This weekend I happened to be watching cartoons on the WB Network. Several times during the commercial breaks an anti-dissection advertisement paid for by People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals. In the ad, which features WB actor David Gallagher, Gallagher makes the absurd claim that worms can suffer.
Gallagher explains that around the country many students are asked to dissect rabbits and other animals. As an aside, Gallahger adds that kids are also asked to dissect worms and assures the viewer that they can suffer too (PETA has a RealVideo version of the advertisement linked from this page).
When opponents of animal rights point out that the claims made for higher order animals will inevitably lead to protection for even insects and other lower forms of life, they are accused of using a straw man. But here’s the largest animal rights organization in the United States explicitly backing the view that even a worm can suffer and should be given special protections.
There really is no end to the absurdities that animal rights ultimately entails.