Monday, September 28, 2009

Weekly Opinion/Editorial

by Steve Fair
The Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs (OIRA) is an office within the Office of Management and Budget that is part of the Executive branch of the federal government. OIRA is staffed by both political appointees and career civil servants, who evaluate economic and regulatory issues for the President. Last week, Cass Sunstein, a Harvard educated law professor, was confirmed to head the office by a Senate vote of 57 to 40. In committee hearings, only Senator Tom Coburn, R-Oklahoma, voted to not send Sunstein’s appointment to the Senate floor for a vote.

Senator Coburn didn’t vote against Sunstein’s appointment because of his position on economic issues, but because of Sunstein’s radical views on animal rights. Sunstein isn’t just your average pet lover. He is a radical animal rights advocate along the lines of PETA. Sunstein loved his pooch Perry so much that when the Rhodesian Ridgeback died, he created a scholarship at the The University of Chicago Law School in Perry’s memory. Ridgebacks are a South African breed known for their bravery. The scholarship goes to a student with an interest in animal welfare. That in and of itself is not that radical, but some of the things Sunstein has written and stated are.
In a book written in 2004 entitled Animal Rights- Current Debates and New Directions- Sunstein and then girlfriend, fellow University of Chicago prof, Martha Nussbaum, contended that animals should be allowed to sue their human owners. “Animals should be permitted to bring suit, with human beings as their representatives, to prevent violations of current law … Any animals that are entitled to bring suit would be represented by (human) counsel, who would owe guardian like obligations and make decisions, subject to those obligations, on their clients’ behalf,” Sunstein writes.

Sunstein also says in the book, “We ought to ban hunting, I suggest if there isn’t a purpose other than sport and fun. That should be against the law. It’s time now.” He also advocates eliminating greyhound racing, cosmetic testing and meat eating. He has debated in support of veganism on several college campuses.

In 2002, Sunstein wrote, "There should be extensive regulation of the use of animals in entertainment, scientific experiments, and agriculture.” At a Harvard lecture, he stated, “that the current treatment of livestock and other animals should be considered “a form of unconscionable barbarity not the same as, but in many ways morally akin to, slavery and mass extermination of human beings.”

Sunstein’s views mirror those of PETA who has repeatedly attacked research foundations like the March of Dimes, the Pediatric AIDS Foundation, and the American Cancer Society, solely because they support animal-based research aimed at curing life-threatening diseases and birth defects.
No one should be cruel to animals, but those that advocate protection for every animal no matter the cost to mankind and the animals have a distorted, humanist world view. In the scripture, man is given authority over all that was created on the earth. Man is to take care of and use the resources on the earth. We are to assume control and protection over all that was created, which includes the animal kingdom. After Adam and Eve sinned in the garden, God killed animals and used their skins to cloth Adam and Eve. In Genesis 9, we see a change in the relationship between man and animals. God tells man there are certain types of animals that are acceptable for him to eat, but even with this pronouncement, He still tells man to watch over the animals.
Animal cruelty should never take place if men truly understand the command to be “caretakers” of the earth. We are to control the numbers of animals so disease and sickness do not kill them off; we are to use the animals for our needs; we are to control animals in a manner in which they are not harmful to humans; and finally we should protect them from over-killing and abuse. The problem lies in the fact that many do not understand this balance and tend to over-protect or under-protect animals. Animals were created for us to enjoy, so protecting a remnant for others to enjoy is also proper.
Sunstein’s view is not only radical, but it is frightening. When someone with this radical of a viewpoint rises to a position of influence, it should concern all Americans. If Sunstein has his way, we would all be vegetarians and your dog would have an attorney on retainer in case you purchased the wrong brand of dog food or scolded him to get off the couch.

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