April 11, 2009
Activists with the power to ruin lives
From a report that Glenn Reynolds linked earlier, I read that Joe Biden bought a pedigreed German Shepherd puppy from a breeder. Not much of a story there, but what happened later illustrates something I consider a very serious (and possibly unsolvable) problem.
Because of an unstoppable movement of single-issue activist fanatics, the breeder has faced huge legal problems:
EAST COVENTRY -- It was a proud moment for Linda Brown when then-Vice President-elect Joe Biden selected her kennel to purchase his new German shepherd puppy.This is all too typical, and you don't have to be Joe Biden to attract the ire of these activists. As liberal feminist blogger Jessica Valenti found out when she dared commit the politically incorrect crime of buying a pure bred dog.
What ordinary people tend to forget is that animal rights activists have increasingly been put in charge of animal law enforcement.
The bottom line is that they consider dog breeding an egregious moral offense, and they see dog breeders the way anti-abortion activists might see a late term abortion provider. Or the way a child advocacy activist would see someone who opened a NAMBLA chapter. If you doubt me, I suggest breeding and selling pure bred dogs. Never mind that the dog itself is the product of selective breeding by humans; the activists ultimately want to end pet ownership, and for them, going after breeders is only one step. Breeders, of course, are in a tiny minority, and are thus extremely vulnerable.
Note the way the horror story unfolded for the unfortunate breeder who thought it was an honor to sell a dog to the Second Family:
Following a story about Brown and Biden in the Daily Local News, readers posted 131 comments, some chiding Biden for having the Secret Service with him when he went puppy shopping and others complaining he did not get the dog from a shelter.Naturally, PETA led the charge:
Brown was not only vilified in posted comments to newspapers but also on the Web site of People for the Ethical Treatment Animals, or PETA.What the story fails to point out is that PETA is not only against dog breeding, but all pet ownership, and has a documented record of routinely euthanizing dogs rather than putting them up for adoption.
After the activists complained, enforcement teams were sent in, and naturally (thanks to legislation drafted by activists) they were able to find technical violations. They didn't hold up in court, but of course the damage was done:
Brown also was cited for record-keeping problems and warned about maintenance and sanitation shortfalls by the Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture.I have nothing but sympathy for this woman, and for Joe Biden. If I were to breed Coco and sell her puppies, I would no more write about it in my blog than I would jump in shark infested waters with bloody meat strapped to my side. (I would be naturally hesitant to sell a puppy to a high profile celebrity, too.)
Like it or not, we live in twisted times in which selling pure bred puppies is considered a heinous moral offense. The bottom line is that if you breed dogs, you are vulnerable, as there are teams of well-organized, well-funded activists who regard you as morally akin to a child molester, and who can't wait to treat you that way.
As I discussed in a number of posts, a tiny minority of animal rights activists in Philadelphia decided that the elephants in the Philadelphia Zoo had to go. It made no difference what the zoo or the public wanted. The activists intimidated the zoo, and got their way.
No one stands up to them.
The problem is, while it's easy for me to advocate standing up to them (I attracted considerable ire for my elephant posts), in honesty I can't completely fault vulnerable people (like breeders, pet stores, or zoos) for not standing up to them. Putting yourself in their place, would you? Life is too short. How many people will stand up to single issue advocates with the power to ruin people's lives?
Still, I have some lingering questions. How did they get such power in a supposedly democratic society? Who gave it to them? Is there any way to take it away from them, or is it too late?
UPDATE: My thanks to Glenn Reynolds for linking this post, and a warm welcome to all. Your comments are appreciated, agree or disagree.
MORE: There are recent news reports about Barack Obama's choice of a pure bred Portuguese Water Dog as the White House dog. So far, both Obama and the dog's breeder seem to have escaped the treatment which befell Biden and the German Shepherd breeder.
Hmmm... I see that the dog was a gift from Ted Kennedy, who, while not the breeder, owns other Portuguese Water Dogs and seems to have acted as the middleman.
(Not surprising. Ted Kennedy would probably get a pass even if he were caught in flagrante delicto committing the actual crime of allowing two purebred dogs to mate!)
AND MORE: As details surface, the Obama Portuguese Water Dog story has intrigue written all over it:
The twists and turns of the Portuguese water dog's route to the White House make for the kind of intrigue that political junkies and the highly opinionated dog world delight in.It does appear that the dog was "laundered" for the Obamas, if that is the right word. The reason this has taken on the air of political intrigue is that daring to obtain a purbred dog has become a new morals offense.
posted by Eric on 04.11.09 at 12:08 PM
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