Monday, June 29, 2009

It makes you weep

In the video below, you can see President Obama interrupting a review with CNBC to swat a fly, which he then manages to dispatch to wherever persistent flies go.

Unbelievably, a group called People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals is now calling this piece of nifty fly swatting an 'execution!' They want the President to show more compassion, even to this least of 'animals.' I'm not sure that the fly would have been pleased to have been included in the animal kingdom, being an insect by nature, but plainly Bruce Friedrich, the Vice President for Policy and Government Affairs at PETA thinks it should have been.

"We support compassion for even the smallest animals," says Bruce Friedrich, V.P. for Policy at PETA. "We support giving insects the benefit of the doubt." He continues by saying that PETA supports "brushing flies away rather than killing them" and was disappointed that the President had killed the fly.

I'm not exactly sure how the fly should have been given the benefit of the doubt: had it just taken diet pills, and so was a little more dizzy/buzzy than usual? Had it stumbled into the White House under the illusion that this was actually Fly Heaven and therefore, being an otherwise well-behaved fly, it had every right to be there? Was it protesting some particular fly Policy or Government Affair and hoping to heard by the President himself? Had it been swatted out of the room next door by some underling? We'll never know.

In case you think I'm anti-fly, I'm not. Many years ago a friend of mine expressed distaste at my longstanding habit of swatting flies with a newspaper and squashing them on the window. I forsook the habit from that time on, and have tried to let the plainly unhappy creatures back out into the wild. I still don't care for their propensity to find their way into the house in the first place, particularly when there is food on the table, but I forgive them for doing something they're probably built to do. I haven't yet understood why God made them in the first place, though I guess something's got to clean up the dung on this planet, and flies seem to have first dibs at the task.

I still don't understand why it is that when I sit in the bay window in my house, enjoying the sunshine and trying to do the cryptic crossword, flies seem to think I will enjoy their interminable buzzing. Our cat, which is now about seven months old, was so fast when she was a kitten that she could chase and catch flies - and eat them. Now that's dispatching. It was difficult to discourage her.

Meanwhile, Bruce Friedrich's group sent the president a Katcha Bug device, which traps bugs and allows their safe release back into nature. (Bruce is also on the governing board of the Catholic Vegetarian Society, the advisory board of the Christian Vegetarian Association, and is a founding member of the Society of Ethical and Religious Vegetarians. Groups I never knew existed.)
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