Thursday, July 23, 2009

The Capital Punishment Farce

(The following is a farce regarding the stances of certain of animal rights groups such as Animal Abolitionists and Vegans Against PETA. The narrative does not necessarily represent my true preferences. Because it is a farce, one should not attempt to develop arguments for and against the conjectures within the farce. The narrative is intended to promote discussion and encourage personal deliberation regarding the farm animal welfare debate)

It is disturbing that the government possesses the legal power to take a person's life, and more disturbing that the government employs this power with brio. Though incarceration is a necessary institution in an orderly society, capital punishment is an embarrassment.

Death sentences in the past were implemented by methods such as hanging and stoning. These methods were cruel and painful. Our modern society employs a more "humane" procedure for implementing death sentences. Whether it be lethal injection or electrocution, the criminal is thought to feel little or no pain. In the past, I supported these humane procedures for capital punishment, but writings from the animal rights movement have convinced me otherwise.

Many animals lead miserable lives on farms that cram animals into small spaces with no environmental enrichment. Besides food, water, and shelter, these animals possess no means to discover contentment. The farms in which they reside are referred to as factory farms. A number of animal rights activists oppose the raising of animals in these conditions. They also oppose the raising of animals for human purposes such as food, clothing, or health care. Recent activity by animal advocacy organizations have sought to improve the conditions of animals on factory farms; examples include giving laying hens room to walk and sows room to turn around. These groups pursue these improvements while at the same time promoting veganism.

What animal rights activist would oppose improving the lives of animals while promoting veganism? A large number, in fact. A group has been formed titled Vegans Against PETA to oppose PETA's efforts to force slaughter houses to install more humane methods of killing animals. The ambitious Gary Francione urged his disciples to oppose Prop 2 in California, which scientific studies content will improve the lives of laying hens.

The reason for these confusing stances by animal rights activists are in many ways legitimate. By making the killing of animals and the raising of hens more humane, consumers who formerly avoided animal food products may be more inclined to purchase food derived from animals. These animal rights disciples are vehemently opposed to the raising of animals for food, even if the animals lived a happy life, so any action that may encourage the eating of animal foods are opposed. Logic suggests they would even support measures that would make livestock production methods more cruel.

This is why I oppose humane methods of implementing capital punishment. The public sees a procedure that bestows little physical pain, and thus makes the public more inclined to support capital punishment. Anything that increases public support of capital punishment should be opposed to the fullest extent.

I heartily propose that, if we are to sentence criminals to death, we implement the sentence in the most cruel fashion possible. Reverting back to public hangings would be a start. Not only is hanging more painful, but public witnesses will be horrified of the activity and opponents of capital punishment will grow in number. That is not enough though. Because I so love every human, criminal and non-criminal, I support that we implement biblical procedures. Every death sentence should be carried out through stoning, and citizens should be recruited to participate in the stoning just as they are recruited to participate in courtroom juries. The horrors of stoning, and their direct participation in the stoning, would encourage opposition to death sentencing.

The animal rights movement has taught me that, because I oppose capital punishment, I must also oppose humane treatment of prisoners on death row. I encourage all readers to contact their political representatives and urge them to replace lethal injection and electrocution with public stoning. For those readers who are also emotionally moved by the discussion of factory farming and oppose the raising of animals for food, they should also oppose the human treatment of animals, and should even support any and all measures that would further degrade the quality of life within the walls of factory farms.