The Dolphin And Animal Rights Double Standard

Last week the Internet lost its mind when a video surfaced of Argentinean tourists removing a baby dolphin from the ocean to take pictures with it. The dolphin died, and the world felt outrage for such a useless loss of life. I am happy that people are angry about the baby dolphin. We need more people to think about animal rights.

But this incident shows a double standard that our world has embraced.

While everybody freaked out about the baby dolphin, there is almost no outrage for the 9 billion animals that die each year to support the meat industry. Those animals also suffer torture and death at the hands of the meat industry. Their suffering is just as bad as the dolphin. They do not want to die, and they feel just as much pain as the dolphin.

Yet anybody outspoken about the deaths of animals in the agricultural industry is usually branded as extreme or crazy.  

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If you have fallen into that trap, think back to how you felt when you found out about that baby dolphin. Did you feel outraged? Where you angry that an animal died for something as useless as human pleasure? Did you repost something about it on Facebook or agree with a bitter cartoon?

If so, why does that feeling not stretch to cover the massive deaths that meat eaters take part in? Simple, our culture has not incentivized feeling bad about the mass death of animals.

But it is the same thing. You might say that the difference between a pig and a dolphin dying is that a pig provides food, so it is ok to kill it. That is some bad logic though, because the Japanese, for example, eat dolphins. So if you were angry about the Argentinean dolphin, would you also condemn Japanese dolphin eating? Probably, if you are American due to your culture, but they are using the same reasoning that you are to eat a pig or cow. It’s cultural, and it provides food. Yet why is that wrong and eating a different fish or animal is right?

Or maybe you would argue that dolphins are highly intelligent creatures. Well that doesn’t work either, because studies show that pigs have comparable intelligence to dolphins.

Even if those two arguments are not convincing, it is important to note that dolphins are actually killed by the fishing industry. Every year 300,000 dolphins and whales die due to bi-kill, which happens when fishers catch other animals in their nets besides the fish they were looking for.

Really what it comes down to is that in our culture the death of animals does not matter if they are in massive numbers. What is the difference between a dolphin and a pig or cow? They are all animals, they all feel pain, they all have enough cognitive ability to not want to die.

What is really happening is that our culture has embraced the quote attributed to Joseph Stalin:

One death is a tragedy. A million deaths is just a statistic.

Sadly, that is our life.

Feeling bad about the death of one animal is good. Taking actions to stop the death of millions is better.

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10 responses to “The Dolphin And Animal Rights Double Standard

  1. Am a Christian. As such, believe in God and that this earth was created by Him for the purpose of serving mankind, His children. While He certainly would condemn cruelty to animals and a disrespect for life, He places plants (yes, they’re alive, too) and animals here for us to eat, clothe, service and shelter mankind. Not to worship or to exalt or make equal to man; but, to serve us. That is their purpose. And I believe if they could express themselves to us, that animals find joy in that purpose.

  2. I was raised on a cattle ranch. To say that all those animals live in misery simply is not true. Our animals were happy, healthy, and well cared for. When it was time to put them down, it was quick and painless. Most of those animals would not have a life at all if it wasn’t for the cattle industry. There are problems with the meat and poultry industry that should be solved. Chicken farms are the worst. I only use free range. But, to think you are going to completely stop those industries simply isn’t realistic and it will NEVER happen. As for wild pigs, they are completely destroying entire ecosystems. They are rooting-up the nests of indigenous species like alligators, turtles, birds, snakes, lizards, etc. eating the eggs, and destroying millions of dollars worth of farm land and property. They breed like rabbits. How do you propose to control them without killing them? Most eradication programs donate the meat to food banks and poor families. If they are not stopped, you vegans won’t have anything to eat because there won’t be any farm land left.

    • Even if an animal lived a good life I still believe that it does not deserve to die. At least farms are better than factory farms which are the absolute worst. Unfortunately that is where most meat come from. And I don’t like the idea that cows should be born into miserable environments.

      • Would it be better if they had no life at all? What do you think would happen if the beef industry became illegal overnight? People simply couldn’t afford to feed and care for those animals if they couldn’t make a profit. If you think the war on drugs is bad, wait till there is a war on meat! It would make the civil war look like a skirmish. If some alien race took over and told me that I could either die now or I could live under their care and die 20 years from now so they could eat me, I would choose the 20 years.

        • The good thing is that nobody is advocating that the meat industry just pack up overnight and call it quits. It would be a gradual process. And I for one would rather not be born than live a life of pain and suffering.

          • You are proceeding from the assumption that the life would be in misery. I have been to a lot of huge cattle ranches in Texas and in Florida that could be small States. I have yet to see any animals living in misery. Veal is a different ballgame and should be halted. But, I think it’s funny how the far Left and the far Right are just different notes of the same song. They both like to assume the moral high ground and talk down to the rest of us trying to force us to assume their values. From the right we hear “You are evil, you are killing babies”. From the left we hear “You are evil, you are killing animals”. And in your Socialist Utopia, what happens to people like me who have tried a vegan diet and simply can’t do it? I have never felt more hungry, tired, and sick. The amount of weight I was able to use in the gym went way down. My endurance while doing Martial Arts went into the toilet. I was plagued by gastric and intestinal problems. My doctor finally ORDERED me off the vegan plan. Some people need far more B-vitamins and protein than others. I know people who can thrive on vegan diets, I also know many like myself who simply can’t do it. Humans are all different with vastly different body chemistry.

            • Some people can’t do it. And I recognize that. That is why we need to do more research into meat substitutes. There are labs working on lab grown meat which would be the best option. I am under no illusions that it could not happen today, but like any movement it has to happen over time. Only extreme vegans are advocating instant abolishment. I am in favor of slow abolishment as more products become available. Unfortunately that is a long ways off, because we do not have very many politicians who support animal rights. And that includes Bernie Sanders who I like, but he is very supportive of the meat and dairy industries. Hopefully over time though we will evolve as a human race so that it is unnecessary to kill. And every little step in the right direction helps.

              • I had an encounter with some of your “extreme” vegans when I was just a teenager. I was fishing alone from the bank when these yahoos started yelling obscenities at me. I ignored them until they hit me in the back with a rock knocking me in the water. Even though I was a teenager, I had been in martial arts most of my life. When I climbed out of the water it was like beating up children. My first thought was why didn’t they throw rocks at the pelican that was eating fish right next to me while they were still alive. I am just as much a part of nature as that pelican, and I have just as much right to harvest a fish to eat as he does, just like my ancestors have done for thousands of years. At least I don’t eat them while they are still alive. BUT, if you can conjure up ribeye steaks, chicken wings, eggs, salmon, and sardines in a lab, I AM ON BOARD WITH THAT.

                • You probably already know this, but those people aren’t “good” vegans, they’re just douchebags. Anyone values their political stance over human life is an asshat.

                  I think it’s safe to say that it’d be all but impossible to get people to just drop meat. No sane vegetarian/vegan is suggesting that. But we can get people to eat less meat, and of their own choice, and that’d be a large improvement.

                  I don’t think we can live in a world where no humans kill. Death is a part of nature. But we’re using too much now, and we’re not making decisions based on what’s responsible. We’re making them based on convenience and taste. No other species has had this kind of power before. It’s not unreasonable to ask people to think about the impact they have on the world and reduce, where possible. It’s also not unreasonable to make a personal decision to consciously use less, particularly if it’s not much of a sacrifice, as it is in my case.

                  I’m not believing in some kind of communist utopia when I do this. I just want people to think about what they eat.

                  It is, however, unreasonable to huck rocks at people and try to shame them into your way of thinking. It’s unreasonable to make personal attacks, or generalize, or make devils out of your enemies.

                  Feel free to give them the middle finger. They absolutely deserve it. But remember that were not all unreasonable idiots ❤

                  • Thank you Trevor! I found your post to be quite reasonable and realistic. It should be about hearts and minds, not force and violence.

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