The members of PETA and other animal rights groups are dedicated to stopping animal suffering in the world -- and this is (on balance) probably a good thing. However, they are convinced that their cause is more important than any other on the planet, and this is not ok. Take for example, PETA activist Pamela Anderson's attempt to derail the ALS Association's fundraising drive because some of the money the organization raises goes to studies that test on animals. Anderson determined that her cause was more important, because, after all, her cause is part of who she is.
To be clear, alleviating suffering for animals is a good thing -- only sociopaths would want to see animals suffer. But, from an objective point of view, it clearly isn't the most important cause in the world.
Here are 7 causes that almost certainly trump animal rights:
1) Global warming
An intergovernmental report indicated that up to 100 million people will die from the effects of global warming within the next 16 years if serious action isn't taken to stop cooking the planet. That's not to mention the catastrophic damage to eco systems, rising sea levels and enormous economic volatility. Global warming threatens to destabilize much of human civilization, and should be way up there on the list of causes to get involved in.
2) Preventing nuclear war
According to a Nobel Peace Prize-winning team of physicians peer-reviewed study in April 2012, a nuclear conflict between India and Pakistan would almost certainly mean "the end of civilization," while a war between the U.S. and Russia would mean the distinct possibility of the "extinction of the human race." Yes, it's bad to hurt mice when testing new drugs, but the end of humanity probably trumps this.
3) World hunger
According to the World Food Program, hunger kills more people than AIDS, tuberculosis, and malaria combined. Around 842 million people on the planet do not have enough to eat on a daily basis, and starvation is one of the leading killers of children under the age of five.
4) Access to clean water
The United Nations declares that "1.2 billion people, or almost one-fifth of the world's population, live in areas of physical scarcity, and 500 million people are approaching this situation." To boot, "another 1.6 billion people, or almost one quarter of the world's population, face economic water shortage". If the trend continues, around two-thirds of the planet's population will be living under "water stressed conditions" by 2025.
5) Defeating the Islamic State
The Islamic State is absolutely terrifying, and threatens to engulf the Middle East in a sea of fundamentalist savagery. The organization that grew out of Al Qaeda is growing explosively and killing everything that gets in its way. It is unclear whether we should do anything to try and stop it given our history of botched interventions in the Middle East, but beheading children, posting soldiers heads on spikes, and committing mass genocide is surely a cause worthy of our attention in some form.
6) Finding a cure for cancer
Cancer is one of the leading causes of deaths world wide. Cancer rates are also rising and will be responsible for 22 million deaths a year within two decades. If there were a cause to get involved in, it would be stopping people using tobacco given it is the most important risk factor for cancer, causing over 20% of global cancer deaths and 70% of global lung cancer deaths. So yes, stop transporting cattle in cramped environment, but also get people to stop smoking.
7) Stopping the spread of Ebola
You definitely do not want to get the Ebola virus - a disease now spreading at an alarming rate in Subsaharan Africa . The disease is so lethal that it has a fatality rate up to 90%. Symptoms include: "The sudden onset of fever, intense weakness, muscle pain, headache and sore throat. This is followed by vomiting, diarrhoea, rash, impaired kidney and liver function, and in some cases, both internal and external bleeding." Then of course, you die.
Remember, animal rights activists, your cause is important. But not more important than these.
Feature image credit: The Telegraph