Moral Concern In Action – “Fat Boy” The Cat
News surfaced today of a cat named “Fat Boy” being rescued in Fresno, California. He had been stuck on a 45-foot high power pole for 9 days without food or water, which according to this article in The Sacramento Bee was no small feat, given the bad weather that had hit the city the last few days. “Fat Boy” was eventually brought down from the power pole by a Pacific Gas and Electric Co. lineman, to the delight of his human companion, Andrew Perez. Perez and his family had tried to enlist the help of the local fire department, and Silver Villa – owner of a local nonprofit called “Paw Lives Matter” – had had little luck attaining the help of the local tree surgeon. Villa was pretty upset by the whole ordeal and said that she didn’t get off the phone until “Fat Boy” was being rescued.
Power to 250 homes around the pole was shut off for a number of hours while the gas and electrics company made the rescue. According to the company spokesman, the 1,200 volt line had to first be de-energised, which explains why no other local services were able to help. The video that accompanies the article shows two lineman up on the pole, the first securing the lines and the second making the actual rescue to the applause and cheers of the crowd below. “Fat Boy” is then reunited with his human companions who are clearly overjoyed with his return.
Stories like this are interesting because they demonstrate the profound moral concern that most people have for animals. Yes, “Fat Boy” is a cat – an animal that we fetishise in western society – but the concern that the local people of Fresno demonstrated for him tells us that the majority of people are educable about veganism. We are willing to cut off power to 250 homes to save the life of one animal, yet do not consider rationally the implications of that concern. It informs us that we believe animals have some moral value; it tells us that we do not think of them as things, but individuals who value their lives – a life that we fear for when in danger. As it stands, most people only recognise the implication of their concern with the animals we fetishise, but the existence of that concern in the first place tells us that these people are primed and ready to hear rational and logical arguments that will take their concern to its rational conclusion.
Every person who was concerned for “Fat Boy” is a person who has the potential to be vegan. The mainstream “animal movement” rejects this idea and instead of taking this concern and bringing it to fruition, they deface it and warp it into something ugly. They make a business – and earn a lot of money – out of telling these people they can exploit animals “compassionately.” It is our job, as abolitionist educators, to cut through the smog and toxic clouds the mainstream “movement” pumps into society and speak logically and truthfully with those who are genuinely concerned for animal interests. To make good on our claim that animals have moral value, anything less than veganism is nothing but a deadly contradiction.
The responsibility is ours; those with the requisite concern are quite literally next door, or behind you in the shopping line. To learn how to become a better educator, I recommend reading Eat Like You Care and Animal Rights The Abolitionist Approach by Professors Gary Francione and Anna Charlton. There are also numerous essays to help you get started on the abolitionist approach website, along with the How Do I Go Vegan main page.