Letter to editor: No turtle kissing

Philadelphia Inquirer
(Read letter on Philadelphia Inquirer webpage — scroll past two other letters to access David Cantor’s letter)

August 28, 2023

To the Editor:

The CDC warning against kissing turtles and some other animals exploited as pets is smart (“Kissing a Turtle? Cut It Out, CDC Says, and Make It Snappy,” August 24, 2023). It will also be wise for our species to go much further and phase out all deliberate contact with other animals. Everything human beings do to and with other animals and their natural homes and ecosystems is animal abuse, and animal abuse is the main source of human misery. Radical innovations such as hunting, fishing, breeding other animals, and using animals for food despite our herbivorous nature and for companionship, clothing, and other purposes generate calamities that have intensified for thousands of years along with human population growth and unnatural living.

Infectious and nutritional diseases are the most obvious of these calamities. The former includes COVID-19, Ebola, AIDS, smallpox, bubonic plague, and many more. The latter: heart disease, stroke, many cancers and autoimmune diseases, and osteoporosis. Massive dead zones in the oceans result from agrochemical runoff from crops used to feed animals raised for food. A 2021 data-based estimate of human-generated greenhouse gasses from raising animals for food is 87%. Those are just the broad strokes. The animal abuse revolution is so far-reaching that confronting it appears the only way to understand and eventually solve the mega-problems that make each day’s news so painful to contemplate.

David Cantor, founder and director, Responsible Policies for Animals, Glenside, dcantor@rpa1.org