Human Exceptionalism

Animal Rights Activists Put Sick Stray Dogs Over People in India

PETA kills stray animals, even some that are adoptable. Yet, we only see the rare protest from animal liberationists against that group. But when an Indian city decides that it must poison 100,000 stray–and in some cases rabid, dogs–the rightists are outraged. From the story:

Officials in Indian-Kashmir have poisoned hundreds of dogs and aim to kill all 100,000 strays in the region’s main city – saying the animals pose a risk to humans and make urban life unbearable.

With the world’s highest rabies fatality rate, India has long struggled to control its millions of stray dogs, a problem exacerbated by rapidly growing cities and slums.

Animal rights activists vowed Thursday to go to court to stop the slaughter planned by Srinagar, saying it is an illegal and cruel solution to a problem that could be addressed in other ways… Shah said the poison used, strychnine, was particularly cruel, causing terrible suffering to the dogs. Shah said he had proposed the city carry out a sterilization program instead but acknowledged that his organization had only managed to sterilize 400 dogs in the last two years.

There’s always “another way” for these people isn’t there? But imagine the acute crisis to the public health and welfare that so many filthy, sick, flea infested, and famished stray dogs pose. What animal liberationists just don’t get is that human welfare in crises like this must come before our emotional distress at the terrible prospect of poisoning so many animals.

It is a profound violation of human exceptionalism that India has permitted this matter to reach the crisis stage. The dogs were owed better. But it is generally a poor country and we should be charitable.

If animal rightists are so concerned, they will send in their pennies and dimes to help pay for a mass neutering program–which seems to me should also be part of this disturbing but clearly necessary program. But in the meantime, the public health must be protected.

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