Five O'Clock Somewhere

Welcome to Five O'Clock Somewhere, where it doesn't matter what time zone you're in; it's five o'clock somewhere. We'll look at rural life, especially as it happens in Rio Arriba County, New Mexico, cats, sailing (particularly Etchells racing yachts), and bits of grammar and Victorian poetry.

Friday, June 19, 2009

Animal rights?

Really, how far is too far?

So our President is now famous for swatting a fly.

This may be disappointing to those conservatives who wish to question his competence to be commander in chief, on the basis that he's going to be reluctant to use force as a means of influencing rogue governments. They can no longer use the saying, "He wouldn't hurt a fly" as an implication that he's averse to getting into a fight.

And of course, the comedians are having a lot of fun; late-night television is full of jokes and spoofs of the incident.

Meanwhile, People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals has weighed in: the President's act was one of unconscionable cruelty. Not only did he execute that innocent fly, he did it on international television, making a mockery of the creature's death. Worse, afterward, the camera zoomed in on the lifeless body, preventing it from having even the least modicum of dignity. And then the comedians swept in, making a mockery of the loss of this valuable living creature.

Now, I do value much of the work that PETA and other organizations do to protect animals from cruelty and wanton exploitation. Subjecting an animal to pain, and even death, simply for human entertainment, such as dog-fighting and bullfights, is barbaric. Bludgeoning baby seals to death, so those humans who are wealthy enough can purchase coats made from their extra-soft fur, is unconscionable. Raising calves in cramped, dark, dirty conditions so that their meat will be paler and more tender is unthinkable. I respect people who have chosen not to eat meat on moral grounds; they have decided that even humane methods of raising and slaughtering animals are cruelty that they do not wish to support, and I am glad that they take that stand. They raise consciousness even among those of us who do still eat meat.

But a fly?

I once saw a television documentary that was a countdown of the deadliest creatures on the planet. Guess who the winner was? No, it wasn't sharks or poisonous snakes or spiders. It was flies. Through history, the genus, which includes mosquitoes (Spanish for "little flies"), has been responsible for more deaths than any other. Malaria, sleeping sickness, dengue fever, West Nile virus, Ebola, E coli, rotavirus, the list of diseases carried by flies goes on and on. Fleas may have carried the bubonic plague that devastated Europe in the 14th century, but even with that, the flies have them beat.

I hope Obama grabbed the hand sanitizer after swatting that fly.

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Blogger Pat said...

But how did our friend La Cucaracha score?

Fri Jun 19, 03:19:00 PM MDT  

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