Sunday, August 23, 2009

Throw another pit bull on the barbie

First, read the more recent article "Rudman's pit bull on a barbie column draws anger"

In it, the newspaper chooses to publish some hyperbolic tidbits from irate folks across the globe who were appalled that the author suggested the bludgeoning and cooking of a dog (who happened to be a pit bull) was just a-okay.

This is Rudman's response:

"If the abusive and threatening tirade from US pit bull owners is representative, then is it any wonder that their pets have learnt to be equally aggressive and life threatening?

"If they'd read past the headline they'd have realised my column wasn't specifically about pit bulls at all."

I decided to read the actual column, because hey, maybe he's right, readers didn't get past the headline and the article wasn't at all specifically about pit bulls.

So, let's go to the piece itself.

There's the title: "Throw another pit bull on the barbie" which I admittedly thought meant throw a pit bull at a plastic, arch-footed, blond-haired doll. So maybe that's what the author meant because, like he said, he's not talking about pit bulls specifically. Just vaguely, right?

The SPCA and the Minister of Agriculture, David Carter, are baying for the blood of Paea Taufa for bopping his pit bull on the head and recycling it in a backyard umu. They should be giving him a medal. If every pit bull owner in the land followed his lead, New Zealand would be a safer place to live.

Ooops, looks like Rudman didn't read past his own title! First sentence is a suggestion to reward a guy who got tired of his dog, whacked him over the head and cooked, then ate him. Which is neither here nor there - animal agribusiness gives out awards to slaughterhouses, so providing accolades to those who kill animals and eat them isn't anything particularly new. But then he goes on to say that, hey! this guy is on the right track, New Zealand would be a fabulously better place if all pit bull owners just did the same thing.

But surely Rudman isn't really talking about pit bulls at all; us readers are just incapable of reading.

he should have been encouraging Mr Taufa on to the pre-news cooking slot to persuade the pit bull fraternity their pets, once barbecued, were as delicious as crayfish or rare sirloin.

That's the second sentence. Okay, Mr. Rudman, when are you going to stop talking about pit bulls specifically and start getting to the heart of the matter.

Oh wait, you have to get down to the 7th paragraph to realize this isn't just about pit bulls, it's about the hypocrisy of people disliking dog slaughter but being okay with hunting ducks and slaughtering lambs.

Hey, I totally agree. It's strange to argue against one form of slaughter while partaking of the flesh of another butchered creature. If they're raised the same as other farmed animals, killed the same, etc. ad naseum, no one should feel compelled to say "don't eat x animal, even while I gnaw on the leg of y animal". That's a logical fallacy and I'm with Mr. Rudman on that (it's why I'm vegan, though apparently Rudman gets the cognitive dissonance and logic fail but doesn't see fit to change his own dietary behaviors, he's not vegetarian).

But if that is the real point of Rudman's article - that we are morally and behaviorally inconsistent with how we treat nonhuman animals - then that should have been the lead line. You know, the line everyone reads and remembers? All that stuff in the middle sorta gets lost when your opening line is a suggestion to commit canine homicide.

Rudman should just be honest - he doesn't like pit bulls and, yeah, he wouldn't mind if they were all grilled to death. But that isn't a really thrilling springboard for a discussion on our current cultural perception and treatment of other nonhuman animals. All he managed to do was anger a lot of people for his suggestion to kill pit bulls (not to "kill dogs" but to kill pit bulls specifically). The other vital information which could have made for a useful debate was lost amidst Rudman's own hypocrisy and anger directed at dogs who look a certain way.

1 comment:

Kembree said...

Read this story..

It is from a local (Memphis) blog I read..