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Diversity Is Strength! It`s Also… Cruelty To Animals
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January 04, 2006, 04:00 AM
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Here`s a story from a man I know who was originally from Fresno...

"My Dad`s friend offered his horse for sale last year. The horse was old; of course there was a fondness for the animal and this man expected the horse to go to a good home, for example, an animal for kids to ride. Well, two Hmong answered the ad and this guy didn`t know any better–he sold it to them.

"They brought a flat-bed truck. The owner wondered how in the world they would take the horse home on a flat-bed truck.

"As soon as the $ was exchanged they pulled a gun and shot the horse dead right on the driveway, then took it home to eat (some sort of celebration)!"

There are few areas where multicultural reality is more at odds with its supporters` sentimentalized view than the treatment of animals.

In the United States, the societal norm is concern that innocent creatures not be abused. That was reflected in the founding of the Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals in 1866. American meat eaters want animals slaughtered with minimum pain. Even ranchers have the same ethic.  

We love our furry friends and regard our pets as part of the family. Last year, there were many reports  from Hurricane Katrina of persons who didn`t want to abandon their pets and so didn`t evacuate because animals weren`t accommodated in shelters. When Hurricane Wilma was approaching Florida, Governor Jeb Bush made a point of announcing that shelters would be equipped to handle pets, so that more people would utilize shelters and be safe.

When a kitten gets stuck in a tree or a puppy becomes trapped in a hole in the ground, we expect the local fire department to save them, and they do. Photos of big strong firemen with tiny rescued kittens bring appreciative smiles from all but the worst grouch. Furthermore, every city has breed-specific dog rescue groups that place homeless animals from akitas to shelties.

But in many non-western cultures, animals endure brutality that Americans can hardly imagine. Animals are despised. Gratuitous cruelty is the norm.

In the Islamic world, dogs are considered unclean. Their ownership is sometimes regarded as a western corruption. Iranian hardliners have even campaigned for the arrest of dog owners. In fact the cleric Gholamreza Hassani called dog ownership a "moral depravity." He also declared that those soldiers who had died in the 1980s war against Iraq were fortunate not to see behavior that was such an affront to Allah:

"`Happy are those who became martyrs and did not witness the playing with dogs! Now, in our society, women wear hats and men hold dogs,` he said."
(Dogs are not an ayatollah`s best friend: Pet owners in Iran are arrested, canines confiscated as `unclean`, Neil MacFarquhar, San Francisco Chronicle, September 2, 2001)

Mr. Hassani has also received attention for his curious concern about dogs with short legs, although he doesn`t like canines of any height. "I call on the judiciary to arrest all long-legged, medium-legged, and short-legged dogs along with their long-legged owners, otherwise I`ll do it myself," he announced in 2002. (Iran cleric denounces dog owners, BBC News, October 14, 2002)

Professor Mary Boyce has recounted her experience in mid-sixties Iran, noting that Muslims found "satisfaction in tormenting dogs," a trait which filtered down to children:

"I myself was spared any worse sight than that of a young Moslem girl…standing over a litter of two-week old puppies, and suddenly kicking one as hard as she could with her shod foot. The puppy screamed with pain, but at my angry intervention she merely said blankly, `But it`s unclean.` In Sharifabad I was told by distressed Zoroastrian children of worse things: a litter of puppies cut to pieces with a spade-edge, and a dog`s head laid open with the same implement; and occasionally the air was made hideous with the cries of some tormented animal."

More recently, Muslims in Iraq have found dogs to be a useful bomb transport device, where the dog dies, of course. Apparently the canines are pressed into service for Allah when no jihadist willing to blow himself to bits can be found.

Nor are Islamic anti-canine attitudes limited to dogs alone: sometimes the sufferer is human because of the person`s dependence on an animal.

In Norway (which has experienced considerable Islamic immigration), blind people with guide dogs now find it difficult to get a taxi ride, since so many cabbies are Muslim. Islam supposedly allows dogs when they are employed in necessary uses, such as herding and guarding. According to Islamic authorities, there is no good reason for refusing a guide dog. Yet Grethe Olsen of Drammen, accompanied by her guide dog Isak, was rejected by no fewer than 21 taxis before finally getting a ride. [VDARE.COM note: in Denmark, it`s the passengers who are becoming the problem.]

And Islam is not the only culture that sanctions cruelty to animals.

China`s disturbing treatment of animals must surely stem from its history of famine, including a recent instance, 1958-61, when anything that moved looked like dinner.

As a result, Chinese markets are menageries of variety like few others. But while the willingness to eat anything and everything is understandable, the unnecessary cruelty and unsanitary conditions are not. The SARS epidemic of a few years ago arose from the polluted conditions in which Chinese wild animals are sold for food.

One of the more shocking practices is the extraction of bile from bears in China, where the substance is highly prized for its alleged Viagra effect and for other uses in traditional medicine. The reported rate for a kilo of bear bile is worth $1000 in China, quite a sum there. The bear is kept in a tiny cage, so cramped that the animal can hardly move. An incision is made into the bear`s gall bladder to insert a tube and "milk" the valuable bile, as the wound is kept open in conditions of cruelty and neglect. An estimated 7000 bears are kept in "bile farms."

When Jill Robinson saw her first bile farm in 1993, she was so appalled at the condition in which the animals were kept that she started working to end the practice entirely and rescue bears in the meantime. The British woman now has a bear sanctuary in Sichuan Province in cooperation with the Chinese government.

Former Beatle Paul McCartney announced in late November that he would not perform in China and would boycott the 2008 Beijing Olympics because of animal cruelty there. He was disturbed after seeing a film showing the extreme brutality of Chinese fur production, which includes the use of dogs and cats.

His wife Heather remarked, "I`ve seen so much footage where these poor creatures are clearly alive when they`re skinned."

Another place where Chinese animal treatment has shocked westerners is the use of St. Bernards as food. While known in Europe and America as "the dog that rescues people" the animal is prized in China for the breed`s taste, as well as its large litters, fast growth as puppies and calm disposition.

One Chinese St. Bernard breeder described how dogs destined for the butcher were killed by cutting a hole in the paw and bleeding them to death, because the meat "tasted better that way."

In 2001, the BBC reported that 11,000 Swiss petitioned their government to request that the Chinese government prevent Switzerland`s iconic dog from being bred as food. The culture clash was sharp: Swiss children are raised with stories of heroic St. Bernards with brandy kegs around their necks rescuing lost mountaineers in freezing snowdrifts.

But when a country has over a billion people, it eats whatever it pleases. Here`s a description from a BBC reporter of an open market in the south China city of Nanning, where the "piles of fresh meat swarmed with flies in the early summer heat."

Then I came across a scene that would shock any pet lover: row upon row of metal cages crammed full of pathetic looking dogs. Their terror-filled eyes darting back and forth.

As I watched, one was hauled from a cage yelping. While one man held it down, another thrust a 20cm (8-inch) knife into its heart - blood gushed, I stepped back, my gorge rising.

As I stood there transfixed by the horror of what I was watching, a little man next to me turned and smiled—apparently the dog was for him.

Animals Asia has photos of China dog markets, some not for the squeamish. More ghastly still here.

(Incidentally, China`s expanding population and increased wealth have put terrible strain on endangered species, which are literally being gobbled up at a tremendous rate.)

Asians commonly believe that when an animal dies in pain, the meat is better tasting, so humane slaughter is not valued. Koreans sometimes blowtorch living dogs as they are being killed to eat. Koreans are quite attached to dogmeat stew, although South Korea banned the dish during the 1988 Olympics in Seoul in order to prevent any tourist-disturbing culture clash.

Naturally, it`s not surprising to hear similar tales of immigrant diversity against helpless creatures being brought to this country. One instance was of Thai Chia Moua, who ordered a German shepherd puppy beaten to death so he could chant over it. As a Hmong shaman, he believed he could force the animal`s spirit to attack an evil spirit which had been annoying his wife.

A Fresno court decided in 1995 that the cultural defense had value and sentenced the shaman to…probation.

A few years later in 2003, other Californians were not so forgiving. In that year, two Mexican illegal aliens got drunk in Sonoma County and killed a horse for fun. The local Americans, from ranchers to the District Attorney, took the incident very seriously. Instead of receiving the handslap the Mexicans expected, they were found guilty after a two-week trial and were sentenced to hard time in state prison.

We already knew diversity is our strength; it is also horse eating, shamanistic sacrifices, dog stew and general inhumane treatment of helpless creatures.

You can remind Fido that he is a lucky dog to be born in America–like the rest of us!

Brenda Walker [email her] publishes ImmigrationsHumanCost, blogs daily on LimitsToGrowth.org, and eats omnivorously in the traditional American style.