture, and transportation, of your cotton, nylon, or hemp clothing? Habitat loss, agricultural chemicals, the trucks and factories and fuel all took a toll on animals. Both of us wear clothes that resulted in death. At least I own it."

Those who say they believe killing animals is wrong are confused. I can understand believing that killing our closest relatives, like bonobos and other great apes is wrong, even if I don't completely agree (although I don't believe animals have rights, and that the ZAP doesn't cross species lines*). But, let's say for a minute that killing chimps is wrong. Where to draw the line? Apes? Primates? Mammals? Warm blooded animals? Vertebrates? What about wasps or worms?

If it is wrong to kill other animals it shouldn't matter if you are killing them to wear, to eat, by running over them with your vehicle, or by destroying their habitat. After all, they wouldn't care why you were killing them. And if you shouldn't kill other animals, then neither should the other animals kill each other. Humans wouldn't be subject to inconsistent special conditions.

I can understand how religion made such questions easier. After all, if you can just say "Souls." you don't actually need to think about anything deeper.

So, maybe I'm just an animal hater.

I very recently had to have a cat put down. A stray which had adopted me and had lived on my porch for a couple of months- and who suddenly suffered liver failure and possibly other health problems. It completely tore me up inside. I cried, and I have hardly gone outside since. His absence is very painful, as I had gotten used to his friendly companionship every time I went outside. And I actually like many other animals much more than I like cats. I have rescued and raised many injured and orphaned wild animals So, the idea that I don't love animals is absurd. I try to treat them well because I am a decent person, not because they have rights.

*If the ZAP applied to how you should relate to other animals, do you believe they are wrong for not applying it when they encounter each other or individuals of other species? Are they even capable of doing that?