Mary Bale, Michael Vick, and Moral Schizophrenia

Dear Colleagues:

Mary Bale dropped a cat into a dumpster where the unfortunate animal was trapped for approximately 15 hours before being released. Her callous act was captured on video and it was disseminated on YouTube. One report described the public reaction in this way:

The “cat bin woman” from Coventry became reviled around the world, receiving abusive phone calls and death threats from as far afield as Australia, after what she described as a “split second of misjudgment” – which was captured on CCTV and uploaded to YouTube.

Thousands of people signed Facebook pages claiming “Mary Bale is worse than Hitler” and calling for the “Death Penalty for Mary Bale” as she attracted newspaper headlines from “It’s a fur cop” to “Miaow could she?”

Bale was prosecuted by the RSPCA for causing unnecessary suffering to an animal and was fined £250 but was also ordered to pay a victim surcharge and costs, a total of £1,436.04.

Think about this.

The RSPCA, which actively solicits and encourages the public to engage in inflicting unnecessary suffering and death on animals through its “Freedom Food” program (read 1, 2), prosecuted Bale for causing unnecessary suffering to the cat.

The public, most of which consumes animal products and thereby directly supports and participates in conduct that is in no way morally distinguishable from what Mary Bale did, condemned Mary Bale.

This situation is very similar to the one involving American football player Michael Vick. Vick pleaded guilty to dog fighting. He served prison time for this horrible crime and is still vilified by many people. It seems that Vick liked to sit around the fighting pit and watch dogs tear each other apart; most people who vilify Vick enjoy sitting around a barbecue pit roasting the corpses of animals who are tortured every bit as badly as Vick’s dogs. And both Vick’s dogs and the animals humans eat suffer and die for one and the same reason: human pleasure.

Both the Bale case and the Vick case are stunning examples of moral schizophrenia.

As a friend of mine said, “If we experience no horror and shock when we drive past a McDonald’s, what’s the big deal over Mary Bale tossing her property into a dumpster?”

And just as no one would propose that “humane” dog fighting would be acceptable, it is absurd to suggest that the “happy” exploitation of animals used for food is morally acceptable.

There is a simple cure for moral schizophrenia: go vegan. It is easy, better for your health and the planet, and, most important, it is the right and just thing to do. It’s what we owe other animals.

If you are vegan, then educate others about veganism in creative, non-violent ways.

The World is Vegan! If you want it.

Gary L. Francione
©2010 Gary L. Francione