The Animal Rights Summit By David Leonhardt
Is it just me, or is society becoming increasingly polarized? It seems like for every action there is an equaller and oppositer reaction. For and against war. For or against environment. For or against family.
Consider role animals play in society. No, I am not referring to politicians, TV producers or Janet Jackson. I mean animals like rabbits and mice and bears.
Some people will even lay down their lives for animals, protesting against use of animals in laboratory experiments. They stridently oppose testing of chemicals and makeup on innocent rabbits and mice. I suspect they would secretly rather chemicals and cosmetics be tested on certain humans instead.
Meanwhile, another large contingent of society has no interest in testing makeup on animals, because they would much rather shoot them. I mean animals, not animal rights protestors. On second thought, they might want to shoot protestors, too.
I thought about this great divide when I looked at label of a new "powerful" anti-dandruff shampoo we just bought – an oil-based shampoo that works by letting it sink into hair for at least three minutes. The instruction manual, in 13 languages, features an impressive array of alerts with threatening symbols, even warning me not to let shampoo get into my eyes.
I stopped. I blinked (for effect). Here is a chemical I am supposed to pour all over my head and let soak in for at least three minutes. A chemical that will run down my face and across my eyes. A chemical that will surely make my eyes blind...or worse.
Then I read a tiny inscription at bottom: "Not tested on animals". Thank goodness, I thought. I wouldn't want them to go blind!
I decided to try to bridge gulf between animal rights movement and sport-hunter movement by convening a world summit.
I chose to invite a few animals, including Big Bear, a veteran of several hunting seasons. I also invited Three Blind Mice, expert shampoo testers, I am told.
On other side of table, I invited Robin Gunn and his merry band of hunters.
"It's not right," began Big Bear. "that we animals should be object of human torture. We have rights, too." Robin Gunn snorted. His band of merry hunters snorted, too.