RE "You're not an animal," page 7, March 12: It was surprising to read Mr. Girard's grossly misleading segment on animals' role in our society. It's clear that the author is frustrated by the lack of action in areas of crisis, such as genital mutilation in Third World countries. However, it seems that to place the blame on either the People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals or other animal protection groups is misdirected.
As an animal rights organization, PETA works to protect animals. Similarly, Amnesty International is a human rights organization, which focuses on helping people. We each work on our respective issues, but many of our supporters care about both. Human rights and animal rights are not mutually exclusive, and are in fact fundamentally intertwined.
Gandhi famously said, "The greatness of a nation and its moral progress can be judged by the way its animals are treated."
In situations where humans are abused, studies have shown that many of the abusers began by committing acts of cruelty on animals in previous years. In fact, when the FBI is profiling serial killers, cruelty to animals is one of the three main factors they look for when determining the likelihood of a repeat offense. In other words, people who commit cruelty to animals rarely stop there.
To speak out against violence, regardless of whether it is toward animals or humans, is a noble effort, and I commend Girard for taking such a stance. But we must remember that one can choose the veggie burger at lunch and still speak out against human rights abuses at the same time. For more information, visit peta2.com.