Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Questions for Animal Welfare Professionals to Ask of Themselves

We asked friends across the country what questions they would like to ask of the animal welfare organizations. This is the second post in the series, and we may print additional questions as we receive them from readers.

* * * * *

. . . . . A question from Merritt Clifton

Question: What I have been asking generations of animal welfare executives, beginning with the late John Kullberg in 1988, when he headed the American SPCA, is why they keep ignoring the overwhelming weight of evidence that pit bulls are disproportionately likely to kill or maim other humans and animals, disproportionately likely to be dumped at animal shelters at an early age, disproportionately likely to be killed after flunking behavioral screening, are the only breed ever used successfully by dogfighters, and exist exclusively because of deliberate breeding.

All of these trends were already glaringly evident by 1988, when pit bulls made up only 2% of the dogs entering animal shelters but were 5% of the dogs killed in animal shelters, & already accounted for half of all dog attack deaths & disfigurements.

Here we are, 25 years later, & the total numbers have soared in all categories. Pit bulls are now 30% of dog intake at shelters, 60% of the killing, & half of all pit bull-inflicted fatalities & disfigurements in the past 30 years have occurred just since the Michael Vick case broke in April 2007.

Meanwhile, the only U.S. city to have seen sharp drops in everything negative involving pit bulls in 30 years is San Francisco, which introduced a breed-specific sterilization requirement in 2006. The four cities that kill by far the fewest pit bulls per 1,000 humans are San Francisco, Denver, Miami, and New York City, all of which have breed-specific legislation in some form (NYC bans pit bulls from public housing.)

The real question is why the alleged leadership of the animal welfare cause continues to thrust its collective head ever farther into an anatomically, philosophically, and ultimately politically untenable position, in defense of pit bull breeders & dogfighters, at the expense of every authentic humane objective.

One possible answer is sphincter constriction of the flow of blood to the brain. Another is unrestrained group-think.

Yet another is Republicanism. What the alleged leaders in question keep doing is competing with each other to appeal to what they misperceive as their ideological base -- because the pit bull defenders are among the loudest & most politically organized elements in their perceived constituency.

If the alleged animal welfare leaders actually looked at their own donor data, though, surveys of pet-keepers and public opinion surveys stratified by age & gender suggest they would see something radically different. This type of data can be used to produce a composite quite similar to the known characteristics of the animal advocacy donor base, & indicates that these animal advocacy donors are likely to be only marginally more pro-pit bull than the U.S. population at large, about two-thirds of whom don't want to live next door to a pit bull, as the recent Miami vote demonstrated.

Supposedly the humane movement at the national level is driven by intense scrutiny of direct mail & online donation responses, but on the pit bull issue, I guarantee that it isn't.

Why not?

I guess there just isn't much light where their eyeballs are.

* * * * *

Google News Today's pit bull attacks