Animal rights activists are going too far

The Earth’s ecosystem depends on a delicate balance of different living organisms. The extinction of one species may have a devastating effect throughout the entire food chain. Preventing this among animal populations is a responsible and necessary action, especially when humans are frequently the cause.

However, there seems to be a growing number of groups and individuals who feel that animals have equal, if not more, rights than humans and should not be exploited by them. This is ironic in today’s society.

An exaggerated sense of responsibility for animal rights has led the Los Angeles City Council this month to give its preliminary approval for a ban on declawing cats. Council members feel the procedure is unnecessary and cruel to animals. Though it may lead to more pets being given up and euthanized, the ban reflects the growing irrationalism surrounding the animal rights movement.

In honor of the national Fish Empathy Day, several members of People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) staged bold protests in downtown West Palm Beach on Sept. 25.

Protestors wore only their pants, paint and glitter as they lay in the street, portraying dead fish, according to the Palm Beach Post.

PETA is foolish to expect people to stop eating fish – a staple of many cultures. As for killing animals for sport or fun, if the cultural activity is not detrimental to the balance of the ecosystem, or if its effect is limited, then there should be no problem.

While some examples may appear comical, there are far more serious things happening. Daniel Andreas San Diego, an animal rights extremist, is on the FBI’s Most Wanted List after his alleged involvement in two 2003 bombings in California of corporate offices of Chiron Corp., a biotechnology firm, and Shaklee Corp., a nutrition and cosmetics company.

The Sept. 16 issue of The Journal of Neuroscience explores the threat to medical research and health outcomes posed by animal rights extremism and violence.

“Responsible animal research has played a vital role in nearly every major medical advance of the last century, from heart disease to polio, and is essential for future advances as well,” said the Society for Neuroscience President Thomas J. Carew. “Today, it is unacceptable that in the pursuit of better health and understanding of disease, researchers, their families and their communities face violence and intimidation by extremists.”

There needs to be balance in the effort to conserve animals. Does one group of animals deserve to be treated like humans, while others don’t?

Should bugs not be squashed, or should we be careful not to bother microorganisms growing in the shower? Pursuing the success of other species at the expense of our own is irrational behavior. While animals are an important part of human life, certain overzealous and violent crusades for animal rights must be reconsidered.

Justin Rivera is a senior majoring in history.