Letter to the Editor
by Feross Aboukhadijeh, 11th grade
I would personally like to thank Jeremy Rifkin for his earth-shaking findings published in “A Change of Heart about Animals”. Without Rifkin’s article, I never would have realized that animals can experience pain, suffering, and affection (2). The global community is truly indebted to Rifkin for proving, for the first time ever, that animals are actually living, breathing creatures—a truly groundbreaking scientific achievement, no doubt. The truth is: Rifkin has proven nothing new and merely demonstrated the barefaced hypocrisy of the animal rights movement.
The “discovery” that animals can experience simple emotions like pain and fear does not justify the adoption of laws protecting animals from lab experiments or human consumption (16). Would a starving lion restrain itself before savagely slaughtering an innocent child for food? Why should humans treat animals any more humanitarianly than they treat us? Since the beginning of time, animals have killed and consumed other animals as part of the natural course of nature. If, as Rifkin argues, humans and animals should be equal, then humans should have as equal a right to participate in the “survival of the fittest” game as any animal does (17). To pass a law restricting the human consumption of animals would damn the human race to extinction. Rifkin’s bigotry and hypocrisy doesn’t stop here.
Rifkin’s arguments against animal experimentation are supported by scientific studies conducted through the very same animal experimentation! From the laboratory crows (7) to the freak-show gorilla (8), to the imprisoned orangutan (10), Rifkin seems to support animal abuse only when he benefits from it. The same can be said about animal rights activists in general.
Ingrid Newkirk, the President of People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA), once told Vogue magazine: “Even if animal research resulted in a cure for AIDS, we’d be against it” (CCF 1). Would Rifkin condemn life-saving treatments for diseases like diabetes (insulin) and breast cancer (chemotherapy, radiation, and stem cell transplants), all of which were first tested on animals? No doubt. Yet, I am willing to bet that if Rifkin’s own son or daughter was stricken with one or more of these diseases, he would not equate a human life with that of a barnyard pig’s so quickly.
Rifkin wishes to sacrifice countless scientific achievements and millions of human lives in order to save the lives of a few insignificant animals—unless of course he could benefit more by the animals’ deaths.
CCF. "Consumer Group’s Ad Targets Arizona Animal-Rights Hypocrites." The Center for Consumer Freedom. 05 Oct 2006. CCF. 2 Feb 2007 <http://www.consumerfreedom.com/pressrelease_detail.cfm?release=178>.