I don’t know about you, but it seems like Americans these days are getting to be softies on animal cruelty. I mean, come on, is it really so bad to put a little crack in your cat’s catnip? Is it so terrible to make your dog wear a diaper? What’s so terrible about dunking a bunny rabbit in molasses? Pets love that stuff; it’s just that the people at PETA — the same brilliant crew who decided to rename fish “sea kittens” — would have us believe that doing anything except feeding an animal three times a day is morally wrong, deserving of jail time, and probably psychotherapy, too. The way I see it, animals need challenges, just like young adults, and what doesn’t kill ‘em only makes ‘em stronger, and better for telling stories about.
So that’s why I was confused when I heard the story of a goat named Brett. Some honest Minnesotan — bless her heart — shaved a number 4 into a its evil wool, then spraypainted it purple and gold, then taught it the Minnesota Vikings themesong and a couple of cheerleading moves, and then tied it up (or maybe she tied it up first) and shoved it in the trunk of her car. She stopped to get her car fixed, and then some meddling car mechanic discovered the goat-in-the-trunk, alerted the authorities, and foiled her plan to rid the world of one more evil creature (it was to be ritualistically slaughtered, Minnesota style, whatever that is). The goat stayed in the picture (adopted by some eco-hippies who probably have a glass tank full of sea kittens), and the Minnesotan was charged with animal cruelty misdemeanors.
Here’s the thing I don’t get: where was the cruelty? Do goats not like being tied up with rope? Do they prefer velcro, or those kinky fake handcuffs? Do they not like taking naps in the dark? Is anyone willing to argue that putting a goat in a trunk is any worse than putting a cat in one of those plastic-cat-carrier-boxes that people use to take their cats on planes? I hear cats LOVE those things. And besides: goats are evil! Hello Minnesotans: you should be aware of these things. As always, there’s work to be done.