Posts Tagged ‘Animal Rights’

The politics of puppy mills

January 26, 2009

Over the past few years I have seen a lot of material come through on my emails about the evils of puppy mills, the abuses of puppy mills and the demands for legislation to put them out of business.

It all kind of came into focus for me after the U.S. election and the manufactured uproar over then Vice President Elect Joe Biden buying a purebred pup and not getting it from a shelter and the hoopla over what kind of a dog then President Elect Barack Obama would get for his daughters and his expectation that it would come from a shelter and not from a breeder.

The thrust of the rhetoric left the impression that there was somehow something wrong with buying a dog from a registered breeder and that got me to thinking about just what the definition of a puppy mill had become.

Twenty years ago, people knew that a “puppy mill” was a substandard kennel where unhealthy, overbred dogs were kept in horrendous conditions.

Today it’s not so easy. In the last decade of the 20th Century, activist groups began to broaden the term to cover just about any kennel that they didn’t like. As a result, commercial kennels and hobby breeders with more than an arbitrary number of dogs or litters have become targets for anti-breeding groups that lobby for laws to restrict these law-abiding operations. These organizations stir up public support for breeding restrictions and high license fees by deliberately blurring the lines between responsible breeding operations and real puppy mills. They use emotional rhetoric and pictures of dirty kennels and sickly dogs to imply that most or all breeders will subject their dogs to abusive lives unless they are regulated.

Shelter and rescue workers who receive dogs from raids on squalid kennels often lead the fight for laws restricting or regulating breeding in an effort to close kennels they label as puppy mills. Some responsible breeders are so incensed at the existence of substandard kennels that they are willing to accept these punitive licensing schemes even though the costs may limit or destroy their breeding programs.

Lawmakers who write bills aimed at preventing puppy mills leave the definitions up to those who lobby for the laws. As a result, publicity campaigns highlight kennels where dozens or hundreds of dogs are kept in poor conditions, but the bills themselves often target responsible hobby and commercial breeders with far fewer breeding dogs.

That being said, when you search the internet for puppy mill stories, or more correctly, bad breeder stories, it is pretty horrific. However the demands by animals rights groups for laws that will limit the number of breeding dogs a person keeps is not something that will solve the problem of dogs being kept under substandard conditions.

It would seem obvious that a bad breeder is just that; someone who abuses his animals through deplorable living conditions, poor medical care and just all around bad breeding practices. It would not make any difference whether he had 50 or 2 breeding animals in his kennels.

If legislators are going to pass laws to correct the problem of puppy mills (in the true context of the name) they need to deal with real abuses on site and the closing down of bad operators and not on the theoretical possibility of problems because a breeder has more animals than the arbitrary number set by statute.

But as noted, it is the activists that drive the wording of the legislation and what they want is to shut down commercial breeding operations or, at least, limit the practice as much as possible.

This is standard operating practice, a case in point being the attempt to re-write the federal animal cruelty Act, but the activists pushing the legislation insisted on wording that made user groups extremely wary of the intent. Their refusal to compromise ended up dooming the passing of the legislation.

I would normally point out that the same philosophy was implemented into the writing of the Federal Firearms Act, but it was suggested to me by someone who claims genetic linkage that I have a regrettable habit of letting my rants slide into the gun control area. So I won’t.


Happy New Year: We can only hope!

January 1, 2009

To all of you who wander by this site from time to time, I wish you all the best in the coming year.

We can only hope that the economy finally stabilizes and starts a steady upward climb. It may be overly optimistic, but 2008 did end on a bit of an upturn. Maybe that’s an omen.

It would be nice to see the federal gun registration disappear off the books. I think the government could really make it happen if it was a priority for them. But unfortunately that doesn’t seem to be the case. We get lip service, but no serious action. Actually, the Federal Firearms Act needs to be completely re-written with the intent of making it more friendly to law-abiding gun owners, but unless we can get someone sympathetic to the issue, whether a senior bureaucrat or a highly ranked politician with the balls to push for an intelligent review of the current mess, that is unlikely to happen.

Will 2009 be the year when the media finally figures out the animal rights movement and quits pimping their message? Probably not, but you would think that there would come a time.

Is this winter the turning point for the global warming religion? As much as I would rather see some global warming rather than a cooling phase it might be worth it to hear the sound of silence coming from the “settled science” group. (Which takes me to a pet peeve of mine – if it’s settled it’s not science).

And of course – World Peace. No danger of that coming to be, but if that was ever to happen I can’t imagine the amount of Britney Spears stories we would have to endure on TV.

At best we can wish for the simple things. Good health and happiness in our lives. I wish that for you all. Oh, plus an improved golf game for me.

Appeasement: Always a sound policy

May 12, 2008

While going through my emails since returning, I came across this story pertaining to the seal hunt on the East coast.

The gist is that the animal rights groups are campaigning in Europe against the seal hunt and are using the emotional argument that the sealers are clubbing the seals to death with the hakapik which they say is brutal and cruel. Of course the activists don’t give a damn if the sealers are using clubs, guns or lethal injection. What they want is the seal hunt completely shut down.

But this seems fact seems to escape the thought process of the the Premiers of Newfoundland and Labrador and Nunavut. They seem to think that if they ban the use of the hakapik the whole protest will go away, or at least the European community will ignore the campaign run by the animal rights activists and continue to buy the Canadian product.

***** the premiers issued a statement against the use of the hakapik.

“There are some images that stick with the general public, and the hakapik is one image that is used continually, and is used to lobby against our hunt, throughout Canada,” Nunavut Premier Paul Okalik was reported as saying. “Even though we don’t use the hakapik, we are impacted by it.”

In Nunavut, rifles and harpoons are used. Most hunters use guns during the hunt, while only 5% relied on the hakapik in Newfoundland’s leg of the hunt. “I am advised that within each country the use of the hakapik was a dominant issue and continues to be viewed in an extremely negative manner,” Newfoundland and Labrador Premier Danny Williams said in a statement.

Obviously they think that the animal rights groups will be happy with harpoons.

Noting a European Union vote on a possible ban is scheduled for June, Mr. Williams said he and Mr. Okalik were “prepared to move quickly and decisively,” on the issue.

The leaders said they had written a letter to Prime Minister Stephen Harper addressing the matter. “The Canadian delegation was told repeatedly that a ban of this tool may prove to dispel some of the negative opinions regarding the Canadian seal harvest.

“Clearly, this is a core issue in Europe and is used as part of the anti-sealing rhetoric that is being put forward to their policy and decision-makers,” Mr. Williams said. Banning the hakapik “is an opportunity to disarm them of something that is used negatively against our sealers,” he added.

Considering that the hunt opponents are still talking about the killing of baby whitecoat seals and using their pictures in their propaganda it seems unlikely that they will stop talking about the hakapik just because the government bans something they say they aren’t using anyway.

But you might suspect that the Premiers really do have enough intelligence to know that giving the animal rights groups the hakapik will not blunt their attacks or the impact that they are making on the European community. If that is the case then the whole exercise becomes a cynical political process to try and convince their local constituency that they are in fact supporting their sealers and trying diligently to solve their problem.

So we either have some politicians who are dumb enough to think that they can appease the animal rights activists by having the Federal government pass a law banning the hakopik, or cynical enough to know that a ban would be ineffectual, but by asking for it they at least appear to their voting constituency as though they have a plan. Either way not a scenario that instills confidence in your government’s leadership.

Very similar to Ontario Premier David Miller’s campaign to ban handguns across Canada to show that he has a plan to stop gang violence in Toronto.