Tag Archives: HSUS

Why Mike Rowe is a hero

Mike Rowe

In order to be green, you gotta get brown

I love Dirty Jobs. The TeeVee show and the actual thought of going out and getting my hands dirty.

Let’s face it. When we bought this place, we knew it was going to be hell to pay to get it into any sort of shape for living let alone self-sustenance.

Every time I have to go outside and slog through the swollen creek in fear of losing my garage or free a door for the chickens to roam across the landscape, I think about the millions of unsung heroes, workers across the globe; pressing on in their daily chores to make our lives easier.

In a conversation I was involved in with some associates, I came across this and discovered that Mike is well, interesting. Ever since his episode on the Green movement I figured there was more to this guy than being a talking head.

With candor, he admits to the human failing  of simply being wrong and admits with eye opening clarity the danger of believing everything without question, or experiencing first hand.

Well done, Mr Rowe.  Well done indeed.

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Filed under agriculture, Animal Rights, Stone Soup Diaries, Sustainable Agriculture

Of Interest to Anyone who Eats Food

I was cruising my favorite blogs and came across this from the VIN News Service.

I am in direct opposition to H$U$ and think they are the Devil’s Spawn but at the same time, I have some pressing concerns about the Nation’s food supply.

Other blogs have addressed this better, addressing the discussion to pet food products with a caveat that the food supply in this country feeds us all. Human and animal alike. A Google search for pet food recall or contaminated food conjures up list after list, page after page, of food products that are additives or whole source foods for humans too.

Agri-business has much to atone for with the recent outbreaks of salmonella in the human food supply, from greens to nuts, including my absolute fave, pistachios.

Aw, nuts!

Who can forget the huge expose’ on the pet food industry only a few years ago? Some news services considered the public outcry an “overreaction“. You know, like, it’s just pets and all… So a few people died. Who cares!!

My concern is that it is beginning to appear with a sinister regularity in our headlines. What people are simply failing to understand is that the affected foodstuff is impacting the consumer supply for every domestic animal and human in the nation.

So where does this alarming and remarkable article from VIN fit?

Lifted directly from the article:

Veterinarians spend their lives promoting the well-being of animals. Yet at the same time, activists appear to be guiding America’s attitudes on animal welfare, experts say, working to erode veterinary medicine’s authority on the topic and divide the profession.”

With a correction to it’s authors; H$U$ and PeTA have no interest in ‘animal welfare’. It is all about animal rights.

An example of this from the article:

While the American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA) carefully weighs scientific evidence to establish opinions on what’s in the best interest of animals, HSUS and its cohorts are preening their message, using emotion to drown out the more moderate voice of organized veterinary medicine.”

There is not a lot of consensus over this or any topic that has more than one set of “experts”. Large animal vets are accused of being deep in the pockets of agri-business while small animal vets endorse more humane practices for animals raised as food.

I am on two sides of this argument:

I could give a rat’s arse about agri-business; they have done more to destroy the fabric of the family owned and operated farms and homesteads (of which I am a product) in favor of mass producing a food supply whose very existence endorses dubious practices in husbandry and safety for the consumers of their products.

So. Does the H$U$ have a point? Sure it does. But should they be the ones dictating the practices of agri-farms and food producers?

H$U$ suggests that animals raised for food should be kept in a more ‘natural state’, enabling them to pasture in open areas, be able to move about freely without restraint. Opposition contends that “…such mandates merely trade one set of welfare concerns for another. Animals housed in open systems are more vulnerable to disease, parasite infestation and injury due to aggressive pen-mates. The system also makes it more difficult track an animal’s medical health and care, AVMA officials contend.”

So, who’s right?

The real fear is the ultimate agenda: “… those who liken HSUS to “PETA-light extremism” fear the organization’s fingerprints on agriculture housing bans are a precursor to the group’s ultimate agenda — to end animal ownership and remove meat from the diets of Americans.”

Jack Advent, OVMA executive director stated, “What we do know is that if there is no dialogue, HSUS has stated that they will simply collect the signatures they need to go to the ballot where the electorate will decide on the issues. We don’t want to close the door to something like legislation, which could be far more palatable than what might be on a ballot initiative.”

H$U$’s strategy has clearly demonstrated superiority in the devious department. They have successfully created strategies by targeting communities with a small agricultural footprint where opposition would not be significant, coupled with their appeals directly to the public instead of through introducing legislation which would have likely been opposed by lawmakers and/or lobbyists.

The article states In 2002, voters in Florida — one of 24 states that allow for citizen referendum — became the nation’s first to enact a ban on swine gestation stalls after HSUS waged a two-year publicity campaign and gathered more than 600,000 signatures to get the issue on the ballot. Five years later, Arizona voters outlawed gestation stalls by 2012. It reportedly cost Arizona’s agriculture groups roughly $1.6 million in a failed bid to combat the HSUS message. Both states have very little in terms of swine operations.”

Wow, huh?

California’s Prop 2 passed in November with over 63% of the vote, which analysts say will devastate “… the future of the state’s egg industry, and many hope that a bill currently playing out in the state Legislature will level the playing field for California’s producers by imposing free-range requirements on eggs imported from other states.”

Peter Weber, executive director of the Illinois State Veterinary Medical Association is relieved that similar legislation proposed in Illinois failed in February, stating that It was abundantly clear that this bill plays to people’s emotions. There just isn’t the science to back the need for it.”

The veterinary community’s decidedly neutral stance is pretty ominous. Their inability to come up with a plan of their own allows for H$U$ to intervene where they truly have no business. That the system needs to be changed is not really the issue. It has been clear for years that it does.

The USDA’s inability to adequately police agri-business lends itself to reform. A more proactive role in the safety of our food supply is necessary to assure it “fit for consumption”.

Food is big business, for ourselves and our animals. The two are related. There is not a lot of oversight in the pet food market and precious little effective oversight in the human consumer markets.

Legislation is becoming increasingly restrictive in the production of low-cost food for consumers allowing the slow food and locavore movements to gain momentum. By providing attractive alternatives to agri-business and the food/animal controversy, a locally produced food source encourages consumers to take a more proactive role in policing their own food supply.

It has a far healthier impact on local economies as well and promotes a broader concern for the welfare and safety of our consumer goods.

Sometimes the old ways are best. Supporting the production of locally raised food products has been a cultural icon of the United States since the beginning of our country’s history. Only since the return of the soldiers from WWII has agri-business forced small family owned farms to surrender to a greater demand for goods and monopolized the production of food for the nation.

The government subsidizing of growing ‘more, faster’ has had a profound impact on our safety, our health and the sustainability of our food supply. With the depletion of the aquifers in the Midwest, we face a far greater danger as the agri-businesses loose their ability to maintain high volume production for a teeming nation of fast food consumers.

It is within our ability to make a statement about our concern for the food we feed not only our animals, but ourselves and our children. At the same time, the dictatorial practices of H$U$ is clearly not the way. In order to preserve our rights as consumers and suppliers we must take a more active role in the production of our food supply.

There has got to be a better way.

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Filed under agriculture, Canine Nutrition, Farming, Food, Locavore, Pet Food, Stone Soup Diaries, Sustainable Agriculture

Trolling for Puppies: The TRUTH??? To be filed under Gimme a $%^& Break

Grand Opening of Woof Worx in Los Angeles features animal shelter rescued pups. Purebreds no less…..

In their sincerest belief that they are providing assistance to “puppy mill dogs” and shelters purportedly overrun with unwanted pets, they are offering purebred puppies for sale, er ‘adoption’ through a sanctioned pet store.

A Puppy-Store-Free LA‘s tag-line “…is to end the sale of puppies at pet stores in L.A.”

But it’s OK if they do it, right?
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Excerpts from the article follow, anything within the parentheses are mine.

“Eight months ago, Best Friends LA launched A-Puppy-Store-Free LA to stop pet stores from selling puppies because, sadly, that doggie in the window comes from a puppy mill. Not only is this a heartbreaking situation for the dogs being forced to breed in deplorable conditions, but for the new pet parents, as well.”

(Sadly, there is still a doggie in the window, but this one is BETTER because you are SAVING it from the horrors of being sold in a pet store. Do you honestly think that the source is any different or any better for these pups? What is THEIR source for dogs? Have they started their own captive breeding program???)

“A puppy purchased from a pet store can cost up to $1,500. More often than not, these sweet new additions have congenital disorders and may die with in the first two years of life due to inbreeding and unhealthy living situations. Few families can afford the thousands of dollars on unexpected vet bills and many puppies are surrendered to shelters, where they are euthanized or wait in vain for a new home. Most never get that second chance.”

(But a puppy purchased, er ‘adopted’ through us is an endorsement of our belief that all breeders are bad and that our pet shop is different and somehow better than other pet shops. Cuz we sell designer pet clothes and green products, and and and, puppies!!! Yeah. Ok. Uh Huh? But few families can afford the undisclosed vet costs for unforseen events from your puppies either, can they? Or have you specifically selected for genetic defects in your shelter dogs and screen for congenital defects in your neonates and follow the most astringent health conscious protocols available? I want to see a guarantee that the buyers, uh, ‘adopters’ of your pound pups are contractually bound to return the dog to YOU if something goes wrong. What’t that? As an agent of the shelter who provides your product, you can’t make such a guarantee? Indeed. And you are better than the Hunte Corp and PetLand how?)

“Best Friends has been hard at work to find an alternative, and collaborated with Woof Worx (formerly Pets of Bel Air) on the idea to sell wonderful, healthy, purebred puppies that come from local shelters. For a mere fraction of what it would cost at a traditional pet store, people can adopt one (or more) of these dogs, support a business that’s doing the right thing, and save a life.

(An ALTERNATIVE? Are you nutz? Wonderful, healthy purebred puppies from WHERE? Where are the local ‘shelters’ getting them from? Oh, oh Sorry I forgot! From the confiscation of animals by the new ordinances being passed like wildfire in your state and others thanks to our pals at H$US. For a ‘mere fraction’ of the cost at a traditional pet store! YOU ARE A TRADITIONAL PET STORE!!! Adopt my ass. Buy. Face it. You offer a commodity and people are paying you MONEY for that commodity. But of course, under the protection of the law that should come as caveats for anyone falling for this bunk. What is your guarantee that these pups will not fall victim to congenital defect, hereditary defect, communicable disease or die by the age of two? Are you going to take them back? Are you going to pay for their vet care when it is discovered that your product is as defective as PetLand’s? What is the recourse for the consumer, er, ‘pet parent’? Adopt one or more? What happens if one gets returned at say, 4 or 5 months old because it is a behavior issue or the owners are ‘moving’ or whatever the lamest excuses that shelters usually get. What then? Where do the puppies go? Hold on a minute there Nelly, in a community that is endorsing the limitation of pets owned by it’s citizens, are you actually telling me that your employees are going to do ‘home visits’ and all that? Riiiiiiiiight….. And the save-a-life thingy. Sounds like a marketing ploy to me…..)

“Jamie Katz, owner of Woof Worx, proudly opened the doors last weekend to over 150 supporters of this new concept. Veggie hors d’oeuvres and wine were served at the beautiful, high-end pet store in the heart of Bel Air.”

(I bet she was proud. Came up with a really good way to make money, uh, stay in business, er help the plight of puppy mills being sold in pet stores and make it look like she was doing something good for the community. To 150 supporters no less. At the beautiful, high end PET STORE in the heart of Bel Air!!! Who is buying this crap? Are the people of this Nation so indoctrinated that they can no longer see the forest for the trees?)

“Available dogs were there to celebrate their new lives, as well. This is not a typical store where puppies are kept in cramped confinement on newspaper or plastic flooring. Think of it as an indoor dog park. The puppies had toys, individual soft beds, even an indoor pet potty. A comfy couch is in the puppy room for anyone who wants to get acquainted with their potential new family member or just be covered with puppy kisses.”

(Available dogs are everywhere, like at traditional shelters who could really benefit from this kind of BS PR. This is not a typical store. OK, then mandate that all pet stores, just like your pet store, are as wonderfully equipped. Tell me. After operating hours, where are all the dogs housed and how are they cared for? Is there someone there to clean up after the potential family members overnight and on days where the shelter, uh, non puppymill supplied pet store is closed? Lemme guess, they are ‘free range’ in the indoor dog park.)

“We are so thrilled to be partnering with Jamie Katz, the owner of this beautiful store, and to support her in her efforts,” says Elizabeth Oreck, BFLA manager. “We truly believe that traditional pet stores that sell dogs from puppy mills will soon be a thing of the past, and that a store like Woof Worx will become a national model for cities all across the country.”

(Oh I bet! Especially that part about traditional pet stores being a thing of the past, since yours will represent a new age income stream because instead of your product coming from puppy mills or from unscrupulous dealers who will find a way to continue to supply the new niche you have just created, it will be stocked with purebred puppies born…where? Are shelters going to start their own breeding program for purebred dogs? Gonna have to if HSUS has it’s way and effectively shuts down hobby breeders who actually care about the quality, health and longevity of the animals they create.)

“This is not only a great way to showcase rescued animals who need homes, and to help lower the number of dogs and cats in our drastically overcrowded shelters, but an opportunity to educate the public about animal welfare issues. And we are so grateful to Jamie for taking that leap and being willing to show the rest of the country that a successful pet store can be modeled on compassion rather than cruelty.”

(A better way would be to stop offering purebred puppies and bring adult shelter dogs of ANY breed or mix of breeds and sell, uh, adopt them instead!! Drastically overcrowded shelters? C’monnnnn! Stop importing dogs from the islands, overseas and focus on the ones in your own back yard!!! And besides we all know that shelter population numbers are an amalgam of both cat and dog numbers when in fact the cat populations outstrip dog populations in shelters 3 to 1.*
Thanks for making a cunning business decision and finding a way to keep the doors open and showing the rest of the country how to game the system and still make a profit!! Sure the store is nice, with all of the high-end Californication trappings of wealth and do-goodery, but thanks for admitting that it’s still a pet store.)

Katz was an employee of Pets of Bel Air when BFLA began its peaceful protests.

“I always knew in my heart that selling puppies this way was wrong,” she says. “I’m a huge animal lover and advocate of animal welfare.”

(And probably had really good grades at business school)

Katz acquired the store when the original owner of Pets of Bel Air lost his lease, due in part to Best Friends’ protests.

(Whalp, waddya know? And this was on her own capital or through funding of BFLA?)

“Jennifer Krause, puppy mill campaign coordinator, thanked all the volunteers, supporters and Jamie. “This is a huge victory, and we couldn’t have done without them. Jamie just gets it.””
(Why Shore it is, for all of the MBA’s in business, let this be your model.)

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Here’s the thing. I hate pet stores that sell pets, and I hate the suppliers who provide them with product at such considerable cost and sacrifice to living, breathing animals.

I also hate duplicity and being wanked by the absolute bullshit that surrounds a campaign by those who allegedly (new favorite word) are in it for the animals.

I hate that the gubmint is trying to dictate to me the number of animals I am allowed to own, that they have bits and pieces that are their birthright and that this movement is being endorsed by people who claim to have the best interests of animals at heart.

Many questions emerge:

1) Who is supplying this new demand for purebred dogs if all of the breeders are put out of business and shelters are advocating spay and neuter for every animal that crosses their doorsteps?

2) Dogs are going to be the new crack cocaine if this comes to pass. How can this organization reconcile the belief in an overpopulation problem and turn around and endorse the continued sale of purebred dogs in pet stores? I would LOOOOOOOOOVE to have seen THIS business model!!!

3) Why can’t they make this believable, even palpable, by just creating a storefront in affluent areas to elevate the consciousness of the wealthy elite to the plight of dogs of every stripe, not just purebreds, not just puppies?

4) What do you think is going to emerge from this new business model?

*Statistically, this figure bears out across the nation. Stray cats comprise the largest single number in shelter populations for both animals housed and animals euthanized. But we are dealing with California here, so I am using a California statistic. More info can be had here.

The question arises about the actual accuracy of supplied numbers from a variety of recognized sources. Usually the number of animals in a shelter is defined as dogs AND cats as opposed to dogs, then cats. Statistics can be parsed to say anything and should be viewed with concern for their accuracy in accounting for the segregation of the total numbers.

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Filed under Animal Rights, Animal Shelters, Animal Welfare, Breeding Dogs, companion animals, Dog Adoption, Dog Genetics, Dog Politics, Mutts, Puppies, Puppy Mills, Rescue dogs, Shelter Dogs

A Bit off the Beaten Path

I am confident that everyone is either in the grips of news about the Economy or the upcoming election. How this relates to our dogs is multi-fold.

When the economy suffers, there is a distinct rise in the surrender rates at shelters across the country as people determine the hierarchy of priorities for themselves and their families.

Animals suffer as a result.

As for the election, whom we vote for as our leaders determines the interventions and subsequent loss of freedoms that affect our ability to own the animals of our choice and care for them in a way that is beneficial and productive for both species.

Margot Woods of Applewoods Dog Training in Laurel Maryland has a few interesting additions to her blog regarding her views on Animal Rights verses Animal Welfare that address significant issues to animal owners in the United States of America.

It is important to understand that the political candidates who support such radical views as HSUS and PETA do so exclusively for one of two reasons. The first is the principal of money; the politician needs money to run his campaign and the HSUS and PETA operatives are quick in their approach to candidates who will gobble at the proverbial election campaign contribution “carrot on the stick”.

The second principal is simply one that the candidate may simply not be aware of the agendas and sign on in support because they are unfamiliar with the tactics and true ideals behind their new-found allies.

It is important for us to become more involved in the politics that determine not only our fates, but the fates of our animals, our rights to own them and care for them in time honored, respectful ways. The infringement of an oligarchy over the ownership of animals speaks directly to our rights as citizens of this nation and our rights under the Constitutional Laws of our fathers.

No one is opposed to animal WELFARE; the conscious and deliberate acts of protecting animals from abuse and cruelty. Do not be deceived however, by the conscious and deliberate acts of Animal Rights groups to strip you of your rights to own animals.

Forewarned is fore-armed.

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Filed under Animal Rights, Animal Shelters, Animal Welfare, Dog Politics, Uncategorized