Sunday, April 30, 2006

People for the Ethical Treatment of People

Variation on a joke making the rounds

If more celebrities acted to stop tradegies like famine, the poorest and the richest would win. It does not matter if you like George Clooney or not, he did appeal to a crowd in Washington Sunday, to help the suffering refugees of Darfur in Sudan, Africa. Five countries in the Horn of Africa region of Africa have been stricken with genocide, famine, war, and malnutrition for years, and millions continue to die as a result. At a rally in Washington, high-profile speakers spoke to about 10,000 people bringing attention to the critical humanitarian crisis in Sudan. Sen. Barack Obama said, "If we care, the world will care. If we act, then the world will follow."

If Pam Anderson had used the media and even the Junos to bring attention to this inhumanity, then that could have brought in needed milions to get food, medicine and shelter for Africa's suffering. Instead, she chose to use her fame, time and energy to put an end to a humane and legal seal fishery, that helps feed and clothe 1000's of Canadians. The actions of celebs like Anderson have no doubt fattened the bank accounts of Animal Rights Activists(ARAs) groups. It's too bad that the image of a baby refugee does not stir the same outcry as a baby seal does. But that's not surprising because groups like PETA believe that animals have the very same rights as humans.

In our society a large measure of success is the accumulation of material things, or the means to acquire them. Many of us do give alright, but largely to ourselves. Success is not popularly associated with giving to or caring for others. That's why it is important for more influential people to set examples by showing the value of giving to people who have nothing. While ARAs take in tens of millions from people, they hardly spend any of it on animal shelters. I wonder how much of the revenue they get comes from donations sent during the seal hunt protests. Here is a sample of how some groups stand financially:

ARA GroupTax Year EndingIncomeYr End Net Worth
HSUSDec. 31, 2004$70,599,418$111,021,299
PETAJuly 31, 2004$28,926,924$11,479,793
SIERRA CLUBDec. 31, 2004$91,843,759$53,339,819
SSCSDec. 31, 2003$350,215$3,049,373

I do not know how much of the income is from seal protest fundraising, but with Paul Watson now on the Sierra Club's board of directors, more money will be funneled to other ARAs. It's too bad that people donated money to unnecessary seal protest crusades, when they could have spent it to help the poor and starving. This crisis is a real, daily, and urgent. Celebrities like Bono, Bob Geldof and others have made the celebrity a value added commodity because of their contributions to end world hunger. But more famous people can do their part to keep the hunger and poverty issues foremost in people's minds.

McCartney could have used his Larry King time to plead for help for the poor. His crusade against land mines was great, but now it is time to add another shirt to his on stage wardrobe, and promote the ethical treatment of desperate suffering people.