January 08, 2008

The Church of Animal Rights

Mary Scriver muses on the churchiness of animal-rights groups, particularly the Humane Society of the United States:

If the Humane Society of the United States were a religious institution, which it very nearly is, preaching the doctrine of compassion and the horror of cruelty, it would not be a mainstream denomination because it has no actual churches (shelters). . . . However, the minister --er, President Emeritus -- John Hoyt IS or was a Presbyterian minister who found the perks and income much nicer with HSUS.


Anonymous said...

I don't understand why people get so hung up about the HSUS not having shelters. It still does a lot of good, and you can't tell me the people who work there don't care about animals.

In regards to religion, what many people against animal rights don't want to think about is that animals (all of them -- dogs, cats, cows, chickens, elephants) are God's creatures. Humans have no right to make them suffer.

Chas S. Clifton said...

Read Mary's whole post, especially what she (a former hands-on animal control officer) says about HSUS and Fund for Animals spending more on their organizations than helping animals.

PETA, however, simply kills dogs and cats. The final solution,.

Andrew Oh-Willeke said...

I don't have a problem with organizations that recognize that if they can't keep their doors open that they can't do anything.

Nor do I have a problem with organizations like the Humane Society that exist to advance a view point (both legislatively and in changing public opinion), as opposed to providing services. Yes, the Humane Society may be more like the Anti-Defamation League, and less like the Dumb Friends League. So what?

Of course, the Humane Society qualifies by special exception in the tax laws not available to other groups that lobby. Prevention of animal cruelty is specifically eligible for the charitable deduction by Congressional fiat as its own category. But, lots of "educational groups" do essentially the same thing.

The Humane Society's donors and activists are certainly less narrowly self-interested than, for example, members of most religious groups who often indirectly benefit from their own charitable contributions.

Chas S. Clifton said...


Do visit Mary Scriver's original post and share your conventional wisdom with her. She is not only a former animal-control officer but a Unitarian minister, and you will find her to be a worthy discussant.