Readers responded to the blog about compassion for animals being a universal value and the new book by Mark Levin, an influential conservative, about his love for dogs and his concern for animal welfare.
Thank you for positively reinforcing the interconnectedness of all… can’t wait to get my copy. —Andrea
I’m very glad to see Mr. Pacelle choose this issue to invite comments. It is very close to my heart. I am a right-wing conservative and a registered Republican. I listen to Mark Levin, Sean Hannity, Michael Savage, et al every day, but I have very liberal views on animal rights and conservation. I do not seem to share any of the socially liberal views of my animal rights friends, yet I am opposed to conservatively acceptable issues like sport hunting, meat consumption and live animal testing.
I have been very pleasantly surprised lately to hear conservative radio talk show hosts speak out against foie gras, dogfighting and the Chinese cat and dog meat/fur industries. I heard one say that it is our responsibility to speak out on behalf of children and animals who have no other voice. I heard another say that "there must be a special place in hell" for people who abuse or neglect dogs. Many were very angry when the Michael Vick atrocities came to light, and very vocal in their opposition. They generally agreed that this was an issue worth attacking. It’s nice to hear this from people who support offshore oil drilling, sport hunting and forest thinning (to which I am opposed)! It may not be enough, but it’s a start!
Animal rights and environmental conservation feel like "conservative" issues to me but, as Mr. Pacelle says, they have always been associated with the liberal left and therefore ignored, opposed or ridiculed by right wing conservatives. I do not understand this at all. Animal rights issues should neither be "left" nor "right." I was delighted to see Matthew Scully write "Dominion" and I am equally thrilled to see Mark Levin write "Rescuing Sprite." He seems to be encouraging his listeners to consider adopting from shelters and rescue groups, although he does not oppose buying puppies in pet shops. The experience of having to euthanize his dog was agonizing, according to Mr. Levin. I found it really touching that the people who were the most empathetic to his grief about his pup were Sean Hannity and Rush Limbaugh!
Educating conservatives on the atrocities of horse slaughter or puppy mills or primates in research might bring the subject of animal rights into the mainstream and make it a more acceptable issue to fight for. I would love to hear what other people think. When I hear a very conservative radio talk show host become angry about dogfighting or passionate about animal adoption, I feel as if he or she might seriously consider speaking out against live animal research or meat consumption if educated in a manner in which they could relate. —Jill L Gershen