I think what I find most disturbing about PeTA’s pit bull stance is they shroud the truth in a wrapping of twisted logic. To an animal lover who is not up on what’s going on in the real world, their policy seems loving and humane. To those of us who have seen the group in action, and have actually worked our way through the misdirection, the ugly truth is evident.
The most insidious problem with PeTA’s position, is that it pits (pun intended) animal advocates against each other. In the past week I have found myself arguing vehemently with people I know love and care about animals. I was forced to argue against mandatory spay/neuter. I had to address fallacies surrounding “No-Kill” communities.
As an aside…the reason I do NOT support mandatory spay/neuter is two-fold. One, I always believe that a carrot is more effective than a stick, which means that free/reduced cost, easily accessible spay/neuter services is a better solution in my mind, instead of forcing the situation. And two, people who cannot or will not neuter their pets will hide them away, keeping them from socialization, training opportunities, and even basic medical care. All of which can cause increased aggression in dogs…..making our communities LESS safe.
Really, the logic PeTA employs reminds me of the “double speak” in George Orwell’s book “1984”. Especially this passage:
“You are a slow learner, Winston.”
“How can I help it? How can I help but see what is in front of my eyes? Two and two are four.”
“Sometimes, Winston. Sometimes they are five. Sometimes they are three. Sometimes they are all of them at once. You must try harder. It is not easy to become sane.”
― George Orwell,
PeTA’s contention that we must “protect” pit bull terrier type dogs rings just as true. Let’s actually look at some of the things Ingrid Newkirk is advocating for:
- A ban on breeding. My thoughts about mandatory spay/neuter are listed above. In addition, I don’t support any bill that singles out a type of dog. It gives people a false sense of safety and security.
- A breed ban. Same things as above. Singling out a certain “type” of dog does not make anyone any safer, and punishes good dogs because of the way they look.
- Automatic euthanization for any pit type dog entering a shelter. Not based on how the dog acts. Not based on any screening or temperament testing. But just on how the dog looks.
But I think the thing that makes me the angriest is PeTA’s contention that only thugs and criminals go to a shelter looking to adopt a pit bull terrier type dog. Here are a few actual quotes from PeTA representatives (thank you to SwayLove.org for links to the quotes):
Those who seek out this breed are attracted to the macho image of this animal as a living weapon and seek to display it by putting them in heavy chains, taunting them into aggression and leaving them out in all weather to toughen them. ~ Daphna Nachminovitch, 2008
It is important to bear in mind that nice families rarely come to a shelter seeking Pit Bulls. ~ Peta.org, “PETA’s position on Pit Bull bans, 2008
Pit Bull fanciers should ask themselves whether it’s really the dogs’ best interests they care about, or their own selfish desire to possess a certain type of dog or to make money by breeding and selling them. Anyone who truly cares about Pit Bulls can agree that laws regulating their ownership would help spare the dogs they love so much from tremendous suffering. ~ Daphna Nachminovitch, 2009
Nice families rarely visit shelters in search of Pit Bulls, and Pit Bulls from unknown backgrounds don’t always make good family additions. ~ Teresa Lynn Chagrin, 2011
This almost 60 year old professional, guardian to former fighting dogs, resents the fact that you would think I had a nefarious reason for my support of these type of dogs. I say “type” instead of “breed”, because the three “pits” we’ve had are about as similar to each other as a lab is to an Irish Setter. Different sizes, different weights, different looks. The only thing they have in common are a short coat and a muscular frame. Even their head shapes differed….
My reasons are my own, but I can assure you they do not have anything to do with abusing these dogs, and everything to do with the joy and comedy they bring into my life.
PeTA…I have three words for you: The Majority Project