"I've noticed that quite a lot of people who are prominent in the animal liberation movement are Jews. Maybe we are simply not prepared to see the powerful hurting the weak." --Peter Singer (Author, Animal Liberation)


News From the Campaign Trail

Note: I don't mean to suggest that Judaism and animal rights should decide a presidential election. But they are the focus of this blog.

Sarah Palin
Tonight, all eyes in the political world were on Republican VP nominee and Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin as she gave a speech at the Republican National Convention. And who was the speechwriter she worked with? Matthew Scully, the author of Dominion: The Power of Man, the Suffering of Animals, and the Call to Mercy.

Today, the Austin American-Statesman ran a terrific article juxtaposing Palin's love for hunting and Scully's criticism of it. The piece included lengthy excerpts from Dominion. The article concluded: "So far today, no response from Scully about how he reconciles his work for Palin and his feelings about hunting. A political operative familiar with Scully offered this: 'Yeah, there is a kind of delicious irony re Scully working for the moose hunter, eh?'"

On Friday, Greenopolis ran a great piece about Palin's views on various issues related to animals and the environment. Reportedly, Palin hunts moose, wants polar bears not to be classified as endangered species, and supports the aerial hunting of bears and wolves. The post includes two photos of Palin wearing fur as well as one where she's sitting in front of a dead bear.

According to The Seattle Times, Palin's passion for hunting comes from her father, Chuck Heath, who has a "PETA — People For Eating Tasty Animals" bumper sticker on the trailer on his driveway. And according to Ecorazzi, "It turns out [Palin's] own parents had just returned from hunting caribou when they discovered that she had been tapped as Sen. John McCain’s running mate."

The Obamas
Click here to read my February post about Sen. Barack Obama, which includes a great quote from him about the treatment of animals.

For quite some time, it's been known that the Obama family plans to get a dog after the election. In July, Humane Society of the United States president and CEO Wayne Pacelle reportedly announced that the Obamas would adopt a dog. Earlier that month, Pacelle wrote, "The overwhelming view among animal advocates is that the Obamas should go to a shelter or breed rescue group to obtain a dog. With 3-4 million dogs and cats killed in public and private shelters, there are many lives to be saved, and the simple act of giving a home to a dog who might have faced euthanasia would do wonders for the cause of adoption from shelters."

Yesterday, the Forward reported that Michelle Obama's first cousin once removed is a rabbi. According to the paper, Rabbi Capers Funnye is the most prominent black rabbi in the U.S. The paper notes, "Funnye’s famous relative gives an unexpected twist to the much-analyzed relationship between Barack Obama and Jews in this presidential campaign."


  • At 9/04/2008 12:00 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    LOL, I hadn't even thought about that when I heard that Scully had written the speech!

  • At 9/09/2008 5:17 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said…


    Scully is working with the McCain-Palin campaign out of a shared abhorrence of Obama's support for infanticide, a position he shares to some extent with Peter Singer (who thinks it is OK to kill disabled infants during their first month of life). In Scully's world view (which I share on this issue), human life comes before animal life, and Obama's extremist position on abortion leads him to condone (through his votes as an Illinois state senator) the medical murder of disabled newborns who survive botched abortions. Palin's having recently given birth to a son with Down Syndrome calls this issue into stark relief.

    Animal advocates are often single-issue, and from a Jewish perspective putting animals ahead of human life is highly problematic, to say the least. Scully does not, and neither do I, put animals above people. And be patient here: I think Scully might well influence McCain and Palin on factory farming somewhere down the road, especially if they want to be seen as mavericks. At least the moose that Sarah Palin turned into mooseburger had a life in the Alaska wilderness before she shot and dressed it. The same cannot be said about chickens, turkeys, cattle, and pigs on our factory farms.


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