Posts tagged ‘animal rights’

On Pink Poodles and Pet Ownership

Joy Douglas, a hairdresser in Denver, Colorado decided to dye her poodle Cici pink to generate awareness for breast cancer.  Being a considerate owner, she used organic beet juice to dye the dog.


According to Douglas, “Cici is a conversation piece. Customers come in and ask why the dog is pink. So we tell them about breast-cancer awareness, about the Susan G. Komen Race for the Cure, and then we ask for a donation.”This sounded like a noble cause to us, but apparently not all of Douglas’ customers appreciated the idea.  One of them called animal control and reported her. 

Douglas was ticketed on March 1, 2008 for violating a Boulder ordinance that designed to discourage people from dying chicks and bunnies at Easter.  She’s now facing a fine of up to $1,000 and has retained legal council.

Lisa Pedersen, chief executive officer of the Humane Society of Boulder Valley and the city’s Animal Control and Care, said officers received “several calls about the animal” before they wrote the ticket.  “There were lots of people concerned about the dog,” Pedersen said Monday. “And we have given more than one verbal warning, so we thought it would just be best to write the ticket and let it resolve itself in the court system.”

Apparently not much in the way of lost dogs, treed kittens or animal abuse occurs in beautiful Boulder, Colorado.  If officials of the Humane Society of Boulder Valley (who use the term ‘guardian’ quite liberally on their website) have nothing better to do than post thousand dollar citations for the illegal use of beet juice – there’s either very little going on or (gasp!) somebody is advancing a personal agenda.

In a recent interview on Jon Katz wrote:

The guardian campaign is a vivid example of the growing tendency to blur the boundaries between us and our pets. Many Americans have already stopped seeing their dogs and cats as animals. They’re family members, emotional support systems, metaphors for issues from our own pasts, aids for healing and growth, children with fur.

Seeing them the way we see ourselves—as having human thoughts and needs, human rights—is another kind of abuse and exploitation.

He goes on to say:

Dogs are not “people” of another species. They are another species. To train and care for them properly, to show them how to live in our complex world, requires first and foremost that we understand that. I owe my dogs much—more than I can say—but they are not my “companions”—as if we voluntarily chose to hang out together but none of us has authority over the others. I bought and/or acquired them. I own them. I am profoundly responsible for their care and well being.

Guardianship, a word always applied to human beings, implies equality—the highest and perhaps most noble of all goals in this democratic nation. Ownership implies responsibility. Americans who own dogs need to be more responsible for them, literally and emotionally—not more equal to them.

So….  Is Joy Douglas a caring, responsible pet owner being unfairly punished by animal rights activists or is she the guardian of a poodle-person and therefore subject to intervention by outside agencies with self-proclaimed interests or expertise who are willing to use the court system to force her to make the decision they think is “best” for Cici?

March 12, 2008 at 3:13 am 8 comments

Where’s the Beef?

It’s the classic shell game…

Back on February 7, 2008 we posted on the Humane Society of the United States’ (H$U$) undercover investigation of the Hallmark Meat Packing Facility.  We noted that H$U$ waited four months to make the video tape of the abused cattle public and wondered if they might have ulterior motives. 

Looks like we aren’t the only ones who were suspicious.

, the San Bernardino County District Attorney’s office told the Riverside (California) Press-Enterprise that it had never asked the Humane Society of the United States (HSUS) to withhold the undercover slaughterhouse video from the public or from the U.S. Department of Agriculture. This refutes sworn Congressional testimony offered on Tuesday by HSUS Public Health Director Dr. Michael Greger.

The article states:

The nonprofit Center for Consumer Freedom (CCF), a food-issues watchdog group, said today that HSUS’s decision to withhold its video from federal authorities and the public increased the possible public-health risk from potentially contaminated beef used in federal school lunch programs. This morning CCF asked the U.S. House Energy and Commerce Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations to review Dr. Greger’s testimony and investigate whether he committed perjury.

During a hearing before the Subcommittee, Dr. Greger was asked directly why HSUS delayed sharing the video, (shot in October and November of 2007), with the U.S. Department of Agriculture until the end of January of 2008.  Greger reportedly answered that “We gave this evidence over to the local District Attorney’s office, the San Bernardino County District Attorney, and they asked us not to publicly release this information, to hold off so they could carry out their own criminal investigation into the animal cruelty that was witnessed. We complied with that request.”

When further pressed on the question by Rep. Greg Walden (R-OR), Greger stated that “They told us to wait on any kind of public release of this information … They asked us to hold on to the information while they completed their investigation.”

The Centre Daily Times also reports that:

“San Bernardino County Deputy District Attorney Deborah Ploghaus, the lead investigator on the case, said she never made such a request. On Wednesday, Humane Society President Wayne Pacelle backed off Greger’s statement, saying he was uncertain if the prosecutors specifically asked to keep the footage out of public view.”

Just what exactly was HSUS uncertain about?  If the group had evidence in October 2007 that potentially unsafe meat was entering the U.S. food chain (including the federal school lunch program), why did the animal rights group sit on this highly inflammatory footage for over three months?

According to the Center for Consumer Freedom (CCF) Director of Research David Martosko. “HSUS was clearly more interested in maximizing the political impact of its slaughterhouse video than in protecting ordinary people. And lying to Congress to cover up its apathy toward public health is truly despicable.

When the San Bernardino County Assistant District Attorney Dennis Christy was contacted by CCF, he stated:

I can say unequivocally that we never suggested in any way – in fact, we encouraged the HSUS to cooperate with, provide information to the U.S. Department of Agriculture … [and] we had some difficulty in preparing criminal charges, because of delays in setting up any interview with the Humane Society investigator at which USDA officers would be present.

Christy further added that his office’s criminal investigation had been hampered, in part, by HSUS’s desire to keep the USDA out of the loop: “We had some difficulty in preparing criminal charges, because of delays in setting up any interview with the Humane Society investigator at which USDA officers would be present.

Because of HSUS’s preference for sensationalism over protecting the public’s health, millions of Americans (including countless children) may have been exposed to meat that wasn’t fit for human consumption.

Apparently human children aren’t the sort of animals HSUS is interested in protecting.

March 6, 2008 at 12:13 am 6 comments

Well — This Explains it

If you are foolish enough to read too much of what is currently published about animal psychology, animal rights, operant conditioning, dominance hierarchies, raw food diets, titers versus vaccines, the use of corrections in dog training, breed specific legislation, theories of mind, aromatherapy, early spay/neuter, evolution and whether or not your dog really will resent you for putting that silly costume on him at Halloween — you’re probably at least a little bit confused by the rabidly opinionated and utterly contradictory information you’ve found.

I’m one of those morons who reads too much.  And having spent far too much of my life absorbed with books, laboratory data and computer modeling – I decided to allay a bit of my own confusion by (what else) doing a bit of research on the net. 

Eureka!  I’ve found the explanation.  The flow chart below was recently featured on The Lounge of the Lab Lemming.  And it explains everything.


And, if you insist on getting serious about being able to read an article, study or paper critically — check out A Magical Journey Through the Land of Logical Fallacies  (here’s part 2) and this short, but insightul article on Ethics and Peer Review at

February 27, 2008 at 3:13 am 2 comments

The Threat is Real


And it isn’t from vicious, baby-killing pibbles….. 

Today Steve Salerno from published a wonderfully entertaining and insightful article about how our deeply flawed system of broadcast journalism habitually takes odd, random occurrences and uses them to manufacture epidemics designed to terrify the mindless hordes who still take what they see and read in the news at face value. 

In Mr. Salerno’s words, “by definition, journalism in its most basic form deals with what life is not.  By painting life in terms of its oddities, journalism yields not a snapshot of your world, but something closer to a photographic negative.” 

Instead of actually taking the time and effort to <gawd forbid> research a story, media pundits bent on achieving celebrity status at any cost manufacture stories using sound-bites, anecdotes, pointless opinion polls, twisted statistics and information culled from “experts” who are focused more on advancing personal agendas than in presenting accurate data. 

According to Salerno, “Nowhere are these foibles more noticeable — or more of a threat to journalistic integrity — than when they coalesce into a cause: so-called “advocacy” or “social” journalism. To begin with, there are legitimate questions about whether journalism should even have causes.  Worse, for our purposes, the data on which journalists premise their crusades are drawn from the same marginalia discussed above.  Just as journalists who run out of news may create it, journalists who run out of real causes may invent them. It’s not hard to do. All you need is a fact or two, which you then “contextualize” with more so-called expert opinion.” 

So what’s the panic du jour?  

Well, according to Jim Crosby at  a new record was set when 33 people were killed by dogs in 2007.  Most of the fatal attacks were made by unsupervised sexually intact dogs.  A record I’m sure some twit in the media will spin into “an epidemic” that animal rights advocates will use to try to put yet more limits on pet ownership. 

I think that Mr. Crosby is spot on when he says, “What I see these numbers indicating, based on my on-scene investigations, is that irresponsible owners tend not to spay and neuter, tend to chain their animals out for extended times with little or no socialization, and that Pits are currently popular with owners who maintain their animals with less wisdom and care than most of us. Once again, it’s the two-legged problem behind the four-legger that precipitates the problems.” 

Amen brother.   

And sad to say, instead of listening to voices of reason (how pointlessly boring would THAT be), the folks we’ve elected to serve us in cities, counties and states across the country are swallowing the twisted, self-serving media hype hook, line and stinker. 

According to my friend at, Aurora, Colorado enacted a breed ban in 2005 largely as a knee-jerk response to the reinstatement of the adjacent City of Denver’s breed ban. She goes on to say, ‘City Councilmember Bob Fitzgerald explained the need for a citywide pit bull ban thus: “We don’t want ‘those people’ here.” ‘ 

O-kay… Just who are ‘those people’ Bob Fitzgerald wants to keep out?  If he wants to limit the kinds of people who can live in Aurora, why can’t he leave innocent dogs out of the equation and pass a law limiting residency in the city to law-abiding heterosexual white people with above-average incomes who drive hybrid cars and drink merlot? 

Watch out for the coming storm.  The media will be digging their ugly little claws into these statistics soon, and dog owners across the country had better be ready to get mauled.

February 14, 2008 at 6:04 am 8 comments

For The HSUS – Timing is Everything

Schools across America are removing beef from their hot lunch menus this week because meat from potentially sick cattle was reportedly processed at a plant that supplies districts all over the country. The horrifying story was the result of an undercover investigation by representatives of the H$U$ which was publicly released last week.

The video released by H$U$ is deeply disturbing.  it is almost physically painful to see the way the downed cattle were treated. Almost painful enough to send me back to my former vegetarian ways….

And sadly – the barbaric treatment of these poor beasts is not the only disturbing part of this story.

Hidden in a short line near the end of just a few of the stories published about the abuse is the fact that the video was shot in the fall of 2007.  Huh? Why did the H$U$ wait several months – until the end of January 2008 – to make it public?

According to Department of Agriculture Secretary Ed Schaefer, it was “unfortunate” that the H$U$ “did not present this information to us when these alleged violations occurred in the fall of 2007.”

Was it just “unfortunate” or do you suppose that it’s just a coincidence that at the same time they’re publicizing this highly inflammatory video, the H$U$ is also lobbying Congress to pass the Downed Animal Protection Act and to reconsider the previously failed Farm Animal Stewardship Purchasing Act? Is it also just a coincidence that, Westland Meat Company, the plant that was the focus of the investigation, is a primary supplier to school lunch programs?

On the surface, the Downed Animal Protection Act, which would set modest animal welfare standards, include humane euthanasia of any downed animals for producers who sell food to federal government programs, and ban any slaughtering of downed animals for human consumption, sounds like a laudable thing.  But I suspect that there is more to the act than meets the eye as the American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA) has come out publicly against it.  When it comes to the welfare of *real* animals (as opposed to an *ideal* of animals), I’ll continue to put my faith in AVMA rather than H$U$.

Somehow, it also comes as no surprise that the AVMA has also chosen not to support the Farm Animal Stewardship Purchasing Act.  AVMA presents logical and well-thought out arguments against the act on their website.  In a nutshell, AVMA appears to believe that the act is vague and poorly worded.  I can’t help but think that that vague wording is an intentional ploy by animal rights activists to wedge their way into further limits and restrictions on the meat industry.

If you’d like to read an excellent story about a recent local example of this sort of AR machination, check out the Star Tribune’s article regarding recent AR efforts to pass (and make important last minutes changes to) legislation affecting circuses and animal exhibits in Minneapolis.

There’s a huge pile of poop here folks. And it’s not from the elephants…..

February 7, 2008 at 6:15 pm 2 comments

The Jamaica Dogsled Team

In another nod to the effects of global warming, dogsled racers are turning to new styles of racing because of the lack of snow in many parts of the country.  Rig racing, canicross, dog scootering and bikejoring events can be run in areas where there is no snow at all.

So it shouldn’t be a great surprise that one of the teams competing in events across the United States and Canada this year comes from Jamaica.  Featured in the documentary “Sun Dogs”, the Jamaica Dogsled Team is made up of twelve stray mutts rescued from the streets and shelter of Kingston Jamaica.  Danny Melville, the chairman and CEO of Chukka Adventures started the team in 2005.

According to promotional material on their website, the “Sun Dogs” DVD includes four mini-documentaries: “Jimmy Buffett and the Jamaica Dogsled Team;” “How to Teach Your Dog to Pull in Harness;” “The Jamaica Dogsled Team Taking on the World;” “The Work of the JSPCA;” and “Dog-ography: Meet the Mutts.” The documentary was filmed in Jamaica, Scotland and Minnesota.


The team, led by mushers Damion Robb, Devon Anderson and Oswald “Newton” Marshall, has competed in several major events where they have finished as high as second place. This year they are attempting to qualify for the 2008 Yukon Quest International – a harrowing 1000 mile mountain race.

To purchase the documentary or other nifty Jamaica Dogsled gear; check out the teams racing schedule or find out more about the Team visit their website at A portion of the sales proceeds go to the Jamaica Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals.

There’s a lot of interesting information on the website, including a short history of the sport of sled dog racing. Kudos to this group not only for taking in a pack of stray mutts and turning them into a competitive dog sled team, but also for promoting the plight of stray dogs without falling into the animal rights movement’s party line of bashing the sport.

January 30, 2008 at 5:28 pm Leave a comment

Foreclosures a Threat to Pets – or Donations?

Bankruptcy and foreclosure rates are up across the country.  The number of homes in the U.S. that are in some stage of foreclosure in 2007 is more than twice the number seen last year according to RealtyTrac, a company that tracks mortgage data.

According to a recent article in the Chicago Tribune, in recent months authorities around the country have reported numerous findings of cats, dogs, birds, horses and other animals at foreclosed houses and farms.  

With this potentially high profile issue in mind, the Humane Society of the United States (HSUS) issued a public statement this month that it’s “worried about the situation.” 

HSUS must be worried that with increasing bankruptcy rates, donations will be down this year. They’re certainly not worried about the pets or pet owners affected by the situation. Here’s a quote from Wayne Pacelle, President of HSUS: “One generation and out. We have no problem with the extinction of domestic animals. They are creations of human selective breeding.” 

We got this from the folks at Activist Cash: 

Despite the words “humane society” on its letterhead, the Humane Society of the United States (HSUS) is not affiliated with your local animal shelter. Despite the omnipresent dogs and cats in its fundraising materials, it’s not an organization that runs spay/neuter programs or takes in stray, neglected, and abused pets. And despite the common image of animal protection agencies as cash-strapped organizations dedicated to animal welfare, HSUS has become the wealthiest animal rights organization on earth.

HSUS is big, rich, and powerful, a “humane society” in name only. And while most local animal shelters are under-funded and unsung, HSUS has accumulated $113 million in assets and built a recognizable brand by capitalizing on the confusion its very name provokes. This misdirection results in an irony of which most animal lovers are unaware: HSUS raises enough money to finance animal shelters in every single state, with money to spare, yet it doesn’t operate a single one anywhere.

Yes, the HSUS, is not, despite what you might think, in the business of operating animal shelters.  This multi-million dollar organization spends much of its vast amounts of cash on warm, fuzzy, heart-rending ads encouraging you to give them even more money.  They spend the rest on political lobbying efforts to pass state, local and federal laws that would force us all to be non-pet owning vegans.

January 24, 2008 at 12:03 am Leave a comment

Making the Right Kind of Noise

Complaints about canine misbehaviors, such as nuisance barking, are increasing across the country.  This is a disturbing trend for responsible dog owners because, in a backlash effect, many cities, counties and states are passing increasingly restrictive laws affecting pet ownership.  Spay and neuter laws, breed banspet limit laws and other restrictions are being passed in a landslide effect across the country.

Why is this happening?  Partly because lazy journalists looking for an simple and sensational story to cover either fail to adequately research stories or mis-state facts and partly because animal rights groups (as opposed to animal welfare groups) who want to end pet ownership are pouring enormous amounts of money into supporting these efforts.

The sad irony is that dogs aren’t the problem – PEOPLE ARE.  People who are, in most cases, already breaking EXISTING laws.  We don’t need more laws, we need better law enforcement.

If your city, county, township or state is considering passing additional laws limiting your right to own and enjoy dogs, please go here: Where there is an excellent sample letter opposing pet limit laws. Make the right kind of noise and use Jim’s letter to let your legislators know that a majority of law-abiding pet owners refuse to be punished for the transgressions committed by an irresponsible minority.

If you have a neighbor who’s barking dogs annoy you, don’t call the police to report them.  Make the right kind of noise.  Instead of filing a complaint, politely explain to your neighbor that his dog’s excess barking is bothering you. If he doesn’t listen (or can’t hear you because of his dog’s barking) look into one of these nifty devices to solve the problem amicably. 

petsafebarkunit.jpg      cool cd

If you have a dog – give it enough mental and physical stimulation to keep it from annoying your neighbors.

If you aren’t part of the solution, you’re part of the problem.

January 15, 2008 at 1:08 am Leave a comment

Because A Dog’s Mind is a Terrible Thing to Waste


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