Humans always come before animals

Frank Yonkof

Whenever I see that Sarah McLachlan American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals commercial on TV, I have to change the channel in protest.

It’s not that I have anything against her song “Angel” or animals in general, it’s just the combination of such a beautiful and uplifting song with the abuse footage that makes for a ridiculous ad. Even more offensive was the Christmas version featuring the song “Silent Night.”

I guess I have major problems with someone telling me to donate to fight animal abuse when there are children starving throughout the world.

Surely no one could dispute that helping a human being is way more important that helping an animal, no matter what the circumstance is.

I could never bring myself to donate to an animal shelter, because I know that would be one fewer dollar I could give to a soup kitchen to feed a hungry family. I almost feel like I would be haunted for days by the fact that I chose to help an animal over a person.

Now in all fairness, McLachlan has done many other philanthropic works that do not involve animals, and I suppose it is possible to be passionate about helping people and animals.

But it just seems like many people today give more respect to animals than to the average person walking down the street. Most all of us stop to pet a dog when it walks by, but how many of us take the time to say a friendly “hello” to a person who passes by?

We all know someone who acts like his or her dog is a real person. And from my personal experience, these people tend to treat their pets better than their own children.

One person I know openly confessed that she likes her dog better than her child and explained it like this: When she comes home at night, her kid is always complaining, while her dog is always happy to see her.

Of course this is the same person who was upset with a friend for getting a new dog three days after the old one died. To her, “you can’t just replace a member of the family” that quickly.

It’s easy for some people to forget that their pet is an animal. But analyzing it at a deeper level, these people would rather be absorbed in their pets than to work toward making human relationships stronger with family and friends around them.

It is no surprise that this comes at a time when human trust is on the decline. Over the last 30 years, the General Social Survey has recorded a 10 percent decline in the number of Americans who feel they can generally trust people.

Conventional wisdom tells us not to trust each other. The media is always showcasing that rapist or killer who seems to constantly gain the trust of their victim, and that scares us all.

It’s just easier to trust animals. Although there are no official statics on the number of people who trust animals more than human beings, I think it’s fair to say that most probably feel safer around strange animals than they do strange people.

Still, there is no logical way to justify putting animals before humans. It is just wrong on so many levels.

I consider myself to be a huge pet lover, but at the end of the day, I could never swerve to miss an animal in the road at the risk of killing another driver and her or her passengers.

I guess my priorities lie in humans first. And I’m not ashamed of that.

Frank Yonkof is a sophomore newspaper journalism major and columnist for the Daily Kent Stater. Contact him at [email protected].