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(Published in the Chilliwack Times week of Sept. 11, 2006)

Animal rights activists looking like the dog's breakfast

  By John Martin

There was a time when social activism was an admirable undertaking.  Dedicating one’s self to the greater good and seeking to make a positive change are among the most redeeming of human qualities.

But activism has become virtually indistinguishable from Clown College in recent times.  The anti-globalization misfits that disrupt and vandalize World Trade Organization gatherings are little more than overgrown juvenile delinquents with bad haircuts and questionable hygiene.  Similarly, the loonies that have taken over the environmental movement look more foolish every day as they stumble from one logging site to another with their bongos and skateboards in hand.

And now the animal protection movement has become a pitiful parody of itself.

First it was an animal rights activist group forcing the SPCA to cancel a fund raising event in Prince Rupert.  Apparently with too much time on their hands, the whining protestors lambasted local SPCA organizers for planning to serve fresh crab at the event. 

In a scene that could have come out of a Monty Python skit, Sea Shepard Conservation Society founder Paul Watson, lectured “Crabs do indeed feel pain and I hope this decision will make people more aware that we must respect all animals, not just the cute and cuddly ones.”

Fearing a backlash, the SPCA capitulated.  The crustaceans have been liberated.

Some busybodies were even encouraging more humane methods of cooking crab.  Let’s be perfectly clear on something here.  There is only one way to cook a crab.  You boil the Hell out of it. 

Feeling pretty cocky, the animal rights brigade is now demanding the SPCA stop barbequing meat at all fundraisers.  A number of such events are scheduled throughout the province but the do-gooders are determined that only vegetarian fare be served.

A barbeque without meat.  Right.  Reminds me of the Irish folk tune, “The Pub without Beer.”  I can just see all those donors lining up for their grilled tofu and carrot juice.  That event ought to fill the coffers to the brim.

Now the North Shore based, The Canadian Voice for Animals, has posted a petition urging people to protest “the eating of other animals to raise money to help save dogs and cats and all cuddly animals” at SPCA events.

What part of “get a life” do these people not understand?

There are numerous legitimate and worthy campaigns protesting animal cruelty including puppy mills, leg hold traps and the seal hunt; none of which have any place in a civilized society.  People who commit themselves to ending such cruel practices are to be commended.  And it’s important to distinguish such dedicated and thoughtful citizens from the aforementioned protein-starved, granola heads trying to crash a crab fest.

But once again, it would appear activists are giving activism a bad name.



John Martin is a Criminologist at the University College of the Fraser Valley and can be contacted at

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