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It’s Unfair to Tie Animal Rights to the YouTube Shooting

Wesley J. Smith

YouTube

The YouTube shooter — I don’t believe in naming these people — did not fit the expected profile. She apparently was furious with YouTube for supposedly filtering her videos.

She was also a self-described vegan and animal-rights activist. From the NY Daily News story:

[Name redacted] was quoted in a 2009 story in the San Diego Union-Tribune about a protest by People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals against the use of pigs in military trauma training. She dressed in a wig and jeans with drops of painted “blood” on them, holding a plastic sword at the demonstration outside the Camp Pendleton Marine Corps base.

“For me, animal rights equal human rights,” [she] told the Union-Tribune at the time.

Breitbart and others are making a big deal out of this. But is that fair?

Animal rights — as distinguished from animal welfare — is a profoundly misguided and deeply misanthropic idea. It elevates animals to moral equality with humans and equates whatever is done to an animal with the same thing were it done to us, e.g., PETA’s odious “Holocaust on Your Plate” veganism-promotion campaign.

Animal-rights zealots are often obnoxious. The more extreme have resorted to terrorism and coercion, including bombings and assaults.

But they are mostly non-violent. And indeed, from what we know now, this shooting was probably not motivated by a desire to “speak for those who cannot speak for themselves,” as the animal-rights saying goes.

So is animal rights relevant to what happened? Only tangentially. Just as deliberate cruelty to animals signals a disturbed mind, so too can fanatical obsession over their abuse — both real and ideologically imagined.

But the ideology per se would appear to have nothing to do with the violence at YouTube. Any attempt to tie the movement to the shooting is unwarranted and unfair.

Photo: YouTube headquarters, by BrokenSphere (Own work) [GFDL or CC BY 3.0], via Wikimedia Commons.