Jul 27, 2009


Make my blood boil. Horrified beyond belief. Afraid yet compelled to read one more paragraph. I’m sorry, I like happy endings as much as the next person, they very much make my day, but how do I ignore the rest? Soapbox time. Graphic too, I’m afraid, and very off topic from GADAB’s Mission Statement, but may I? For the squeamish, skip through to the last four paragraphs if you just need to know how you can make a difference.

The recent news stories, about the three state dog fighting ring, involving 30 men and 350 dogs, made news, I’m afraid, because of the sheer numbers involved. And that would just be the current number of dogs, not those maimed and killed over the years that these men were in business.

Men and women who fight animals are profiteers in other ways - arms smugglers, drug smugglers, gamblers – big money. It’s a huge business as well as a sick pleasure. You say it doesn’t happen in Canada because it’s illegal? Here’s a wake-up call – dog fighting is illegal in every state in the Union. Multitudes of animals are fought all over the world. Perhaps Michael Vick could offer some insight into the vast networks of global animal fighters.

Those of us who are familiar with dog fighting busts, canary fighting busts, cockfighting busts, also know about those animals who are bred to be tortured daily in testing laboratories all over the world. Include beagles as a breed especially victimized by animal laboratories, bunnies, monkeys and other primates bred as “test” animals by agencies that are both familiar and unfamiliar to you. The packaged meats that are displayed in your supermarket and butcher stores with nice fake grass sticking up between the different cuts – those farm animals live sickening, abysmal lives that the consumer does not see.

How about that new mascara being touted as “24 hour perfect long-lash” worn by the beautiful model smiling at you from the full page ad in a national magazine? That mascara was tested on many, many cute animals that you would snuggle in your arms as quickly as you could swoop them up, but she wouldn’t have any eyes, since the chemicals used to test that mascara have burned those little eyes crisply and effectively, without anesthesia. Anesthesia is too costly. But those companies don’t tell you that other, equally effective ways have been developed to test those live-saving drugs that are pushed as the reason for animal cruelty. Cosmetics are barely mentioned.

Those eggs that were $.79 a dozen last week at the supermarket chain people shop at were produced by chickens living in filthy cages so small that they could not move. They are filthy themselves, living in stacked cages, beaks removed so they cannot injure each other, living with dead chickens. Their life span, understandably and thankfully, is very short. Eggs come at a cost higher than $.79/dozen.

Puppy mills have been in the news lately. Good. Those darling little white and fluffies in the pet shops are damaged goods - both physically and behaviorally through no fault of their own. Breeders are to be looked at carefully; and just try to meet the dams and sires of those little ones. The lives of the dams especially would make you gag.

And Breed Specific Legislation? How safe does BSL make you feel? Wait til they target your favorite breed. Who will stand up for you?

What to do? Really, where to start? As always, with education. Then, in this economy, how do most of us afford to put our money where our mouth is?

As always, there is finding out who our legislators are and writing them, emailing them, calling them. There’s one-person boycotts, again contacting a corporation or company who practice animal cruelty and letting them know that your dollars are going to a socially conscious competitor. There’s going bigger - joining an organized group or donating a few or lots of your hard-earned dollars. In this networked world, it’s pretty effortless to do something easily and quickly.

Go to caringconsumer.com, do a search on Covance Research Products or Huntingdon Life Sciences. Your helping stop animal cruelty can just be a click away.

As for dog fighters, harder to find, harder to stop. But we can make our laws stronger, the penalties more severe, and teach our kids that morality applies to all species.

Speak up.

Jul 23, 2009



For NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell to even consider meeting with Michael Vick, who was recently released from federal custody for dog fighting, speaks volumes about the NFL.

As for Michael Vick, his efforts to resume his professional football career indicate that he has little understanding of how sickened we were, and are, by the "blood sport" which he practiced. And, how additionally sickening that he wants to return to his former "glory days". It's over, Michael Vick. There are no more glory days for you. We all know who you are.

If such a meeting does occur, from the statements given by the Commissioner's office, I hold little hope that it would be to discuss Michael Vick's more appropriate future, which would be to spend the rest of his life speaking publicly, openly, and apologetically about the harm he has inflicted on the most maligned and victimized dog breed in our world today, the American Pit Bull Terrier. Easy victims are brutalized by the most cowardly of people.

Courage, Michael Vick, means openly recognizing that you chose to victimize helpless living beings in unspeakably cruel ways. Courage means owning up the harm that you have done. Courage means saying no in the first place.

But it also means that you, along with your influential friends and acquaintances, have a unique opportunity to educate the public and to actively promote the positive character of American Pit Bull Terriers, and even further, to discuss animal cruelty in an open, humane forum that addresses the possibility that one day, our species will stop hurting other species. Activism works. I hope you can meet some of the dogs that you terrorized and tell them that you are truly sorry and I hope you have heart enough to mean it. I hope you cry until you have no more tears. It will do you good to cry.

And then I hope you put your money where it belongs - directly to the shelters all over this country who care for these animals. Do you have guts enough to volunteer in a shelter? You see, it's not the animals who judge you - it's us, we're the ones who will be looking at you and trying to understand and forgive while we mop up canine blood from the floor.

Don't even think about giving your money to big animal organizations - that's the easy way out, to write a big check. Do some homework. Opportunities exist for you to make some reparation.

Then you can look your kids in the eyes and tell them that their daddy finally learned how to do the right thing.