To the editor:
Regarding the rights and value of animals, I would like to respond to the July 17 LJ-W question of the day and to Mr. Smith's July 24 opinion letter. Asked whether harming animals and humans should be equally punishable crimes, most responded yes animal offenders should be prosecuted to the full extent of the law. Unfortunately, Mr. Smith seems concerned that these opinions go beyond the literal nature of the question and to the value (or lack thereof) of human life.
Whether a person is an avid animal advocate, a pet owner or even indifferent toward animals is not the issue. Whether a person is a creationist or an evolutionist also should not matter.
Pardon my candor, but what happened on that barbecue grill in Missouri is sick and disgusting, irregardless of one's beliefs or background. Cruelty, and in particular, torture of animals is abnormal and deviant behavior with well-documented correlations to deviant behavior toward humans. When it comes to ethics, the answer to the question on the street is blaringly obvious cruelty is cruelty. It does not matter what species one is when it comes to abusers; they are menaces to society of whom we should all beware.
As one famous philosopher put it, "You can tell much about a society in how it treats its animals."