14 August 2009

Vick and the Humane Treatment of Animals

"Our beef was raised humanely," is the kind of line you're increasingly likely to read in the finer restaurants. I have to confess to feelings of ambivalence on this. One, they are animals so what does it mean to raise them humanely? Two, if you are going to slaughter the poor creature for food, is it really better to end a happy life than a miserable one?

Which brings me to Michael Vick, the talented quarterback who did time in prison for sponsoring dog fights. I know that the dog lovers are going to hate me for this, but in a country of carnivores, how egregious is it, really, to sponsor such fights? I'm sure of two things: the dog fights are beastly affairs and they are less repulsive than what goes on in a slaughterhouse, something some of us condone each time we eat meat.

Vick spent time in prison for his crime. And then, finally, a team has signed him - while people protest. I'm not sure why this is so controversial. He is supposed to have his life ended because of this crime that already took, what, two years of his life?

I am weary of protesters who essentially wish they were the judge who sentenced the criminal. Some folks wish the sentence had included more time (what? life for a dog fight? really? if not life, how many more years or months would have made you happy?) or prohibited him from making a living once he was released (another absurdly punitive sentence). Vick did time. Lost a lot of money. Lost the opportunity, likely, to set some career records. And now he's out, ready to work again. This issue is over. The point has been made. Let the man get on with his life.


Anonymous said...

For once, I agree with this blog....whoever you are. A frequent reader but have no clue about who you are or other commenters. I love the anonymous button.

Big Al said...

Ron my dearest friend . . . you have to remember w/Vick it was more than dogs fighting that has folks outraged. He supposedly also knew of and either directly supported or turned a blind eye to the brutal killing of dogs that didn't perform. And there are many, many people who so love animals they equate torturing or killing an animal just as bad, if not worse, than torturing and killing a human. That's why some folks will never ever accept Vick's actions.

Personally, I agree with you, my friend. And FWIW, I have 2 German Shepherds. Our female, like many Shepherd females, is uber aggressive towards other dogs, ESPECIALLY other females. We've tried professional trainers, to no avail. She was abused too much before we got her that it's scarred her for life. But her behavior, and the fact she cannot be trained any differently, is EXACTLY why I can separate animals from humans. She can't help how she is and she can't change. Humans can.

Lifehiker said...

I basically said the same thing awhile back on my blog, but your logic is superior. Vick has paid for his crimes.

And Big Al is right on, too. Humans can change. Conviction and incarceration and fines do not bring back the dead dogs; they tell the culprit that society deplores what they did and doesn't want them to do it again. Now it's time for a new start.

Perhaps it's asking to much to hope that Vick will transform himself from a bling-festooned sorry excuse for a human into a saint, but others have made such metamorphoses. Vick deserves his chance to be as "normal" as most of us sinners.