Responding to Tough Questions: Adopting Unwanted Children & Addressing Animal Rights
In this post, our summer intern, Ashley Bulthuis, shares how she addressed the topics of what to do with unwanted children and how to address the fact that humans are different than animals.
While leading a clipboarding event in Fort Langley, I was conversing with a self-proclaimed “cat-lady” on the issue of abortion’s legal status in Canada. When asked what she thought the current restrictions were, she assumed that abortions were only legal up until the 2nd trimester. Upon hearing that there currently is no criminal law in Canada restricting abortion, she was taken aback. After further discussion however, she held her belief that abortion was still a matter of personal choice.
She drew the comparison between unwanted infants being abandoned by their parents to foster care homes, to the surplus of abandoned animals being dropped off daily at the SPCA. The lady volunteers at the SPCA, and could attest to the many animals coming in – more than they could adequately provide for. Knowing about my pro-life stance, she asked me if I would be willing to adopt abandoned children to protect them from our country’s flawed foster care system. I said that I believe I am currently doing all I can. As a student, I cannot financially support or care for someone else’s children adequately. Nevertheless, I can encourage women to seek other options, rather than abortion. I can volunteer at and give financially to organizations like Hope for Women and Birthright, or write letters to my local MP. However, my main focus as a pro-life advocate is to educate students and the general public on the issue of abortion and by doing so, change our culture one heart at a time. I am just one person and I am doing what I am capable of.
After stating this, I pointed out that I noticed she was very empathetic towards the unwanted and often abused animals which she encountered on a weekly basis.
“Would you be willing to adopt the animals that are dropped off at the SPCA?” I asked her.
She admitted that no, she would not be willing to do so. She knew she could not save them all, but as a volunteer, she could at least help some. Similarly, I told her that I could not adopt every child I came across. Like her, I’m doing my small part in solving a weighty, societal problem.
She went on to say that abortion was not a great solution to the dilemma of dealing with unwanted children. Yet, she came to the conclusion that society would still be better off without a surplus of such children.
Which begs the question: Why does she feel this way about human beings, yet not about the animals at her shelter? Why not eradicate the problem of unwanted animals, by eradicating the animal itself?
Rewind a few years back at a GAP display in Florida. I was speaking to a young man who also lamented the animal rights issue. He asked me if I ate meat.
“Yes, I do.” I replied.
He smiled, thinking he had me backed into a corner. “Then how can you be pro life?”
In response, I asked him to engage in a thought experiment which involved solving a moral dilemma. I asked him “If you were forced to choose between shooting a deer and your fellow man, which would you choose to kill?”
Reluctantly, he admitted “The deer.”
Through his answer, he had shown that he sees that humans are different than animals; we have an inherently unique value that animals do not possess. This leads us to automatically give different rights and responsibilities to humans than we do to animals.
Comparing animal rights to human rights is like comparing apples to oranges. I’m pro-life and I eat meat. I’m pro human life and I believe meat provides nutrients for my human body, which sustains my human life.
What is interesting to note, is that the SPCA seeks to provide animals with a minimum five essential freedoms:
- Freedom from hunger and thirst
- Freedom from pain, injury, and disease
- Freedom from distress
- Freedom from discomfort
- Freedom to express behaviours that promote well-being
These are wonderful things to promote. However, I find it utterly bizarre that we as a society strive to provide animals with such freedoms, even punish those who violate these freedoms, when we take these away from preborn human beings.
Let’s focus on preserving our own species first, from the moment of conception. Let’s each play our small role in doing all we can to save these lives, knowing that even if a life is deemed by some as being ‘unwanted,’ killing innocent human beings is never the solution to eradicate these problems.