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« The impact of a fresh coat of paint on grief | Main | Labradoodles and other oodles: The problem isn ' t ' impurity ' »

26 April 2010

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Brent

Nice post Christie.



I've never been one to think that the vast majority of people are either all good or all bad. I don't like it when people oppose any legislation just because HSUS is behind it - so it must be bad.



On the flip side, I've seen many who think that No Kill is a horrible movement because the breeding community by and large supports it.



Whatever.



However, there are times when I really question Humane Society's motives behind their puppy mill legislation.



We're dealing with a possible ballot initiative in Missouri that HSUS is spearheading. The ballot language is honestly very soft and on the face seems like "well dah" type of language.



But it won't do a single thing to solve the 'puppy mill' problem in Missouri.



HSUS says there are 3,000 puppy mills in the state -- which may well be true. But as of right now, we have 1525 licensed breeding operations. This means that we could shut down nearly half of every commercial breeding operation TOMORROW if we just had the state funded resources to do so.



However, at the time of our last state audit, the state only had enough inspections officers (13 at last count) to inspect about 60% of all of the LICENSED operations (even though the state law insists that all are inspected annually - the 60% includes shelters and rescues too which also have to be inspected by the state department of ag).



The new law will do nothing to solve the single biggest reason the state has a problem with poorly run, uninspected, unlicesed commercial breeding operations -- which is lack of inspections officers.



The folks at HSUS aren't dumb. They HAVE to know this. So why would they waste $500,000 to fund the petition initiative, and another likely $2 or 3 million in promotion to win the votes they need to pass this legislation when it won't come close to solving the problem and really only includes a couple of line items not already covered by the USDA guidelines?



I don't disagree with them for disagreement sake -- but if their true motive was to help solve the puppy mill issue this would not be the way to do it. And if that's not really their motive, then it scares me to think of what they'll do next.

catmom5

Finally - the voice of reason! A colleague just got a puppy online from a "broker" - the pup is now being treated for parvo and severe ghiardia and this is an educated woman who knows about puppy mills but believed what this online "broker" told her about where her little guy came from. These are good people, but not informed! (They are now!)

We need to put a stop to this horrid practice! Your story about the greyhound just broke my heart. I've seen the rescued dogs with permanently disfigured feet from spending years in a cage, etc. I don't understand how any human being can do that to an animal. I just don't get it.

Gina Spadafori

There's no dispute here that the HSUS has headed down some really bad roads -- anti-TNR, anti-no kill, pro-death to bust dogs, etc. etc. They've reversed course on some of these since.



But ... there's also a longstanding tradition in politics that if you don't like something/someone, make it illegal. In liberal tradition, these laws are "nanny state" types. In conservation tradition, these laws are "prohibition/punishment" types.



So everyone naturally wants a law to "fix" things ... but the question becomes what kind of law will do it? Where you go with that question often depends on where you start.



I do believe the "true motive" of HSUS is to eliminate puppy mills -- not reputable, ethical breeders. (I don't believe that to be true of PETA's leaders, which want a world without domestic animals, all pets included.)



Most of the people at the HSUS come from a sheltering background, and that's a community that has long failed to see a distinction between an ethical breeder and the others. A few (notably Wayne Pacelle himself) come from an animal-rights background, and that's not a tradition that's even going to try to see a difference.



It's really, really bad for us "good breeders" to stand on the side of puppy mills, because you're judged by the company you keep. When we side with puppy-milling scum (even "clean" puppy mills), it reinforces the idea that we don't care about those dogs, or any dogs, except our own.



And that's not true.



Better to represent our OWN interests, and demand our OWN seat at the table. As animal-lovers, and as dedicated preservationists of our historic heritage breeds.



The fact remains: The HSUS went neutral on breeding ban in California last year, after being a sponsor of a similar proposal the year before. It would have been easier for them to stay on the "breeder is a breeder is a breeder and all are scum" team.



But they didn't. Because some of the folks at HSUS actually do understand the issues, and the distinction, between the litter I raised last year and the litters being raised in filthy exposed cages in the Midwest and in Amish country.

Vicky

Word.

H. Houlahan

their interests are not your interests



A - FECKIN - MEN Sister!



I will get between the political sheets with repugnant people whose values I in general abhor -- if their interests and mine are genuinely the same on a given issue. Because I can trust someone to follow his interests most of the time.



Both the most radical animal rights wingnuts and the most heinous commercial abusers of animals have a vested interest in tossing normal animal owners into the same sack as puppymills, agribusiness, etc.



I ain't getting in that bag. It's the job of those of us who both care about animals and actually, you know, know something about them to be their advocates to the world, including in the political process.



When someone tries to scare me about humane laws with the boogie that "PeTA thinks you are the same as the puppymill" -- well, so what? I should agree with them because...?



However, I will have to see HSUS be a LOT more public and loud about good breeders, and actually come out against bad anti-breeding, anti-ownership legislation that "sounds good" before they get a pass on this.



I know there are sincere individual animal welfare advocates who work for HSUS. I've worked with some of them. That doesn't give the organization a white hat. Nor can it ever compensate for the fundraising mill aspect of their business plan, which seems to be inherent, or the shameless way they deceive the public and steal donations from local animal shelters.

Gina Spadafori

Word, part 2, on what Ms. Houlahan says.



And on what she said a couple weeks ago: The enemy of my enemy is not my friend. But he can sure be damn useful.

Stephanie Feldstein

Well said. There's way too much divisiveness in the animal welfare movement; we often lose sight of where we agree. These are big issues we're up against, and we need as much collaboration as possible.

retrieverman

Puppy mills.



Going after AR groups is a distraction-- a bright shiny object that the really evil people use to confound the sane voices for animal welfare.

mary frances

Brent comment #6 - "I don't disagree with them for disagreement sake - but if their true motive was to help solve the puppy mill issue this would not be the way to do it. An if that's not really their motive, then it scares me to think of what they'll do next."



This cautious statement sounds logical.



Play chess and don't let your guard down.

mary frances

It should read - if you play chess, don't let your guard down.

Tom Blankenship

Obviously a very hot topic, as topics tend to be when there is a lot of passion and emotion involved, or when stakeholders on both sides stand to lose something. A good example is mountaintop removal mining here in the Appalachian mountains.

Can we quell our emotions some and look at this rationally? Nothing in and of itself is either good or bad (like a pocketknife) it is what we humans do with it that determines the goodness or badness of it. My family owns a beautiful, loving, frolicsome Duck Toller. This breed would have become extinct had it not been for a dedicated group of BREEDERS that pulled it back from the brink. The world would have been much poorer without them. Do I want to see them mass produced by greedy people for profit. That would be a resounding NO! Responsible breeders, not "backyard" breeders breed for the maintenance and improvement of a breed. Not for profit, or just conformation, but for health and temperament also. Responsible breeding is good, irresponsible breeding is just that, irresponsible and should be shut down.

I interviewed a local politician when I was in JR. High school and he said something I will never forget "You cannot legislate morality." He proved this point later by losing his license to drive for driving while intoxicated. Poignant isn't it.

Mandatory spay/neuter isn't the answer. Neither is political in fighting and nit- picking. I agree, let us who TRULY CARE about animals COMMUNICATE with each other.

Katrina

I am in agreement with some of the causes that HSUS has stated to be support of. But these "issues" or "causes" are never black and white, rather they are so many shades of grey, often making it difficult to be in complete agreement or complete disagreement. Or at least the rhetoric surrounding the issue or cause is never black and white.



However, until HSUS starts to "earmark" money to a specific issue or cause (to which I might be in agreement), they still will not get my money. And I have yet to see anything that shows that they spent a substantial amount of money on helping the victims of puppy mills, either with rescuing, housing, vetting or transporting. They seem to sweep in, create alot of noise (and call for donations), but then leave it to the locals to take care of the fall out, often with little to no financial support.



Their legislative tactics seem to be similar. Sweep in, cause alot of noise, and then leave it to the locals to interpret the consequences of a piece of legislative fallout (all the while calling for donations to allow them to continue with their sweeping changes to legislation).



So, I guess bottom line, I still don't trust them even when I may be in agreement to some cause that they are promoting, like ending puppy mills or dog fighting.

Debra

1. For some reason your article reminds me of a scene from West Wing where Amy essentially says that going with the other guy just because they are less mean-spirited didn't send her to her special polling place.

2. I don't trust HSUS to spend money.

3. I would support HSUS on any measure to stop puppymills.



It reminds me, though, of the ARC (Rottie club) who would not support allowing rotties to be shown without a tail because PETA groups were involved in banning docking/cropping in Europe. Insanity. So because someone you don't like agrees about something, you should stop others from doing what they feel is right for their dogs... or not show? Makes me sick.



So we agree I guess, support on issues you agree on. But frankly, her responses to you are about as convincing of HSUS being good as any polished puppymiller's web page. People learn to say the right thing, especially if money is involved.

LauraS

I think this post conflates two different issues.



Those of us who oppose the HSUS-sponsored campaign to pass puppy mill legislation in most of the USA don't support puppy mills. These bills are typically an absolute cap, usually 20-50, on the number of dogs or the number of intact dogs one can legally own.



We have previously discussed on this blog specific opposition points to California's puppy mill bill AB 241.



Among these opposition points is that these bills do not limit themselves to their intended targets but end up criminalizing some of the most responsible dog interests in the nation -- guide and service dog organizations, hunting dog kennels, boarding kennels, brokers of law enforcement dogs, hobby breeders who sell their pups on co-ownership contracts, etc.



Partly as a result of years of being on the opposite sides of heated battles about MSN and other legislation and partly for a host of other reasons, fissures within the dog community run so deep that constructive dialogue is largely impossible. Most attempts degenerate into a stream of insults if not outright slander & libel, and those of us who attempt to keep discussion fact-based are trusted by neither side.



Even after it was vetoed we saw AB 241, sponsors insisting that this bill would not have affected service/guide dogs groups. So even THE subject matter experts within the service/guide dog community, who had to go directly to the governor's office and convey the message, are dismissed by puppy mill bill sponsors as know nothings.



Among the sponsoring and support organizations the attitude toward all the varied interests that constitute the opposition appears to range from ZERO respect to outright hatred. They either brush us all off as dog-abusing black helicopter extremists, or they just assume we could not possibly have any knowledge pertinent to these issues they do not themselves possess.



More fundamentally, most of us who oppose the HSUS puppy mill bills do so because we don't agree with the fundamental premise that some arbitrary number of dogs is automatically bad. We believe that inhumane care and conditions should define illegal conduct -- and already does. Every example I've heard about that was used to try to justify HSUS puppy mill legislation described conduct that is already illegal under animal cruelty laws. If that's the problem, then we don't need any more new laws. Enforce the laws we already have.



Others will respond, and I agree, that dogs intended to be family pets should be bred and raised in family homes and not mass produced like livestock, even if the operations are clean and the dogs' nutritional, social, and veterinary needs are well cared for. This is of course a central premise of selective dog breeding -- if you want high odds of success, you get what you select for.



But here's maybe where some of us differ. I don't want the government making value judgment choices for me. The ideal selective dog breeding methods do not cross the line into an area that government laws are justified. That amounts to mandating moral values, not improving animal welfare. Whether it is the religious right and their moral values crusade or the humane movement and their attempts to over regulate dog breeding and my animals' gonads, I have had it with people trying to stuff their moral values down my throat through force of the law.

LauraS

As to the question "Which do you hate more: HSUS, or puppy mills?"



I'm tired of all the hate.

LauraS

"However, I will have to see HSUS be a LOT more public and loud about good breeders, and actually come out against bad anti-breeding, anti-ownership legislation that “sounds good” before they get a pass on this."



Before HSUS can come out against bad anti-breeding, anti-ownership legislation they need to stop supporting and sponsoring such legislation. I think we've seen some progress with the first step, with MSN. I am not aware that HSUS has supported MSN since Chicago's 2008 ordinance. The Googles cannot find mention of more recent HSUS support MSN. But, I have no idea what HSUS is doing with respect to current MSN such as the pending New Orleans ordinance.



If HSUS would actively come out against MSN and lobby against it everywhere it does come up it would put and end to this counterproductive policy. And maybe the polarized dog community could start to heal some wounds.



But MSN is not the full extent of the anti-breeding, anti-ownership legislation that HSUS has supported or sponsored. See above, for a more recent example.

Gina Spadafori

I have had it with people trying to stuff their moral values down my throat through force of the law.



Comment by LauraS — April 26, 2010



I am SO THERE, on a whole range of issues.

Anne T

HSUS has many, many miles to go to prove it's on the same page/plane with responsible breeders. So far, it hasn't walked an inch. I don't believe one iota of their anti dog ownership propaganda, and your interview hasn't relaxed my belief that HSUS is my enemy one whit.

Anne T

PS: I suspect this 'softened' stance on responsible breeding by Ms Shain is in response to the recent and very effective flak HSUS has been taking at the hands of HumaneWatch, and not because Wayne Pacelle has lost his leopard spots.

Christie Keith

Anne T, you'd be wrong. I spoke with Stephanie last year, before HumaneWatch came into existence, and the WashPo chat was two years ago.

Diane

Why would we want a terror supporting mob connected fake charity over puppies bred by American puppy breeders? Would you prefer Mexican pups? CHinese? Same goes for farmers... does anyone really believe that California farmers aren't the most advanced in the world? HSUS would want you to "believe" otherwise. This isn't about a slippery slope. It is about truth. The truth about HSUS.

Christie Keith

I want dogs not to suffer, no matter what nation they're in. There is NO reason good enough to perpetuate the suffering that is the mass production of puppies, and if you really think ag in California is the greatest in the world, you haven't been paying attention. (Although there are some wonderful farms here... I just suspect you and I don't have the same ones in mind when we say "wonderful.")

bestuvall

How soon we forget.. wasn't it not so long ago it was "FAYE NOT FAY" that took top billing on this blog.. all HSUS driven for M-O-N-E-Y.. all a scam.. even more.. the call to "help Vicks Dogs" when the HSUS never even had possession of them..all about M-O-N-E-Y..Both of these propaganda issues were LIES.. out and out LIES promulgated by the HSUS as truth in fact when actually is was just the reverse..they did not have Faye.. they did not have Vicks dogs.. and in fact called for Vicks dogs to be killed, as they have for so many years, causing the death of countless "pit bulls" for no reason. They even indoctrinated our children with such ideas in their "Humane Teen" magazine. Have they changed course? They say they have but I am waiting to see how much money, shelter and care they will offer to the dogs taken from the "bust" today in TN. Believe me I am not holding my breath.

It is not a matter of who hates which more...it is a matter of trust and so far the HSUS has failed every time..seems the HSUS has given up (for now) MSN battles and have taken on the "numbers game".. much more successful across the board.. after all.it it much easier to explain to the average "joe" that no one could possibly take care of more than X number of dogs..Those of us who have watched this tactic know ( and have actually been in rooms with HSUS people that have confirmed this) that any given number is only a start..for example why are the bills being pushed by HSUS to "stop puppy mills" by limiting the number of intact animals different in each area? In Oregon a woman GAVE 40 dogs to the local Humane society in order to comply with the new 50 dog limit law that HSUS managed to get passed in that state.Here is what the Oregon Humane Society leader said of the dogs turned in:



"They're a little long in the tooth," she said. "But it looks like they're in reasonably good health and are reasonably social, so that's really good for us."



Really good for "us"?? You bet.. free dogs , in good condition , socialized and ready to sell..all uprooted from their home where they were cared for, even by the admittance of the Oregon Humane Society, because of the HSUS.

So excuse me if skepticism creeps in when they are mentioned.. they have a track record..



HSUS?? No thanks.. you can be sure if you sit down at the table with them.. YOU will be the dinner..

bestuvall

Incrementalism.. it's what's for dinner at the HSUS

bestuvall

Christie says:

"Stop hoping no one will notice your little breeding program and wall of trophies and ribbons and just letting the big puppy brokers and retailers do the lobbying for you."



Surely you jest?? Have you BEEN to Sacramento? Have you been to the hearings on MSN and other anti pet laws? I am sure that you have. Did it look like "big puppy brokers and retailers" were there en masse? Or was it people who have a "little breeding program" and even people who have NO breeding program.. just individuals who CARE about their freedoms and their rights as pet owners. I am proud of my wall of trophies and ribbons. I have worked hard to get where I am with my small breeding program. I am even prouder to be a part of the group that DOES lobby, fights BSL, and denounces anti pet laws.. most of them written by the HSUS...

bestuvall

"Look, I don’t approve of everything HSUS does. Hell, I don’t approve of everything my own family does, or the other bloggers here.



But when it comes to puppy mills, yes, I absolutely approve of what HSUS does"

says the blogger



What exactly do they do.. as a charity.. not as a lobbying machine?

I see them go in.. take dogs.. then leave them with local rescues.. and shelters.. and then ask for money "to fight puppy mills" with big color photos and HSUS blogs and mass mailings.....



Ask Mr Pang what the HSUS did to "help him".. it is an interesting read..

http://www.animaladvocateinc.org/PangLetter3.htm

K.B.

"does anyone really believe that California farmers aren’t the most advanced in the world?



Comment by Diane — April 26, 2010 @ 8:22 pm



Not sure what this has to do with the HSUS and puppymills, but, yeah, I don't believe that California farmers are the most advanced in the world. Nothing against California farmers, mind you, but there are millions of other farmers in hundreds of other countries... and then again, "advanced" isn't necessarily a good thing in agriculture, depending on what your definition of the word is.

K.B.

"Whether it is the religious right and their moral values crusade or the humane movement and their attempts to over regulate dog breeding and my animals’ gonads, I have had it with people trying to stuff their moral values down my throat through force of the law."



Comment by LauraS — April 26, 2010 @ 5:20 pm



WELL SAID!



Personally, I despise the whole "if you are against this legislation, then you are for puppymills" thing. Exactly what Laura was saying, so I won't repeat it, but numbers don't matter - conditions matter, and there are already laws for that - laws that are seldom used by overworked and underfunded agencies charged with animal protection. If the HSUS wants to lobby for something useful, instead of asking for more laws, ask for adequate funding for animal protection agencies - the real ones, the ones actually investigating abuse cases, not just making money off of them.

Gina Spadafori

Leaving aside the predictable talking-points parroting of "bestuvall" -- did ya stay up all night spewing that stuff? -- I'm fascinated by this:



--



Why would we want a terror supporting mob connected fake charity over puppies bred by American puppy breeders? Would you prefer Mexican pups? CHinese? Same goes for farmers… does anyone really believe that California farmers aren’t the most advanced in the world?



Comment by Diane — April 26, 2010



--

"a terror supporting mob connected fake charity"



There's nothing "fake" about lobbying and advocacy. I have no problem with the HSUS raising money to do both, with a caveat: They need to be honest that that's what they're doing with the money, and that has been an ongoing problem. As for "terror[-]supporting, mob[-]connected" .... yeah, whatever, and the president is Muslim born in Kenya, blah blah blah blah.



But this American puppy-mill thing ... as long as dogs in puppy-mills provide Americans with money, you're OK with the cruelty? Seriously?



As for California farmers ... you're absolutely right that they're some of the most advanced in the world. And Christie's absolutely right that the ones you're talking about as "advanced" are not the same ones I'm talking about as "advanced."



The ones Christie and I buy meat from -- honest-to-God family owned farms -- are all within 100 miles of our homes. Because the area between and north of San Francisco and Sacramento is the most fertile ground for a new generation of family farmers who have respect for the land and their animals. We support them in all ways possible.



If they are not our future, we are all well and truly screwed.



Industrialized corporate ag, those "advanced" concentrated animal feeding operations you're so very proud of, are using tons of ever-more-rare fossil fuels, are the breeding grounds of drug-resistant bacteria and new strains of viral disease, and are the source of toxic lagoons of waste that pollute groundwater and rivers. And by the way, these "American" interests can't wait -- and have already started -- moving their factory farms the way of all other factories, to third-world countries with dirt-poor work forces. So much for America.



The bill for the "cheap" food produced by Big Ag is has not yet been paid. And it's gonna be a shocker.



Finally, neither Christie nor I are big on laws. Laws that restrict the number of "intact" dogs are a problem for reasons having nothing to do with the "slippery slope" arguments. First, they ignore the growing evidence that leaving dogs intact may be better for their health. And second, they ignore that it's absolutely possible to keep X (however you define "X") number of animals happy and healthy, if you have the money and the staff. (Look at Best Friends' Dogtown, if you doubt this.) Hunting kennels such as the one profiled on the wonderful "Full Cry" blog take extraordinary care of their dogs. Spaying and neutering isn't a mandatory requirement for the good care of an animal. It's an option, and should remain so.



Me, I doubt that there is a legal remedy to puppy mills. I think education and peer pressure to get people to avoid retail puppy outlets and puppy-mill Web sites is the only thing that will do it.



And that requires providing them with a genuine option besides a shelter dog if they want that, and having shelter advocates STFU when someone does choose to buy from a reputable, ethical, breeder. Which returns us to Ms. Shain's point: The best weapon against puppy mills is having people understand what good breeders do. Because when you know the difference, why would you pay more for a sick, unsocialized puppy when you could have this?



How does that start? By recognizing the distinction on one side of the current fight, and by stepping up to say "WE ARE NOT WITH PUPPY MILLERS" on the other.



Which is why I picketed Petland, and why I continue to fight puppy mills. And why, in giving a keynote address to a sheltering group in Texas last weekend, I made no secret of the fact that I am a reputable, ethical breeder.

Mary

Go to Guidestar.com and look at the 501c3 public tax return records. You can see the amount of funds any group including the HSUS brings in, and what goes out and where.



While I agree with what the Hsus is saying about striking down puppy mills, I wonder as with the South Dakota Christensen Breeder raid of 200+ animals that it seemed they handled the confiscation, set up the fairgrounds where the animals would be held, got supplies, had their vet examine them/treat them....and then seemed to leave the animal rescue center on it's own.That was the appearance to the public...

the latest:

http://www.ksfy.com/news/local/91912394.html

as of April 23, 2010



I know there are good breeders in our breed...a handful, as they do rescue for my organization. There are only two licensed 501c3 rescue organizations in the Nation for my breed and I am one of them....and "If" I were to buy a puppy ever, it would be from one of my friends that feel if you breed, you must rescue. However, running a rescue center never allows me to have the $1,000.+ to purchase one. And thanks to Hobby breeders out of control in MO, we have no end to puppies. I say that with complete sarcasm.



I do support the mission of the Hsus, but do wish they would consider helping licensed 501c3 organizations and shelters that take in puppies and adults in breeder confiscations such as we do. Our raid last summer cost our small organization thousands of dollars...our building fund depleted, but 33 lives saved, and of course I got my most special puppy Baldwin our of the deal. GWPRescue.com

YesBiscuit!

LauraS speaks for me, too. It's rare that I give up an opportunity to run off at the mouth on this subject but she said it well enough for me to co-sign.

Mary Mary

Me, I doubt that there is a legal remedy to puppy mills. I think education and peer pressure to get people to avoid retail puppy outlets and puppy-mill Web sites is the only thing that will do it.



Comment by Gina Spadafori — April 27, 2010 @ 7:15 am





Exactly. And WHO will be leading this educational effort? In large part, organizations with the money and the expertise to do it effectively. Via web, advertising, social media, etc. campaigns. Organizations with people who know how to take the complex and smash it into soundbites and the money to reinforce it over and over and over and over again so that it STICKS in the brains of Joe Q Public and -- eventually -- maybe inspires changes in buying behavior.



I say this as someone who is in the trenches of animal welfare education without a big budget but with a fairly big mouth and no problem repeating myself over and over and over. Plus I get paid to smash the complex into soundbites at my day job and I know how hard it is, and how long it takes for things to sink in to the target audience ... even longer for them to change behavior (if ever).



Look, even Catmom (comment 5) had a friend who is "educated" but still bought a sick dog from an internet broker! Clearly there is a lot of work to be done, and the more organized/funded the effort, the better.

bestuvall

Leaving aside the predictable talking-points parroting of “bestuvall” — did ya stay up all night spewing that stuff? —



says Gina.. Nah.. slept like a baby

Gina Spadafori

I do support the mission of the Hsus, but do wish they would consider helping licensed 501c3 organizations and shelters that take in puppies and adults in breeder confiscations such as we do. Our raid last summer cost our small organization thousands of dollars…our building fund depleted, but 33 lives saved, and of course I got my most special puppy Baldwin our of the deal. GWPRescue.com



Comment by Mary — April 27, 2010



Again, no disagreement.



As I said above, I have NO PROBLEM with raising money to advocate and lobby, and long as the fund-raising is honest, and that has long been a problem with the HSUS. But I do think the HSUS should be ALSO putting its money where its name is, into HUMANE SOCIETIES -- and they have enough money to do this as well as lobby/advocate.

Brent

And Gina, I think your last comment, sadly, comes back to my comment/beef.



They have enough money to solve a lot of problems.



Which is then why, when I see how they are lobbying for puppymill legislation in Missouri, I realize they really don't seem to be about solving the problem. In many ways, they seem to benefit from perpetuating the problem so they can raise more money.

Gina Spadafori

I think a lot of organizations are like that. The liberal groups did it during Bush and the conservative groups are doing it now.



There's nothing better for fund-raising than something to rouse the troops into fury.



Not to speak for Christie, but I think the point here is that there are good, reputable breeders who actively defend and side with puppy mills because they think Wayne Pacelle has devil horns and a "true and sekrit agenda."



Does he? Maybe, maybe not. But what's in Wayne Pacelle's heart doesn't change what's in mine, and I REFUSE to stand on the side of puppy-milling scum. Period.

Brent

I personally think that it is way past time to develop a 3rd side.

Gina Spadafori

I personally agree. :)

Laurel Ashley

I'm fully in favor or reputable breeders producing healthy animals that are the best of each breed but I am drastically opposed to puppies being churned out for profit alone without regard to health or anything else.



I believe the way to promote the former and eliminate the latter is to have stronger animal protection laws and more aggressive enforcement of those laws.



I think the AKC could and should do much more to assure that purebred dogs are of good quality, free of genetic defect and raised in a caring and responsible way.

Carol Bradley

Christie's essay is right on the money. Breeders who defend puppy mills might think twice if they understood just how deplorable these places are and the extent to which they poison the well for everyone else. Well done!



Carol Bradley

Author of "Saving Gracie: How one dog escaped the shadowy world of American puppy mills"

(Wiley, hardback, $21.99)

YesBiscuit!

"...and by stepping up to say “WE ARE NOT WITH PUPPY MILLERS”..."

Comment by Gina Spadafori — April 27, 2010 @ 7:15 am



I think the problem is that groups who raise a lot of funds off stating they are anti-puppy mill (such as HSUS) have so alienated some pet lovers that we feel we can't hold up our WE ARE NOT WITH PUPPY MILLERS signs unless we include a huge asterisk and disclaimer at the end.

LauraS

Finally, neither Christie nor I are big on laws.



That's what your previous posts and comments on this blog had led me to believe.



But when I read Christie's post above -- the parts referring to a "misguided fear of the slippery slope, that if one law gets passed anywhere limiting the rights of people to crank out puppies like they were washing machine parts...", and "But when it comes to puppy mills, yes, I absolutely approve of what HSUS does" -- I wondered if there'd been some change in her position about HSUS-sponsored puppy mill legislation.



Because to me, the laws such as AB 241 that I oppose and that HSUS has sponsored are a KEY component of what HSUS does with respect to puppy mills. HSUS sponsored variations of AB 241 in most state legislatures over the past few years. Last year I heard 34 states had bills like AB 241, thanks to HSUS.



If what Christie meant was limited to the HSUS educational campaign against puppy mills, and not their legislation campaign against puppy mills, I think the blog post is unclear on that point. Otherwise, I don't know which slippery slope puppy mill laws she was referring to.

LauraS

Not to speak for Christie, but I think the point here is that there are good, reputable breeders who actively defend and side with puppy mills because they think Wayne Pacelle has devil horns and a “true and sekrit agenda.”



I think I'm probably a member of more of the dog law related forums and discussion lists than you and Christie are, and I'm seeing relatively few examples of good, reputable breeders actively defending and siding with the kinds of abusive puppy mill operations that are roundly deplored. What I see a LOT more of are good, reputable breeders attacking ill-conceived HSUS-sponsored puppy mill legislation. Again, I think this is conflating two different issues.

Christie Keith

I shouldn't have said I approve of what they do, because I wasn't talking about their proposed legislation, for instance. I was talking about the philisophy of opposition to puppy mills.

I would say the most accurate statement of what I believe is this:

I share HSUS' opposition to puppy mills, and believe they have the resources to do things no other group can do. I believe we as breeders/fanciers should engage in dialogue with them, and I believe that dialogue would result in more effective strategies to end puppy mills and fewer such proposals that are damaging to us and our dogs.

I explicitly do NOT support numerical definitions of a "puppy mill," and don't want them proposed or passed in legislation or implemented in regulation.

I also genuinely believe that the fancy is often attributing to malice that which can more accurately be attributed to unfamiliarity, cultural differences and ignorance on the part of people like Stephanie Shain. I had a discussion of licensing laws with someone at HSUS recently, and it was the first time anyone had explained to her in a way she could understand what the problem with them is. I think that this process -- communication -- can and will do more to both end puppy mill and stop misguided, ineffective laws than all the marching around with signs saying "H$U$" ever will.

All I want the fancy to do is engage in dialogue with HSUS, because they are the 3 million pound gorilla in the animal welfare world, and we can accomplish more to end puppy milling with them than without them.

However, I also said that if people don't want to ally with HSUS on this issue, that's fine, but they need to engage in their own efforts to end puppy milling and not just let the "H$U$" crowd convince them not to fight mills because it gives aid and comfort to an organization they oppose.

Last, I have noticed in the last two years that the "we have to allow some commercial breeding to protect our rights and provide enough pets for American homes" meme has been gaining more, not less, traction in the fancy. That is explicitly what prompted me to dig up this interview, which I did last year, and publish it.

Christie Keith

bestuvall said, "Surely you jest?? Have you BEEN to Sacramento? Have you been to the hearings on MSN and other anti pet laws? I am sure that you have. Did it look like “big puppy brokers and retailers” were there en masse? "

You need to read what I said again. That was my exact point.

Cait

I think Stephanie Shain sounds like a very reasonable person.



However, I'd like to know where she, or her predecessor was, when Dallas was fighting our MSN law. We (the dog fancy community) tried extensively to meet with the other side- kept getting told that we were puppy mills, supporting puppy mills, hoarders, everything. The HSUS rep* that supposedly came to Dallas only talked to the rescue groups and couldn't be bothered to meet with us at all.

*(To be fair, the person might have been a lobbyist for another group, I wasn't involved in that side of things- I was just helping with the petitions and flyers and letter campaign.)



I'm far from a puppy mill defender, but I really think the issues with conditions that meet definitions of cruelty and neglect can be addressed with existing laws- and the rest will never be fixed with a law, just education. And I don't trust HSUS as far as I can throw 'em, even on this issue. Stop spending the money on laws that won't work and may very well hurt; start spending it on education.

Grace Sawyer

Animal welfare is quite different from radical animal rights which tries to force the nation to go vegan to save animals by forceful laws. Of course added into that not to kill animals or use wool for socks, jackets, shoes or try to influence world trade, then that is going way too far. Many of us fall on the side of animal welfare without realizing it and do not have to give up eating meat or number of dogs or type of breed or anything else including taking care of ferrel cats without a psychiatric lable. With that said, no one agrees with unlicensed kennels who raise 10 different breeds, fighting of any animals. Animal welfarest do not believe in animal cruelty but many of us consider showing a dog or other sports offered with dogs is not cruel - it is a sport which both enjoy. Animal welfarest tend to support local shelters much more than we support HSUS because we want our money and donations of food, beds, towels, clorox, Lysol etc to go where we see it does the most good. Folks whether you want to admit it or not, there is not any difference in those who believe in animal welfare. It seems when an organization forces sometimes detrimental laws at great costs to the USA, pet owners, towns and cities and states, in general and in an attempt to remove food from our plates, then that is stepping overboard not only in animal welfare, but human rights. If people came together who believe in animal welfare we would really see that many, many believe wholehartedly in animal welfare on both sides. When an organization comes in and tries to force an agenda, it reminds me of the first animal rights laws initiated by by Hitler. It is getting more difficult to find a particular breed on would like to own which has a history that goes back as many as 6000 years. I love the history of the different breeds but that does not discount the shelter dog in any way. If you care about one dog you care about them all. It is time to ask if you are an animal welfarest or an animal rights person. Animal rights started with vivisection. The anti-vivisection movement was strong in England and the United States in the 1890s (the American Anti-Vivisection Society was formed in Philadelphia in 1883. following World War II, the decline of agriculture as a way of life, the growth of affluent suburbia, and the increasing number of older people living independently combined to increase appreciation of dogs and cats as companion animals. It was the precursor of USDA who "invented" commercial kennels that brought familes and purebred dogs together. Not everyone could afford a purebred dog.

Growth of humane organizations led to conflicts among leaders over the extent to which principles of animal protection should be carried, and whether controversy would erode public support.

Growth of humane organizations led to conflicts among leaders over the extent to which principles of animal protection should be carried, and whether controversy would erode public support. Has the animal rights split those who believe in animal welfare right down the middle? Thinking the same way but do not talk or have a mindset of what they have heard being repeated by the vegan animal rights social movement. I already know the answer but that will have to be something each person decides for themselves. Are you for a vegan animal rights social movement leading to no use of animals or are you interested in the true welfare of the animal. I have just finished reading Temple Grandin's book, the autaustic holder of a Ph. D. who designed almost 50 percent of cattle slaughtering business' and was amazed, she said, "good gosh we eat them, we have to give them some respect!" She is not an animal rights activist but I would call her a dedicated animal welfarest, through and through.

bestuvall

Education is the key.. and if you really want to stop"puppy mills" then the only way to do that is BREED MORE PUPPIES yourself the right way ( whatever that is to you). I do think there were a few blogs here talking about Gina's litter.. (her only one so far? I am not really sure) and how they celebrated their first birthday.. How great is that?? Pretty darn great.. BUT that is not enough puppies to satisfy the "market".. now I am not saying that people have to breed to satisfy any demand for pups.. BUT again people who want a puppy will get it from some one.. or some where. So if you are indeed a "reputable ethical breeder".. why aren't you having more pups and not less. Why aren't you flooding the market with well bred ,well raised puppies? Why aren't legislative groups making it EASIER for the home breeder to raise happy healthy puppies so that people can get a decent pet? Because HSUS and others like them continue to bring up legislation that curtails the hobby breeder, supports laws ( and yes even writes them) that limit the number of intact animals one can own..writes laws that tell people when and how often they can breed their own animals. ( something that should only be decided between the owner and the vet)and insist on permits that almost no hobby breeder can ever comply with... Not all of this is HSUS driven.. but the splinter groups ( like those in LA.. who either give to the HSUS or get from donations them)manage quite well to "carry the message" that comes from the HSUS.

None of us support "puppy mills".. All of us support education.. not propaganda and out and out lies to garner donations.. when you are cognizant of dealings like Faye not Fay.. and Vicks dogs.. it is VERY difficult to "come to the table" to discuss anything. I agree with Cait.. Dallas had a very rough go.. Texas has been amazing in the struggle to keep their rights and their pets..New Orleans is now undergoing a test run for MSN.. Where is the HSUS at that table? Are they not coming.. or just late for dinner?

Glenye Oakford

Christie wrote: "I believe that dialogue would result in more effective strategies to end puppy mills and fewer such proposals that are damaging to us and our dogs."



The problem for those with hunting packs is that HSUS already is staunchly opposed to our hounds' whole line of work, and I doubt they're going to write legislation that will help make it easier for hunting kennels to exist. If puppy mill legislation puts hunting kennels out of existence, I'm pretty sure HSUS wouldn't mind that at all. I do agree wholeheartedly that hunting kennels should then fight their own fight against puppy mills, but asking hunters to trust the HSUS and open a dialogue with them in the hope that HSUS will then accommodate hunters' concerns when they introduce their legislation--no, thanks.

Christie Keith

Glenye, how about if I ask people to talk with a human being who works for HSUS in the hope of changing that individual's perspective? Or do you really think HSUS is a monolith with a hive mind?

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