Response to the Man Who Wrote to Michael Vick’s Dog

Dear Pius Adesamni,

First, I was so moved by your article allegedly addressed to the dog who was tortured and killed by Michael Vick, I had to try and track down your contact email.

I know, you kept saying how you thought dog fighting was wrong and all that–but in truth, I suspect you really don’t care in the least about dogs.

Why do I say that? Because if I asked you to write another article to humans in irreversible comas- and say that you hope one day Americans will show as much compassion for fully functional and  humans in Iraq as they do for brain dead ones in Florida, I think you would refuse on the grounds that you would feel it insulting and offensive to the patient who is unable to comment on the matter; that such an article would seem to be mocking the plight of such people, and that there was room for compassion for all humans in distress.

No, I think you care little about dogs. You were just offended that the corrupt tabloid US media would focus on a celebrity animal torture case, rather than on human suffering.

I could try to explain to you the concept of tokenism, that the US media doesn’t care in the least about dogs in general either, because if they did they would be doing stories about dogs being tortured and killed in dog racing, or about Alaskan dog racing, or about the dogs abandoned after Katrina, or the dogs tortured every day in laboratories in the US, or the thousands and thousands of dogs that are put on chains for their entire lives, with maybe a 6 feet amount of room  if they are lucky, who get the collar expanded as they get older(if they are luckier, otherwise the skin grows over the chain) or the hundreds of thousands of dogs euthanized each year(it is known as “destroying”, like destroying furniture, you know–since dogs are just slaves after all and dont have souls like us ethereal humans).

I could try to explain that the media was just focusing on it because of its sensational details and the celebrity connection (although I do think there is a racial element in some of the coverage and response, and my most devout animal rights activist friends also think the media is way overboard in its focus on it) but for different reasons than you.

I could try to explain but what’s the point?

The purpose of your article was to say that humans should only care about human suffering, and we only need to worry about trivial non human suffering when we have ended all the wars and poverty. Basically when pigs can fly.

You talked about how other parts of the world know to put human affairs first since they were so amazed by the focus on the dog case. Places like..Africa maybe? I hear the Congo is a haven of human compassion. They know how to treat people right–..if you are able to get in and live among the gorillas..unfortunately there aren’t that many of them left.

But perhaps you meant China–they definitely know how to treat dogs the right way — when they have a rabies outbreak they go into villages and beat to death as many dogs as they can(why waste bullets?) so they must treat humans much better. Ok, so they don’t.

I think Spain may be more to your liking. They have public ceremonies where they toss goats off rooftops; they torture bulls to death in public stadiums, and, they are known for the “typewriter death.” What’s that you might be asking? Well, when hunting dogs in Spain get old, their “owners” will show their appreciation by stringing them up to a tree and letting them slowly strangle. They leave just enough rope so the dog’s lower legs touch the ground–making a tapping sound as they strangle.

But that isn’t always enough — so sometimes they inject them with oven cleaner just to make them more spritely as they die.

Yes–I think Spain is definitely the country for you. They know how to treat dogs — and they would never waste precious media space to highlight something as unimportant as dog suffering.

I on the other hand, support the statement attributed to Tolstoy, the hunter turned vegetarian who said: we will always have wars as long as we have slaughterhouses.

It’s best to try and end all injustice and suffering, and not try to quantify and qualify the recipients of such concern.

It’s a message that alas, I don’t think most humans who write to lefty publications will learn.

But — I promised to explain the title.

The other day I heard about a white man in Louisiana who went around to the white volunteers in the Katrina disaster and told them that they shouldn’t be helping in the black parts of the city– they should be helping in the White part of town.

That white man thinks just like you–he’s just not as articulate. He believes his group as he defines it, should stick together and only show compassion for people inside the group. He’s compassionate — he just doesn’t care about those outside the group. Just like you. But I give him credit for not writing an article that mockingly shows compassion for inhabitants of New Orleans’  Ninth ward and hoping that one day the white volunteers would show as much compassion for poor white people.

As for James Boswell — you definitely share some things in common with him. He also used the pen to express his outrage about misguided compassion:

You should appreciate his words:

On abolition:

The encouragement which the attempt has received excites my wonder and indignation; and though some men of superior abilities have supported it, whether from a love of temporary popularity, when prosperous; or a love of general mischief, when desperate, my opinion is unshaken. To abolish a status which in all ages GOD has sanctioned, and man has continued, would not only be robbery to an innumerable class of our fellow-subjects; but it would be extreme cruelty to the African Savages, a portion of whom it saves from massacre, or intolerable bondage in their own country, and introduces into a much happier state of life; especially now when their passage to the West Indies and their treatment there is humanely regulated. To abolish that trade would be to shut the gates of mercy on mankind.”

K.T. Godel tells CounterPunch he doesn’t have a dog.