Enough with the Halloween mythmaking

With Halloween right around the
corner, the American |Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals|
released a rather sensible guide to keeping pets safe during the holiday,
noting that “there are plenty of stories of vicious pranksters who
have teased, injured, stolen, even killed pets on this night.”

But that sort of restrained warning
doesn’t go nearly far enough for some animal rights activists who insist
on spreading myths about large, well-organized Satanic cults bent on sacrificing
and mutilating black cats on Halloween.

A short release by |Education and Action for Animals| is typical. Without offering any evidence, EAA claimed
“the number of animals abused and sacrificed may increase by TEN
TIMES during the Halloween season.” Like other outlets, EAA warned
that black cats were in special danger because “they are highest
in demand for sacrificial purposes”; again, a claim made with no
evidence to back it up.

But that was nothing compared to
Mesia Quartano, who runs the Mining Company’s Animal Rights page.
To provide her readers with information on the horrors black cats face
from Satanic cults she provided links to ultraconservative Christian fundamentalists
who believe that a super-secret Satanic order called the Brotherhood has
infiltrated key position in government and the corporate world. This sort
of nonsense has been thoroughly debunked (see sociologist Jeffery Victors
excellent book on the topic, Satanic Panic, among others) but is
kept alive by an unlikely convergence of fringe elements in fundamentalist
Christian, radical feminist and animal rights circles.

And just in case further evidence
is needed on the credulity of people when it comes to animal deaths, a
recent news story distributed on animal rights lists provides ample evidence.
A large number of horribly mutilated animals were found in a city dumpster,
obviously put there by some sicko or perhaps a cult. Except, as
it turned out a few days later, the mutilated animals’ presence had a
rather mundane explanation. It seems the animals were, in fact, road kill
placed in the dumpster by a company contracted with by the local authorities
specifically to remove such animals.

A Brief Observation About EnviroLink

Ever since the blow out with Lycos,
an annoying pop-up window soliciting funds appears whenever I browse the
Envirolink web site, and supporters keeping sending out a fundraising
e-mail claming EnviroLink is in dire financial straits. The e-mail asks
for donations — the larger the better. EnviroLink chief Josh Knauer says
EnviroLink needs only $5,000 per month to keep going.

Which doesn’t make any sense.

In the fund raising email, Knauer
claims that “over 375,000 people from over 150 countries use EnviroLink’s
services every day.” Either that number is grossly inaccurate or
Knauer has absolutely no idea what he’s doing. If, in fact, EnviroLink
has over 375,000 people visiting its site every day, that would be close
to 12 million people each month who visit the site or subscribe to email
lists it hosts, etc. If Knauer can’t figure out a way to generate a paltry
$60,000 a year from his 144 million users each year, maybe he should consider
hiring somebody who can. That is simply a pathetic performance — I could
generate $60,000 annually with a tenth of EnviroLink’s users.

EnviroLink hosts a Sustainable
Business Network, but apparently EnviroLink’s own business practices are
not sustainable.

Animal rights terrorist demands his insulin

Recently, People for the Ethical Treatment of AnimalsBruce Friedrich posted a bizarre appeal on behalf
of convicted arsonist and animal rights activist Frank Allen. It seems
Allen and his family are unhappy with the way prison official are treating
him.

Among the laundry list of complaints
presented in Friedrich’s email is that Allen is “receiving an incorrect
dosage of insulin” to treat his Diabetes.

Insulin? Insulin treatment for
diabetes was developed through animal experimentation and for decades
diabetics avoided health problems and premature death by using insulin
derived primarily from pigs (insulin derived from humans is now available).

As Michael Bliss, author of The
Discovery of Insulin
, sums up the role of animal experiments in diabetes
treatment,

The discovery of insulin in the early 1920s stands as
one of the outstanding examples in medical history of the successful use
of animal experimentation to improve the human condition. Insulin would
not have been isolated, at Toronto or anywhere else, without the sacrifice
of thousands of dogs. These dogs made it possible for millions of humans
to live.

Allen wants and Friederich supports
access to a medical technology developed with techniques that both men
are committed to abolishing.

What were Linda and Paul McCartney thinking?

Paul McCartney recently gave a BBC
radio interview in which he seemed to step back from his, and his deceased
wife Linda’s, hard core animal rights position on animal experimentation.

“I’m finding out now,”
McCartney told the BBC, “that there is quite a lot of animal experimentation
— some of it I suppose absolutely necessary when you come down to the
final tests before people.”

McCartney made comments about his
wife’s treatment for breast Cancer that indicate Linda never knew the
drugs she was taking had been tested on animals. He said that doctors
treating Linda gave the impression that the drugs they prescribed had
not been tested in animals.

“If they tell you ‘It’s ok
to have this because we didn’t test it on animals’ then you are going
to believe them,” McCartney said.

In other words, all this time Paul
and Linda McCartney went around advocating for animal rights and against
animal experimentation, they were so ignorant of the topic that they didn’t
even know the fundamental basics about the use of animals in drug development
and testing.

This is the state of the
animal rights movement’s knowledge of the use of animals by medical researchers.

More people use less resources

The classic argument that population
increase will lead to catastrophe goes something like this — more people
require more resources and as the population increases it will inevitably
strain the available resource base. Somebody forgot to tell that to the
United States Geological Survey which reported recently that from 1980
to 1995 both total and per capita water use in the United States declined
10 percent even though the U.S. population increased steadily during the
same period.

In 1980 almost 450 billion gallons
of water per day (bgd) were used for all purposes in the United States.
By 1995 that figure had fallen to 402 bgd. For freshwater, irrigation
was the number one use at 134 bgd. Thermoelectric generation was the larger
single use of water, however, when fresh water and saline water usage
are combined, with l90 bgd used for that purpose.

Geothermal plant opposed by environmentalists

Sticking with the water theme, Calpine
Corporation has been trying to build a geothermal power plant at Medicine
Lake, California. You remember geothermal power — an alternative power
source much cleaner than nuclear or coal generation that environmentalists
used to push as a safe and sane alternative to traditional power generation.
Not any more.

The proposed 50-megawatt plant
would pump 3 million pounds of water every hour into a pressure cooker.
The resulting steam would be harnessed to turn turbines and generate electrical
power. So why are the environmentalists opposed to it? Does geothermal
power create lots of pollutants? Minute traces of ammonia, mercury and
hydrogen sulfide are released, but even environmentalists aren’t claiming
those pose a hazard.

No, the big objection from environmentalists
is that the power plant isn’t very pretty. As Kyle Haines of the Klamath
Forest Alliance told the Christian Science Monitor, “People
might be less likely to recreate at Medicine Lake if they see a power
plant and plumes of steam [which the plant emits].”

There you have it. Coal causes
air pollution, nuclear uses radiation, and geothermal is just too damn
ugly. And environmentalists wonder why some of us consider them simply
unreasonable.