The Psychotic Parsing of Animal Cruelty and What They “Feel”

What (other) animal would you be if you had to choose? This is my choice. My favorite. Here’s it’s Wikipedia entry.

Anglerfishes are members of the teleost order Lophiiformes /ˌlɒfəˈfɔrmz/. They are bony fishes named for their characteristic mode of predation, in which a fleshy growth from the fish’s head (the esca or illicium) acts as a lure.

Anglerfish are also notable for extreme sexual dimorphism seen in the suborder Ceratioidei, and sexual parasitism of male anglerfish. In these species, males may be hundreds to thousands of times smaller than females.

Anglerfish occur worldwide. Some are pelagic while others are benthic; some live in the deep sea (e.g., Ceratiidae) while others on the continental shelf (e.g., the frogfishes Antennariidae and the monkfish/goosefish Lophiidae). Pelagic forms are most laterally compressed whereas the benthic forms are often extremely dorsoventrally compressed (depressed) often with large upward pointing mouths.

How great is that? Sexual parasitism? Lures fish with a funky tumor doohickey dangling from his noggin’. Sign me up, Sparky. This is the greatest animal on the planet. Period.

The screed.

I’ve got no beef with animals. They’re just as important and special and unique and majestic as I am. And yet I’ve eaten my share of some, worn their hide. Yet oddly respect them. The collective group of they I respect and admire. As I consumed them in a variety of ways. And therein begins the first problem I have in trying to explicate my thoughts on animals, especially as to their cruelty. I, the consummate consuming hypocrite. There’s the anthropomorphic insinuation of what we think animals think. How do we even know that they “think.” How we know what they feel and experience and sense. With the exception of the howling, bleating, screaming yelp of a weasel caught in a trap, we have no idea what they think. Or if they think. Or what level of cognition they enjoy. And let’s leave out the great apes and dolphins and pachyderms and pigs – those animals we’ve dubbed smart through some kind of collective barnyard folklore and mythology. We swear puppies love us because their tails wag. Or that a kitten’s sad because . . . it looks sad. This critter with no expression we see as sad. Paging, Dr. Freud. And we then meet the various incarnations of human on the concern scale. The callous carnivore who snorts and spits and burps and growls and drops “bacon” into any conversation. The Ted Nugent character. Now, Ted’s right in many respects. He eats all of his kill: even offal. The awful offal at that. Sinew, cartilage, jowls, cheeks, trotters, snouts. And that’s supposed to justify the killing of the animal. But I’m not one to quarrel. On a tangential, perhaps desultory note – Have you wondered how Ted’s incisors over the years have through attrition or filing makes the most annoying whistle? Anyhoo. Then there’s the animal nut and loon. The freak. The cat lady. And don’t bring PETA into the equation. I kind of like those folks.  But you know exactly of whom I speak. The Bible of course sanctions not only the killing and consumption of varmints but almost directs it. Genesis 9:3 – “Every moving thing that liveth shall be meat for you; even as the green herb have I given you all things.” Well, that settles that. I’ve mentioned this innumerably, I’m a vegan and consume not even an egg or drop of milk. Not a pat of butter or even the occult egg in pasta. Why? Because that makes me superior to you. Ha! How many vegans does it take to change a light bulb? I’m better than you. How do you tell if someone’s a vegan? Don’t worry they’ll tell you. I hate circuses, amusement parks. I hate capturing animals for my amusement. Now, domestication’s another story. Don’t you love exceptions? Cats and dogs are OK. But a giant walrus playing a cardboard banjo with a straw hat is demeaning. Demeaning?! See, now I’m doing it. It violates my own sensibilities. The rules that I just create out of the ether and state emphatically. So here’s to Mayor BDB and Liam Neeson and everyone who this week ads to the paradigm and algorithm and matrix of animal politics.

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