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Going to Extremes

Going to Extremes

My article on the Obama family dog brought a lot of very interesting comments that inspired this post. From people who supported responsible breeders, to those who feel breeding should be banned as long as there are homeless pets in the world, to those who fall in between, there is a wide range of animal welfare supporters.

What caught my eye in particular were the comments that contained assertions about certain animal welfare and animal rights groups were taking things to the very extreme; envisioning a world without pets (rescue or otherwise). These kinds of extremes worry me, not only as a pet lover and owner, but in general as a threat to personal freedoms.

It got me thinking about a major buzzword in the Obama campaign, one that I have yet to see completely realized, that of transparency. When I was looking into the groups mentioned in the comments of the prior post, I couldn’t find anything on their actual websites that would indicate that said groups were out to rid the world of pets. However, searching just the internet, and not the actual source, pulled up many accusations and in the case of one group, a lot of actions that support such a view.

So, as animal lovers and pet owners, how do we make sure that our dollars and efforts are being donated to causes that actually help promote animal welfare in the same view that we have?

My opinion is that we need to have a law for all organizations, animal rights or otherwise, that requires them to state honestly and plainly their true mission. I have no idea how that law would be enforced, but transparency in all organizations seems like a great place to start.

What do you feel are other ways of making sure we support animal welfare groups that truly hold our same values: especially if the groups themselves are not admitting to their agenda fully?

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Jess Dixon

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11:35AM PDT on Apr 25, 2009

My dogs are 'rescue' dogs, but I still try take in breeds (cross breeds) that suit my family, personality and lifestyle.
There is nothing wrong with purebred dogs - they were developed for a reason - just make sure that they were bred ethically. Good breeders encourage visits to their home when selecting the best dog for you.
Now let the Obama kids enjoy their gift from Sen. Kennedy and move on to the real work that needs to be done: puppy mills, dog fighting, spay and neuter programs for the poor, etc.

9:40AM PDT on Apr 24, 2009

There are laws for non-profit organizations, very strict laws in fact. Non-profits (legal ones) are far more scrutinized and transparent than any private organization or company. They have to file statements of intent and purpose and they have to account for every penny received and spent. They have to have records detailing how much and for what every penny is spent. They should be more than willing to send you a quarterly or yearly report. If you can not find the information you want or need regarding a particular organization then be suspicious, very suspicious.

9:01AM PDT on Apr 24, 2009

Let's all get off the Obama is a traitor site. He promised his kids a dog and the kids had special needs. He got a gift from Kennedy that did,in fact, address the children's
needs. Perhaps they will get another dog. Right now I think he is really too busy to get to all the problems and promises he has made but is doing the best he can. Just keep letting him know we want him to adopt a shelter dog as soon as he can. I am one of the biggest animal lovers but sure don't condemn a purebreed dog as they also need good homes, especially during this time in our country where people are actually dumping their pets on the street. We need to represent all animals, not just pound animals. Let's just keep asking and stop acting like spoiled children that didn't get their own way. Start a petition to Congress and ask those members to please help this country by adopting a pound puppy or cat. This isn't a political thing, it's an animal thing to save lives. By accepting a gift does NOT condemn thousands of animals to death. Are there any realists out there.

8:40AM PDT on Apr 24, 2009

I wish the Obamas had chosen a mutt rather than a challenging breed which will now become fashionable. But it's done now. How about channeling this energy and indignation into organizing a free spay/neuter clinic in your community? That more than anything will reduce the number of euthanized animals.

3:10AM PDT on Apr 24, 2009

If President Obama "promised" to adopt a dog from a shelter and he broke the promise, then I am afraid................

7:10PM PDT on Apr 23, 2009

I feel that Obama broke a trust with the public when he didn't do as promised and adopt a shelter dog, but I now understand more about allergies and that there are only two breeds which are safe for children with alergies. Problem is that I didn't learn that from Obama but from a friend who has had dogs all her life and knows about these things. So I think the biggest disappointment about Obama in this case is that he didn't follow through on his promise of transparency. How easy it would have been to say that he learned that he couldn't just get any dog from a rescue/shelter but needed to get a special breed and had checked with shelters and couldn't find one -- and that he still encouraged others to go the shelter route if they didn't have a special need. That would have been so much better than the murky way the news broke about this 'gift'... Besides, it just seems like this 'gift' was more a way to circumvent Obama standing up and admitting he couldn't take in a shelter dog than a true gift.

As for the person that says if all the celebrities who adopted pets couldn't encourage people to go for shelter animals, why would it be different for the president... Well, it just is. Historically, trends in fashion and behavior have followed the president and first lady choices. And one man's celebrity is not another's. So it is much harder for a big enough group to recognize what any one celebrity has done.

3:34PM PDT on Apr 23, 2009 domestic pets will fit into a future of scarcity. I don't think everyone who 'wants to own' a 'pet' will be in a position to do so - the relationship will either revert to one of domination, with animals being used as workers to aid humans, or we can decide now to make the future relationship more equal, symbiotic, respectful. What I do fear is a complete breakdown in civilization, and no laws, or law-enforcers left to protect the vulnerable - how then do we protect animals, when at present those in 'welfare' are so few, and so divided?
Of course, all in animal welfare need to work together, but some 'welfare' is in fact 'control' like 'pest control'. In a city not far from where I live in Ireland, there is a County Council pound that has a kill rate of over 90% - but because the public don't know this, they still surrender their pets, believing they will get alternative homes.
This is what is meant bu 'transparancy'!!!! OK, some rescues have 'no kill' policies - and keep un-rehomeable animals in virtual prisons for years - this is no more 'welfare' than the rescues that put down animals that they cannot re-home to make space for others who have a better chance of being homed - there is ground between both these positions that needs exploring, a wellas the huge cut in production of domestic pets tha MUST happen as we humans face into our biggest challenge of survival yet.

3:29PM PDT on Apr 23, 2009

OK, we have to live in the real world. Domestic animals have been domesticated for thousands of years, and many species would be incapable of living in the wild again, due to the changes selective breeding have made to them, to satisfy human wishes, wants, needs at the time, and desires. We, as a species, are now responsible for these animals, which our ancestors have changed, and made dependent on us. As we are at a turning point in human history - the Peak Oil scenario, the Climate Change emergency, and the Economic Crises which are ensuing from these circumstances, we as a species have to decide what is the right thing to do for these other dependent species. Its a moral issue, as well as a practical one. Yes we need to decrease meat consumption, both for moral reasons, but also because we are approaching a serious food shortage as the world population grows, and the only way we have a chance of feeding the multitudes is by going vegerarian, reducing the dependence of agriculture on oil and high technology, producing our food as close to consumption as possible - globalization is in fact 'over' and localization is the future, if we as a species are to survive. So, what to do with all the animals that cannot revert to the wild? The animals that are becoming extinct due to human degrading of their habitats? In my humble opinion, I think we need to decrease production of farmed species, as agriculture becomes more tillage based - and think about how domestic pets will

2:49PM PDT on Apr 23, 2009

All of you, including Author seem to foget is the pooch in question was A GIFT from Sen. Kennedy, Lay off OK!!

12:30PM PDT on Apr 23, 2009

I got a dog that was not being taken very good care of so I wanted to do the right thing for him. I stoped by Petsmart on the way home for the have Vets on hand there. All I can afford is a rabbies shot and parvo Flea and tich advantage. He had a wound on his leg they came back out and told me they would not give him the shots nothing and that they were going to call animal control and they would inpound him for 6 months that he might have rabies ( MIGHT ) I got up early this morning took my dog to the vet he does not have rabbies they gave him his rabbies shot and parvo and cleaned his wound and wraped it and put flea and tick the advantage kind that also kills the eggs. I will never take another animal to them. They were Nasty. How can people try to do the best they can for there animals when they get threathen like this? This is a little off key from what your talking about but, I want people to know how simple it is to get your animal taken from you just because you try to do right.

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