Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Woman Smeared for Helping the "Wrong" Type of Animal

For the Thanksgiving season's prime example of hypocrisy, we look at the silly furor that followed a New England woman's good deed towards a much-maligned creature. Lyndsey Medeiros, of Rehobeth, Massachusetts, had rescued a turkey from ending up deceased and stuffed on someone's table. She named her new friend "Jerry" and then realized he had a cataract problem. So, just as people might do for a cat or dog, Medeiros opted for surgery, but needed a little financial assistance to do so.

Well, out of the alleys came nasty comments from people completely up in arms that someone would adopt a turkey, let alone that anyone would contribute to helping with surgery. It highlights the extremely inconsistent way we deal with animals. I doubt anyone would be suggesting we kill Milo the cat or Scruffy the dog to feed a hungry family, but this is exactly the "solution" many numbskulls took the time to write.

The only reason the image of having a turkey in one's house as a pet would strike anyone as bizarre is because people aren't used to it. I sponsored an Indonesian child through Childreach a few years ago (contrary to the claim that animal-lovers don't also care about human beings), and was told that, when I write letters or send pictures to him, I should avoid sending any photos of someone lovingly holding a pet, because their culture views animals differently from ours. In other words, they would find it bizarre that anyone here would take an animal into the home, and raise him/her lovingly as a pet -- including cats and dogs -- because they're not used to it. Now, if we adopted the philosophy of Jerry's critics, the fact that Indonesians think we're crazy for caring about some animals means we shouldn't be doing it.

The more I think about this, the more I realize HOW hypocritical Jerry's critics are. I'd bet that few to none of these people give to the homeless. I'd also bet that a good number of them would gladly donate if someone's newly rescued cat or dog needed eye surgery, and the total could go two or three times $2,600. I'd ALSO bet that most of them have flat-screen TVs or swimming pools or three-hundred-dollar jackets. Chances are, nobody gave them any crap about spending all that money when they could have been using it to feed the hungry and to house the homeless. Fine.

But then this woman adopts an animal they don't personally deem worthy of our compassion, and all of the sudden they start "caring about the homeless." Hard to believe.

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