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The above Article is Copyrighted (c) 2004-2012 Gilberts' K-9 Seminars.
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LANGUAGE IS IMPORTANT - WORDS HAVE MEANING
By E. M. Gilbert Jr.

“The pen is mightier than the sword.” Edward Bulwer-Lytton

“Watch your language!” Some years ago that was stated when a person used profanity. Now we in pet owning community need to heed this caution. Our use of language can affect our ownership of pets.

“Overpopulation” is not and never has been a problem in the US . The word carries a perception, yet the word is undefined. The problem has been, and still is “irresponsible ownership”.

Why is it important to make that distinction? – They are only words you say.

Any solution to “overpopulation” is control of the population. Population control is primarily accomplished by either restricting breeding, restricting ownership, or control over fertility via spay and neuter.

While “irresponsible ownership” requires education and in extreme cases nuisance legislation. This legislation would involve health, noise, animal cruelty and leash laws.

Using another undefined term “puppy mill” plays into the hands of the Animal Rights activists. When introduced into legislation there is a number associated with the term. During the legislative process the number is decreased and finally the breeders find out they are the all “puppy mills.” Sometimes the number remains in the acceptable category – but once passed into law is amended - and nobody was looking. The law makes law-abiding citizens into common criminals. There is no such thing as a “puppy mill” – yes, there are irresponsible breeders. In most cases existing laws can eliminate those from our midst. Irresponsible breeders violate health, animal cruelty and nuisance laws. The real issue is the welfare of the puppies not the number of puppies.

Even the use of the word “pets” is being challenged by the Animal Rights fraternity. They would replace “pets” with “companion animals”, because “pets” connotates ownership. The perception of the term “companion animal” does not connotate ownership. This change in terminology makes the case for animal law whereby the “companion animal” can sue its “care taker.”

In the language of the debate -Perception does matter. Positive PR does count.

“He who controls the language of the debate, wins the debate.” E. M. Gilbert Jr.