I'm thinking of joining PETA, but I need some things cleared up first.
I get that, as a future PETA member, I'll have to be righteously indignant about all manner of animal mistreatment. I may be inspired to protest McDonald's poor treatment of chickens (you know, the killing thing). I might be compelled to write a sonnet about the regrettable action taken against pigs by the Egyptians. I could well be recruited to dump a can of paint on some fur-wearing celebrity. (Randy Jackson, if I had my druthers and he wore mink). It would not be implausible to find me raising a ruckus over the disrespectful portrayal of chimps in television commercials.
I fully understand that I will be expected to protect not only the lives of animals, but also their reputations in the marketplace.
But I'm having some problems with some of the details. See, I have ants in my kitchen on occasion. This is something I am sure The Wife will be mortified to read, but the truth is we get them this time every year and it's not because we live in a pig sty. (Although we do have a two-year-old who tries her damndest.) My wife slaughters these creatures with severe prejudice. It's like a Tarantino movie. She uses solvents, the Dirt Devil, and her own cunning mind to dispose of these unsightly insects. PETA would not approve.
But what would they have us do? Are we to shepherd these fine creatures out the back door? Do PETA people just live and let live? If I visited the kitchen of a card-carrying PETA member, would I be beset by legions of insects scuttling down kitchen table legs, scurrying over countertops, and diving into the box of Cheerios? If I were to join PETA, what would be my obligation to these ants?
And, sad to admit it, but ants are not the only creatures living rent-free in my house. I am sure a few spiders also claim residence. PETA does not want to talk about spiders. No other animal poses such a sticky ethical dilemma to those of us dedicated to protect the lives (and reputations) of all God's living creatures. (And while I'm at it, there is no gray area here. Either you think ALL animals have been endowed by their creator with the unalienable right to live or you don't. You can't go saving the cute ones and forsaking the uglies.)
For in the spider we have a moral conundrum. Spiders ensnare and then devour other animals. So what is the proper course of action for a homeowner who finds himself with spiders? If I remove the spider, it will surely build an outdoor web and catch and kill flies. I'm not sure my conscience could stand that. Poor, crap-eating flies. If I leave the spider in the house, it will also kill flies and it would not be unreasonable to lay the blame squarely at my feet. If a President pardons a murderer who murders again, does he not bear some responsibility? I certainly can't kill the spider myself. That would seem to leave only one option: quarantine. But if I sequester the spider so he cannot kill other insects, the spider itself will eventually die from lack of sustenance.
Oh, PETA, how do I solve the dilemma of the spider?
And don't even get me started on rats in the attic.
I may have to rethink this PETA thing.