A B.C. newspaper has apologized for a column that said "dogs are easily replaced" while sympathizing with the woman who let six pets die in a hot truck last year.
Adrian MacNair, who writes for The Now Newspaper in Surrey, sparked an uproar with his column this week. In it, he showed compassion for dog walker Emma Paulsen, who was sentenced to six months in jail for causing the deaths of six dogs in her care.
“I felt sympathy because Paulsen is going to lose her right to freedom over the death of six animals who, at the end of the day, are essentially inconsequential to this world,” MacNair wrote.
“Although I enjoyed having a dog and I can understand how people get emotionally attached to their pets, I have to say that fatherhood changed my perspective on the human-animal hierarchy.”
He continued to argue that an “arbitrary social construct” has made it legal to slaughter other animals but send Paulsen to jail for canine deaths, and that people should start taking care of one another rather than worry so much about dogs.
"Dogs are easily replaced," he wrote.
The piece inflamed readers who commented on The Now’s Facebook page and on Twitter.
@adrianmacnair I do hope that you realise, in time, how hurtful your words were, and that dogs are not disposable - they are family.— Ashraf Khan (@AshrafCan) February 5, 2015
@adrianmacnair Awful column. Comparing the slaughter of livestock for food to killing of dogs?When was the last time you ate dog, in Canada?— Hayley Kenyon (@itsme_hayleyK) February 5, 2015
Eventually, MacNair had to address the acid-tinged tweets coming his way.
Regardless of what people think about my opinions, it's actually not cool to ask for my murder, torture and confinement in prison.— Adrian MacNair (@adrianmacnair) February 5, 2015
On Thursday morning, the paper's editor Beau Simpson issued an apology.
“While I support our columnists’ right to hold — and publish — opinions that may be unpopular, as editor, I accept responsibility for allowing such viewpoints to be expressed in a callous, insensitive and disrespectful manner,” Simpson wrote.
“I would like to thank those of you who have taken the time to call, email or comment on the Now's Facebook page. Many of us in the newsroom share your compassion for animals and your opinions are important to me.”
A counterpoint column by Christopher Poon was also published by newspaper.
“Perhaps the biggest flaw in MacNair’s logic is that dogs are, ‘essentially inconsequential to this world.’ That should have probably read, ‘inconsequential to MY world,’” he wrote.
“You could argue that humans are also inconsequential to this world in that we’re all organic matter that will end up in the dirt someday. Someone living in the next city over may not even be aware that you or I exist and thus, we’re inconsequential to their world.”
What do you think of the column? Let us know in the comments.
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