Jennifer Lawrence channels Katniss, says "Screw PETA"

In it’s increasingly bizarre need to inflict it’s animal rights morality on everybody, PETA’s Ingrid Newkirk has criticized Jennifer Lawrence for scenes in Winter’s Bone and the Hunger Games, which show her hunting and eating animals.

The actress was dubbed “the coolest chick in Hollywood” by Rolling Stone, and in the magazine’s latest issue she recounts her on-screen squirrel-skinning scene in the 2010 movie “Winter’s Bone.”

“I should say it wasn’t real, for PETA. But screw PETA,” she told the magazine.

In response to the actress’s comment, PETA president Ingrid Newkirk told Gothamist, “[Lawrence] is young and the plight of animals somehow hasn’t yet touched her heart. As Henry David Thoreau said, ‘The squirrel you kill in jest, dies in earnest.’ We are told that this squirrel was hit by a car, but when people kill animals, it is the animals who are ‘screwed,’ not PETA, and one day I hope she will try to make up for any pain she might have caused any animal who did nothing but try to eke out a humble existence in nature.”

Gag me with a spoon. Lawrence’s initial instincts were correct. Screw PETA. In these scenes and movies characters are grappling with survival in the face of starvation and poverty. PETA seems to think the appropriate ending for Katniss would have been a moral vegan death from starvation in district 12 rather than being a life-affirming, kickass hunter. And I guess Ree should have morally died from exposure in the Ozarks. The producers bought her a squirrel from a local hunter, and she realistically portrayed the skinning of an animal by hunters for food. I think what really upsets PETA about these portrayals is that they realistically show what humans will do to survive, that hunting and eating animals comes naturally to us, and there’s nothing wrong with hunting for food.

Let’s hope Lawrence doesn’t back down, for some reason I think she won’t:

The actress, who spent a month in Missouri with a rural family learning to shoot rifles and chop wood in preparation for “Winter’s Bone,” and was trained by four-time Olympic archer Khatuna Lorig for her role as Katniss in “The Hunger Games,” also told Rolling Stone, that when she is done with her next movie she is “thinking about buying a house. And a big dog. And a shotgun.”

I’m liking her more and more.

Good News, Max snubs PETA, will give to a local shelter

Maybe my email worked? I got a one sentence reply from Max last night saying he agreed, and today Tucker Max says hellz no to PETA and instead wants to give to a local shelter:

I do not agree AT ALL with the mission of PETA.

If we’re talking about what an awful organization PETA is, that’s really just the beginning. They’re so ridiculous, they compared the holocaust to killing chickens. Not only that, but they have a history of shitting on celebrities they’ve worked with in the past. And perhaps worst of all, they are the ones that think violence against women is OK. Their stated ultimate goal is complete animal liberation. They’re serious about that. F*** [sorry to be a prude, ed.] that-I not only disagree, I vehemently oppose that goal.

To that effect, I am proposing another solution, one that helps dogs but doesn’t force me to give money to an organization that works at odds with most of my personal beliefs:

In the past, I have supported a cause in Austin called Austin Pets Alive that is trying to open a no kill shelter (another thing I disagree with PETA on, they operate kill shelters). Their new building has numerous naming opportunities. I would love to make a sizable donation to them, and PETA should agree to match whatever I put in. If that happens, I will open it up to any of my fans to contribute as well.

If PETA doesn’t like Austin Pets Alive for some reason, that’s OK, they are welcome to suggest any other dog-related charity in the Austin (or surrounding Texas) area, and I am down for contributing a lot of money to help them do positive things for dogs. Together, I am sure we can raise several hundred thousand dollars for needy and worthy dogs in the central Texas area.

Good for him. Whatever flaws he has, he’s no animal liberationist.

Finally, a note about the HSUS and PETA. They are not for animal welfare. They are for animal liberation. That means they don’t believe in animal agriculture, they don’t believe in animal research, and they don’t believe in pet ownership.

HSUS runs deceptive and sleazy ads showing suffering puppies and kittens to make you think your money is going to rescue and adoption, yet only 1% of their budget goes to shelters. They are not a rescue organization!

Their animal experts include ALF morons like JP Goodwin, a high-school dropout who has dedicated his life to animal liberation. People think that since “Humane Society” is in its name, it is affiliated with local humane societies or that it shares the same mission. It does not. If you want to donate money to spaying and neutering of animals, animal rescue, or adoption, give to your local humane society or SPCA, not HSUS. HSUS is a animal liberation advocacy organization, not a shelter! Likewise PETAs shelters euthanize 95% of the animals they receive, they are not interested in promoting pet adoption. They are interested in animal liberation. If you’re for animal liberation fine, but don’t represent yourself as a humane society or animal welfare organization. They’re not the same thing.

No Tucker Max, not PETA!

You may have heard about Planned Parenthood turning down Tucker Max’s 500k charitable donation on the grounds his misogynistic past marred the gift.

Now PETA is asking for the donation.

Let’s beg him not to do this. Instead of giving money to the dog-killing animal rightsists, how about a donation to pro-test and put a thumb in the eye of the anti-research pet killers? Send him a message, donate the money to a pro-science group.

Here’s my email to Tucker:

Continue reading “No Tucker Max, not PETA!”

Huffpo Science – already slipping into anti-science

Our initial optimism over Huffpo science being a haven for reason in a den of disease-promotion and quackery appears now to be misplaced. It appears the animal rights cranks have made inroads with Bruce Friedrich, a member of PETA and advocate of animal liberation, who has jumped from Huffpo “green” to Huffpo “science”. The science gatekeepers at Huffpo have clearly failed.

Writing about “Speciesism: The Movie”, he exposes the anti-science ideology of the animal rights movement, and Huffpo science doesn’t seem to have noticed:

Every now and then, a movie comes along that is capable of fundamentally changing the worldview of its audience. Speciesism: The Movie, a new documentary by Mark Devries, is that kind of film.

The word “speciesism,” which has been popularized by Princeton bioethicist Peter Singer, refers to the assumption that a vast gulf exists between the ethical value of human interests and the ethical value of the interests of other animals. At its extreme, we may see ourselves as the only species that matters morally, and view other animals as existing merely for our use: to eat, to make into clothing, to perform experiments on, to be entertained by in circuses and zoos. Like those who grew up having overt racist beliefs assimilated into their worldview, some degree of speciesism has been so well-assimilated into the worldview of most of us that it does not even appear to be worth questioning.

Devries goes to great lengths to put together a thoughtful and entertaining film–whether commissioning an airplane to fly over factory farms’ giant “manure lagoons” with an anti-CAFO Republican from North Carolina, or (somehow) scheming his way into receiving a guided tour of a factory farm.

Along the way, he meets and questions a remarkably broad range of people, including Peter Singer (whom the New Yorker has named “one of the most influential philosophers alive”), Richard Dawkins (the most influential evolutionary biologist of the past century), and Temple Grandin (designer of the animal handling systems used by over half of the slaughterhouses in the United States).

He also speaks with anti-factory farming activists, a man who is dying next to a huge hog farm, a current member of the American Nazi Party, a disability rights activist, a vivisector, quite a few people on the street, and more–all in his quest to thoroughly consider the philosophy that says that bias on the basis of species is unjustifiable. Disclaimer: He also spoke with me.

Above all, Devries confronts some very difficult and uncomfortable questions head-on. For example: How strong are the grounds for believing that humans have special moral worth? How valid are the comparisons between our use of other animals and the slavery of other humans?

My emphasis added. So here we have it on Huffpo science. Believing that our species should be valued over other species is a sin equivalent to racism. Use of other animals is like slavery. Biologists aren’t scientists we’re “vivisectors”. We’re all going to hell.

To be clear, biological science without use of animals is impossible. It’s not just toxicity testing of drugs either, and we are fully aware of the limitations of our animal models, thankyouverymuch. But from the ground up, the study of life depends on the use of living things. From the cells we harvest for culture (we can’t all study wacky immortalized cancer cells you know), to the serum we grow them in, to the antibodies we generate by exposing animals to antigens, to the transgenic animals we use to study genes in vivo, to the model animals that modern surgical techniques and technologies are refined in, biological science is intimately tied to living things. The face transplant I wrote about yesterday? Impossible without prior animal modeling, practice with surgical technique and molecular investigation of immunosuppression. Transplant in general? The earliest investigations of skin grafting and surgical techniques for transplant were honed in animals – with some hefty human experimentation as well. Every major surgical advance, medical advance, and plain basic biological science knowledge comes from our manipulation of the living things around us. But are we in any way noble for our pursuit of knowledge, for yes, explicitly human benefit? No, we’re speciesist, we’re vivisectors.

Well fine, I admit it. I value human life over that of other species. I’ve devoted my life to saving human lives, and as a scientist, I’ve sacrificed animal lives to do so every time I’ve ordered a polyclonal antibody or bottle of FBS. According to radicals like Friedrich that makes me “vivisector”. I’m therefore a monster, like a slaver or murderer.

This is the unexamined ethics and thoughtless smug moral superiority of the animal rights activist. I doubt, when push came to shove they would sacrifice a human for an animal. Or even a large number of animals. Who, after all, swerves to avoid the squirrel and instead hits the kid on the sidewalk? No one. Human life is more valuable to us because we’re human and that’s OK. It’s not wrong to be self-interested or interested in our survival over that of other species. Survival requires a certain amount of self-interest, human survival requires the ingestion of other living things, and agriculture is never going to be cruelty free.

The vegan militia have forgotten that to get their cruelty free vegetables, the land has already been cleared, all competing species have been killed or driven out, those that remain are poisoned (even by organic farmers – they just use “certified organic” methods of pest control or even other animals like ladybugs). We put humans first every time we clear a field, dig a foundation, fence and spray our crops, and burn diesel to harvest and bring them to market. We have said, these resources are ours, we own the land, and all the beetles, voles and deer can go right to hell. Survival is cruel, and will always involve putting ourselves before other species.

The health benefits and technology they enjoy everyday has already been tested and worked out thanks to comparative medicine. It’s easy to feel morally superior about eating greens, and denigrating scientists, now that all that messy stuff has been done and the last time you were on a farm it was to pick a pumpkin in 3rd grade so you don’t know what actually goes into agriculture, even organic agriculture.

This is not to say I agree with CAFOs, food monoculture, the slimey tactics of Monsanto, or any of the extremes of poor infrastructure, corporate malfeasance and environmental stupidity of our food supply. But lets stop pretending that you become morally superior for eating tofu, all the while you happily ignore the habitat destruction, mass removal of unwanted species, and outright extinctions we’ve caused in order to create our agricultural dominance.

So let’s stop calling the people who are trying to understand, preserve and extend human lives speciesist (read racist) and vivisectors. Life is complicated. Living it without cruelty to something either requires you to be oblivious to our constant impact on the living things around us, or to retreat into some Jainist agrarian fantasy world that will never exist. Isn’t it better to have a healthy understanding that human beings survive in competition for limited resources with the species around us? We evolved to the point where we’ve become adapt at manipulating and controlling the natural world, and rather than being ashamed of it, we should accept it as a gift from our ancestors after eons of struggle.