Apparently, loving people is a crime

Frank Yonkof

The “animal rights” community was certainly unhappy with my column last week (“Humans always come before animals,” March 1) when I stated that I would never donate money to an animal shelter because I would much rather donate to human causes.

It provided good entertainment as one girl compared me to “Hitler, Stalin and Caesar” before claiming my editors should be “euthanized” for printing such a view, that a human life is more precious than that of an animal.

But the most entertaining response came from fellow columnist Thisanjali Gangoda (“Humans are animals…,”March 4), who was not too happy with the fact that human beings come first in my book.

“Once again, Mr. Yonkof has proved to be insensitive, illogical and one-sided in framing his arguments, this time about why animals are less worthy creatures than humans.”

I suspect that she jumped to conclusions about things I simply never said.

For the record, I never discouraged people from donating to animal shelters. Why? Because I really don’t care if they do or don’t.

I’ll be the first to admit that I’m passionate about my opinions and have no problem putting them out there. But at the end of the day, I rarely (if ever) claim my ideas are the “truth.” I’m just here to provide my worldview on things. And no one is forcing Gangoda to read my columns, especially when I have never finished reading any of hers.

What I did discourage in that last column, however, is the mindset that humans and animals are on the same level. It’s a sad, sad day when a self proclaimed “human rights activist” cannot stand up for the basic right that human beings, while never perfect, deserve to be treated with more respect than an animal.

What I did not say was that animal abuse is justifiable in any way. Surely people are responsible for the animals they choose to own, and I would never kick a puppy because it was in my way. But if I had to choose between saving a child or a kitten from a fire, I would surely save the kid.

I thought everyone would do the same. But apparently, I was mistaken.

Gangoda is living in a Disney fairy tale when she makes statements on how animals and people are “one of the same.” Even better, “No two causes are alike and no one cause trumps another in importance.” So I guess the Facebook group “Bring back Saved by the Bell” is just as legitimate as the Make a Wish Foundation?

To be quite honest, I’m not upset that Gangoda chose to attack my column. If she was in one of my classes, I would have no problem making friendly conversation with her. I guess I was more disappointed she missed the main point of my column: Some people give more respect to animals than they do to people.

Was it really fair for someone on to claim that my editors should be “euthanized” because I simply wrote an opinion she didn’t like? I know online commentators are sometimes unbalanced, but talking about killing a human because I refuse to donate to an animal shelter?

It goes to show you that a column can be taken wildly out of context. The idea was simple, but in the end, it proved too simple for many to handle, and everyone was analyzing what I supposedly stopped short of saying.

I think after two weeks of back and fourth snickering, people are tired of all this ForumpPage drama. Lord knows those Thursday girls are crazy, and I for one am looking forward to getting back to talking about less controversial topics like politics and religion.

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