‘Destroy Their Homes Because Animals Can’t Suffer’

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Starting in August, 2,059 acres of San Francisco East Bay forest will be felled by the chainsaw and the trees converted to woodchips. Habitat for owls, squirrels, raccoons, and many other animals will simply be wiped out and roughly 7,000 gallons of toxic herbicides made by Dow and Monsanto—including those found to be toxic to wildlife, cancerous to humans, to destroy the kidneys and liver of dogs, and when cruelly tested on animals, resulted in rats being born with their brains outside of their skulls—will be sprayed in wildlife habitat, near people’s homes, in dog parks and other recreational corridors. How does one clearcutting proponent answer the charge that this plan will cause immense animal suffering? With the 16th century claim that animals won’t suffer because they are incapable of it.

“‘Suffering’ is a human term that we project onto the world,” he writes. “[We] really don’t know what is going on in their being,” that “most of life they take as it comes, without judgment whether it is good/bad or painful/pleasurable,” and that “our discriminating, judgmental mind is a source of our suffering; we bring it on ourselves.” In other words, decimating several thousand acres of trees that currently provide the animals who live among them shelter, shade, safety, a place to build their nests and which create the ecosystem which produces their food supply is of no moral consequence because, parroting the same line of thinking used to condone the most heinous atrocities in history, the victims “aren’t like us.” Eviscerating common sense, the entire philosophical underpinning of the animal protection movement—empathy—as well as the science which is increasingly revealing the shared neurobiology between humans and non-humans and therefore the emotional capabilities of animals for love, attachment, grief and justice, this particular defense of the clearcutting plan demonstrates, as no other has, the corrupted calculations and callous indifference of those who support it. To defend animal cruelty with a medieval morality simply astonishes the thoughtful mind and the merciful heart, and I am not going to let him, and Mayor Libby Schaaf who supports the plan, get away with it.

Anyone who donates at least $20 today by clicking here to help me place this ad in the San Francisco Chronicle will get a DVD of Redemption, my film about the No Kill revolution in America as a thank you (U.S. addresses only).

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