PETA announced today that on September 18, Michael Vick successfully completed its seminar on "Developing Empathy for Animals," an eight-hour course that concludes with a written exam that PETA described as "rigorous."
Vick was immediately pardoned and given PETA's "Animal Rights Hero" award, after a ticker-tape parade in which he rode along with Jesus in a carriage happily drawn by animals from endangered species. The parade ended under a rainbow.
Actually, PETA says it still thinks Vick should go to jail and says it told him that before he took the course. But, it says, he showed up anyway, listened to speakers, took notes, and "even asked questions." The questions he asked were not reported, nor have I yet been able to find a copy of Vick's answers to the written exam. (They must be out there somewhere.) Whether the test is "rigorous" is debatable and might depend on how it is graded. Among the short-answer questions is this puzzler:
10. Describe what a dog let into a warm home on a cold night might feel. In contrast, describe what a dog left outside, chained on a cold night, might feel.
Let's see: (a) warmer; (b) in contrast, colder?
(Warning: answer above may not result in full credit.)
On the other hand, the required essay questions seem more difficult, including:
Dr. Albert Schweitzer wrote, "In the past we have tried to make a distinction between animals [who] we acknowledge have some value and others [who], having none, can be liquidated when we wish." Please discuss this statement, providing at least one example from modern times.
That one might have been more of a challenge for Mr. Vick, who did not finish college -- which is not at all to say he is stupid, given the size of the NFL contract that was waiting for him. He just may not have had a chance to fully develop his essay-writing skills.
Coincidentally, Vick is scheduled to be sentenced on December 10 on the federal charges to which he pleaded guilty, and has a November trial date on related state charges.