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Wednesday, Oct. 1, 2014

Ross Rambles: PETA offers direction

Monday, August 22, 2005

The People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) has both emailed and faxed copies of a letter sent to Wally Miller, Jr., city attorney for Cherokee, along with a press release elaborating the reason for the letter.

PETA suggests that two sisters charged with cruelty to animals for allegedly keeping a large number of cats at two houses in Cherokee and another house in rural Cherokee County be required, if convicted, to undergo psychological evaluations and banned for life from owning animals.

I use the word allegedly on the off chance that 180 cats and four dogs happened to wander into the houses unnoticed and the charges were unfairly made on this circumstantial evidence.

Mr. Miller has likely considered the possibility that keeping large numbers of diseased animals in deplorable conditions indicates psychological problems, but in case that hasn't occurred to him, the letter from PETA will have provided a valuable public service.

PETA even includes information on a psychological condition known as the "animal hoarder syndrome." According to PETA, "Hoarders' behavior is akin to that of substance abusers in the following ways: preoccupation with the addiction, repetition of the addictive behavior, alibis for their behavior, neglect of personal and environmental conditions, claims of persecution, the presence of enablers who assist financially, denial that the addiction exists, varying degrees of social isolation…"

The PETA letter goes on to state that "Repeat crimes are the rule rather than the exception among animal abusers and this is especially true of hoarders."

PETA's well reasoned approach to this issue in Cherokee contrasts markedly with the organization's past history of militancy, such as throwing red paint (symbolizing blood) on wearers of fur.

The letter indicates a scholarly understanding of the subject matter, unlike past ignorant activities such as liberating minks from mink farms so the minks could frolic among other woodland creatures, not realizing that minks grown in captivity cannot survive in the wild.

Even if such minks could survive in the wild, it would not be by adhering to a vegetarian diet. They would eat their fellow woodland creatures rather than frolic with them.

In PETA's more militant early days, the members were wise enough to limit their protest targets to such activities as animal testing in laboratories, the growing of animals for fur and the wearing of fur. They made a tactical distinction between fur and leather, although there is no natural moral distinction.

Since then, the group has expanded its vegetarian message to protest more mainstream agricultural activities, although usually with less militancy than in the past.

Along with its more controversial activities, PETA seeks to gain easy public relations points by standing against actions that are clearly deplorable. PETA would like the people of Cherokee to know that it is against hoarding large numbers of diseased cats.