Furry Harvest

Burkhard Bilger’s recent New Yorker piece on the increasingly extravagant lengths to which Americans will go to preserve the health of their pets was, curiously, not filed under "Shouts & Murmurs."  A passage that could have come from the cutting room floor of Best In Show:
Levering sighed and shook his head. Lady was already anemic, asthmatic, and congenitally blind. She had been born on the streets of Wilmington four years earlier, and dropped at a local animal clinic at the age of six months. Soon after Levering and his wife adopted her, she became allergic to her own tooth enamel. "That was a weird thing," Levering said. "Never heard of that before." But he had willingly paid four hundred dollars to have all her teeth pulled. In retrospect, it seemed like a bargain.
The article also features the chronicle of a feline kidney transplant, which immediately provoked in me the question: If the people involved in such procedures are, with or without design, contributing to a wider awareness of animal autonomy, how then do they secure organ donor consent in these situations?  Are we going to accord a greater degree of personhood to the Lhasa Apso with an owner willing to drop thousands of dollars on surgery, and at the same time seize without hesitation the liver of the stray mutt from the inner city?  The implications for unemancipated minors and the uninsured are unsettling.

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