Generally, we don’t take the animal rights movement literally. That’s because we’ve allowed ourselves to be distracted from the big picture by the relatively small skirmishes, including the movement to ban lead fishing tackle and, more recently, the campaign to portray catch and release as cruel.
But it’s time for a harsh reality check. The animal rights movement is about giving “rights” to fish, fowl, and furry critters. It’s also about giving rights to trees, grass, and water. And it’s coming closer and closer to a waterway near you, possibly in the guise of a Trojan horse that its devotees hope you won’t recognize for what it is.
Consider the good folks of Upper Mount Bethel Township in Pennsylvania. Some don’t want fertilizers made with human waste being spread on local farm fields, and they’ve voiced their concerns.
Enter the Community Environmental Legal Defend Fund (CELDF) to “help” these residents. It is proposing a community bill of rights for the right to water, self-governance, and sustainable farming, with a ban on spreading sludge by corporations.
Sounds great, huh? Until you check out the CELDF’s pedigree. Here is what it proclaims on its website:
“The Legal Defense Fund has assisted communities in the United States to craft first-in-the-nation laws that change the status of natural communities and ecosystems from being regarded as property under the law to being recognized as rights-bearing entities.
“Those local laws recognize that natural communities and ecosystems possess an inalienable and fundamental right to exist and flourish, and that residents of those communities possess the legal authority to enforce those rights on behalf of those ecosystems. In addition, these laws require the governmental apparatus to remedy violations of those ecosystem rights.”
Got that? Its objective is to give legal rights to rivers, lakes, forests, and fields.
Fortunately, at least one Pennsylvania resident did his homework and explained his concerns in a letter to the Express-Times newspaper.
“I listened to the Community Environmental Legal Defense Fund lecture on the Constitution and individual rights, only to breeze over the part of the proposal that subjugates individual rights to the rights of the collective and worse, to an imagined ‘natural community,’” said James Kaleda.
“This proposal is extreme environmentalism masquerading as local sovereignty. It has UMBT residents declare their sovereignty and then immediately subjugate their rights to the rights of a rock.
“Make no mistake about it. This bill is anti-hunting, anti-fishing, anti-wood-burning stove. It is anti-freedom . . .”
And he’s correct. A community that buys into this scam is just a heartbeat away from placing itself in a situation in which it can be coerced into prohibiting fishing because it disrupts the natural harmony and thus violates the rights of a “natural community.”
Think that can’t happen? It already has in Europe, where animal rights groups have enjoyed so much success that they no longer try to hide their true objectives. In several countries, they’ve established political parties, with the most notable being in the Netherlands.
In 2006, the Dutch Party for Animals won two seats in Parliament. Among its successes is a ban on round goldfish bowls because they are too stressful.
“Their goal is to move away from human-centered thinking and create a society that treats animals with respect,” reported The Economist.
Meanwhile in Italy, a terminally ill veterinary student posted support on her Facebook page for animal research, explaining that it helped keep her alive. In response, she was bombarded with hate mail and death threats.
One message said, “You could die tomorrow. I wouldn’t sacrifice my goldfish for you.”
And let’s not forget that use of live bait already is prohibited in several European countries because it’s viewed as cruel, while Switzerland has banned catch-and-release fishing for the same reason.
In the U.S., sport fishing still is solidly supported by a vast majority of the people, and state wildlife agencies have done a good job of recruiting new anglers through urban fishing programs and other innovative strategies.
But let’s not forget that animal rights advocates don’t care about how many millions enjoy/support fishing or how important it is historically, culturally, and economically. They are blindly devoted to imposing their will on the rest of us, and they are not reluctant to use Trojan horses in doing so.
(This opinion piece appeared originally in B.A.S.S. Times.)