Wednesday, August 22, 2007

Cruelty to Animals

Several times a year I hear a story in the news about a Pit Bull in Southern California killing a child. Pit Bull owners are quick to claim the individual dog or the individual owner is to blame for the death but the Pit Bull breed is no more dangerous than any other breed.

Amazing how some folks can rationalize just about anything. Of course the Pit Bull is the most dangerous breed of dog. This is precisely why Pit Bulls are used in dog fighting and why property owners in high crime areas use Pit Bulls to guard their property. Pit Bulls get the job done like no other breed.

Most of America is outraged by Michael Vick’s treatment of his dogs. Some in the minority are making the point that Michael Vick’s treatment of dogs is no worse than the way many animals are killed before becoming human food or killed during the sport of hunting.

A line of demarcation between moral and immoral behavior is the intentional infliction of pain. Moral people always make an effort to avoid inflicting pain on other living creatures, and when possible, make an effort to relieve the pain of other living creatures. There is a moral hierarchy that goes from humans through other mammals and then through other living creatures. Dogs and other mammals are not morally the same as humans, but humans still have a moral obligation to never inflict unnecessary suffering on other mammals, even, perhaps even especially, when the other mammals are our food.

Michael Vick will plead guilty and be punished for cruelty to animals. I don’t know if his punishment will fit his crime. However, I do know Pit Bulls are just as dangerous to humans as they are to other dogs. We should have just as much contempt for any Pit Bull owner who puts humans at risk by their ownership and failure to control their dog as we do for a dog owner who allows dogs to suffer.

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