Animals and Politics

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What’s the deal with Republicans and their VPs?  Apparently it’s a requirement that you support or participate in the most heinous of hunting practices.  Current VP Dick Cheney, when not shooting friends in the face, is a fan of the canned hunt.  Meanwhile, John McCain’s running mate Sarah Palin, has supported the aerial hunting of wolves and bears.  This practice involves chasing the animal by helicopter until the animal is exhausted, and then shooting her point blank.

Aerial hunting was outlawed by the federal government in 1972 in the Federal Airborne Hunting Act, but Alaska has been wiggling through loopholes to allow this sort of thing.  Governor Palin “actively opposed a ballot measure campaign seeking to end the aerial hunting of wolves by private hunters and approved a $400,000 state-funded campaign aimed at swaying people’s votes on the issue,” according to the Defenders of Wildlife Action Fund.  If you haven’t seen it yet, be sure to read up over at the Defenders’ page about Governor Palin’s record on this and other wildlife issues.

The thing is, I can guarantee that a question about this will never come up in any of the vice presidential debates.  In fact, I can pretty much guarantee that no question related to animal use or even animal welfare will come up during any debate or be prominently mentioned by either campaign.  Sure, Obama’s got the Animal Rights Advocates for Obama on my.barackobama.com.  The group has, after all, raised $12 for Obama’s campaign!  Wonder if they did that selling lemonade on the corner.

And, sure, Obama’s been quoted as saying, “I think how we treat our animals reflects how we treat each other, and it’s very important that we have a president who is mindful of the cruelty that is perpetrated on animals.”  Which is good.  Really.  But it’s kind of a blow-off statement, especially considering his seemingly lackluster voting record on animal welfare.

What I’m getting at is a point that a fellow Poplar Spring volunteer made to me the other day at lunch.  He told me how, as a vegan and animal rights advocate, he felt completely distanced from either candidate.  He said that he had to pretend other issues were more important to him than animal issues for the sole fact that politicians never talk about animals when campaigning.  I had to agree.  This issue that is so important to us, one that we see tied so closely to the mainstreamed issues of human rights and the environment, is completely ignored during the campaign season.  It’s unbelievably frustrating.

I realize it’s likely the candidates ignore the issue because they would alienate much of their base if they were to discuss the rights of animals.  So, until the base changes, the issue won’t be raised.

I think all we can do is continue to work our best to advocate on the individual level, making people aware of the issues and getting people to go vegan.  We have to tie animal rights and veganism to the rights of the human workers in slaughterhouses and the environmental affects of meat, dairy, and egg production.  Once more people are protesting the use of animals in their everyday lives and can see how it’s not just “an animal issue,” then maybe politicians will start talking about the rights of all sentient beings.  Maybe then people like Sarah Palin will be questioned about her support of illegal, barbaric hunting practices.  And maybe then we can start to make some real progress for the animals.

11 Responses to “Animals and Politics”

  1. anna

    perhaps you’ll find it interesting, as i did, that matthew scully wrote palin’s RNC speech. talk about cognitive dissonance!

  2. Tracy

    Most animal advocates I know care about the environment. Growing up I sided with
    Republicans until I realized they don’t give a shit about the environment. I suppose
    it’s the lesser of two evils, but I don’t know how someone interested in animal rights
    could vote for McCain. Hopefully soon the Green Party will be a viable alternative.

  3. Loozegear

    That is all we want,a moose shooting, life luvin, vp! remind you of anyone.
    Under Bush we had a Dick
    Under McCain most would have preferred a Mick,but instead got a chick!

  4. Lazurii

    One thing I AM happy about, and it doesn’t have anything to do with veganism, and it might rile some people up, but she’s very pro-breastfeeding, and does it in public. I really do love that about her.

  5. Gary

    I agree down the line. However, I bet most non-AR people are appalled when they see videos of aerial gunning of wolves – a program that, as you point out, Palin enthusiastically supports. I’m also hoping that most people will be rather disgusted by the picture of her smiling proudly next to the killed bear – head still attached – draping her sofa. This delight in killing animals reflects disturbing character traits of the person who could be president.

    In terms of environmental policies, which affect huge numbers of animals, while Obama and Biden might be lackluster, the Republicans are more likely to be ruinous. Palin, if president, could be an environmental disaster even compared to past environmentally-unfriendly administrations.

  6. LeRoy

    I’m not sure if these playing cards are considered cruelty to animals or making light of the Political figures… but some of them are pretty funny! Check’em out at http://www.politicallywild.com

  7. Jim

    Hey Leroy, those are pretty funny cards. I think I might pick up a deck.

    Gary, I personally do not hunt as I don’t have the stomach for it. Likewise I don’t have the stomach for starving deer who overpopulate our woods around here! So when a hunter comes along and helps to keep the deer population down so they are starving to death, I’m happy!

    In regards to Tracy, I am a Replican and I care about the environment! I know many other Republicans who also care. What we don’t care about are fake reports from people who want to say the world is coming to an end. I personally believe we need to take care of the planet the Good Lord has given us, I just think it is a shame the way this scam has been pushed to the degree it has.

  8. Green Experience

    What kind of person supports hunting in that kind of manner? Hunting is about finding your human roots and embracing your animal instinct. Exhausting the animal by chasing them with an advanced flying machine and then shooting them while they’re down defeats the purpose.

  9. Good To Go

    Just wanted to let everyone know about a great VEGAN/RAW/VEGETARIAN restaurant in Huntington Beach, CA. The restaurant is located in a cozy shopping center on Warner ave. , they carry creative and tasty dishes to satisfy any pallet.
    Check it out.
    http://www.goodtogorestaurants.com

  10. Rebecca

    Animal rights advocates spend their time, energy, and resources speaking out for animals not because it’s fun, not because it’s lucrative, not because they get lots of praise for it. They are compelled to engage in this struggle because it’s right, because what’s happening every second of every day to millions of animals is wrong, because it has to change, and because they were once where you are, and they know that you have kind souls and the capacity to get where they are now, to a place of compassion, a place where you can envision a more peaceful way of living.

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