Due to the current troll infestation we will be requiring you to sign in to leave a comment. Also, please note that we will be very nice in the regular posts, but we will not be gentle in the Sunday Blaspheme posts. You will be expected to back up any ideas with facts.

I am always happy to answer any questions I can:)

New Rule! Staff reserves the right to cuss you out and post your correspondence if you send us annoying emails.



Friday, January 9, 2009

Maybe I'm Just a Bitch...

...but am I the only one who doesn't feel the slightest bit sorry for Jemima Harrison, producer of the documentary Pedigree Dogs Exposed, that PeTA has co-opted her work to push the USA Network into abandoning their airing of the Westminster Dog Show?

To get our Non-Doggy Readers up to speed: PDE is an 'expose' of the sordid world of purebred dog breeding, complete with convulsing seizure dogs and unethical, ribbon-chasing breeders who repeatedly breed dogs with brain defects. It highlights breeds like the Pekingese, with conformation so extreme they cannot function as a normal dog, and the Cavalier King Charles spaniel, who suffers from a brain problem that causes excruciating pain. PDE aired on the BBC and has caused a shitstorm of anti-breeder backlash in the UK; the UK Kennel Club has asked for legislative power to police dog breeders and has begun the process of changing breed standards in response to the bad publicity. As you may have guessed, the Animal Rights people, the ones who believe breeding is evil, are all over it.

PDE is hardly 'balanced' journalism; it's sensationalistic and one-sided. It highlights breeding for the show ring and cosmetic appearance over health, and the consequences of inbreeding and closed registries. It makes no mention of breeders that are breeding first and formost for functionality, no mention of the myriad of health tests available to breeders, and no mention of the considerable research currently ongoing into health issues in purebred dogs (much of it funded by breeders, I might add.)

{Some definitions for our NDRs, from Wikipedia:

In a closed stud book, the parents must also be registered in this or another registry for the breed that the organization maintaining the registry will accept (such as that in another country).

In an open stud book, animals can be registered without their parents having been previously registered. This allows breeders to strengthen breeds by including individuals who conform to the breed standard but are of outside origin.}

I'll let Jeffrey Bragg, a big proponent of open registries and revamping the 'show' system (and someone you'd expect to jump right on board the PDE bandwagon), say it in his own words:

"I fail to see how this production can do anything other than further harm to the dog world by feeding the animal rights extremist contingent who would put an end to dog breeding and ownership altogether."

PDE resulted in the BBC dropping the Crufts dog show, after forty-two years of airing it. Sponsors pulled out, big bruhaha. Many Animal Rights Activists nattered on and on about greedy, uncaring, ribbon-chasing breeders. You get the picture.

So, not an organization to let such a sterling opportunity pass by, earlier this week PeTA called for the USA Network to drop the Westminster Kennel Club show. Now, I am not a huge fan of dog shows. I don't think winning ribbons is of real value in deciding whether a dog is a 'good' example of the breed (not if you've a bit of common sense or knowledge of anatomy), or as a criteria on whether a dog should be bred. But, you cannot tar all breeders with the same brush. Yes, there are ribbon-chasers, just like there are hunters that will shoot a dog that's not performing up to snuff, and pet owners who will leave their dog tied out in all weather. There are bad apples in every barrell. But the annoying people who run PeTA are not stupid, and they weren't about to look a gift horse in the mouth. This documentary was almost tailor-made to get their point across:

"Since dog breeders routinely use incestuous inbreeding and genetic manipulation to achieve a certain desired trait like a slanted back or a concertina face, it's not surprising that as many as one in four purebred dogs is plagued with a serious genetic problem."

In other words, purebred dogs are bad. Only mutts are good, and every dog you buy from a breeder means a poor little shelter puppy will die. I'm not going to link to PeTA because I don't want to drive traffic to them, but you can Google their site and read all about it, if you've a mind to.

Miss Harrison, producer of PDE, is outraged that PeTA has used her work to further their own agenda:

“I am horrified that PETA is using the film to further its own, warped agenda,” says Jemima Harrison, of Passionate Productions, which made the film for the BBC. “Our film is about animal welfare, not animal rights."

Boo-hoo-hoo. Then maybe you should have presented both sides of the purebred dog breeding story, instead of a one-sided, designed to outrage, tabloid style work that played right into AR hands. A single pro-breeder segment celebrating the concientious dog breeders who are breeding for diversity, performance, and health would have made most ARs stay far, far away from your little show. You have only yourself to blame.

You've made your bed, now lie in it.

No comments: