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Cruelty To Animals Leads To Cruelty; Kindness To Animals Doesn't Lead To Kindness
Townhall.com ^ | 07/24/2007 | Dennis Prager

Posted on 07/23/2007 11:10:30 PM PDT by goldstategop

With the recent charges that a major National Football League player had allowed cruel dog fights on his home property, the issue of cruelty to animals has been brought to national attention.

Nearly everyone acknowledges the obvious -- that a person who is cruel to animals, who enjoys sees seeing an animal suffer, is likely to inflict suffering on human beings. Cruelty to animals is one of the very few predictors among children of later criminal behavior.

So, aside from altruistic concern for animals, we human beings also have a selfish concern about people who enjoy making animals suffer. People who enjoy hurting animals will very likely hurt us, too.

The problem arises when we assume that the converse is equally true -- that just as cruelty to animals leads to cruelty to human beings, kindness to animals leads to kindness to people.

It doesn't. Kindness to animals is entirely unrelated to kindness to human beings -- except perhaps in the reverse order: People who treat people kindly are less likely to treat animals with cruelty.

But there is no connection whatsoever between treating animals kindly and treating people kindly. You know nothing about a person's treatment of people by knowing that he or she is kind to animals or is an "animal lover." Indeed, if there is any connection, it is more likely to be in the opposite direction. It seems that at a certain point of preoccupation with animals, there is a real chance that such a person may well treat people worse.

In his book "The Nazi War on Cancer (Princeton University Press, 1999)," Stanford Professor Robert N. Proctor writes a great deal about the Nazis' antipathy to animal experimentation. For example, the book features a Nazi cartoon depicting "the lab animals of Germany saluting Hermann Goring" for his protection of them.

This Nazi protection of animals is described by the leftist writer Alexander Cockburn:

"In April 1933, soon after they had come to power, the Nazis passed laws regulating the slaughter of animals. Later that year Herman Goering [sic] announced an end to the 'unbearable torture and suffering in animal experiments' and -- in an extremely unusual admission of the existence of such institutions, threatened to 'commit to concentration camps those who still think they can continue to treat animals as inanimate property.' Bans on vivisection were issued -- though later partly rescinded -- in Bavaria and Prussia. Horses, cats and apes were singled out for special protection. In 1936, a special law was passed regarding the correct way of dispatching lobsters and crabs and thus mitigating their terminal agonies. Crustaceans were to be thrown into rapidly boiling water. Bureaucrats at the Nazi Ministry of the Interior had produced learned research papers on the kindest method of killing."

In the case of the Nazis, the moral inversion is particularly dramatic, since the Nazis' opposition to experimentation on animals was accompanied by their support for the grotesque and sadistic medical experiments on innocent Jews and others in Nazi concentration camps.

The ancient Hebrew Prophet Hosea saw this inverted morality in his day as well: "Those who offer human sacrifice kiss calves" (Hosea 13.2).

For those tempted to caricature the argument presented here, I should make it clear that no one is making the absurd argument that animal rights activists are likely to be Nazis. Pointing out that the Nazis were major animal rights activists -- and that Hitler was a vegetarian -- is done only to offer a vivid illustration of how easily kindness to animals and cruelty to humans can coexist.

Human beings are not moderates, but extremists, by nature. Attitudes toward animals provide an excellent example. On the one hand are the innumerable human beings throughout history who have regarded animals as things to be treated as mercilessly as one would an inanimate object. This accounts for the widespread practice of cock fighting and other 'sports' that feature animals painfully killing one another for humans' entertainment.

And on the other hand are those, especially today, who equate animal worth with human worth -- such as People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA), which inaugurated a campaign a few years ago called "Holocaust on your plate." The program equates the barbecuing of chickens with the Nazi burning of Jews.

So, in our appropriate condemnation of those who organize dog fights, let's not fool ourselves about the impact of animal kindness on human beings' character. It simply doesn't exist.


TOPICS: Constitution/Conservatism; Crime/Corruption; Culture/Society; Editorial; Philosophy
KEYWORDS: animalrights; animalwelfare; cruelty; dennisprager; doggieping; ethics; humannature; humanwelfare; kindness; moralabsolutes; moralrelativism; nazis; peta; townhall
Cruelty to animals is a sign of dispositive psychopathy and a predictor of criminal behavior. The converse however, doesn't necessarily lead from kindness to animals to kindness to human beings. Many leading Nazis showed especial consideration for the welfare of animals nevertheless were quite capable of being absolutely ruthless in their cruelty to human beings. Kindness towards the beasts doesn't have any relationship towards being kind towards one's fellow man. People who are kind to people may be kind to animals but one has no way of knowing how someone who loves animals views the worth of other people. Quite simply put, human nature lends itself to extreme attitudes. And those who are extreme in their affectations are not usually consistent in their ethics. Its something to consider in looking at the contempt with which animal rights advocates have for their welfare of humanity.

"Show me just what Mohammed brought that was new, and there you will find things only evil and inhuman, such as his command to spread by the sword the faith he preached." - Manuel II Palelologus

1 posted on 07/23/2007 11:10:35 PM PDT by goldstategop
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To: goldstategop
And on the other hand are those, especially today, who equate animal worth with human worth -- such as People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA)

Didn't PETA get caught killing animals?

2 posted on 07/24/2007 12:20:22 AM PDT by SIDENET ("IT'S A COOKBOOK!!!")
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To: goldstategop

We are not supposed to enjoy dog fights or cock fights but many will pay to see human beings beat each other to a pulp. Something wrong with this picture.


3 posted on 07/24/2007 12:45:54 AM PDT by taxesareforever (Never forget Matt Maupin)
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To: goldstategop
Those who offer human sacrifice kiss calves" (Hosea 13.2).

The 'calves' were idols!

LOL!

4 posted on 07/24/2007 1:50:00 AM PDT by fortheDeclaration (We must beat the Democrats or the country will be ruined! - Lincoln)
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To: taxesareforever
We are not supposed to enjoy dog fights or cock fights but many will pay to see human beings beat each other to a pulp. Something wrong with this picture.

What wrong with the picture is that the animals don't have a choice, people do.

5 posted on 07/24/2007 1:51:07 AM PDT by fortheDeclaration (We must beat the Democrats or the country will be ruined! - Lincoln)
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To: goldstategop

Interesting. I had no idea that the Nazis were also the animal rights activists of their time.


6 posted on 07/24/2007 2:58:18 AM PDT by ChocChipCookie (Homeschool like your kids' lives depend on it.)
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To: goldstategop
Bans on vivisection were issued...

How barbaric! Everyone knows God entrusted the care of His creations to us...so we could torture them to death to test strawberry-scented hemorrhoid cream.

"I asked the earth, and it answered me, 'I am not He;' and whatsoever are in it confessed the same. I asked the sea and the deeps, and the living creeping things, and they answered, 'We are not Thy God, seek above us.'... And I replied unto all the things which encompass the door of my flesh: 'Ye have told me of my God, that ye are not He; tell me something of Him.' And they cried out with a loud voice, 'He made us.' St. Augustine

They must be treayed with mercy for that reason.

7 posted on 07/24/2007 3:43:53 AM PDT by Petronius ("He never sleeps, the judge. He is dancing, dancing. He says that he will never die.")
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To: SIDENET
Didn't PETA get caught killing animals?

Yes -- but that's not inconsistent with their position. i talked to a PETA member, and there's sense to it. I don't agree with it, but it's logically and morally consistent.

PETA wants to end the notion of human ownership of animals altogether. No lab animals, no pets, no livestock. Mu counter was, what about cows? If cattle ranching ended overnight, the cows could not be released into the wild, because they cannot fend for themselves. Few farmers are going to continue to feed and care for cattle with no economic upside. The vast majority of cattle would simply have to be destroyed.

The PETA member I spoke to accepted that -- and that most dogs and cats would also have to be destroyed if pet ownership were to end. They are willing to accept the one-time mass killng of millions of animals -- even the extinction of species that were bred for dependence on humans -- if it means a permanent end to the breeding of animals to meet human needs, which they see as perpetuating cruelty.

As I said, I don't agree, but it's logically consistent.

8 posted on 07/24/2007 4:41:04 AM PDT by ReignOfError (`)
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To: taxesareforever
We are not supposed to enjoy dog fights or cock fights but many will pay to see human beings beat each other to a pulp.

The humans don't fight to the death, and the humans have a choice. I don't care for boxing, but it's not the moral equivalent of dogfighting.

9 posted on 07/24/2007 4:44:02 AM PDT by ReignOfError (`)
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To: taxesareforever

“We are not supposed to enjoy dog fights or cock fights but many will pay to see human beings beat each other to a pulp. Something wrong with this picture.”

Is this a trick question or something?


10 posted on 07/24/2007 4:45:49 AM PDT by Dave Elias
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To: taxesareforever

“We are not supposed to enjoy dog fights or cock fights but many will pay to see human beings beat each other to a pulp. Something wrong with this picture.”

Presumably humans can decide for themselves whether or not to participate. They are not slaves or gladiators. Animals have no such choice.


11 posted on 07/24/2007 7:39:39 AM PDT by monday
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To: fortheDeclaration
What wrong with the picture is that the animals don't have a choice, people do.

What a lousy excuse. Deer don't have a choice either but we have an open season on them.

12 posted on 07/24/2007 10:53:33 AM PDT by taxesareforever (Never forget Matt Maupin)
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To: ReignOfError
I don't care for boxing, but it's not the moral equivalent of dogfighting.

And what are the morals of the dogs?

13 posted on 07/24/2007 10:54:29 AM PDT by taxesareforever (Never forget Matt Maupin)
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To: Dave Elias
Is this a trick question or something?

Think, just think.

14 posted on 07/24/2007 10:55:20 AM PDT by taxesareforever (Never forget Matt Maupin)
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To: monday
Animals have no such choice.

Animals have no morals. Besides animals don't have a choice because they can't think.

15 posted on 07/24/2007 10:56:28 AM PDT by taxesareforever (Never forget Matt Maupin)
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To: goldstategop
"Those who offer human sacrifice kiss calves" (Hosea 13.2)

Better calves than donkeys.

16 posted on 07/24/2007 10:56:58 AM PDT by Dr.Deth
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To: ReignOfError

That individual is sick. And he’s sick in a very scary way.


17 posted on 07/24/2007 10:59:07 AM PDT by Little Ray (Rudy Guiliani: If his wives can't trust him, why should we?)
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To: goldstategop

Sorry, you can tell alot about a man or woman by how they treat their dog in my experience. PETA is a lunatic organization, no doubt about it, but the author is letting that wacked out small minority override his own common sense in my opinion.

And its hard to take anyone seriously these days that dredge up the Nazi’s outside of any conversation about the Nazi’s.


18 posted on 07/24/2007 10:59:57 AM PDT by Badeye (You know its a kook site when they ban the word 'kook')
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To: taxesareforever
many will pay to see human beings beat each other to a pulp. Something wrong with this picture.

People have a choice. I can't imagine paying to watch boxing or wrestling--but at least the fighters are there by choice, as are the idiots who pay to watch.

Some fighters beat up on their wives and bite ears off; maybe to call them "animals" is a slam to animals.

19 posted on 07/24/2007 11:03:36 AM PDT by lonestar
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To: goldstategop; sinkspur; 88keys; DugwayDuke; Severa; the OlLine Rebel; naturalman1975; Abathar; ...
Well, I think this is the most muddled word salad I've read in a long time. This guy should stop staring at his navel. I think he's already mined anything of value that was once in there.

Why should prosecution of Vick for treating his dogs horribly lead us to ponder whether animal lovers are mean to people? I'm sure some are.

Ping!


Other articles with keyword "DOGGIEPING" since 12/29/04

20 posted on 07/24/2007 11:11:12 AM PDT by HairOfTheDog
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To: ReignOfError

>As I said, I don’t agree, but it’s logically consistent.<

I disagree that your aquaintance is in anyway logically consistent. Pet ownership in and of itself, is in no way cruel. People treat their pets as famiy members. Dogs, and cats, for that matter, display obvious signs of contentment, and happiness, within human families.

There is no way to come to the conclusion, that because some animals are cruelly treated, that all animal ownership needs to be ended. That is as absurd as saying that because child abuse occurs, then no children should be born.


21 posted on 07/24/2007 11:47:51 AM PDT by Darnright
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To: taxesareforever

I suppose at least the people who beat each other to a pulp are making a rational decision on their own. However, I don’t like to see that stuff either, even when I know it’s fake. I guess there’s something wrong with me.
susie


22 posted on 07/24/2007 12:18:52 PM PDT by brytlea (amnesty--an act of clemency by an authority by which pardon is granted esp. to a group of individual)
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To: ReignOfError
“As I said, I don’t agree, but it’s logically consistent.”

It’s logically consistent to insane people. What about all the happy pets who live happy lives with their owners? Put it this way. Would you rather live a life being pampered by a constant companion that loves you and that you love in return, or die?

I admit it’s hard for a human who is used to thinking of themselves as free to put oneself in the position of a dog or cat, but they also have the illusion of freedom.

After all, do you think for one moment that cats think they are owned? Do you think dogs would prefer to be in charge rather than happily subservient? Crazy PETA people do but I am not crazy. If I were a pet, I would rather live.

In the case of chickens and cows, well, the choice is not so clear, yet even a short life might be better than none at all. Especially if it’s spent running around in a pasture rather than a feed lot. Domestic cattle don’t have a bad life. They have no predators thanks to their human protectors so life is less stressful for them than a deer or elk in the wild. They die prematurely of course, but everything alive dies eventually.

I agree with PETA when it comes to inhumane living conditions for animals, but not with their idea that animals are the equivalent of humans. After all, they don’t treat each other with nearly the same degree of compassion we treat them with.

23 posted on 07/24/2007 12:33:22 PM PDT by monday
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To: taxesareforever

“Animals have no morals. Besides animals don’t have a choice because they can’t think.”

Whats your point? That we should enjoy dog and cock fights?


24 posted on 07/24/2007 12:36:40 PM PDT by monday
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To: taxesareforever
Animals have no morals. Besides animals don't have a choice because they can't think.

There certainly are rules in any herd or pack of animals. There is leadership, pecking order and consequences for errant behavior. It may not be written down, but it is their version of a moral code. I've observed horse behavior, and it's complex. There are colonies of other animals who are even more complex in their social order.

And animals certainly think. "I'm hungry, I think I'd like to eat ~that~" is a thought. "That thing is trying to kill me, I'd better run" is a thought.

25 posted on 07/24/2007 1:18:46 PM PDT by HairOfTheDog
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To: ReignOfError

PETA has evolved into a full-blown cult. They are brainwashing their members into bizarre dogmatic beliefs, such as the belief that a “one-time mass killng of millions of animals” will lead to some sort of permanently beautiful and peaceful state of affairs for all life on earth.


26 posted on 07/24/2007 1:54:31 PM PDT by GovernmentShrinker
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To: HairOfTheDog
And animals certainly think. "I'm hungry, I think I'd like to eat ~that~" is a thought. "That thing is trying to kill me, I'd better run" is a thought.

Animals obvious think, but not in words. They think in non-verbal images and impressions and their cerebellums are larger in proportion to the cerebral cortex than humans. Thus, they rely on instinct to a greater degree than humans. In fact, some reptiles, amphibians, and fish rely almost exclusively on the cerebellum, and so do almost no "thinking."
27 posted on 07/24/2007 3:34:13 PM PDT by attiladhun2 (Islam is a despotism so vile that it would warm the heart of Orwell's Big Brother)
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To: GovernmentShrinker

I believe that PETA, like NAMBLA, ought to be RICO’d out of existence. Both of these organizations are nothing more than criminal enterprises.


28 posted on 07/24/2007 3:37:39 PM PDT by attiladhun2 (Islam is a despotism so vile that it would warm the heart of Orwell's Big Brother)
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To: taxesareforever
We are not supposed to enjoy dog fights or cock fights but many will pay to see human beings beat each other to a pulp. Something wrong with this picture.
For one thing, a prize fighter chooses to train and enter the ring. Just as importantly, he may choose at any time to refuse a fight or leave that career altogether. Within the rules of the venue, he can choose his style of fighting and he knows it is not a matter of death if he loses to a challenger. The same goes for his competitor, who also chooses to be there.

Also important, the prizefighter is fighting toward a goal that will result in direct reward to him. He gets to enjoy the proceeds of his toil. As I understand it, each fighter gets "face" money for showing up (amount dependent on his ranking) plus the possibility of winning the winner's purse. As he accumulates wins, his face money increases along with the prospect of future fights with larger purses.

That doesn't compare to the short, bloody "career" of a dog whose instincts are exploited by the man enriched through animal suffering. Or for that matter, the cruel fate of the confused, small bait animals used to train him, or the starvation sometimes imposed to force aggression from a dog destined for the pit. There's no such option as choosing retirement into the lap of luxury for these poor beasts at the end of their careers.

Getting back to the subject of this thread, I do prefer the company of my critters to that of certain people. Make that most people. I'm very quiet and never cause trouble for my neighbors. You'd hardly notice me out in public. You may rest assured that I have no tendency to be unkind to my fellow human beings. This applies until further notice or until the bodies are discovered. ;o)
29 posted on 07/24/2007 5:15:59 PM PDT by Titan Magroyne ("Shorn, dumb and bleating is no way to go through life, son." Yeah, close enough.)
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To: Titan Magroyne

And I thought there was no one else like me... ;-)


30 posted on 07/24/2007 9:22:55 PM PDT by republican4ever (Israel's fate determines the fate of the world, whether we believe and like it or not.)
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To: republican4ever
The most important thing about this drama that is being overlooked is that the human dirtballs running this thing, took all the weak dogs & hung them to death, or shocked them to death, or drown & beat them to death. Please, just give me 5 min. alone with these A-holes!
31 posted on 07/24/2007 9:38:25 PM PDT by Rottweilerson (If you want a friend...Feed any animal.)
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To: monday
Whats your point? That we should enjoy dog and cock fights?

It's called hypocrisy.

32 posted on 07/24/2007 9:52:51 PM PDT by taxesareforever (Never forget Matt Maupin)
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To: HairOfTheDog
And animals certainly think. "I'm hungry, I think I'd like to eat ~that~" is a thought. "That thing is trying to kill me, I'd better run" is a thought.

It's called "instinct" in animals and thought patterns in humans. I know, there are many who would like to believe their dogs and cats love them because there is no difference between dogs, cats and humans.

33 posted on 07/24/2007 10:02:46 PM PDT by taxesareforever (Never forget Matt Maupin)
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To: taxesareforever
[What wrong with the picture is that the animals don't have a choice, people do.]

What a lousy excuse. Deer don't have a choice either but we have an open season on them.

You gave the example of watching men fight.

Forcing animals to fight is inhumane because they have no choice in the matter and inflicting pain is the result.

The difference in hunting and having animals fight is that we kill for a reason, and we kill quickly.

A true sportsman doesn't get pleasure out of the suffering.

What is amazing about you guys that cannot grasp the evil of having animals fight for sport is that you lack the same discernment that the animal rights people do.

They want to stop hunting, equating it to fighting for sport, and you are indifferent to fighting animals for sport, equating it to hunting.

34 posted on 07/24/2007 11:40:44 PM PDT by fortheDeclaration (We must beat the Democrats or the country will be ruined! - Lincoln)
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To: fortheDeclaration
They want to stop hunting, equating it to fighting for sport, and you are indifferent to fighting animals for sport, equating it to hunting.

I equate the outrage over animal fighting to hypocrisy on the part of those who don't see a problem with men trying to beat the brains out of another man but cry bitter tears over animals that do the same thing.

35 posted on 07/25/2007 12:02:23 AM PDT by taxesareforever (Never forget Matt Maupin)
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To: taxesareforever
[They want to stop hunting, equating it to fighting for sport, and you are indifferent to fighting animals for sport, equating it to hunting.]

I equate the outrage over animal fighting to hypocrisy on the part of those who don't see a problem with men trying to beat the brains out of another man but cry bitter tears over animals that do the same thing.

So now we are back to the fighting analogy.

The men are fighting willingly and do not kill each other.

The animals have no choice and kill each other or are killed.

You have a problem grasping that difference?

36 posted on 07/25/2007 12:28:31 AM PDT by fortheDeclaration (We must beat the Democrats or the country will be ruined! - Lincoln)
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To: fortheDeclaration
The men are fighting willingly and do not kill each other. The animals have no choice and kill each other or are killed.

Two points. You never heard of a one fighter killing another? I have. Point two: If the animals have the cabability to think then they have a choice. Run or fight to the death. You have a problem with that?

37 posted on 07/25/2007 12:47:49 AM PDT by taxesareforever (Never forget Matt Maupin)
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To: goldstategop

I do not totally believe the mantra of “cruel to ‘animals’ = cruel to humans”.

I’ve seen write-ups that there is no correlation between treating animals cruelly and then humans.

So it’s a toss-up, I think, on evidence. There’s lots of talk that this premise is true, but I’ve never seen data on it, not even in a simple write-up format (”68% of criminals had animal-cruelty background”, e.g.).

1 of my big questions with this premise is, even if they show data, what is the baseline?

To be truly effective, we should gather up all the people who we know were (truly) cruel to animals, and see how they turn out - if they end up being abusive to humans.

It should not simply be from the standpoint of who is locked up for abuse. That is a different stat. Saying 68% of abuse inmates were cruel to animals is not the same as saying 68% of people noted as cruel to animals ended up cruel to humans.


38 posted on 07/25/2007 5:45:33 AM PDT by the OlLine Rebel (Common sense is an uncommon virtue.)
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To: SIDENET

Because they’re saving them from the horrid fate of being possessed by humans.

It’s sort of like if abolitionists took slaves from the Underground RR and killed them so they’d never have the chance of being enslaved again.


39 posted on 07/25/2007 5:47:40 AM PDT by the OlLine Rebel (Common sense is an uncommon virtue.)
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To: the OlLine Rebel

Cruelty to animals as a youth is one marker. There are others.


40 posted on 07/25/2007 5:50:33 AM PDT by durasell (!)
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To: goldstategop

“no one is making the absurd argument that animal rights activists are likely to be Nazis.”

Wanna bet? I am!


41 posted on 07/25/2007 6:01:31 AM PDT by the OlLine Rebel (Common sense is an uncommon virtue.)
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To: goldstategop

“We Germans, who are the only people in the world to assume a decent attitude toward animals, shall also assume a decent attitude toward these human animals.” — Heinrich Himmler


42 posted on 07/25/2007 6:07:59 AM PDT by Mr. Jeeves ("Wise men don't need to debate; men who need to debate are not wise." -- Tao Te Ching)
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To: Mr. Jeeves

“When one loves animals and children too much, one loves them against human beings.” — Jean Paul Sartre


43 posted on 07/25/2007 6:08:44 AM PDT by Mr. Jeeves ("Wise men don't need to debate; men who need to debate are not wise." -- Tao Te Ching)
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To: durasell

Yes, but again, I’ve never seen actual data at all (even “claimed” facts).

And more important than the data, is the approach. Some stats are meaningless, others actually have relevence.


44 posted on 07/25/2007 6:21:46 AM PDT by the OlLine Rebel (Common sense is an uncommon virtue.)
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To: republican4ever

*waggling eyebrows*


45 posted on 07/25/2007 6:29:30 AM PDT by Titan Magroyne ("Shorn, dumb and bleating is no way to go through life, son." Yeah, close enough.)
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To: the OlLine Rebel

http://www.csudh.edu/dearhabermas/tchessay64.htm

Why They Kill: The Discoveries of a Maverick Criminologist (Paperback) by Richard Rhodes


46 posted on 07/25/2007 6:38:01 AM PDT by durasell (!)
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To: Petronius
How barbaric!

Uh, you seem to have missed the point. The point was, while Hitler's administration was very kind toward animals, they were extremely cruel to human beings. (Which of course means that kindness to animals is not a predicter of behavior toward humans.)

47 posted on 07/25/2007 6:43:50 AM PDT by MEGoody (Ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.)
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To: Rottweilerson
"...Please, just give me 5 min. alone with these A-holes!..."
Alone? Don't be selfish!
48 posted on 07/26/2007 9:57:51 AM PDT by republican4ever (Israel's fate determines the fate of the world, whether we believe and like it or not.)
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