Thursday, August 02, 2007

Flushing out the facts

I am quite sure that most of you will be startled at best when I start this but here goes. The Michael Vick situation stands to cause all property owners serious harm. I received an email from a friend of mine while he was riding in a cab in DC. It said, “Trent, I just heard a guy on the radio talking about the Vick dog fighting case. He said, “Explain to me why dog fighting is illegal but rodeos are okay?” In the unlikely event that you missed the story, Atlanta Falcons quarterback Michael Vick has been indicted on charges related to dog fighting. Sixty dogs remain in custody with officials. I do not support or believe we should fight dogs for sport but this incident is being used to eliminate the rights of dog owners, period. One other side note, he has been charged not convicted in the court system that is.

First off, you need to recognize that animal rights organizations could not have a better crop to harvest than the bumper crop of 2007. There are incidents aplenty that they can use for fodder for their propaganda machine and generate more cash toward their goal of the ultimate demise of animal agriculture. At the same time, the American Pet Food Manufacturers Association recently released a report indicating that Americans will once again spent a record amount on their dogs in 2007.

Americans now spend $41 billion a year on their pets--more than the gross domestic product of all but 64 countries in the world. That's double the amount shelled out on pets a decade ago, with annual spending expected to hit $52 billion in the next two years, according to Packaged Facts, a consumer research company based in Rockville, Md. That puts the yearly cost of buying, feeding, and caring for pets in excess of what Americans spend on the movies ($10.8 billion), playing video games ($11.6 billion), and listening to recorded music ($10.6 billion) combined. "People are no longer satisfied to reward their pet in pet terms," argues Bob Vetere, president of the American Pet Products Manufacturers Assn. (APPMA). "They want to reward their pet in human terms." That means hotels instead of kennels, braces to fix crooked teeth, and frilly canine ball gowns. Pet owners are becoming increasingly demanding consumers who won't put up with substandard products, unstimulating environments, or shoddy service for their animals. But the escalating volume and cost of services, especially in the realm of animal medicine, raises ethical issues about how far all this loving should go.

The demand for pet neuticals is also going through the roof. What, you might ask, are neuticals? Nueticals are artificial testicals that dog owners are putting in their neutered dogs in order to maintain the self-esteem of their dog. Not only do you pay to have the testicles removed, now people are shelling out up to $1000 per dog to replace their testosterone so they aren’t intimidated at the park by intact males!

So, with all of that taken into consideration, when someone like Vick, a very public figure, is charged with the crime of letting a dog be a dog, we should all take notice. Do you really believe that someone who pays $1000 for their dog’s self esteem would understand you taking your hunting dog out for a hunt. “He’ll be close to you when you fire the gun and oh, that must really hurt his ears. How you ever make him swim in that pond or lake to retrieve the bird you shot. To top it all off, you don’t even let him eat the bird.”

How about the cattle working dogs that are born with the natural desire and further trained to chase cows, biting them on the legs and risking a swift kick to the head. How humane can that possibly be in the eyes of these radicals? My point is that all of these actions, including dog fighting, are natural behaviors of dogs. Yet the public outcry is coming because Vick has not been treating his dog like a kid.

The Humane Society of the United States and PETA stand to make millions on this bit of free publicity. We, as dog owners, stand to lose more rights. While I don’t expect any of you to stand up for Vick or dog fighting, I suggest that we are in for a real dogfight ourselves simply to maintain the basic relationship that people have had with their pets for generations. You don’t need to be much of a hunting dog to flush out those facts, but it’s time we herd the masses toward the direction of common sense instead of letting them be led by these radical ideals.

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