U.S. House Approves Funds to Combat Animal Fighting

On July 14 the U.S. House of Representatives approved an amendment to the Agricultural Appropriations bill that would take $800,000 from the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s budget for building repair and maintenance and instead allocate it to focus on enforcement of animal fighting laws.

The Blumenauer-Tancredo Animal Fighting Amendment passed the House on a vote of 222-179, but still must be added to the Senate’s version of the Agricultural Appropriations bill or it will likely be removed by the conference committee on the bill.

There was a rather spirited debate on the floor of the House over the wisdom of taking the money away from the USDA’s buildings fund and applying it to animal fighting enforcement. Rep. Henry Bonilla (R-Texas) urged the House to defeat the measure arguing that it was simply an attempt by some legislators to appease the Humane Society of the United States,

The Inspector General´s office has told us that enforcement of this will be done at a minimal level since this is a misdemeanor offense. Now, one could argue the pluses and minuses on whether it should be a more serious offense, but these are misdemeanors that are dealt with by local law enforcement agencies from around the country, and they cannot afford to devote their resources at the IG level because of this reason. The IG tells us that one case alone could cost $800,000.

Second, one of the reasons that debating this amendment today is that the Humane of the United States points out that this vote will be counted

year. The only reason that this item is even on their scorecard is that we have addressed all other of their concerns in this bill. We provided a $437,000 increase for animal welfare, $1.1 million more for regulatory enforcement in the Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service, and fully funded the enforcement of the Humane Methods of Slaughter Act in the Food Safety and Inspection Service.

If the sponsors of this amendment were serious about this, programs that the HSUS supported like the ones that I just mentioned are the ones that would be cut to pay for this amendment, but then that would force them to prioritize like the rest of us have to do.

If every Member of the House brought an amendment to the floor just because they did not get every last nickel that they wanted, we would be here all day and we could never get this bill done.

Finally, Mr. Chairman, I urge my colleagues to not vote against this amendment simply because I am suggesting

, but vote against this amendment because of the following statement by an HSUS Vice
said, “The life of an ant and that of any child should be granted equal .”

This led presidential candidate Dennis Kucinich (D-Ohio), to respond,

As somebody who served in municipal government over the years, this is
came up in terms of activities that were taking place in some of the neighborhoods in my own community, and certainly people who heard about them and who were involved in the community understood that the level of violence and the level of animal cruelty was something that needed public attention.

We should have no tolerance for animal cruelty. We should have no tolerance for a system which degrades these creatures of God. And we also need to understand that, as the honorable chairman pointed out, the observation that was made official concerning the of and children, I do not think that he actually meant to equate the importance of an ant to a child, but what the statement meant to say was that all life here ought to be regarded with some degree of respect and that, in effect, when we try to come forward here and support animal welfare and support the rights of animals to not be treated cruelly, what we are doing here is, in effect, elevating our own humanity.

Like any good politician, Kucinich unsuccessfully tries to spin Michael Fox’s claim that ants and children deserve the same sort of consideration, which is not the same thing as saying that all life should be regarded “with some degree of respect.” Nice try, though, Dennis.

The full text of the debate over the amendment can be found here.

Do Animal Rights Activists Care More About Animals Than Human Beings?

Animal rights activists come in for a lot of criticism, but the one argument
that seems to really get under their skin is the claim that they care more about
animals than they do about human beings. Animal rights groups and individuals
will go to great lengths to show they value human life. They argue they simply
want humans to value the lives of animals.

Do animal rights activists care more about animals than human beings? Comments
made by prominent activists and groups after the September 11 terrorist attacks
speak volumes:

  • Alex Hershaft runs a group called Farm USA that manages a national animal
    rights convention. On September 23, Farm USA issued a press release quoting
    Hershaft saying, “Worldwide, every day, 125 million innocent, sentient animals
    are dreadfully abused and butchered for food. These tragedies are perpetrated
    by a worldwide animal agricultural terrorist network that is much more threatening
    to planetary survival than the Al Queda network, because it kills more people
    and animals, because it kills them unrelentingly every day, because it is
    pervasive and accepted. For every human being who dies of warfare, crime,
    or terrorism, 10,000 innocent, sentient animals die a violent death.”

  • The next day, Michael W. Fox of the Humane Society of the United States
    blamed the 9/11 attacks on humanity’s crimes against nature. In an essay distributed
    via e-mail, Fox wrote that, “Our collective violence against Nature and against
    human nature, from the plight of endangered cultures, wildlife and the environment,
    to the sufferings of indigenous peoples and of domestic animals, especially
    in factory farms and commercial laboratories around the world, needs to be
    acknowledged. Until we find atonement with Nature and all beings, human and
    non-human, how can human nature find peace and not annihilate all that our
    better natures embrace?”

  • In its October issue, the widely read animal rights magazine “Animal People”
    included an unsigned editorial linking Osama bin Laden’s fanaticism to meat
    eating. More disturbing, however, was the magazine’s comparison of farm animals
    to the victims who died onboard the hijacked planes. According to the magazine,
    “Many and perhaps most of the nine billion animals sent to slaughter in the
    U.S. each year, as well as the billions killed abroad, have at least as long
    to sense doom as did the September 11 victims. Neither are the animals’ last
    cries as unlike the cell phone calls made by some of the September 11 victims
    as the typical meat-eater would like to believe. Equally disturbing to meat-eaters
    might be awareness that doomed animals, too, often put up frantic resistance,
    like the passengers who tried to retake United Airlines flight 93…”

  • Lee Ryan, a member of the British boy band Blue, put the comparison in stark
    and crude language. Ryan, who styles himself an animal rights activist, asked
    the British tabloid The Sun, “What about whales? They are ignoring
    animals that are more important. Animals need saving and that’s more important
    . . . Who gives a f— about New York when elephants are being killed.”

  • To his credit, animal rights philosopher Peter Singer did criticize the
    idea of comparing the victims of the September 11 attacks to animals killed
    for food, but United Poultry Concerns’ Karen Davis vigorously denounced Singer
    for this. According to Davis, “For 35 million chickens in the United States
    alone, every single night is a terrorist attack.” Davis went on to suggest
    that since most of those who died in the terrorist attacks were likely meat
    eaters, the attacks may have actually resulted in a net reduction in suffering.

  • Finally, just a few days ago Farm USA announced the schedule for its upcoming
    Animal Rights 2002 National Conference. Describing the goal of this year’s
    conference, Farm USA’s press release said, “Animal Rights 2002 is our movement’s
    first national conference since the terrible tragedy of September 11 and its
    aftermath. It is dedicated to exposing and challenging the terror perpetrated
    every single day against billions of innocent, sentient nonhuman animals.”

Despite the frequent claims that animal rights activist do not care more about
animals than they do about human beings, in each of these cases human suffering
from the Sept. 11 attacks is minimized, ignored, and even celebrated. At best
human suffering is used simply as a segue to talk about the real issue, which
is always the alleged suffering of animals.

Do animal rights activists care more about animals than they do about human
beings? Of course they do.

HSUS' Michael Fox on 9/11 Attack: Humans Need to Recognize "Our Collective Violence Against Nature"

Yet another prominent animal rights activist has decided to weigh in with a nutty diatribe linking the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks on the United States with the plight of animals. This time it’s Michael Fox of the Humane Society of the United States who circulated a brief appeal, “Forms of Violence and the Attack on America.”

After an introductory paragraph in which Fox hopes that the terrorists attacks don’t lead to an ongoing cycle of violence and “a world at war,” Fox offers the following,

Where I do my volunteer work in India, I have killed rabid dogs with compassion, sadness, and precision, and I continue to seek donations from caring people to vaccinate them to prevent outbreaks of this natural horror of rabies. But what vaccine is there to prevent outbreaks of evil from rabid human souls? What are caring people to do? I would say that our faith, hope, and salvation are in simple acts of loving kindness, and in finding less harmful, and often less violent ways of satisfying our needs and wants.

. . .

Our collective violence against Nature and against human nature, from the plight of endangered cultures, wildlife and the environment, to the sufferings of indigenous peoples and of domestic animals, especially in factory farms and commercial laboratories around the world, needs to be acknowledged. Until we find atonement with Nature and all beings, human and non-human, how can human nature find peace an not annihilate all that our better natures embrace?

Apparently animal rights not only offers a way to alleviate suffering, but now we’re all going to find atonement and perhaps even a bit of redemption! All pray at the altar of animal rights.

Aside from Fox’s bizarre pseudo-religious view of Nature, it is odd that he mentions efforts to vaccinate against rabies in the same piece in which he complains about “our collective violence against Nature” and the suffering of animals in “commercial laboratories.”

Vaccination against rabies goes back to the late 19th century and the great French scientist Louis Pasteur. As early as 1804, researchers in Europe had hypothesized that something in the saliva of rabid animals caused the disease to pass into those bitten. In 1879, Victor Galtier became the first man to successfully pass the disease from dogs to rabbits and then from rabbits back to dogs, confirming that rabies was some sort of infectious disease.

Only two years later, researchers working with Pasteur proved that rabies infected the central nervous system and, in numerous animal experiments, proved the disease could be transferred by injecting material from the central nervous system of an infected rabbit into the central nervous system of an uninfected rabbit.

And those researchers noticed something else which would change the face of human health forever. If, instead of injecting material from an infected rabbit to an uninfected rabbit directly, they desiccated the material first and waited a period of days, the virulence of the disease declined rapidly. They had discovered a method whereby animals and humans could be vaccinated against rabies.

Pasteur himself demonstrated that vaccination would work by exposing 50 dogs to his vaccine and then exposing them to the virulent form of rabies. On July 6, 1885, Pasteur did something that no one else in human history had every done — he vaccinated a young boy who had been bitten more than 14 times by a rabid dog. The boy survived, and within 15 months more than 2,500 dog bite victims had received Pasteur’s inoculation.

Pasteur’s discovery was a godsend. The last known case of a human being contracting rabies in France was 1924. Although people still contract and occasionally die from rabies in the United States and other developed countries, their numbers are extremely small (almost all people who die from rabies in the United States do not realize they have been bitten by a rabid animal until the disease has progressed too far to halt the infection).

Thank goodness Pasteur did not have to contend with folks like Fox, who has said not only that, “The life of an ant and that of my child should be granted equal consideration,” but that genetic research, which promises to help rid us of other horrible diseases, violates “the sanctity of life and may be regarded as an act of violence.”

If Fox feels he needs to atone for his sins against nature, that’s his businesses, but some of us would prefer life saving medical treatments, like the rabies vaccine which he has no problem using despite its origin, which the animal rights movement is actively trying to prevent. Human society will “find peace” when the animal rights movement gets out of the way and allow biomedical researchers to get on with their jobs.


Forms of violence. Michael W. Fox, Undated e-mail communication, Accessed: September 24, 2001.

General information on diseases: rabies. Aventis Pasteur, Undated, Accessed: September 28, 2001.