JUST BECAUSE IT ISN’T NECESSARILY SO
By E. M. Gilbert Jr.
Canine Chronicle, May 2008 contains an article 'Just Because, by Gretchen Bernardi" that contains the seeds of defeat in our battle with the Animal Rights ((AR) fanatics. Her initial point that use of exaggerations and questionable facts results in the crying wolf syndrome. Very true for the AR side - and that is what is causing the AR fanatics to lose the support of the general public.
Gretchen feels our side is guilty of this problem - but her examples are distortions of the facts.
In regard to ear cropping, owners and breeders who like the drop-eared look have the option to forego cropping. Those who prefer the cropped appearance and believe it has benefits should also have the right to choose. This writer supports the right of dog owners and veterinarians to choose ear cropping and to perform the surgery using modern medical techniques. We have been and are very breed specific in our defense of the practice and the freedom to choose.
The Council of Docked Breeds (CDB) in the UK campaigns to protect the freedom to choose the tail docking option. Based in the UK it is a non-profit making organization manned by dog breeders. "Since tail docking was banned in Sweden in 1989, there has been a massive increase in tail injuries amongst previously docked breeds. Within the 50 undocked Pointer litters registered in that year with the Swedish Kennel Club, 38% of dogs suffered tail injury before they were 18 months old and in 1991, the number of individuals with tail injures had increased to 51% of the group... The above investigation relates to German Shorthaired Pointers (GSP) conducted by the Swedish GSP Club.. A similar investigation has been conducted for German Wirehaired Pointers. It shows similar results." Exaggerations - no, just plain and simple facts.
Gretchen's dismissal of commercial breeders denies the fact that they have improved their lot considerably over the years. Read "A Different Point of View," by Betsy Cummings, Tribute Salukis. Her introductory paragraph states: "I got in late last night from Springfield, MO. What is there to interest me? Well, the 18th Spring Educational Seminar and Meeting of the Missouri Pet Breeders Association (MPBA). Yeah, the puppy mill folks. They prefer Professional Breeders. After what I saw this weekend, I'm quite willing to cut them some slack."
I do not know the statistics but it seems that the majority of the cases of inhumane treatment are by animal hoarders. People who have a psychological problem - not the professional breeders. Some use the term puppy mills - I have yet to hear or read a concise definition of the term. It generally means them and not us. In fact it is an AR term that is meant to stop debate and mislead politicians and the general public into believing we purebred dog breeders are evil. Note the PETA TV ads and HSUS statements.
In regard to Breed Specific Legislation (BSL) arguments are presented in debates, testimony and position papers. Not one of these formats are open to in depth discussion of the subject. Also the audience for these debates are politicians that have many concerns and therefore do not have the time to study each issue in depth. Effective presentation to this audience is based on consolidating data and only using the key points. Spending time on the history of the Bulldog in England dilutes our argument. We need to discuss the gentle, lovable Bulldog of today. Let our opponents waste their time on no longer valid points. We no longer bait bulls, so why discuss it. Yes, many breeds get caught in the guilt by association and looks. Just as was used by the Klu Klux Klan (KKK) against people. And that is what the AR fanatics are, a resurgence of the KKK against animals - and they use the same tactics.
The spay and neuter discussion that is used by Gretchen states we are against "all spaying and neutering." That is false as it is the charge the AR fanatics use against us. Everyone I have heard or read on the subject is in favor of non-mandatory spay and neuter. Also in favor of the decision to be made by the owner in consultation with their Vet. Incidentally I have never heard our side use the argument about spay and neuter fees, but have heard the argument against a dual system of licensing fees based on intact vs. a spayed or neutered animal. I do not consider this article questionable science - "Determining the Best Age at Which to Spay or Neuter: An Evidence-Based Analysis, By Margaret Root-Kustritz, DVM, PhD," Discoveries, AKC CHF, Issue 25 Spring 2008, or for entire article go to: www.akcchf.org. In the 1970's I worked with Actors and Others for Animals on a free spay and neuter program in the area of Watts in Los Angeles. I was threatened with my life when I went door to door offering free spay and neutering of their pets. We offered to take the animal to the Vet and return it - after two weeks we got less than 100 dogs and cats spayed and neutered in the Watts area.
When you are engaged with AR fanatics that threaten researchers and their family members, burn research facilities, and cause legitimate businesses to close down - it is hard to stop "denigrating, all of those who have different points of view." The Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) states that special interest extremism, as characterized by the Animal Liberation Front (ALF) and the Earth Liberation Front (ELF), has
emerged as a serious terrorist threat. Researchers have been murdered, but the assassins have never been found.
Because I strongly believe in the market place of ideas I have written this analysis. I still remember Chamberlain and his umbrella after meeting with Hitler proclaiming "Peace in out time." Thank God for Winston Churchill and his "Blood, sweat and tears." If the dog fancy does not believe we are in a battle for survival - then only God can help us. Yes, I believe in freedom, property rights, civil liberties - and most of all my religious beliefs - it is God, Mother and Country. Sorry, if that offends.