Was walking around the shopping mall where the big Nordstrom is located, on Michigan Avenue, and I spotted free food. To be precise, free dog food. It was located near the Guest Lounge area for the Marriott Hotel, so I suppose it was a special service for those who decided to vacation with their dogs. If you ask me, I think they would draw more customers if they had free human food instead.

But I find that sometimes that’s what reality is – animals are treated better than humans, a luxury that we could afford ever since the publication of books like Black Beauty and White Fang. And although I’m not trying to put down things Greenpeace and animal activists are doing, I sometimes wish people would just stop and think, “What is the priority here?”

I was once stopped in downtown Chicago (separate event) by a person from some anti-dog fighting group, who wanted me to fund the organisation they were representing to close down dog fighting rings in Africa. Since I actually had some time, we got into this huge debate about whether our money should be used to help the actual people or to close down these fighting rings to save the dogs. One reason the activist used was that closing down these places would encourage people who bet on dog fights to look for a real job and stop wasting money on gambling, and go back to their families and take over their real responsibilities, while the child labour that’s invested into operations like these would be prevented. I mean, sure, it sounds all well and good, but who’s to say another arena wouldn’t just spring up somewhere else? Closing down dog fighting rings might help temporarily, but an addiction is still an addiction, and people might end up worse off because the more you try to stop them, the more they’d want to do it (think of the prohibition of alcohol in the US and what that amounted to).

Of course, that’s not saying that donating money to help the poor automatically works much better. But I feel like that actually helps people get back on their feet more effectively than closing down fighting rings, because it’s much more direct and immediate instead of doing things the roundabout way. Like a disease, poverty can only be cured when you eliminate the root of the problem, rather than by simply treating the symptoms.

Well, at any rate, being nice to all the dogs and cats and God’s creatures won’t hurt anyone’s character. It’s when people treat them better than other human beings that really irks me.


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