Let’s put human beings first

It’s amazing that it takes something like geese to get the troops fired up.

The news that NIU plans to somehow get rid of the geese around the East Lagoon is the biggest issue around. As Illinois tries to climb out of soaring budget problems that have state universities falling in the hole and seven men are running around the country to be elected president, people want to talk about geese.

Well, let’s talk about geese.

The University Campus Environmental Committee wants to do away with the geese because they are dirty and leave their droppings everywhere. Committee members also said the geese are bad for the grass.

Letters are pouring into the Star offices, children are protesting and the Student Association is passing resolutions, all about the geese. There are so many other important things, but they apparently pale in the face of geese.

If there’s anything important about this situation, it’s the question of animal rights. Do these geese have a right to stay in DeKalb and wander around campus? Can NIU interfere with the rights of the geese and move them? Did NIU even have the right to bring them here?

Probably. No one is stopping the geese from wandering. Once they’ve been moved, they’ll undoubtedly be allowed to waddle around as much as they like. NIU somehow brought the geese to campus and can move them if officials decide that’s what they want to do.

For now, animals are considered property. Most are raised by farmers with the express intent to sell them. Most often, it’s for food.

Students who believe in animal rights will argue that we as humans shouldn’t exert any kind of authority over animals. They’ll say animals have as much right as humans to tour the earth and make decisions for themselves.

But animals can’t. They can’t speak. Sure, they have nonverbal cues to express what they want, but really aren’t capable of communicating more than that. The action of people who defend animals rights shows animals need someone—humans—to protect their interests. Are rights, therefore, inherent if someone else must protect them?

It’s disturbing to watch animal rights advocates and activists get out of hand. Friday, an animal rights group broke into a Michigan State University laboratory to sabotage a mink research program. Thirty years of research was destroyed.

This senseless attack accomplished little but to get rid of the professor’s research. MSU scientists say half of the research was done for mink farmers but half was to increase the population of minks and otters by studying what the effects of pollution in the rivers are. Now it’s gone. They’ve ruined his career—his livelihood—for animals.

In a bigger picture, this incident means nothing. Research on animals will continue, even at Michigan State. Wealthy women will continue to buy minks to wear and mink farmers will continue to grow them.

And animal rights activists will continue their mission. But they should look at what’s important and stop putting the rights of animals before the rights of others. There is enough injustice in our society without creating more in the name of animal rights.