New Jersey has had a growing bear problem in recent decades, as black bears invade towns and neighborhoods across the state, but especially in the Northern and Western parts of the state. The bears are not just a nuisance. They threaten property and lives, including children and pets. In response, NJ now has an annual bear hunt, to contain and control the bear population.
But not everyone is happy about the state’s efforts to control the bears. Some value bears over people.
The NJ Star-Ledger addressed this issue in a December 2015 editorial, which ran just after the bear hunt ended. In It's either the bears, or the Boy Scouts, the New Jersey Star-Ledger editorialized::
Animal rights activists say New Jersey doesn’t have a bear problem, it has a human problem. We are invading the bears’ natural habitat. We are disturbing their hibernation spots.
We are told that if there is any threat, it is from the unsealed garbage and grills we leave outside that lure bears into our neighborhoods. Not the bears in the woods.
Well tell that to the Boy Scout leader who just had to fight one off with a rock hammer — in the woods — in front of some horrified kids.
Once again, this mauling makes it clear: It's them or us.
Guess who the so-called animal “rights” activists choose?
I left these comments:
The discussion must begin with a fundamental question: “What is your moral standard of value: human life or non-human life?” Animal “rights” activists, by logical inference, answer affirmative to the second. To them, every life form has a “right” to live by their nature, except for the only life form for whom the concept of rights actually applies—human beings.
Unlike all other living creatures, humans survive and thrive by altering and reshaping the natural environment through reason-guided physical labor. Man’s survival thus requires pushing aside other animal species. Humans don’t just randomly inhabit. Humans develop and build. By our very nature, to live is to invade some animal’s “natural habitat.”
Animal “rights” activists, by asserting the ridiculous notion that animals have rights (try teaching a cat that a mouse has a right to life), they are effectively obliterating man’s rights. They respect every living creature’s “right” to live according to its nature; every creature, that is, except man. To them, the things we build—from homes to office buildings to shopping malls to courthouses to power plants to roads to reservoirs—are not “natural,” even though to live a life proper to man requires them and much, much more. If we accept the animal “rights” activists’ moral premise, no life-furthering productive work humans do is ever morally acceptable. Humans, to them, must abandon their natural means of survival and live like animals—which means, essentially, to not live at all.
Everything I’ve said here is logically implicit in the idea of animal rights embodied in the bear defenders’ belief that “We are invading the bears' natural habitat.” If it is wrong to infringe on a bear’s natural habitat, then it is wrong to infringe on any animal’s natural habitat. It’s one thing to protect animals against wanton cruelty at the hands of a few bad humans. But the most wantonly cruel thing any human can do is to value animals over humans. And that’s the moral state of the bear champions; they defend the “right” of bears to live by their nature, while forbidding humans to live by theirs—or even to protect themselves from predatory bears. The bear advocates are not politically Left or Right. They are anti-humanists, as is their animal “rights” movement.
I received this reply to my comments:
Your continual dismissal of "animal rights activists" also clearly indicates to me that you have no knowledge of what they believe, which basically is maintaining a logical balance in our natural habitats.
Actually, I know exactly what animal rights advocates believe. The idea of “maintaining a logical balance in our natural habitats” proves my point. Logical, by what standard? The very premise denies human nature. Humans don’t have a “natural habitat.” There is no inherently correct “balance” in nature. Humans must create their habitat. Unlike all other species, which have the means to adapt to the natural background, humans are not equipped by nature to survive in an unaltered environment. Habitats suitable to humans simply don’t exist in nature. Humans must reshape and rebalance nature; i,e., adapt his natural background, to the extent of his ability, to his needs—and that includes controlling the bear population to minimize the danger they pose to our lives and property.
For the record, I don’t call for wholesale elimination of species, or wanton disregard for nature. My beliefs are based on observable facts of reality. In point of fact, humans must do exactly as you said we shouldn’t do—“control our natural environment”—to survive. The fact that one of you animal rights activists even suggests that humans shouldn’t proves my point.
Why They're Human Rights—Russell Paul La Valle
The Animal "Rights" Threat to Human Rights