Media Say Award-Winning Dog Was “Murdered,” Never Say That About Aborted Babies

International   |   Steven Ertelt   |   Mar 11, 2015   |   1:20PM   |   Washington, DC

An awful person poisoned “Jagger,” a prize wining Irish setter. The killing was a terrible cruelty and a serious crime of animal abuse. I hope the criminal is caught and suitably punished.

But it wasn’t “murder.”

Only human beings can be murdered, which is defined as an illegal homicide with malice aforethought.

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Yet, the international media is all over this story, frequently calling Jagger’s killing, a “murder.” The Us story is just one example:

A canine competing in the Crufts Dog Show in Birmingham, England, has been shockingly murdered. The 3-year-old Irish setter, named Jagger, who scored second place in his class at the prestigious dog show, was allegedly fed a poisoned steak prior to entering the ring on Thursday, March 5, his owners tell Reuters.

The language we use matters. I love dogs, but the killing of a dog is not an equal wrong to the murder of a human being.


Animal rights activists think to the contrary. To them, “a rat, is a pig, is a dog, is a boy.”

Alas, that attitude leaks into stories such as this, more as a matter of sentimentality than ideology, but blurs proper and morally important distinctions, nonetheless. Note: Wesley J. Smith, J.D., is a special consultant to the Center for Bioethics and Culture and a bioethics attorney who blogs at Human Exeptionalism.