"It made you ashamed to be human"

Friday, I was walking down the hallway when a professor friend waved me down--

PF-- Hey! Are you still involved with that pitbull rescue?
Me-- LOL! That wasnt a 'rescue'... I just sorta find pitbulls and find them homes... LOL!
PF-- I know a family that wants to adopt.
Me-- O.o (I figured she found one that needed a home)
PF-- Well... they found this girl pit on the street... shes a sweetheart... and she had this bulge in her belly, like people get when theyre starved? They thought it was just that she was starved nearly to death. But they kept feeding her and it didnt go away... She finally trusted them enough to let them take her to the vet... Yeah, apparently at some point she had puppies. Someone cut them out of her, and stitched her back together with fishing line. Her insides were so butchered and infected/rotted, they had to put her down. They are distraught, and their daughter (10 year old) is traumatized. They want to adopt, and they want to adopt another pit.

You all know as well as I do that dog didnt get any anesthesia for her homemade 'surgery'. She was butchered alive. That little girl knows damn well too, knowing her friend lived through torture, and now she had to kill her... jesus christ...

And thats what happens, once you love a pit. Once someone witnesses first-hand how they are abused, and how these dogs can wag their tails and give you a kissie in the face of torture... its hard to own another breed.

Thats why I am delighted that Sports Illustrated journalist, Jim Gorant, teamed up with PBS to do a special on the dogs rescued from Michael Vick.

Readers of ERV might remember Gorant
-- he was the first main-stream journalist to pick up on and drive home that People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals and Humane Society of the United States are two-faced bitch-ass mother fuckers (in nicer terms-- he just pointed out and emphasized the fact these two 'animal welfare' groups wanted these dogs, and all pits, dead) (also, just a reminder: HSUS flunkies, dont even mother fucking try to comment on this blog, you sick fucks).

Gorant went on to write 'The Lost Dogs' (amazon, B&N, Borders).

Watch the full episode. See more Need To Know.

The people who saved those damn dogs-- they are amazing. I love how the interviewer pointedly stated "You all were under a gag order. You were taking care of all of these dogs, individually, and you couldnt say "HEY! We are taking care of Michael Vicks pits! Send money!" because that is precisely what HSUS did. You know, the group that wanted the dogs killed. If Wayne Pacelles god exists, or if he is just damn lucky, he and I will never encounter one another in a dark alley...

Anyway, that brings me to my last point. When I shared this link on facebook, a friend asked "What do you think that Michael Vick is now a big-time star again?"

Well, I think a phony little shit ("Aww, isa be sorruh offiser!") like him and a phony shit organization like HSUS really belong together. I think good came from awareness of this case, and the fact that the dogs were treated as victims, not 'weapons'-- thats worth more than Vicks head on a platter... thus I think it was a good thing that it was the Feds who found him, not me.

There is a disconnect pitbull rescuers have to have-- You see it in the owners in the last bit of that clip. You cannot think about what happened to your dog, your sweet pea, before you saved it. Every time you see the scars on their face and legs and chest, the ear thats not quite all there, the limp, the missing tooth, you have to shove those thoughts to a tiny corner of your mind, and hope that you never meet the previous owner, because you never want to meet a human that cruel.

Because if you let yourself think about it, for a second, you start to wish you could meet the previous owner, just to see how cruel you could be.


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So I don't have a pit (they are illegal in the UK to own) but I do own a rescue labrador... he had knee and hip problems, so his old owners took him to a shelter as they couldn't afford to get him fixed up. Luckily, they picked a shelter (free plug - the Dog's Trust in the UK are truly fantastic!) with a no-kill policy and when my wife and I were looking for a new dog we went in and saw Harry. Love at first sight, and the Dog's Trust even paid for his knee surgery and he's been a beloved member of our family ever since.

So whilst HSUS (and the RSPCA in England) and PETA and the like are hypocritical assholes, please be careful associating those assholes with other shelters as some of them are great.

Great post! I've never owned a Pit, but I've got two rescue Dobermans, so I know what a messed up world it is out there.

As for Michael Vick, there aren't strong enough words. Maybe he and the other dog killers will end up in the 69th circle of hell.

From wikipedia: "On January 9, 2010, in the Eagles' NFC Wildcard game against the Dallas Cowboys, Vick threw the longest touchdown pass of his career, connecting in the second quarter with rookie Jeremy Maclin for a 76-yard score."

So now we can all forget about the systematically abusing animals for fun and profit. That makes it all ok. Yay!

By theshortearedowl (not verified) on 24 Jan 2011 #permalink

Cullen #1:

But they just don't get it - pits and the like are dangerous because people *make* them dangerous, not because of any breed standard.

Thats a common trope, but it's not true. Yes, good owners have good dogs, bad owners have bad dogs, the owner probably matters more than anything. But it's nonsense to deny that breeds have characteristics. They have been bred for those different characteristics. You'll never train a Labrador to be a sheepdog, while a collie will never have the docility of a Lab.

Some breeds have more innate aggression than others. Good upbringing and training can mask that, but it's still there (and usually correlated with how pricked-up the ears are).

As for the banning of breeds, does it matter? The legislators are not saying "you can't have a dog", they're saying "you don't have a completely free choice of breed". I don't see the problem for those who want to own a dog, although obviously it's a worry for those who own one of the so-called dangerous breeds that has not yet used its fangs.

Myself, I always regard any dog from a fighting breed with suspicion - the dog may be well-behaved now, but it does not necessarily take much to bring out the inner wolf, and forty or fifty pounds of perfectly coordinated teeth and anger is not pleasant.

If you don't want a fighting dog, don't have one from a fighting breed.

It is, of course, entirely true that different breeds of dog are bred for different characteristics.

It's also entirely true that pit bulls are not aggressive by nature. They are strong by nature. The aggression has to be trained into them.


Had a neighbor (recently evicted) that kept a series of pits tied up to his front porch all year, day and night. Every now and then one got loose, and I almost always ended up recovering the dog. For all the mistreatment and being utterly ignored, they were impossibly sweet beasts, and I hated having to tie them up again.

That video made me cry, I'm not ashamed to admit it. Vick makes you ashamed to be human, but those people that saved the dogs make you proud.

@ curmudgeon (#2) - It's things like this that sometimes make me wish that there was a hell for some people to go to.

Oh wow...I had no idea about that HSUS thing, that's horrible and disgusting. It is a shame that people just don't understand that these are complex animals whose treatment matters. I think too many people think of pets in general as objects instead of animals.

@Sam C:
Please don't perpetuate crap based of bad evolutionary bio. Modern dog breeds are all offshoots from an already domesticated "camp dog" ancestor breed and are thus a second distinct step remote from wolves. There is no 'inner wolf' to unleash and wolf behaviour (which has been terribly misunderstood over the decades) is largely inapplicable to dogs. There is an excellent treatment on this in Dawkin's The Greatest Show on Earth.

I also had some f'book friends forward a vid (I won't link as it's too much) of some japanese guy beating up what looks like a miniature poodle. Sick coward shit. The vid is no longer on youtube so it's hard to track the source, but be assured people are working on it.

Sam C:

Some breeds have more innate aggression than others. Good upbringing and training can mask that, but it's still there (and usually correlated with how pricked-up the ears are).

Many of the "fighting" breeds don't naturally have pricked-up ears. The ears are docked in puppyhood to make them prick up like that. It's like saying poodles have short, stubby tails. They generally do, but it's nurture, not nature, and one could as easily say that somebody who docks their dogs' ears may be more likely to nurture aggression. (Not true, really, as in many cases it is done purely for fashion. What's horrific is when you hear about it being done at home, with scissors, by someone breeding the dogs for fighting. In that case, it's done to avoid some of the injuries of a fight, and increase the odds of the dog surviving the match.)

Chihuahuas are notoriously aggressive; nobody ever seems to want to ban them. Just the big scary dogs. Breed bans are an easy "solution" that helps politicians appear tough on the problem. It does not solve the problem, though, since nearly any dog can be made aggressive.

By Calli Arcale (not verified) on 24 Jan 2011 #permalink

I immediately realized there were problems with Sam C's argument when he described Labs as having "docility". I've met Labs, especially as puppies, they can be big bundles of energy.

Pit bulls are very strong and energetic, but they're still good family pets, at least if you can keep up with them.

By Gray Falcon (not verified) on 24 Jan 2011 #permalink

The neighbors pit bull is the most passive dog I've ever met and I trust her with my children. The only dog I've ever had draw blood from me was a dachshund, when it didn't like me walking past it on the way to the garage. Therefore, all dachshunds must be banned as inherently aggressive dogs. ;)

By fatherdaddy (not verified) on 24 Jan 2011 #permalink

"Aww, isa be sorruh offiser!"

I agree that Michael Vick is a little shit, but does he actually talk like this? Or is this a reference to something I'm not aware of?

I owned and am pro Akitas, but ANY TRUE Akita lover KNOWS THEY ARE BRED TO FIGHT, HUNT and DEFEND. IE as any Akita owner you don't walk around with Disneyland idea that your dog is snook ums and they aren't capable of any violence towards people kids or other pets just because YOU WUVED THEM AND GIVE THEM KISS US. You are as aware and guarded as if you had a load gun.

Dogs no matter if they have been thousands of years from feral wild dog and wolf ancestry have instincts and NO HIGHER SELF CONSCIOUSNESS like a human. Many dogs in the 'fighting' breds were BRED INSTINCTIVELY, how the hell do you think they got larger heads and jaw bones muscles from!?! Human systemic breeding for a trait to protect, fight and defend, in many breeds human cruelty was inherent with that. The Dobermans and German Shepherds for the same purposes but to slash tear and different base breed stock. Even the Chinese and Japanese smaller dogs are for laps but help alert and bite/defend the palaces. It is HUMAN FANTASY of innocent babies=my dog or MINDLESS WEAPONS=treat as trash, that humans have about their evolutionary carnivore hunting pets - that is the problem.

Over breeding of pets ALL pets is the issue, but that there is no real reason for some breeds anymore begs the question for having them and maintaining those aggressive traits. Those traits need to be bred out. Regardless, breeds like poodles and labs can be just as inherently vicious regardless of owner's kind treatment, so there is no perfect solution, except go Islam and ban dog ownership because Allah says so.

Saying go Islam and ban dogs was a joke. But the main thing is that humans and dog co evolved recently but humans helped enhance instinctive natural wolk/dog pack traits to help us. Those extended from pack behavior to protect/defend your group, to hunt as a team and round up prey, Alpha leadership-follower set up, power/control actions. It can be seen in a form or type within all the breed's jobs. As they are owned and raised by a human the level and intensity of expressing those inherent traits is what you see with breeds but at some point or for any reason it is possible to come out in situations we as humans cannot understand or reason. If it a trait that was bred to be stronger without any training, then you risk as an owner anti-social consequences if you ignore or deny it.

Finally, as with guns, some people shouldn't own them in the first place and many of the people owning and breeding them show be kept from owning any animal really. The flat bans are to harsh, but implementing higher licensing costs and proof of insurance based on statistical facts not emotional ownership is reasonable to me.

Setting aside rescue dogs, I'm a little troubled by people who deliberately choose a breed with a bad reputation. It makes me wonder about their character that they want a dog that has a reputation - deserved or otherwise - for aggressive behaviour when there are plenty of other choices.

("Aww, isa be sorruh offiser!")

I don't want to pull the race card, but couldn't you have worded that a little bit better. I know you didn't intend it to look like old tymey minstrel talk but someone else just as easily could.

@ fatherdaddy

My [family relationship redacted by poster]'s dachshund is vicious! They can't trust it around children especially. Bred to be ratters, you know...

I do believe there are dog breeds that have more of a tendency to be dangerous than others - eg. huskies and border collies, believe it or not. Cocker spaniels are notoriously nippy.

The problem with pit bulls is that if they DO bite, they have the capacity to do real damage.

It all comes down to the basic: no child (or other person of diminished responsibility, including common morons) should be left alone with ANY unknown dog, until both child and dog have shown themselves to act sensibly.

And the police should have greater powers (god knows I don't say that often) to prevent irresponsible fuckwits from having animals.

By theshortearedowl (not verified) on 24 Jan 2011 #permalink

Setting aside rescue dogs, I'm a little troubled by people who deliberately choose a breed with a bad reputation. It makes me wonder about their character that they want a dog that has a reputation - deserved or otherwise - for aggressive behaviour when there are plenty of other choices.

From what I've seen, the ideal specimen of "guard dog" breeds, such as pit bull terriers, Dobermans, and German Shepherds, is an intelligent and energetic dog with a strong desire to be close to the people it wants to protect. It's not uncommon for one to turn out to be a huge lapdog, really.

By Gray Falcon (not verified) on 24 Jan 2011 #permalink

Re #19:
My experience is limited to the five Dobermans I've sequentially owned over the years (two at a time). Those have all been as well-disposed as any other family's pet -- only more intelligent and better looking. Yeah, I know -- looks are subjective.

From my interaction with the local Doberman rescue people at those times when I select a new dog, I've "met" maybe 50 other Dobermans. I haven't seen a "bad" one. They're not bred for nastiness. Because of their brains and size they can be trained for police work, but in the absence of that they're just dogs -- great dogs.

As for their undeserved reputation as throat-rippers or something, I don't mind. I assume that makes my home less attractive to burglars.

From what I've seen, the ideal specimen of "guard dog" breeds, such as pit bull terriers, Dobermans, and German Shepherds, is an intelligent and energetic dog with a strong desire to be close to the people it wants to protect. It's not uncommon for one to turn out to be a huge lapdog, really.

I grew up around dogs and what you are saying is accurate. We had a German Shepherd that was the only pup from it's litter that did not become a police dog. He would kill animals that did not belong (he left our cats alone but was hell on skunks and coyotes), when he was allowed inside, he always wanted to sleep on someone's lap...

Our current dogs (both rescue) are the same, and I always explain to people that the big black dog (shepherd/lab cross) is about as dangerous as a sock, while the smaller terrier cross has a breed in her that was optimised for killing. She is 25 lbs, cute and white, while he is 70 lbs, black and shepherd looking.

I don't know how accurate the Black Dog bias is, but people seemed to be afraid of him.

My [family relationship redacted by poster]'s dachshund is vicious! They can't trust it around children especially. Bred to be ratters, you know...

To hunt badgers, actually (badgerers?)

But yeah, one study found the dachshund to be the most aggressive breed.

#20: I knew a female Dobberman once. She did have an instinctive distrust of strangers approaching her owner (which I had heard of), but it seems that all she knew how to do about it was run circles around the stranger in question while barking. I also learned from her that Dobberman's have cute floppy ears!

By Valhar2000 (not verified) on 25 Jan 2011 #permalink

The problem with breed laws is that they go beyond the place they apply to.

My wife and I were seriously considering getting a rescue pit for our first dog, but had to pass because I'm going to have to move for post-doc and again for (hopefully) a real job, with very little choice in where I go. If some of those places have breed laws, we might have to either give up a good job or give up a dog we'd grown to love (something I just couldn't bring myself to do).

And we're pretty typical in this. I doubt there's a single person in my age group (Gen X/Y) who will not relocate to a new state for work at least once in their life, if they haven't already, unless they're stuck working the QuickStop forever. We accept that we'll be moving around, and that means even without breed laws here, there's a strong disincentive to adopt any breeds banned elsewhere.

Local bans have more than local effects in a highly mobile populace like the US.

Here's the worst of both worlds: A religious fanatic who killed a pit bull because of her religious beliefs.

A US woman has been charged with animal cruelty after allegedly hanging her nephew's pit bull from a tree with an electrical cord and burning its body after it chewed on her Bible.

Animal control officers said that 65-year-old Miriam Smith told them she killed a female dog named Diamond because it was a 'devil dog' and she worried it could harm neighbourhood children.

Breed laws also give people a false sense of security.

Long-time readers of ERV know that my parents yellow lab-- yellow "marley and me" lab, is a dangerous dog. He is normally okay with adults, but he will attack other dogs and children (he hates children, assuming he was tormented by one as a puppy).

Arnies girlfriend, a black lab, is skittish around people she doesnt know. Even people she does know. She pretty much only likes me, and shes not my dog :( Skittish is almost worse than overt aggression-- aggression has warning signs, skittish is silence, then a snap.

And Arnie is a dollbaby who loves everyone.



Good point, Mokele-- I will not take a job somewhere pits are illegal. I have that luxury because they do HIV research pretty much anywhere. Hell, in Seattle, pits are one of the most popular breeds because hipsters love them. Go figure!

But if shit hit the fan and I had to get rid of Arnie, it would be hysterical. Arnie would get to stay with my parents with a huge backyard and his girlfriend and Mom who gives him goodies (he is Moms dog when we visit). But I would have to take the yellow lab, who is, ironically, the dangerous dog. HA!

Angelina Jolie is onboard: she adopted Brad Pitt....

The dialect you put in Vick's mouth strikes me as racist.

The dialect you put in Vick's mouth strikes me as Jar Jar Binks.

Funny, you've described how I feel sometimes when I think about the other 10 billion animals that suffer and die for human kicks and giggles each year--dinner--but, you know you never want to meet a human that cruel, but you just can't avoid 'em, and it makes you ashamed to be human. Sigh. Selective compassion. Yeah, lets bash HSUS and PETA and feel all self-righteous.

Umm, to Yep: I am an omnivore. I was made that way, in the womb, from thousands of years of evolution. If humans were meant to be truly vegetarian, their teeth would be MUCH bigger, and the appendix would not be a vestigial organ. I am sooooo tired of you and the other self righteous humaniac fucktards behaving as if you are somehow more enlightened and compassionate than those of us who are not ashamed to be what we are and eat accordingly. Fact is that even a vegan lifestyle is lethal to billions of small animals, which you would know if you had a clue how food is produced. Selective compassion, indeed. If a rat is a pig is a dog is a boy, as the darling of the uber-humaniacs Singer attests, then vegans are guilty of murder on an epic scale. There's blood all over that tofu, mister.

H$U$ sand PeTA are embarrassments, truly. Both organizations rely on lies to bilk animal lovers out of millions every year, and those monies are used in ways that those same animal lovers would be appalled by, if they knew. I don't feel self righteous for bashing H$U$ or PeTA any more than I do for being critical of any other criminal. I just believe that the truth should be shared so others will not inadvertently help pay for the destruction of their own chosen way of life because they believe the blandishments of professional con artists and send money to these charlatans to 'help the animals.' The only 'help' they have to offer is the complete dissociation of humans and other animals. They seem to forget, or deliberately overlook, the fact that WE are animals too, and are part of the circle of life. They want to see us outside the loop, looking in. Until or unless their rhetoric is aligned with the reality of their actions, those of us who care will continue to call them to account. Of course, they are not about to tell the truth about their intentions because if they did, the cash cow would drop dead. And that is the only animal that either organization is truly interested in defending.

Your reply is just silly, Joust. It reveals a deep ignorance of the reasons that serious people think that eating eat is morally unjustifiable for most people in the developed world. These arguments are the kind of things that would fail in undergraduate introductory courses.

I don't support HSUS and PETA, but they've done more than all of the blowhards like you put together to raise awareness of massive suffering that your choice to eat meat causes in the world. Until you stop eating meat, give up the fatuous pretense that you give a shit about animals and their suffering.

And stop parroting HW and Martosko's animal-abusers protection efforts. I know the "arguments" they make, and they suck. They're bad. They would fail out of a 100 level critical thinking class. As would your silly attempts to "get" me with your mad argument skills about meat eating. pfff

So, despite my better judgments. Harvesting grains to produce 1 million calories of food involves the death of perhaps 2-3 small animals (maybe more the studies of harvest related mortality are pretty sketchy since they rely on population surveys before and after and body counts). Raising Chickens to produce 1 million calories of foot involves the death of around 200 animals around 250 animals (90% chickens the rest form collateral damage for feed).

So, if you care about animals and their suffering which diet do you choose?

Oh wait, you're an omnivore. "Nature made you one in the womb." Well, that means that you can live by eating meat or plants. (And there is no good evidence to believe that we need to eat meat or consume dairy products. So don't trot out the tired claims of the Meat Advisory Council et al.)

So, the question remains the same: if you care about animals and their suffering which diet do you choose?

And then I'll know whether to give a toss about what you think about Michael Vick and HSUS.

Well, yep, the fact you are alive today was built on the corpses of millions of animals used for medical advancements. And then all the animals you killed before you became a vegan (?). And then all of the bacteria you shamelessly enslave and kill in your intestines...

Technically, your logical conclusion should be to an hero.

btw, there are some 'famous vegans' who cheat and eat meat/diary/poultry/etc for health reasons. They just dont advertise it, because its bad for business. They also try to make other vegans feel bad for needing to eat non-vegan for health reasons.

Veganism is a political movement, not a scientific movement.

You wont impress anyone on this blog any more than the Creationists or anti-vaxers do.

ERV @ 35:

Veganism is a political religio-political movement, not a scientific movement.

Minor edit.

I refer to folks who call themselves "vegans" as the Veganist Jihad. The fact is, they hate domestic animals (ALL domestic animals) and want all of them dead; and they're frankly not really too fond of the wild variety, either. Their real goal is complete, cradle-to-grave control of other people's lives.

Their favorite trick is to crap out some b.s. statistic about how many "millions" of moomies or cluckies or oinkie-woinkees (or what-not) are "murdered" by people who eat like human beings; as opposed to the "2 or 3" micey-woosers who are "accidentally" killed by plows in the farming of Vegan fodder. Ummm... Yeah... Not to put too fine a point on it, but just based on mouse population statistics alone (not to mention grasshoppers, crickets, voles, small birds, etc.) this is complete and utter fiction. Which is to say, "lies".

But then, lying is what AR wingnuts are best at, isn't it? After all, if it weren't for lying, PETA, the H$U$, and their associated fringe cultists wouldn't have any budgets, much less the $191 million the H$U$ has lying about, now would they?

Nice try, Yep. It wouldn't have earned you even a "C" in a high school debate. (I am guessing that is the 'undergraduate' you prate of; your response would have failed utterly at a college level.) Your deliberate pretense that "2 or 3" mice might die harvesting "a million calories of food" is more of the same fatuous bullshit that the H$U$ and PeTA crowd have been lofting for years now. They routinely lie and skew the numbers to make them sound horrific; but they wouldn't know an honest number about much of anything concerning animals if it bit them on the ass. "Two or three mice?" Oh, good grief. Any farmer (such as myself, moron) could tell you how wrong that is. Oh, maybe I should be nice and say 'ignorant.' Try hundreds of mice per acre, and we haven't touched on any of the other species affected, and insects are not even on the list for discussion. Nor have we mentioned the 'collateral damage' of rodents et al that are dispatched to protect the harvested grains. Not to mention, even your numbers for chicken 'holocaust' are way off the mark; for 1,000,000 calories of chicken, it would take approximately 700 chickens for the calories from the meat itself; can't add the calories from the grease used to deep fry. Heck you can't even get the numbers right when they seem to be in your favor. Just like your heroes in the humaniac community; there's no honesty in 'em. Or you.

Now, let's try being honest for a bit: do you even understand what 'omnivore' means? No, it does not mean 'meat OR plants' it means meat AND plants. As I stated, and you carefully ignored, we are NOT biologically equipped to be vegetarians, and this is borne out when you consider the ridiculous lengths that vegans must go to in order to get the necessary basic nutrients to supplement their oh-so-healthy diet. You can't just graze from the salad bar; balancing nutrients in a vegetarian diet takes planning and education. Proteins are a particular problem, esp some of the required essential aminos such as taurine, that are not available from non-meat sources.

And let's talk about the REAL impact of making *everyone* accept a vegan diet in terms of the real-world issues such as availability of fresh vegetables of sufficient quality and variety to support such a lifestyle and making it AFFORDABLE, especially for the poor, who are already at risk nutritionally. Not to mention that the simple cost in terms of arable land and impact on the environment must also be taken into consideration. Talking your "millions of calories" applied to PROTEIN, a necessary component of a vegetarian diet, it is patently undeniable that meat production, esp pork and chicken, is MUCH more efficient, in terms of land usage, than any food crop. For example, soybeans produce 2.1 million calories per acre, while pork produces 3.5 million calories per acre, and that assumes the pigs are being fed a corn diet. That number goes up significantly if they are fed on pasture and food waste. It cannot be denied that the pressure on arable land is significantly LESS with meat animals than with structured tillage.

Here's a news flash for you and the rest of you whiners: There is only about 1/3 of the world's land masses that are suitable for ANY agricultural usage whatsoever. Of that 1/3, only about a third is capable of being vegetable or grain farmed because they are either unsuited due to terrain and climate, or already in use (think about it; the things that make land desirable for tillage, such as flatness, pleasant climate and good soil, also make them desirable for real estate.) A GREAT deal of agricultural land is *unsuitable* for any other purpose than grazing land, because the soil is too poor to support cultivation, too rocky, too mountainous etc. So you are talking about giving up almost 2/3 of the world's productive grazing land, that is busy producing food for the world, and replacing it with: nothing. Considering worldwide food shortages as it is, you are condemning approximately 1/4 of the world's population to starvation. How's about a little 'compassion' for your fellow humans, eh?

Finally, let's discuss the 'moral' issue of eating meat. Hmm. I don't see the moral issue. I AM an omnivore, and that means I eat meat as well as plants. This does not mean that I revel in the carnage required to bring that to fruition. To be brutally honest, I'd be willing to bet you have never harvested meat in your life. I have. I raise and butcher my own meat. There is no revelry in the bloodshed, and neither do we torture them to death, but then I don't blubber and boo-hoo when I take a life to feed my family. They are quickly and humanely dispatched, which is a damn sight better than what they could expect in the wild; looking over their shoulder for every bite of food, dying after being run down in terror and torn apart and eaten while still alive... Nature is beautiful but terrible, and very, very harsh. Infant mortality alone means
farmed animals live far longer than their wild counterparts, even considering their eventual dispatch as food, and that demise is also a much cleaner and less stressful affair than the average wild animal can hope for; they don't live peacefully into their dotage and die in a nursing home after all no matter what you may imagine. Our animals are given the best of care, plenty of food, adequate shelter, quality vetting. Whether you like to accept it or not, farmers are GOOD to their animals because it is good business to be so. Not caring properly means a poor harvest and lower prices on the sale floor. Abuse means unsalable carcasses. The simple fact is that if farmers were as cruel as the humaniacs make them out to be, they would be out of business in short order.

Grow the hell up. Your sentiments are yours, and you are free to eat in whatever way pleases you. Go right ahead and feel morally superior if it gives you a charge. But rest assured your choices are no more 'humane' and caring than the rest of us who do not beat ourselves up about eating a natural balanced diet that includes meat. We are no more heartless than the wolf or bear, also omnivores, as nature made them, and in fact we are more caring of our prey's comfort than either. And unlike you, I have more compassion for the HUMANS and HUMAN CHILDREN that *you* and your ilk would happily condemn to death because of your silly assumptions about the realities of how food gets to the table. I say again: selective compassion, indeed. Cry me a river, bozo.

Heh, the pre-Darwinist view is the view that sees a significant metaphysical distinction between human animals and non-human animals. You dudes are analogous to creationists, not me. Your moral beliefs rest on a incoherent metaphysics at odds with your Darwinism. At least, the creationists are coherent even if their premises are false. You're both incoherent and wrong.

So you can call people whatever names you want, perhaps that flies over here at "science blogs." Judging by the quality of the original post, I didn't have high hopes.

ERV doesn't exactly shine like a luminous light of reason and thoughtfulness here. The fact that my life is benefited by the millions of animals that have died and suffered to produce medical advances does not mean that causing other animals to suffer unnecessarily is innocent. I wouldn't live in the US without the expropriation of the land and slaughter of many native americans who lived here, and yet that fact does not justify invading Canada. You're punching out of your weight class--go back to whatever it is you're being told that you're good at by your supervisor--this ain't it.

The bacteria argument is really freaking ignorant. You should really start by learning something before your open your mouth. Perhaps such a rebuttal would be relevant to "biocentric egalitarians" among the environmentalists, but the argument is fatuous directed at people whose view is that sentience entail moral considerability. I'm sure your university teaches classes on this stuff, maybe you should start there.

Actually I was referring to a series of studies published in peer reviewed journals that relied on population studies and body counts to estimate the effects of harvesting on wildlife. Stephen Davis argued for a high end number 10 years ago or so as part of an argument against veganism, and it was, to my mind well refuted in a subsequent issue of the same journal. Other studies by professional biologists and ecologists have generated varying numbers. I take mid-range number to be plausible. But whether it is 5 or 10 doesn't really matter because of the inefficiency of producing meat (except some pastured animals that do not require feed, but which make up only a small portion of the total number of animals consumed for food). The point is that growing grains to feed animals causes both the number of death per million calories from harvesting and the deaths of the animals. This can be a massive multiplier for the total body count per 1 million calories. And so the question remains the same: do you choose to cause less suffering and death or more suffering and death. If the latter, then who cares what you think about Michael Vick--you are Michael Vick. You cause animals to suffer for your pleasure and fun and profit.

On land use. Well, the vast majority of animals decrease the available food to feed the hungry by consuming feed. A small portion of the animals consumed in the US feed solely on low quality agricultural land--most consume feed grown on high quality land. So the calculation just is not as simple-minded as you make out--and, doesn't cut in favor of meat eating in general, only perhaps of very expensive beef such as Niman Ranches produces. 90% of the meat produced in the US is excluded from your argument, and increases the cost of plant based food for the starving around the world, significantly increases our energy, exacerbates a wide of variety of additional environmental harms.

So once again feel free to mask your lack of argument with name-calling, without it you wouldn't apparently have much to say. Martosko talking points aren't going to cut it.

Yep, you are really amusing. "Lack of argument" is Yep-speak for "I disagree with you in principal so I don't hear what you have to say la-la-la-la I can't hear you." Speaking of 'peer reviewed journals' the source of MY data was exactly the same. Of course, it matters what 'peers' you are referring to...

Again, you claim I 'insult' you while feeling free to spew invective at all who see the world in a different light than you do. You are all about labeling all who choose a different manner as 'causing animals to suffer for pleasure and profit.' In fact, you liken all who choose to eat meat as 'just like Micheal Vick.' Hmm, ok yeah, I see your point. There is absolutely no difference in someone who raises animals to FEED people, pays money out of pocket to provide them with nutritious feed and good shelter, gives them good care and humane attention right up to the point where they are carefully slaughtered in a manner to cause the least possible stress and anguish, versus someone who pays money and takes bets on animals tossed into a pit to fight to the death, tearing one another to bloody bits. No difference at all, no reason anyone should feel 'insulted' by YOUR comments. As I said, grow the fuck up. You want to throw around meaningless comparisons of acre yield while failing utterly to address the simple point that your original argument was both flawed and deeply intellectually dishonest when you claim that 'one or two mice' might be injured in harvesting a million calories of ANYTHING... Again, the purpose being to obfuscate, change the subject, *anything* other than admit that you yourself and every other high minded vegan 'profit' from a loss of life on a massive scale. Not to mention, something most vegans carefully overlook are the MILLIONS of products they use and consume every day that are not *meat* but are derived from animal slaughter. Soaps, shampoos, refined charcoal, fertilizer, glass, medicinal hormones, imitation eggs (haha) insulation, felt, plaster, industrial adhesives, filters, textiles, gelatin, emery boards, plastics, plant food, photo film, wallpaper, plywood, paints, oils and lubricants, waterproofing compounds, cement... that is just a small taste. I'd be willing to bet there are just lots of things around your house that you 'enjoy' and 'profit from' that were derived from animal slaughter... without your knowledge. You are entirely too ignorant and single minded to be any fun. Not to mention your reliance on "I know you are but what am I" type reasoning and your utter failure to own up to your own logical fallacies just makes me tired. Go on and feel superior to the rest of us who ARE comfortable in our own skins and don't feel as if we have to apologize to the Universe for being human and eating accordingly. We won't mind, believe me; we will be too busy shaking our heads and laughing at you and your pomposity. Have a great life. We're all done here.

I have always loved pits, since the first time I met one (who was in perfect health, thank goodness!). When we adopted Penny, though, she had been shot in her back leg. It had healed over, but the bone was totally shattered. We didn't have a clue how it happened, and I do my best not to think about it. We, the community, and a local rescue have just raised enough money to get her surgery on Tuesday. The woman who found her, who gave her to us, insists to this day that she isn't in much pain, but those of us who know pits know that doesn't mean much. How would anyone feel if they had to walk around with a shattered leg bone? We've only heard her scream twice when she's rolled on it wrong, but I know even when she's bouncing around the house or laying with us on the couch, she still feels it. She's won over the hearts of everyone she's met so far, even people who used to argue with me about how pits were "bred to be vicious." Even people who, for some reason, think pits need to be trained to be pet-worthy, instead of starting out that way, admit that Penny's an amazing dog. She's been shot in the damned leg, tossed out, and starved, and she still loves everyone she meets.

It's like you said. They can still be darlings, even in the face of pain. They're like unstoppable fucking optimists. It's something I hope breed legislation, the HSUS, and all those other fucks never take away from this world.