Monday, June 30, 2008

Black Wednesday For U.S. Dog Owners

Are they doomed?

If you love dogs please read this and pass it on.

This is worrying stuff. How long before the domestic dog becomes extinct in the U.S.?

How long before our grandchildren are asking, "Grandpa, What's a dog?"

Animal Rights Wins In Dallas, California, Pennsylvania


American Sporting Dog Alliance

Wednesday was a black day for dog owners all across America, as
animal rights extremists posted legislative victories in Dallas,
California and Pennsylvania.

Dog owner advocacy groups fought hard in all three contests and had
clear majority support, but animal rights groups such as People for
the Ethical Treatment of Animals and the Humane Society of the United
States cashed in political chips with elected officials.

PETA and HSUS have been infiltrating local and state advisory boards
for many years, backed by a war chest exceeding $150 million,
hundreds of paid employees and thousands of volunteers.

Apathy remains th greatest problem faced by dog ownership advocacy

Wednesday's votes also highlighted what is rapidly becoming a
partisan division on animal rights legislation. In general, almost
all Republicans voted against the legislation, and almost all
Democrats voted for the bills. The Democratic Party appears to be
lining up behind the animal rights agenda in support of its
presumptive presidential candidate, Barrack Obama. Obama has
expressed strong support for animal rights.

Here is a summary of the four issues decided this week:

In Dallas, City Council voted 10-3 to pass an animal control
ordinance requiring mandatory pet sterilization, expensive permits to
own intact dogs and cats, mandatory microchipping and pet ownership
limits. The ordinance also bans tethering of dogs and imposes strict
requirements for keeping dogs outdoors. Home inspections also are

In California, the Senate Local Government Committee voted 3-2 to
approve AB1634, which now will be sent to the Senate Appropriations
Committee. If this committee approves, it will be sent to the
legislature for a vote. This bill allows any person to act as a
vigilante and report any dog owner for an unsubstantiated violation
of any animal law. If any animal control officer agrees, the accused
person will have a choice between paying a fine or sterilizing the
animal. People who are accused of anything have no right to defend
themselves or to appeal. An accusation is automatic guilt.

In Pennsylvania, the House Rules Committee voted Tuesday to approve
HB2532, which is a de facto ban on tail docking, dewclaw removal and
ear cropping. In the absence of proof that the procedure was
performed by a veterinarian, the mere possession of a dog that has
had one of those three procedures subjects an owner to a criminal
citation for animal cruelty. This bill would destroy many rescue
operations, dog shows, competitive events and field trials in
Pennsylvania and result in the deaths of thousands of dogs. This bill
now goes to the full House for a vote, and then to the Senate.

Also in Pennsylvania, the House Agriculture Committee approved
amendments to the state dog and kennel law that fall short of changes
that were promised to dog owner advocacy groups. The actual text of
this legislation was not available at this writing, and a follow-up
report will be issued when the revised legislation is available. This
bill now goes to the full House for a vote, and then to the Senate.

Please see below for more detailed descriptions of all four issues.

Dog ownership advocates clearly outnumbered animal rights
sympathizers in public hearings on all four pieces of legislation, as
well as in written comments, emails and phone calls received by
elected officials. However, many of those officials chose to ignore
our voices, and that is doubly true of the Democrats. We are not
saying this to be partisan, as many of our officers and members are
loyal Democrats. We simply are stating a fact. Democrats voted
against animal owners this week by a shocking margin, and we urge dog
owners who are registered with this party to work to reverse this

Advocates of dog owners' rights also were hurt by the apathy of many
people who support us, but who did little or nothing to voice that
support to elected officials. At the Senate hearing in California,
for example, only about 10 people showed up. In Dallas, about 200 dog
ownership advocates attended the hearing, but that is a tiny
percentage of the estimated 300,000 pet owners in the city.
Attendance at the two Pennsylvania hearings was described as moderate.

Apathy by the large but silent majority of dog owners is a major
component of the animal rights strategy. While we outnumber them 100-
to-one, most of us don't get involved. In contrast, animal rights
groups rely on an almost religious fanaticism by their supporters to
gain a high percentage of participation.

The American Sporting Dog Alliance urges every dog owner in America
to join one or more of the several fine organizations that are
fighting for your rights. Each of these organizations has its own
niche, but all are excellent and deserve your support.

We welcome your membership and hope you will participate fully in our
programs. Please visit us online at

Please stand up and be counted now!

We also ask all dog owners who belong to field trial clubs,
sportsmen's organizations, show specialty clubs, breed clubs and
event clubs to urge those organizations to take an active political
role to defeat animal rights legislation.

The American Sporting Dog Alliance also is urging dog owners to
boycott all dog events in the City of Dallas for their own safety.
Under the terms of the ordinance, even a visitor to the city is
subject to citations, fines and dog confiscations. It is known that
PETA plans a protest at a July dog show in Dallas, and we expect them
to report show dog owners for alleged violations of the ordinance.
Because the Dallas animal commission is dominated by PETA members, we
expect that there will be a move to raid this dog show. All
professional handlers would be in violation of the possession limit
of six dogs, and none of the dogs are expected to have a required
Dallas breeding or intact permit.

If the Pennsylvania and California legislation becomes law, it will
not be safe for anyone to attend a field trial, dog show or
performance event in those states, or even to visit, pass through or
take a hunting trip there.

We urge all clubs to cancel or move planned events in Dallas now, and
also in Pennsylvania and California if their legislation is signed
into law. We believe that clubs have an ethical obligation to protect
the safety of participants and their dogs.

Continued apathy and non-involvement will doom dog ownership in
America, as well as hunting, field trials and other dog events. We
can't do it without you.

Here are the highlights of the four pieces of legislation that were
voted on this week.


We support the first part of AB1634, which calls for fines for dogs
that are allowed to roam and mandates sterilization after the third

However, the second part of the legislation violates basic
constitutional rights and human decency.

Here are the provisions of the second part of the legislation
(Italics are direct quotes, and words that are not italicized are our

· "The owner of a nonspayed or unneutered dog that is the
subject of a complaint may be cited and pay a civil penalty as
provided in this section. This civil penalty shall be in addition to
any fine, fee, or penalty imposed under any other provision of law or
local ordinance." In the first sentence, the committee
substituted "may" for "shall," which appears to leave the issuance of
a citation up to the discretion of an animal control officer.
However, the basis for this decision is not defined.

· "The owner of the dog shall pay the civil penalty to the
local animal control agency within 30 business days of the citation.
The local animal control agency shall waive the civil penalty if,
within 14 business days of the citation, the owner of the dog
presents written proof from a licensed veterinarian that the dog was
spayed or neutered." There is no provision for a dog owner to defend
him/herself in court or at a hearing, and no appeal is allowed. If
you are accused, you are guilty. Period. This is a violation of
constitutional guarantees of due process and equal protection under
the law.

· " 'Complaint' means an oral or written complaint to a local
animal control agency that alleges that the dog or the owner of the
dog has violated this division, any other provision of state law that
relates to dogs, or a local animal control ordinance. `Complaint'
also means the observation by an employee or officer of a local
animal control agency of behavior by a dog or the owner of a dog that
violates this division, any other provision of state law that relates
to dogs, or a local animal control ordinance." An example of what
this means is that a hunting or field trial dog that is in excellent
health and conditioned for performance could result in a complaint of
animal cruelty if anyone believes the dog looks thin.

· " `Local animal control agency' means any city or county
animal control agency or other entity responsible for enforcing
animal-related laws or local animal control ordinances." This
includes Humane Societies and other animal welfare organizations
empowered to enforce animal cruelty or other dog laws. Many members
of these groups support a radical animal rights agenda.

The Senate Local Government Committee approved this legislation by a
party-line 3-2 vote Wednesday, with Democrats in the majority. It now
goes to the Senate Committee on Appropriations, and then to the
Senate floor for a final vote.

Please contact members of the Appropriations Committee immediately to
voice opposition to the second half of this bill, and also individual

This link gives contact information for committee members:
ILE.HTM. The committee meets on Monday.

This link gives contact information for all senators: While Sen.
Michael Machado voted for this bill on Wednesday, he expressed many
concerns and might be convinced to change his vote.


Here is a summary of the dog ordinance passed Wednesday by the Dallas
City Council by a 10-3 vote. The ordinance:

· Creates a permit for a dog or cat used for breeding or
competition. The cost of the permit is $70 annually for each animal,
plus the regular license fee of $30. There is no grace period or
exclusion provided for new residents or people who are visiting
Dallas, including participants in dog shows or other events. Visitors
can be cited, and we expect that they will be cited.

· Requires all other dogs or cats to be spayed or neutered.

· Limits a single household to a total of six cats and/or
dogs. People owning more than a half-acre of land would be allowed
eight. People who currently own a greater number of animals could
apply to the city to be allowed to keep their animals without
penalty, but they would not be allowed to buy a dog or breed a litter
of puppies until their number of dogs drops below the limit. The
ordinance applies to anyone who "harbors" more than six dogs, which
includes many visitors and participants in dog shows and other
events. Almost all professional handlers would be in this category,
as well as many owner/handlers.

· Subjects anyone who harbors a group of dogs that exceeds the
limits to unannounced inspections. This would include participants in
dog shows or other events.

· Mandates microchipping of all dogs and cats, including those
of visitors.

· Prohibits tethering of unsupervised dogs to trees or poles
except "for a period no longer than necessary for the owner to
complete a temporary task."

Forces owners to provide at least 150 square feet of space and a
building or designed doghouse for a dog confined outdoors.
And provides for confiscation of allegedly dangerous dogs, and other

Please contact us at asda@csonlinenet if you would like to
participate in legal action or boycotts related to the Dallas


Dog owners in Pennsylvania were beset by two pieces of bad
legislation this week.

HB 2525 regulates a million dog owners and owners of 2,700 licensed
kennels in the state. It passed the House Agriculture Committee by a
17-12 vote Wednesday. All but one Republican (Rep. K. Boback) voted
against the bill, and all Democrats (the majority party) voted in
favor of it.

It appears that the final bill reflects some of the promises made to
dog ownership advocacy groups during the past several months of
negotiations, but that the Democrats have reneged on other promises.

Some dog owners groups have withdrawn their opposition to this
legislation, but the American Sporting Dog Alliance continues to
oppose it in its present form. While we support changes that affect
commercial breeders, these represent only a small part of HB 2525.
The rest of the bill has serious impacts on all dog and kennel
owners. The text of several amendments has not been published thus
far We will issue a full report on this legislation in the next
couple of days.

The other legislation is HB 2532, which provides what amounts to be a
de facto partial or complete ban on tail docking, ear cropping and
dewclaw removal by anyone except a licensed veterinarian. Although
most other dog owners' organizations have not taken a clear public
stance on this bill, the American Sporting Dog Alliance categorically
opposes it.

HB 2532 passed the House Judiciary Committee by a 28-1 vote Tuesday,
with only Republican Rep. T. Creighton voting "no."

The bill allows owners to dock the tails of puppies until they pass
three days of age, and to remove dewclaws during the first five days.
However, the burden of proof is placed on a dog's owner to prove that
this work was done legally before the age limits, or by a
veterinarian. It would be difficult for most dog owners to prove
this, and a large majority would not be able to prove it. The simple
possession of a dog with a docked tail or a lack of dewclaws would be
considered evidence of an animal cruelty violation, if the owner
cannot prove his/her innocence.

The bill continues a total ban against ear cropping, except by a
veterinarian, and anyone who is found in possession of a dog with
cropped ears is automatically guilty of criminal animal cruelty in
the absence of proof.

For all of these procedures, HB 2532 struck out a provision that
would have exempted dogs if their owners filed an affidavit with a
county treasurer that the work was done before the bill is passed.

That means a large majority of owners of many of the most popular
breeds will have no way of proving that they have complied with the
law. These procedures were done legally in the past on many dogs, or
legally by breeders in other states. In many cases, a dog owner has
no idea who performed these procedures. Thus, they would be guilty of
criminal animal cruelty for noncompliance.

This legislation will destroy rescue work for many breeds if it is
signed into law. Most dogs that are assisted by rescue groups, animal
shelters and private individuals either come from unknown sources, or
do not come with medical records. There will be no choice except to
euthanize these dogs, since it will be impossible to establish their

This legislation also will have a severe impact on people who live in
other states. On one level, Pennsylvanians will no longer be able to
buy puppies from dozens of breeds from nonresident breeders who
perform these procedures legally in their home states.

On another level, Pennsylvania professional trainers and handlers
will not be able to accept many dogs from out-of-state customers,
because proof will not be available.

But a larger impact will be on thousands of people who own dogs and
come to Pennsylvania for a vacation, to hunt, or to compete in field
trials, dog shows and other events. Anyone who brings a dog with a
docked tail, missing dewclaws or cropped ears into Pennsylvania is
subject to arrest for criminal animal cruelty charges.

This will affect many very popular breeds of dogs, such as almost all
Continental breeds of pointing dogs, flushing dogs, terriers and many
working dogs, such as rottweilers and doberman pinchers.

The bill now moves to the full House for a vote. Please contact your
own legislator and as many others as possible to express opposition
to this legislation. Contact information can be found at:

Here is a link to the text of the legislation:
txtType=HTM&sessYr=2007&sessInd=0&billBody=H&billT yp=B&billNbr=2532&pn

The American Sporting Dog Alliance represents owners, hobby breeders
and professionals who work with breeds of dogs that are used for
hunting. We are a grassroots movement working to protect the rights
of dog owners, and to assure that the traditional relationships
between dogs and humans maintains its rightful place in American
society and life. Please visit us on the web at Our email is Complete directions to join by mail or online are
found at the bottom left of each page.

The American Sporting Dog Alliance also needs your help so that we
can continue to work to protect the rights of dog owners. Your
membership, participation and support are truly essential to the
success of our mission. We are funded solely by the donations of our
members, and maintain strict independence.


Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Why we eat the pig and revere the dog

One question that animal rights/vegan/vegetarian activists love to ask is why do I eat the pig, the cow and the sheep, whilst I wouldn't dream of eating a cat, dog or horse. There is, they claim, no cognitive difference.

Here are a few reasons we eat livestock and not pets

Domestic pets

1. Small, easy to keep and feed.
2. Companionable, actively seek out human company.
3. Useful for pest control, protection, transport, hunting, message carrying, disabled person's assistance.
4. Can be trained to be clean in the house
5. Can be kept in a small space such as an apartment.
6. Relatively high level of intelligence.
7. Difficult to manage in large groups. Have to be caged. Considered cruel in some cultures.


1. Large and cumbersome, not cheap or easy to keep.
2. Need large quantities of grass or hay
3. Produce enormous quantities of excrement
4. Seek out their own kind for companionship, have an instinctive fear of humans.
5. Cannot be trained to be clean in the house, will damage or destroy furniture and groceries.
6. Need a large amount of space, far more than the average homeowner has.
7. Mostly prohibited by law in urban areas.
8. Dangerous. Their sheer size, bulk and general lack of consideration makes these animals extremely unsuitable as domestic pets.
9. Convert products that cannot be digested by humans, such as grass and leaves into highly digestible, protein rich milk and meat.
10. Have a large waterproof coat that can be utilised by humans as protective clothing, furniture covering, book covers etc.
11. Produce a large number of byproducts that are used in almost every industry,
12. Relatively low level of intelligence.
13. Easy to manage in large groups.

Traditional uses of livestock species

Cattle - milk, meat, leather
Sheep - wool, meat, tallow (candles)
Pig - meat, fat (for baking, candles, lubrication, wood polish, soap) leather, clearing brush (natural routing behaviour) truffle hunting
Goat - meat, milk, fibre, leather
Poultry - meat, eggs, feathers, down, insect control, weed control

Monday, June 2, 2008

My view on the zoo

Camel ride at London zoo around 1930

Someone said to me recently that, "Zoos exist primarily for the benefit of animals and the protection of genetic diversity etc. and not for the entertainment of people who visit them."

That may be the opinion of some people, but I disagree, and here's why.

I disagree that zoo's exist primarily for the benefit of animals.

I know a few zoos in the USA are free for visitors, this is the way I would like all zoos to be. Available to all as an educational resource and a place of recreation.

But take away the gate receipts and most of the zoos in the world would have to close and the animals euthanized. Even the government funded zoos rely heavily on visitors for money.

Zoos/menageries/animal collections, whatever you like to call them, existed a long time before anyone thought of conservation/preservation of endangered species/genetic diversity etc. Something which was pioneered by Gerald Durrel in the 1950's.

While it is good that zoos have gone this route, let's not forget that zoos play an enormous role in society and have done for thousands of years. In the days before television zoos were a primary source of entertainment. To others, zoos are a source of education. To see the sheer size and power of a large cat or bear is an experience that cannot be replicated by the Discovery channel.

Only by people seeing animals up close can they ever develop any respect for them, respect leads to interest, interest leads to understanding, understanding leads ultimately, to protection. If zoos were closed to the public, where would the next generation of zookeepers, zoologists and naturalist's come from? By watching insects on the windowledge?

Sunday, June 1, 2008

Animals fare better in zoos

This is what I've been saying for years. Hooray for the voice of reason

By Andrew Stern

CHICAGO (Reuters) - Scientists are learning more about how zoo animals feel and how a toy or a little training can sometimes help cut the endless pacing and other repetitive behaviours that are often assumed to be signs of distress.

Some big cats want a high perch from which to view visitors, polar bears want to scratch for hidden caches of food, and male barn swallows could use a tail extension to appeal to potential mates, according to experts from zoos and universities meeting on Friday at Chicago's Brookfield Zoo.

Visitors who see a cheetah pacing or a polar bear swimming in circles might assume they are stressed by confinement. But they may simply be expending excess energy or soothing themselves, experts said interviews at the symposium.

"We humans swim laps, and people take comfort in walking in circles. As long is it not injuring the animals, and not causing them pain, it may not be a sign of poor welfare," said Nadja Wielebnowski of the Chicago Zoological Society.

Wielebnowski measures stress hormones in zoo animals and her work is helping guide efforts to reduce stress when animals are moved, come in close contact with humans or are exposed to noise.

"Some species do absolutely great in zoos -- they get great food, they get it every day, they have great veterinary care. For some species, the zoo trumps the wild," said David Shepherdson of the Oregon Zoo in Portland.

But some species, like elephants, large cats, and bears, often do not fare as well.

In a study of polar bears in U.S. zoos, Shepherdson found 50 of 54 bears displayed behavioural symptoms of stress, but they showed no elevated levels of corticosteroids, which are hormones that indicate stress, he said.

Shepherdson found about half the animals reduced their repetitive behaviour when give some training or playthings that helped them mimic behaviour in the wild.

For example, polar bears given a plastic barrel tended to crush it just as they would a seal den in the Arctic.


Experts are also discussing whether certain species, like certain types of leopard, do not belong in zoos at all because they prefer to remain out of sight.

"Essentially, we need to go against the knee-jerk human reaction, which is the view that (zoo animals) need companionship, they need a large enclosure, and that they are only interested in the world visually," said Vicki Melfi of Whitley Wildlife Conservation Trust, which runs the Paignton Zoo in Britain.

She said animals more sensitive to smell should be accommodated, for instance, by not disinfecting their enclosures frequently so as not to wipe out scent markings. Other animals sensitive to sounds might be offered a dark, quiet corner to retreat to.

Wielebnowski suggested zoos might consider exercise equipment for animals to burn off energy.

Wayne Pacelle, president of the Humane Society of the United States, said measuring hormone levels may not tell the story as well as observing listless or repetitive behaviour.

"You don't want a shell of an animal on display," he said. "Zoos are here to stay and they should make efforts to enrich animals' lives and they should ask a number of other questions about the suitability of certain species in captivity."