Can I be so bold as to advance the radical notion that humans earn rights by living by a commonly accepted set of rules, and all you have to do is go to the zoo and watch the monkeys spend their day whacking off right in front of you to know they just don't play by our rules. All you can do is just stand there, saying, come on, give it a rest, Zippy, no wonder it's red.

Now, I don't want to get off on a rant here, but I was viewing a nature documentary on PBS with my son the other night. I wanted to impart into young Simba a sense of awe for the harmony of the cosmos. But as we watched the lion gnawing on a still-breathing gazelle while vultures lingered stoically for their shot at the fly-riddled carrion, it occurred to me that it might be better to install the V chip after all.

Because upon witnessing footage so savage that it would have ended up on Sam Peckinpah's cutting room floor, I recognized that on our worst day humans are eminently more good-natured than animals. Ever see a cat with a mouse? It makes Charlie Manson look like Mike Farrell.

And yet there are people out there, sane, rational beings who insist that humans should render unto animals all the basic rights. Rights, it would appear, ninety-nine percent of humanity doesn't even luxuriate in.

So to be evenhanded, what are some of the specifics of the animal rights argument?

Some claim that animals should not be exploited for entertainment purposes. Activists maintain that show business is demeaning to animals. Hey, it's show business, it's supposed to be demeaning. I don't know if you've noticed, but I'm not exactly doing Ibsen here, all right.

And come to think of it, I'm an animal. Where were the animal rights people when I signed my contract to be in that fucking Rebecca De Mornay film a while back?

You know the animal activists are antifur, and this has caused many fashion designers to now claim that they also are against fur because they care about the plight of animals, especially the ones that have been preapproved for the Platinum Card. Hey, if you designers are so altruistic, why don't you stop having your jeans sewn in Guatemalan sweat shops by fourteen-year-old girls who make twenty dinari for a sixteen-hour day and get to pee less frequently than the guy in the middle seat on a wide-body L-1011 that's heading to sumo camp?

And while we're at it, what makes the fashion industry think that the opinions of these supermodels has more weight or importance simply because they happened to hit the pick six in the genetic lottery?

And by the way, when did supermodels start talking?

And the animal rights lobby also preaches vegetarianism to varying degrees. Look, the philosophy behind shunning meat for moral reasons has more loopholes than Steve Forbes's long form, all right. Animal rights activists believe that as the most evolved carbon-based entity on the planet, we have a responsibility to coexist in harmony with our feathered, finned, and furred pals rather than forcing them to serve our needs.

Yeah, and I'm sure that if I were wandering naked across the Serengeti Plain and happened to come across a pride of lions who were feeling peckish, they'd show me the same fucking courtesy. Come on, in less time than it takes to say "two all-Miller patties" I'd be chili con carnage.

Now, of course there are some commonsense things that we can do right away to improve our relationship with the animal kingdom.

1. Don't feed your dog peanut butter. Unless, of course, the cable goes out for a few seconds.

2. After blowing marijuana smoke into your cat's mouth, make sure there is plenty of accessible string nearby.

3. Cockfights are bad. I don't think that there is an American out there who doesn't strongly believe that we need stricter cockfight regulation. I know all of us have taken our kids to the local cockfight and thought, "Man, these basement arenas are just not being kept up." Remember how great cockfights used to be when we were kids? Now they don't even get the names of the cocks right in the program. Cockfighting has just gotten way too commercial.

All right, so much for the dispassionate sarcasm. On the other side of the menu, I mean ledger, I don't think it's right to test cosmetics by trying them on animals first. Bugs Bunny's proclivity for dressing in drag to dupe Elmer Fudd notwithstanding, rabbits as a species aren't especially fond of being forced to wear more makeup than RuPaul at Mardi Gras. However, if we're talking essential medical research that will save human lives, well, I don't give a rat's ass about ... a rat's ass. You know, if it's between my heart or a gorilla's ... sorry, Koko. It's been nice signing with you.

The needs of the many outweigh the needs of the few, or the one. That's from Trek. Pretty cool, huh?

As long as there are Pomeranians in this country who live better than segments of the two-legged population, the animal rights activists' arguments are about as water-tight as the set of A Night to Remember.

Call it karma, call it luck of the biological draw, call it whatever you want to call it, Dr. Doolittle, but in the interspecies battle of the bands, humans rock the hardest. Now, get over it.

Of course, that's just my opinion, I could be wrong.


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