I was puttering around the apartment yesterday doing some writing and what not. trying to beat the unseasonable heat that's been crushing the midwest this summer. Somewhere around three in the afternoon, Due, one of our three cats, wandered sleepy-eyed into my office demanding some attention.
As I held his soft body against my chest, nuzzling him and enjoying his loud contented purr, it struck me that there are those who consider this abuse.
"One day, we would like an end to pet shops and the breeding of animals. [Dogs] would pursue their natural lives in the wild ... they would have full lives, not wasting at home for someone to come home in the evening and pet them and then sit there and watch TV." Ingrid Newkirk— The Chicago Daily Herald, 3/1/90
Of course these people don't hate the idea of pet ownership so much as the the idea of people in general.
"Humans have grown like a cancer. We're the biggest blight on the face of the earth." Ingrid Newkirk— Washingtonian magazine, 2/1/90
I tickled Due's belly as he wriggled in my arms, peering up at me with his big green eyes, and wondered how someone could be so twisted as to see this simple exchange as something evil.
"The bottom line is that people don't have the right to manipulate or to breed dogs and cats... If people want toys, they should buy inanimate objects. If they want companionship, they should seek it with their own kind." Ingrid Newkirk— Animals, 5/1/93
How can people be so far removed from the simple pleasures of life? Why must they assume that in every exchange human beings are evil, nasty brutes intent on doing harm? Perhaps I flatter myself and my lovely wife, but, as much a these three balls of fur have blessed us, I think we have had a salutory effect on them as well.
"There is no hidden agenda. If anybody wonders about -- what’s this with all these reforms -- you can hear us clearly. Our goal is total animal liberation."— Ingrid Newkirk "Animal Rights 2002" convention, 6/30/02
And finally, at the end, you realize they're more than a little mad. Yes, I feel a dollop of pity for one so far gone in their philosophy that they can no longer enjoy the simple pleasures.
Pity seems the best response of all.