Friday, July 20, 2007

Dog Fight?

Michael Vick's recent indictment of charges of dogfighting have brought the sport back to the limelight. Personally, this one is a no-brainer. Cockfighting and dogfighting are wrong and should be banned. Even though it seems like such arcane sports, when I was a little girl, my mom and grandma would talk about my grandma's first cousin who was a cockfighter, and how my great-grandpa disproved of it. I knew of at least two or three cockfighters in my home town so as arcane as we think these sports are, as the Michael Vick scandal shows--they are far from being obsolete.

Anyway, I was listening to a segment on Morning Edition about dogfighting and how 39 representives voted against a bill that would ban the interstate trafficking of fighting dogs and roosters (the bill was signed into law). Congressman Steve King from Iowa says that he voted against the vote because its wrong for the federal government to criminalize pitbull trafficking while allowing legal abortion. he goes on to say,
"My vote says that human life needs to be elevated and stay above animal
life. I think it devalues all life when you set the life of
an animal up above from a human?

What do you think of that logic?


Daisy Paige said...

It seems to me King is comparing apples and oranges. I've never known anyone to place bets on abortions or to specifically get pregnant just to have an abortion. I've certainly never heard anyone refer to aborting a fetus as a sport. He'd have done better to compare dog-fighting with boxing, but then he'd have the quandary of explaining why animals can fight to the death, but not humans. I'd like to know what his voting record on abortion looks like, just to see if it correlates.

But besides that, hasn't it been shown that those with a callous attitude toward animals tend to develop similar attitudes and feelings toward humans as well?

Bryan Hickman said...

Well, rhetorically, I think King has a point. I mean, it's a fairly decent indictment to point out that the Federal government will intercede to protect the lives of dogs, but not to prevent the arbitrary destruction of a human fetus. Even if no abortions are being committed for sport.

Dog fighting is cruel because it's cruel. It doesn't matter how much (or how little) money is being made off of it. I think King's point is that it should be considered just as cruel (and even more so) to allow for the destruction of a human fetus just because it's inconvenient for a woman to have a child at a specific time(that's a gross oversimplification, I know...I did it on purpose in order to amplify King's argument...don't get all feminazi on me). If you believe that a fetus represents a human life worthy of protection, King's argument is pretty good (but, once again, only rhetorically).

From a practical standpoint, the two are apples and oranges. Currently, Congress does not the power under the Constitution to create any "overly burdensome" restrictions on the practice of abortion (for better or worse, the Supreme Court has mandated that). But, Congress does have the power to restrict the interstate transfer of fighting dogs. So, in essence, he believes Congress shouldn't do something that it should (and can) do because it's failing to do this other thing that it should (but can't) do. Pretty lousy logic.

Did I lose anyone? I got kinda confused myself.

HOO said...

I think it's a half great point. I agree that our priorities are out of whack as he has illustrated, but that shouldn't keep you from righting a wrong when you can.

Jesse Harris said...

*sniffs the air* Smells like someone taking advantage of a chance to grandstand before the voters.

Sherpa said...

Daisy, I agree. Yeah, there's a correlation between torturing animals and then later having similar attitudes and feelings toward humans.

Bryan-rhetorically its effective, because its persuasive..but really its a logical disingenuous and a logical fallacy.

Hoo-what gets me is that its almost excusing one behavior because another is permissible. You should take it for what it is.

Jesse- Um, yeah. That's a given. We're looking at the logic, not really talking about the political strategy behind the argument.

Steve said...

Well, did he vote for the Iraq war? So it's ok to send people to their death, but not stop dogs and other animials from being killed inhumanely. I mean, if we are going to compare apples and oranges (dog fighting and abortions), this isn't a much farther stretch, if you take the politics out of it, which is actually the inverse of what he was doing by pandering to his base.

Sherpa said...

Steve, its just bad logic..your example is bad also. But I know you knew that. ;)

cj said...

It's an interesting point.

At its most basic, his statement is about how we seem to value animal life over human life. Think about how outraged people become when they hear about animals that have been abused but that same outrage seems to be missing when it comes to the abuse people suffer.

The political side of the comment isn't worth focusing on, if you ask me. It won't be decided by us, which is unfortunate because it should be the people who decide, not the courts.

Abortion is a state's rights issue, not a federal one.

Anyway, I came here via Wordless Wednesday and I'm hoping I can find my way back again.


Sherpa said...

CJ-I see where you are coming from, but life is life-whether or not its a humans or an animal. Protecting one from harm shouldn't hinge on the protection of the other.