Monday, November 27, 2006

Screwing the pooch Are campaigns to "protect animals" all about negatively profiling people? Seems the Humane Society of the United States, income $125 million in 2005, outgrew the "animal welfare" biz. HSUS tweaked its homepage tag line and language to appeal to donors on a whole 'nother level.

Its all about "protecting animals" now.

Question is: protect them from what? Whole lotta love The Wall Street Journal confirms that through its associated political action committees the Humane Society of the United States spent more money on the 2006 midterm elections that Exxon Mobil did. HSUS spent nearly $3.4 million on the recent elections and ballot initiatives. HSUS donated more than $150,000 directly to Congressional candidates. In other words, HSUS outspent Halliburton. Whoa. That's a whole lotta money for protection. Personally, I'd like to know what Wayne Pacelle's HSUS is getting in exchange for all that cash. Cause I got a suspicion or two. Negative profiling for dog owners in Louisville, Kentucky Last year Democratic Louisville City Councilwoman Cheri Bryant Hamilton proposed a nasty revision to Louisville's animal control ordinances including breed specific requirements which unavoidably will discriminate against law-abiding and caring dog owners based on what their dogs look like.

In other words, Councilwoman Hamilton set up certain Louisville residents for discrimination.

The you-know-what hit the fan pretty quickly in Louisville following Coucilwoman Hamilton's proposal. A year and eight drafts of the animal control proposal later, the Louisville City Council is still arguing.

The current draft proposal is more than 100 pages long, and its a disaster.

Enter stage left: Humane Society of the United States

Some "dog advocacy" organizations have celebrated the HSUS's stance on breed profiling (BSL). For example, Animal Farm Foundation quotes HSUS as opposing BSL.

Sadly, Animal Farm Foundation is dead wrong. HSUS doesn't oppose negative stereotyping and breed specific legislation. Not any more, at least. HSUS suggested it and actively encouraged it in Louisville.

In a letter dated July 5, 2006 and addressed to the members of the Louisville City Council, Pam Rogers, the HSUS's Kentucky Legislative Coordinator, made a series of recommendations. Through her letter. . . the HSUS endorsed BSL for Louisville: ". . .legislation requiring their [that is, "pit bulls"] mandatory sterilization could be a benefit to the breed and to all dogs in the community." and then the HSUS negatively profiled pit bull owners for the Louisville City Councilmembers:

["pit bulls"] are likely the most popular dog in the country, but unfortunately, they are also the dogs of choice for drug dealers, gang members, and anyone else who is looking for a dog to be a status symbol."

HSUS advocates discrimination Yup. HSUS tweaked more than just their homepage tagline. They're now apparently okay with negative profiling--for dogs and people. Here's a clue for the Humane Society of the United States. (Write this one down, Pam.) Discriminatory laws that encourage negative stereotypes are never a benefit. Never. Fear-mongering language calculated to deepen apprehension among politicians and the public cannot be rationalized. You do not "protect animals" by profiling them, or their owners. Temporary, limited, or "just a little" discrimination of any sort is. . .discrimination. Negative stereotypes promote deeper levels of misunderstanding. Fear. Bigotry. Hatred. Latest news from Louisville You would have thought that "you can't judge a book by its cover" would have resonated with someone like Cheri Bryant Hamilton. After all, she's a member of the NAACP. And the NAACP has quite a problem with negative stereotyping. Councilwoman Bryant Hamilton identified "reducing crime, criminal opportunities and the fear of crime" as a crucial issue during the recent campaign season. Does she really think that discriminating against certain portions of her constituency and attempting to force them to castrate their dogs is a step towards her goal? Is a 100-page-long dangerous dog law supposed to be a substitute for impartial enforcement of good laws? Is she hoping that dog owners, particularly those that own certain breeds, will just give up and leave? Or did Cheri Bryant Hamilton just swallow what the Humane Society of the United States has on offer--hook, line and sinker? Cheri toes the (HSUS) line The Louisville City Council was ready to vote against the breed specific language on November 13th--in fact, they did vote against it--but Councilwoman Bryant-Hamilton and another Democratic City Councilmember stomped out of the meeting. Without them, there was no quorum and the vote didn't count. Other Louisville councilmembers were quoted in the press expressing their amazement at the disrespect she showed them. Sounds to me like Councilwoman Bryant Hamilton is pretty heavily invested in the Humane Society of the United States' program for negative profiling. I'm just wondering who's been investing in her.

Monday, November 06, 2006

Its the data, stupid. Crap, political corruption, privacy and microchips The Bush administration and its cronies took a jackhammer to privacy rights with legislation like the Patriot Act. That's the good news. What the hell's it got to do with your dog? Does the Patriot Act extend to our pets? Are the Dems gonna save us? (Not freaking likely. ) Quick! What unites the USDA, the Humane Society of the U. S. and ex Bush cabinet Health and Human Services Secretary Tommy Thompson ? Answer: a plan to force you to microchip your dog and database your household information

Shamelessly peddling compulsory plans as a way to return lost pets to their owners, but not hesitating to shaft the millions of ordinary, law-abiding citizens whose private information would be captured and distributed through comprehensive microchip-based databases, diverse organizations are lining up on compulsory RFID microchipping for dogs and other pets. Through its support of Rick Santorum's PAWS bill many felt that even the American Kennel Club aligned itself with animal rights organizations, and the USDA's NAIS plan, and against the privacy interests of animal owners.

The push is definitely on to get pesky dog owners on board with requirements for mandatory use of radio-frequency identification microchips for dogs and other domestic animals. Privacy concerns?

Funny. No one seems to be hearing them.

Are they in it for the money, honey?

Let's get down to it. Microchips are a BIG potential market. HUGE. Just for dogs in this country--

Sales of microchips at $35/insertion on the estimated 65 million dogs in America? $2,275,000,000

"Aftermarket" sales (which would be the mandatory database registration fees) at $13.75 each? $893,750,000

Database of the household information on the 45% or so of U. S. homes that include a dog? Now, that's priceless.

But its not the windfall profits that's got me crazy. Nope. Its the people who keep saying. . .

"I've got nothing to hide."

Oh, yeah?

Wake up! That's a fox in the hen house! With mandatory microchipping of dogs and cats in place, the household information of about 63% of the U. S. population would be funneled into a huge database of people who have committed no crimes. People not accused of any crimes. We're talking about people who simply own pets. The database would hold the details on an estimated at 69.1 million U. S. homes. My home would be there. Probably your's would, too. Individuals and organizations with access to that database could run reports on who owns a big dog. Which households have "too many" cats. Where dogs and cats with their reproductive parts intact are located. Addresses. Phone numbers. Names. Shit, the NAIS regulations would require that your home's global positioning coordinates go into the database.

Still think databases are no big deal?

Imagine your insurance company with its hands on that database. In fact, take a moment to download and view this video. Go ahead. Do it. And as you listen to the guy struggling to get his pizza delivered, imagine that he owns a (duly microchipped, as required by law) "pit bull". Or Rottweiler. Or husky. Or mastiff. Or Great Dane. Or Chow. Or German Shepherd. Doberman. Akita. St. Bernard. Bull Terrier. Miniature Bull Terrier. Cane Corso. Malamute. Catahoula. . . .

Here come the Democrats!

Meet New York State Assemblyman and Democrat Jose Peralta, of Queens.

One dark and stormy night earlier this year, Assemblyman Peralta submitted a bill proposing mandatory microchipping and the creation of a database of all dogs over the age of four months in the State of New York. Four other Democrats promptly signed on to it.

What information would go into Assemblyman Peralta's database? Who would have access?

"An amendment that requires dog owners to implant a microchip that includes owner`s contact information and dog`s medical history. A registry of dogs shall be created at the time of dog licensing. This registry will be made available to veterinarians, shelters and kennels for the purposes of identification."

In other words, just about anyone with a little ambition could gain access to your household information, your dog licensing data, and your dog's veterinary records.

Think it could never happen in the U. S. of A.? Think again. Mandatory microchipping is already a reality in El Paso, Texas--where, by the way, both the city and the county vote overwhelmingly Democratic.

New Zealand's regulations just kicked in. Hong Kong already requires microchipping. So does Portugal. The list goes on.

Roe v Wade, Griswold, privacy and your ever-loving dog

Where does our right to privacy come from? Roe v Wade.

A woman's right to choose, protected by Roe v Wade, is the keystone. The decision is all about privacy. In fact, the Roe decision relied heavily on the earlier Supreme Court Griswold decision asserting the "right to marital privacy". Chip, chip, chip away at privacy--no matter what the rhetoric put out by the Tommy Thompsons, American Kennel Clubs, and HSUS's of the world--and guess what?

The tail you swallow will be your own. So-called progressive thinkers who mistakenly believe that they "have nothing to hide" and choose to support agendas sponsored by outfits like the Humane Society of the United States are going to find themselves in bed with some distinctly un-liberal people. Do ya still think threats to privacy, like mandatory microchipping for your dog, are no big deal? I sure hope not.