Tuesday, September 30, 2008
Tuesday, September 16, 2008
This is not a new argument. Dog lovers have been arguing--for a long, long time, both in and out of court--that breed standards adopted by registries such as the American Kennel Club and the United Kennel Club were never intended for such a purpose and are unconstitutionally vague.
Someone spent some time at the library and on PubMed's website, it seems. . .
Blood. The newest arbiter of
HSUS' amicus asserts that "researchers concluded 'microsatellite' DNA testing enables researchers "to assign 99% of dogs to the correct breed." But HSUS lies.
In the one cited study that yielded a 99% result, researchers used DNA from a mere 414 dogs representing only 85 of the 152 breeds recognized by the American Kennel Club.
The American Kennel Club doesn't recognize the American Pit Bull Terrier. In fact, the AKC doesn't recognize a long list of breeds, including the Catahoula (the state dog of Louisiana), the Cane Corso (the breed owned by Pete Georgoutsos, one of Blue Dog State's biggest heros), the Dogo Argentino (often misidentified as a "pit bull"), and depending on how you slice and dice it, something like 250 other breeds.
Would those dogs all be labelled mutts, using HSUS's suggested methodology? Because it could really matter. An exemption from mandatory spay-neuter requirements so that you can breed your line of mutts just ain't happening.
Whose DNA is it, anyway?
When the AKC solicited DNA samples from its constituents, ostensibly to screen for genetically-linked canine illnesses. . .did everyone sign a release like this one ?
I hereby relinquish all rights to, and ownership of, the DNA sample.
Not much wiggle room, is there? If you don't own your dog's DNA, what do you own? Huh?
The AKC/UC-Davis Database: Money in the bank
With all the whining Ron Menaker's been doing about revenues, and hints about making changes. . .did Ron already cut a deal?PETCO is already marketing "Canine Heritage" DNA ID tests at $119.99 each.
MMI Genomics, the manufacturer of the kits, is a long-time AKC partner.
The company has offered genetic parentage testing for purebreds through the AKC since 1998. The service compares a given dog's genes to the genes of its parents to verify paternity.
The kennel club has also built a genetics database including information from hundreds of thousands of purebred dogs. This database allows for DNA comparison to clients' animals for a match, said kennel club spokeswoman Daisy Okas.
Did all those dog owners that donated canine DNA, thinking the DNA was going to be used for medical research . . .get ripped off? Did they mistakenly contribute to the destruction of dog breeding as we know it?
Not pure enough. Savvy the AmStaff fails his DNA test. No puppies for Savvy. "Science" says he's a mongrel.
If HSUS -- and the AKC -- get their way and municipalities discard pedigrees in favor of DNA swabs. . .will every short-haired dog owner in the country have to submit the dog to a DNA test? At $119.99 each?
Will the test rely on an AKC-owned database?
Will thousands and thousands of dogs be relegated to mutt status and surgically sterilized ?
One generation and out. That's always the goal when it comes to HSUS.
Thursday, September 11, 2008
Systematically destroying the AKC's credibility Last month dog owners in California were devastated when the AKC yanked the rug out from under them on AB 1634. Revealing that it had been negotiating with legislators behind the scenes, at the last minute the AKC announced that it no longer opposed an animal extremist-driven mandatory sterilization proposal. The next day, the AKC attempted to defend its position. Six days later, out-flanked and out-maneuvered by mandatory spay-neuter proponents and animal extremists, and under siege laid by its own members, the AKC reversed itself yet again and announced that it "vigorously opposed" the bill. It was a piss-poor, embarrassing, performance that left both dog owners and legislators dumb-founded and shaken.
Can the AKC's lobbyists really be that bad? Did the AKC really have so completely mis-read Lloyd Levine. Hello? The guy's a term-limited whackjob, desperate to make a name for himself in politics. This isn't news.
What really happened in Sacramento? What deals were offered?
Why did the AKC break ranks? Partnering up with animal rights extremists In July, the AKC announced that it will join a lawsuit brought by Karen Breslin of the Progressive Law Center and others against the Denver, Colorado "pit bull" ban. Breslin--an animal law attorney that also represents Rocky Mountain Animal Defense -- happily shares the bill with Best Friends Animal Sanctuary's general counsel Russ Mead in presentations for law students. To quote Ms. Breslin in discussing breed specific legislation and specifically the Denver ordinance-- "[I]f the government can say that your interest in your companion animal isn't any more consequential than my interest in my laptop, or my interest in my briefcase, then there is no limit to what they can do in the way of regulating that animal. And there's very little that you can do about it constitutionally, as long as the law stays as it currently is." Changing the "lowly" property status of animals More than a year ago, and waaay long enough for the AKC to have found out about Breslin's stand on animal rights issues before joining the suit, Breslin remarked -- "We aren't asking for the property status of animals to be taken away, but that they be recognized as much more than JUST property, which is a lowly distinction in the law, and allows government extensive power over that property." Folks, if our pets aren't our property, then we can't protect them from threats like AB 1634. There is no "more than mere property."
You can't have it both ways, no matter how nicely its packaged. God knows, "pit bull" owners are desperate for a little support. But this ain't it. Breslin's agenda, with all its facetious reasoning, is an animal rights agenda. If we don't own our dogs, we'll lose them in a heartbeat.
The AKC went ahead and partnered up with Breslin and Co. Why? Its beyond embarrassing. Its frightening. No response is the worst response from the AKC The AKC permits itself to be tarred and feathered by animal extremists who condemn it as a puppymiller's registry.
(And by the way, with Menaker's September statement now public, should we add Macy's to the list of damned puppymill outlets, and Menaker himself as puppymill customer? After all, he confessed to buying an AKC-registered dog at what amounts to a pet store. Another department store bites the dust.) There has been no vigorous public relations campaign to defend the AKC's "gold standard" position in the marketplace. PETA compares the AKC to the Klu Klux Klan. What is the AKC's response? Silence. The AKC's PR strategy generally is "turn the other cheek" and hope it will all go away. Like we're all back in Sunday school. How's that strategy working for ya, Ron? Gentlemen's agreements, golden parachutes. Before any of the above had even happened, Dog Politics identified the AKC's urge to merge. AKC stands to benefit hugely from a merger with HSUS. After all, if you can't beat 'em, join 'em. Or allow yourself to be bought out. Did Ron Menaker and Wayne Pacelle have lunch one day--maybe during the PAWS fiasco--and plan the gradual integration of the AKC into the HSUS? Think about it. With HSUS as a partner and protector, the AKC is guaranteed participation in revenues from the microchip database it pioneered. Its largest, wealthiest constituents won't get shut down by anti-puppymiller legislation. The AKC will take on a larger "breeder-police" enforcement role, having already set itself up as the responsible breeder standards expert. The AKC could regain the economic support it once derived from control of the huge, lucrative pet market by aggressively pursing the registration of all pet dogs, free from harassment from HSUS. They might even openly register mutts. Why not? You better sit down kids. If you manage to concentrate on nothing else in that long meandering whine, re-read the last few lines of Menaker's statement. "Doing what's right for the future" in this context is ominous. "No one is suggesting we lose sight of our rich heritage and traditions, but let’s not allow the stated goal of our competitors to become a reality. As Bill Wrigley Jr. said recently in the New York Times, “We must respect the past…but at all times do what is right for the future.” Menaker's not panicking. He's setting the stage for the "inevitable" he's hoping for: an HSUS takeover of the AKC.