PeTA = Knuckledraggers

Two of the most important reasons the human race is still on the planet today are (1) the wearing of animal skins, and (2) the domestication of dogs and other animals; PeTA thinks both are travesties and is doing as much as it can to turn back the clock on both accounts. Lucky for us, they’d have to go back a l-o-n-g way to undo our affinity for fur and furry four-legged friends (and food); and even more fortunate, the target of their new campaign is the Olsen Twins.

The greatest environmental challenges our species have survived to date are the mega-colossal volcanic eruption of the Toba caldera in Indonesia 70,000 years ago and the following Ice Age that blanketed the planet 18,000 to 24,000 years ago. The Toba catastrophe (precipitating its own Ice Age) is theorized to have decimated the hominid populations on the planet, wiping out all but 1,000 to 10,000 breeding pairs of our direct ancestors and likewise decimating our hominid cousins the Neanderthals and Homo Erectus.

SEVEN hundred and forty centuries ago, give or take a few, the skies darkened and the Earth caught a cold. Toba, a volcano in Sumatra, had exploded with the sort of eruptive force that convulses the planet only once every few million years. The skies stayed dark for six years, so much dust did the eruption throw into the atmosphere. It was a dismal time to be alive and, if Stanley Ambrose of the University of Illinois is right, the chances were you would be dead soon. In particular, the population of one species, known to modern science as Homo Sapiens, plummeted to perhaps 2,000 individuals.
The Economist, December 20, 2005

Homo Erectus, who ventured “out of Africa” long before Homo Sapiens, was living the good life on beaches across Asia, sporting prehistoric grass skirts, sarongs, and proto-bikinis. Like PeTA, Homo Erectus thought wearing animal fur was passé and way too brutish for their politically correct sensibilities. It’s easy to be hypercritical of fur-wearers when you’re sipping Mai Tais on tropical beaches on the island of Java. History didn’t hear from Homo Erectus after Tobo lowered the thermostat a few degrees and they froze their little protesting asses off.

THE eruption of Toba marked the beginning rather than the end of hostilities between Homo Sapiens and the climate. Views differ about whether the eruption was the trigger, but it is clear that an ice age started shortly afterwards. Though the species spread throughout Asia, Australia and Europe (the populating of the Americas is believed by most researchers to have happened after the ice began to retreat, although not everybody agrees), it was constrained by ecological circumstances in much the same way as any other animal. The world’s population 10,000 years ago was probably about 5m–a long way from the imperial 6-billion-strong species that bestrides the globe today.

The killer application that led to humanity’s rise is easy to identify. It is agriculture. When the glaciers began to melt and the climate to improve, several groups learned how to grow crops and domesticate animals. Once they had done that, there was no going back. Agriculture enabled man to shape his environment in a way no species had done before.

But before those glaciers melted and the trees receded leaving man the lush savannas to cultivate, we were a hunter gatherer people, always on the move and always dependent on the next kill to survive. The dog is the perfect companion and partner for such a lifestyle. They can hunt and share their kill with us, they can pull our sleds (how else do you think man walked from Asia to America), they are warm to sleep next to, they guard us from the things that go bump in the night, and they ask for very little in return. There’s no way man could have survived the Ice Age in cold and desolate places like the Tibettan plateau without the help of a dog.

We survived an thrived because we out-bred, out-hunted, and out-gathered our hominid competition; conquering both the environment and competition from other species. We did so by exploiting the talents of the dogs, and they have thrived by exploiting our talents. The survival rates for dog offspring surpasses almost any other animal in the wild thanks to the loving care of human beings.

Only the horse could claim to have had anywhere near the cultural and survival impact on humans as the dog, and even then it’s a distant second.

Once man adopted agriculture, the dog’s talents remained useful and paramount. Driving, gathering, and protecting our flocks allowed man for the first time to settle down in one location and abandon the constant chase of migrating herds. When we didn’t have to chase protein, it allowed us to cultivate grains and starches. And grains and starches can be stored longer and shipped further than meat.

We also survived because we made up for our biological shortcomings (we’re almost as naked as the mole rat and totally unfit to survive in our naked state anywhere but on those beaches in Java — and you know how that turned out) by wearing animal skins. Up until very very recently, our textile technology paled in comparison to what we could exploit from the animal kingdom. Furs might be fashion items today, but for most of our history, they were the difference between life and death.

But this is the Internet age, not an Ice Age, and we have synthetic fur and down parkas. And that, my friends, is the reason fur is going out of style. PeTA thinks that throwing paint on people and making fun of the Olsen trolls (PeTA did get that right, those two billionaire prostitots certainly resemble troll dolls) is going to get you to stop wearing fur, or perhaps by showing you that the poor little fuzzy creatures are kicked in the head or electrocuted to death will make you distasteful of luxurious fur.

Well, I know exactly what happens to cattle: the electro prod, the slug to the head, being gutted moments later… and I still love a good steak and prime rib. I’d venture that the Olsen trolls have made the same calculus on their fur. PeTA says that the trolls are “ugly people trying to ruin our lives,” but that more aptly describes Ingrid Newkirk than “Harry Kate” or “Trashley” Olsen. She’s ugly and she’s certainly out to ruin (and run) our lives.

The way to save poor little fluffy fur producers (and really, to save them is really to have many of them go extinct, since like cattle, most of them are only extant to feed industry demand and have no stable wild populations) is technology. It’s to have synthetics become cheaper and better than the real thing. Just like Viagra did more to save the Sumatran Tiger than any paint throwing eco-terrorist ever could, since the Tiger’s ground up penis that didn’t really work to cure impotency in Asian men and Viagra did. Tiger penis was out competed by the little blue pill that actually worked.

The stupidity of PeTA is that people want to eat meat, and all of us who do are perfectly content that cows and chickens and pigs have to die. It’s justifiable homicide. There is no substitute, no synthetic, and nothing superior tasting than meat. Plus, it’s legal and always will be.

As for fur, well, synthetics have come a long way and are sure to get better. If I could buy a pleather jacket at a fraction of the cost of real leather, and it wore as nicely and looked good, by all means. I wear plenty of synthetics and plant fibers, much more so than animal byproducts. And that, in the end, will save the day for the animals. When it can be made from cheap chemicals in factories to exact standards, there’s no reason to go through the trouble of keeping live animals that produce an inconsistent product that is vastly more expensive.

If the vegans could make a tofurkey taste like turkey, by all means. If they could make prime rib out of grain, I’m all for it. Until then, it’s all justifiable homicide to me and I enjoy every minute of it.

Until PeTA gets it through their knuckledragging heads that people are both aware and apathetic to the plight of the animals, that we know and do it anyway, they’ll never be more than an eco-terrorist group that only influences people as vapid and shallow as the Olsen Twins and the Hollywood image mongers. I’m fine with that as long as they keep their eco-terrorist sights on the Olsen Twins and leaves my pet dogs and my dinner plate the hell alone.

* * *
Comments and disagreements are welcome, but be sure to read the Comment Policy. If this post made you think and you'd like to read more like it, consider a donation to my 4 Border Collies' Treat and Toy Fund. They'll be glad you did. You can subscribe to the feed or enter your e-mail in the field on the left to receive notice of new content. You can also like BorderWars on Facebook for more frequent musings and curiosities.
* * *

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...
Tags: , ,

About Christopher

Christopher Landauer is a fifth generation Colorado native and second generation Border Collie enthusiast. Border Collies have been the Landauer family dogs since the 1960s and Christopher got his first one as a toddler. He began his own modest breeding program with the purchase of Dublin and Celeste in 2006 and currently shares his home with their children Mercury and Gemma as well. His interest in genetics began in AP Chemistry and AP Biology and was honed at Stanford University.