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Monday, December 03, 2007

Do Birds Get Cold?
There was a frost the other day. People were snug in their homes and mostly unaffected.

But the birds have to put up with it. There they sit on the power lines, their feet tucked close. That's about all they can do. No matter the weather, they still have to find food. Every day, the need to eat doesn't stop.

Do the cows know they're miserable when they stand outside in the sleet? Some animals have dens or burrows. They get some reprieve from the weather, but anyone who's slept in a tent in the winter knows that this is only a slight improvement.
My dog is, to be blunt, not very smart. She has a doggy door and she uses it frequently to go in and out of the house at will at all times of the day. It doesn't occur to her, though, to use the door to go outside to pee. For that, she requires my permission and presence to escort her outside. I don't know why.

What she lacks in sense, she makes up for in emotion. I've never seen an animal possess such a range of emotion before. Last night at around 1am, as usual, she woke me up. Grumbling I tried to escort her outside, but she wouldn't go. It was as though she had a nightmare and needed comforting. She wanted me to pet her, to snuggle with her, to reassure her. This is not normal for her.

Did she have a nightmare, did she have a stroke, did she have a seizure? Perhaps, but I can't read her mind to know for sure. What I know is that after comforting her for about 20 minutes I discovered her "accident" on the floor. She saw that I noticed it. I could see that she felt shame.

For thousands of years, men have taught that animals can't think. That animals haven't the power to reason. That animals are little more than unthinking machines made by a god for no purpose of their own except for us to eat or yoke. I don't know how anyone who owns a dog could come to such a conclusion.

On Thanksgiving day my nephew shot some feral pigs on his grandmother's ranch. I helped lift them onto the truck and watched them get skinned. Pigs and other animals have been slaughtered for ages for food, and I've no objection to the practice, bacon tastes good. I don't pretend that these animals didn't have thoughts and feelings ... or confusion and fear as 30-30 bullets cut into them.

Did we claim that animals have no feelings in the past to justify eating them? Can we justify eating them knowing that they have feelings? Well, yes. We can. I'm sorry for them, but I like to eat and I come first.

How are we different than animals? What makes us better than them? Why do we have a right to kill them? Do they have the ability to know right and wrong, shame, or ethics? My dog does. I don't think she's that unusual.

It is the way of the world. All animals must eat, as must we, and we eat them. The math is pretty straightforward.

Here is where it gets tricky. If animals can think and emote just like we do, although not as well, how can we justify killing them but not each other? If we take away the excuse that animals are incapable of feeling or thinking, why can we condone our policies towards them?

Some say we can't. They're called vegetarians and are innocuous enough.

Some form clownish activist groups such as PETA and try to stop us from killing animals for food and by products, and some even want to give them legal rights. Some think animals should be free to enter into contracts, be protected by due process and allowed to own property. These people are morons.

At the same time there are people who think that they have a right to slaughter people as though they were animals. Most of these today are called Muslims. They can know right and wrong, shame, ethics, but they also can conceive of something they use to justify perverting right and wrong: a deity.

Whether a diety exists or not is an issue that I won't address here. There is a deity or there isn't, but there is no deity that can justify murdering thousands of people living peacefully and posing no risk to others. There is no deity that can justify cutting other peoples' heads off in an effort to terrorize their neighbors. There is no deity that can condone forcing people to live in oppression.

Animals feel emotions. Animals feel pain. Animals know right and wrong. Animals feel shame.

People have intelligence far surpassing animals, yet some use their intelligence to ignore emotions, confuse right and wrong, suppress shame, inflict pain.

Birds feel cold, but don't know what to do about it. We feel cold and build fires, central heating, and fur coats.

Birds peck each other to establish a heirarchy. We established a system of laws to protect ourselves and our society. This is how we differ from animals. We create rules, and by communication, make these rules known among all men. Birds can enforce their pecking order only as far as their beak will reach. Our laws reach to wherever men will go and are held by all men as tools used by each of us in the same way.

Our laws forbid what Islam has been doing to others. Our laws reach to where we will go. We must go to where these murderous muslims are and use that which separate us from the animals, our laws, and inflict justice and retribution on them, and put an end to their oppression and visions of conquest. If we don't do that, then we are no different than the birds.