Wednesday, September 03, 2003

Other Wrongful Civil Disobedience

The Paul Hill story is the more widely reported wrong-headed civil disobedience story I've encountered lately. The other story was that of the Animal Liberation Front (ALF) people who released 10,000 mink from captivity and into the wild.

The mink belonged to someone as property. ALF was guilty of the destruction of property.

Oh yes- destruction of property. Of the estimated 10,000 that escaped, only 9,000 were recovered. What happened to the other 1,000? From the Seattle Times:

"Brad Roesler said his family and neighbors set out traps and tromped through the woods with fishing nets and wire loops like the ones dog catchers use. While most of the animals had been returned to cages last night, scores of others died from dehydration or from being struck by cars. "

So, for a group that espouses the deep concern and respect for animal life, this was rather a boneheaded stunt, that ended up in the death of 1,000 mink sooner rather than later. Geniuses.

The spokesperson for a fur trade organization was left to talk sense and real concern for the animals.

Teresa Platt, executive director of the San Diego-based Fur Commission USA, said the mink had been hand-raised by the Roeslers. She said the mink don't know how to hunt for food or water.

"This is a great example of animal cruelty," said Platt, who estimated the damage at the farm at $500,000. "They're trying to terrorize the farmer into giving up his livelihood. That's ecoterrorism."

For those who think that property rights and ownership of animals, and respect for animals is incompatible, I will point to a free market solution that my camping-pal-in-laws, Cindy and David, subscribe to. I'm not sure that this is the one, but it is the same in spirit: the Poplar Spring Animal Sanctuary.

This is a farm where animals are raised for the purpose of living full lives until they die of natural causes. Those who support this more humane kind of animal liberation pay annual sponsorship fees, that support the feeding and care of these animals, as well as the salaries of the people who work there, the free range land they graze on, etc.

This is the free market at work- creating peaceful solutions to issues some people see as problems. It's all voluntary, and nobody is harmed, and nobody is deprived of their livelihood or property, and the animal rights supporter gets to exercise his conscience, all of which is very respectful.

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