Death of Eight Belles: Death Knell for Animal Use?
“Eight Belles should sound the knell of animal use” writes Maryanne Appel, a Pennsylvania-based member of Friends of Animals and CARE. Maryanne notes that horse racing is but one form of human control of other animals, and how the death of one connects to the deaths of billions.
Maryanne further asks that beings beyond the Homo sapiens be understood as having the basic right “to be free of human domination and interference.”
How many readers of the Delco Times would be thinking about these connections, if not for bold thinkers and writers such as Maryanne?
The letter to the editor was published today — exactly as written by Maryanne Appel — in the Delaware County Daily Times . All of us at Friends of Animals congratulate Maryanne for writing this outstanding letter and following through with the paper to see it in print and let us know it has appeared.
To the Editor:
In response to the senseless death of Eight Belles at the Kentucky Derby and the compassionate response from the American public, I would like to ask if the American public is aware that horse racing is just one of many enterprises that use animals for personal and corporate gain. Do those who dine on flesh, eggs, and dairy products believe that those billions of animals destined for the dinner table have it any better? Do they know that, in fact, those ill-fated furred, finned, and feathered beings have it even worse, and unimaginably so? Of course, I am not condoning the horse racing industry. I am merely stating some very uncomfortable facts.
Current laws guarantee that animals are granted virtually no legal protection, and so legislation that purports to protect their welfare, while keeping them in the grip of institutionalized abuse, does more to shield those who use animals for their own gain. (As many of us are already aware, it is commerce that drives government.)
So how do we go about dismantling the horse racing industry?
To ensure the protection of all animals, not only horses (for to do otherwise will not protect any of them), we must grant them standing in our courts. It is doubtful that that will happen anytime soon, but it is still something we must strive for. Under U.S. law, nonhumans are property, and as such, they simply have no rights. Welfare-reform legislation may temper the abuse a little, may even put the worst offenders out of business, but it, in effect, protects the animal-use industries as a whole and allows the dirty business of profiting from animals to continue.
What we must do to protect all animals is to, first, stop eating them. Second, everyone who truly believes in justice must work for the passage of legislation that would grant nonhuman animals their basic right, i.e., to be free of human domination and interference. Their other rights, not to be mutilated, imprisoned, and murdered, will of necessity follow.
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