My, my, my what passes for journalism these days. In May 2010, the United Press International (UPI) published an article about “pit bulls,” but it was difficult to determine if the article was advocating for these breeds, or if it was just more of the same conflicting information. For instance, the article stated that PETA was a defender of “pit bulls”:
People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals is among defenders of the breed…”We’re for ‘em,” PETA said in a posting on its Web site. “By ‘for ‘em,’ I mean that we are for pit bull protection, for their happiness, and for treating them like dogs instead of like cheap burglar alarms, punching bags or gladiators in perverted death matches.”
Now by “defenders” does UPI mean advocates for “pit bull” death? Because a simple Google search turned up the following from PETA’s website:
We…support pit bull bans, as long as they include a grandfather clause allowing all living dogs who are already in good homes and well cared for to live the remainder of their lives safely and peacefully.
And so what does this stance, like breed-specific legislation (BSL) itself, result in? Lots and lots of innocent, dead dogs. Breed bans always result in high kill rates in shelters and in animal controls due to owner surrenders and confiscations. Not to mention, if PETA are the ones defining what is a “good home” for “pit bulls” there will likely be very few homes that will qualify.
But then breed bans seem to fit in nicely with PETA’s agenda:
In the end, I think it would be lovely if we stopped this whole notion of pets altogether. Ingrid Newkirk, People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals, Newsday, Feb. 21, 1988.
Let us allow the dog to disappear from our brick and concrete jungles–from our firesides, from the leather nooses and chains by which we enslave it. John Bryant, Fettered Kingdoms: An Examination of A Changing Ethic, Washington People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals, 1982, p. 15.
Why can’t PETA simply say they advocate for breed bans because they don’t think anyone should own domestic pets? Isn’t that the truth?
The UPI article goes on to say, “It’s ironic one of [the] most exploited and abused breeds of dogs suffers from such bad public relations.” Indeed. And PETA isn’t helping matters much. Why? Because,
Probably everything [PETA does] is a publicity stunt … we are not here to gather members, to please, to placate, to make friends. We’re here to hold the radical line. Ingrid Newkirk, People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals, USA Today, September 3, 1991.
Is it also a publicity stunt to cause confusion by saying two different things? I.e. “[W]e are for pit bull protection” and “We…support pit bull bans”? These two assertions seemingly conflict, unless of course by “protection” of “pit bulls” PETA means eradication of “pit bulls.”
Eradication seems to be PETA’s agenda for domesticated pets in general, given their own damning quotes and their own kill rate. And let’s not forget that PETA, along with the Humane Society of the United States (HSUS), was pushing for all of Michael Vick’s former fighting dogs to be killed, which was widely reported in the media, including even Sports Illustrated who reported that,
The Humane Society of the U.S., agreeing with PETA, took the position that Michael Vick’s pit bulls, like all dogs saved from fight rings, were beyond rehabilitation and that trying to save them was a misappropriation of time and money. “The cruelty they’ve suffered is such that they can’t lead what anyone who loves dogs would consider a normal life,” says PETA spokesman Dan Shannon. “We feel it’s better that they have their suffering ended once and for all.”
However, according to the Washington Post, “Of the 49 [Vick] pit bulls animal behavior experts evaluated in the fall, only one was deemed too vicious to warrant saving and was euthanized.” And in fact, these dogs did go on to be rehabilitated. Many were fostered and even adopted out, while still others appeared in the National Geographic show Dog Town. And yet given this glaring error (if indeed it was an error) on the parts of PETA and the HSUS, the mainstream media still cites them as an expert source, as if these organizations had any sort of credibility whatsoever.
So can the mainstream media get it right when it comes to bully breeds? Every once in a while, perhaps. But without understanding that breed-specific legislation is a tool used by animal rights groups to eradicate domestic pet ownership, and unless the media stops reporting every dog of unknown breed as a “pit bull” (and as we well know, the term “pit bull” can refer to anywhere from 3-30+ breeds and their mixes, which skews bite statistics rendering them meaningless) when they report about dog bites/attacks, it is doubtful that the mainstream media will ever be much help in undoing the damage done by their own vilification of bully breeds. The task of vindicating bully breeds will likely always fall to their owners who recognize the true loyalty and other excellent virtues of these breeds.