Thursday, May 9, 2013

Breed Holocaust

Revised: Dec. 19, 2013; 13:09 GMT
Revised: May 17, 2014; 20:01 GMT

On 9 July 2000, in response to a quickly approaching deadline (at which time Germany was to begin euthanizing innocent pets) dee dee Andersson of the United States, Anne Griffin of the United Kingdom and Catherine Walker of Austria joined together to found the DogHolocaust International Mailing List.
   -- Dog Holocaust
A new article in a Colorado paper refers to breed banning as "a Holocaust against dogs." Once again we are stunned by the inappropriate and demeaning linking of breed specific laws and human horror. The 20th Century saw millions of human beings murdered in the Holocaust and genocides. To compare this to breed bans is an example of the extreme ignorance -- perhaps the dangerous ignorance -- of some members of the dog lobby in the USA.
  -- Can the Dog Lobby Curb Its Indecent Propaganda?
      Kenneth Phillips, DogBiteLaw
* * * * *

The Salish Wool Dog was a white, long-haired, Spitz-type dog developed and bred by the native peoples of the Pacific Northwest Coast. The breed was kept on islands and in gated caves, and bred for its valuable wool. The Salish Wool Dog is thought to be the only true canine breed developed prehistorically in the Americas, and was considered extinct as a distinct breed by 1858. The last identifiable wool dog died in 1940.

The Salish Wool Dog is one of dozens of extinct breeds of dogs, and other breeds are currently on the verge of extinction. The Otterhound, a venerable UK breed, registered only 38 puppies in 2011, a decline of 33% from the previous year. The Skye terrier registered only 44 puppies. Dozens of once-popular breeds have become extinct  Those with the greatest interest in preserving breeds, the breeders themselves, are sometimes at fault for breeding a dog to the verge of extinction. A recent article in the NY Times Magazine (Can the Bulldog be Saved? by Benoit Denizet-Lewis) noted three independent reports which questioned whether it is ethically defensible to continue breeding them [Bulldogs] at all.

The question of a guided or planned extinction of a canine breed was recently raised under different circumstances. Jeffrey Borchard vowed he'll lead a charge to have pit bull dogs "bred into extinction."  Mr Borchard has earned the right to speak on this matter; his 14-month-old son Daxton was killed on March 6th by two pit bulls while at a babysitter's home. The pit bulls belonged to the babysitter and they had not previously demonstrated aggressive tendencies.

How to Build a Dog (by Evan Ratliff, National Geographic, February 2012) reveals that the vast mosaic of dog shapes, colors, and sizes is decided largely by changes in a mere handful of gene regions. Another way of looking at it is that Yorkshire Terriers are genetically nearly identical to Great Danes. According to Ratliff, breeders achieved the great diversity of canine sizes, shapes, and appearance by speeding up and tinkering with normal evolution. Canines have been artificially evolved into the most diverse animal on the planet.

The various breeds, established by man and sometimes allowed by man to go extinct, are ephemeral. While the loss of a breed may be mourned there is no overall loss of genetic diversity, and there is no moral imperative to sustain a breed, especially one developed for the sole purpose of fighting. The loss of a dog breed is not equivalent to the loss of a species, for example the impending loss of the polar bear species. A breed of dog may be mourned because its loss evokes the passing of an era or a way of life, just as the ascendancy of new and different breeds may be the harbinger of a different way of life.

* * * * *

On June 26th, 2000, six-year old Volkan Kaya was attacked by two dogs, an American Staffordshire terrier and a pit bull. Volkan had been playing soccer with schoolmates in the schoolyard, and was killed while his schoolmates looked on in horror.

Volkan Kaya, d. June 26, 2000

By July 7th, the state of Lower Saxony had passed Breed Specific Legislation (BSL) which required aggression tests for a proscribed list of breeds. The advocates of fighting breeds responded to this mild form of BSL with the fury that has come to characterize the movement on both sides of the Atlantic. Two days later the Dog Holocaust web site launched. The excerpt above (from the home page) is the first known use of the term Holocaust in conjunction with BSL.

Pit bull advocates elaborated on the BSL = Holocaust metaphor with their systematic corruption of Pastor Niemöller's enduring Holocaust meditation First They Came. Coupling BSL laws, which are intended to protect the public, with the systematic murder of millions of people is a gross obscenity.

The advocates of fighting breeds who make this comparison fail to grasp the enormity of the crimes against humanity committed by the Nazis, and in this way victimize the Jewish people a second time. To equate the loss of a type of dog with the murder of millions of humans is a brutal, dehumanizing analogy.

* * * * *
SRUV uses the definition of "pit bull" as found in the Omaha Municipal Code Section 6-163. As pit bulls are increasingly crossed with exotic mastiffs, Catahoula Leopard Dogs and other breeds, the vernacular definition of "pit bull" should be made even more inclusive.

Sources cited by news media sometimes refer to "Animal Advocates" or sometimes "Experts." In many cases these words are used to refer to single-purpose pit bull advocates who have never advocated for any other breeds or species of animals. Media would be more accurate to refer to these pit bull advocates as advocates of fighting breeds.

Similarly, in many cases pit bull advocates refer to themselves as "dog lovers" or "canine advocates" and media often accepts this usage. The majority of these pit bull advocates are single-purpose advocates of fighting breeds.

Statistics quoted on SRUV are from the nation's authoritative source for current dog attack statistics, the 30+ year, continuously updated Dog attack deaths and maimings, U.S. & Canada.
View or download the current PDF

2014 Year-end report of dog attacks
   Animals 24-7; January 3, 2015
32 years of logging fatal & disfiguring dog attacks
   Animals 24-7; September 27, 2014
How many other animals did pit bulls kill in 2014?
   Animals 24-7; January 27, 2015

This page may also include information from Dogsbite &Fatal Pit Bull Attacks.

Google News: Today's pit bull attacks

2014 Dog Bite Related Fatalities on Daxton's Friends
Index of canine fatalities on Daxton's Friends

Details released in pit bull attack
   Walworth County Today, May 8, 2013
Maryland's canine holocaust
   Washington Times, July 12, 2012
   Chicago Tribune, November 24, 2000

Other sources:
Native Dog Types in North America before Arrival of European Dogs 
Salish Wood Dog

Canine Breed Extinctions:
Extinct Dog Breeds (Wikipedia Category)
Extinct Dog Breeds (Dog Breeds of the World)
Endangered dog breeds
Popular Dog Breed Close to Extinction
Can the Bulldog Be Saved, by Benoit Denizet-Lewis
How to build a dog, by Evan Ratliff
UK native dog breeds at risk of extinction
Former Royal Favourite Dog Close To Extinction

Related pages:
Holocaust against dogs
Mass Die Offs of Species
Scientists decode the complete genome of extinct human race
Ancient extinct race of Japan (Human Biodiversity forum)
List of extinct indigenous peoples of Russia