Friday, 22 April 2011

The Purebred Paradox - to go or not to go?

I'm getting some flak - publicly and privately - for agreeing to speak at next week's Purebred Paradox conference in Washington DC.  The reason? The conference has been organised by the Humane Society of the United States - which is loathed by dog breeders almost as much as they loathe PETA.

I have been told, frankly, that if I lie down with dogs I will stand up with fleas.  And that was from a friend.

There are three main reasons why the HSUS is hated.

First, and notwithstanding some worthy campaigns that help raise awareness of genuine animal abuses,  the HSUS is seen by some as a direct-mail organisation that hoodwinks good people out of millions of dollars while spending only a very small percentage of its income on the hands-on helping of animals.

Second, the HSUS is behind a lot of local ordinances in the States which are proving restrictive for dog breeders - legislation ostensibly to tackle puppy mills but which hits responsible breeders, too.

Thirdly, it is claimed that the HSUS's CEO Wayne Pacelle once said this : ""We have no ethical obligation to preserve the different breeds of livestock produced through selective breeding. ... One generation and out. We have no problem with the extinction of domestic animals. They are creations of human selective breeding."

Today, Pacelle claims that he didn't say this exactly; and that what he did say was taken out of context. In fact,  today, Pacelle is often photographed holding a leash with a real live domesticated dog on the end of it and yesterday he could be found on his blog talking about how much he likes bulldogs (really?).  But he has not come out and said exactly where he stands on this issue - and yesterday's blog offered a very un-nuanced view of pedigree dog breeding, with no mention of the conference's intended purpose ie. to find a way forward for purebred dogs. It's easy to understand why the dog world so mistrusts him.

I am an animal welfarist, not an animal rightsist. I  believe - passionately - that there is much to be treasured about the purebred dog. I also believe that people should be free to do with them as they wish as long as it doesn't unncessarily compromise the health and welfare of the dog. And, yep, that includes work, sport, hunting - and even showing.

Clearly, then, I do not have a great deal in common with the HSUS on this issue. And Pacelle really pissed me off yesterday by, on his blog, airbrushing Pedigree Dogs Exposed out of the picture and attributing dog-breeding reform in the UK  to "..pressure from the RSPCA and other animal-welfare groups." (Er, hello...?). I suspect this is Pacelle playing politics - he knows my presence at the conference has been a bone of contention.

So why am I attending?

First, I was asked by James Serpell, Professor of Humane Ethics and Animal Welfare at the University of Pennsylvania.  James appeared in Pedigree Dogs Exposed and I like and admire him.

Second, I admire many of the other speakers, too  - including Professor Sir Patrick Bateson (who chaired the most important inquiry into dog-breeding following Pedigree Dogs Exposed) and Professor Gail Smith of PennHIP fame.

Third,  I hope to bring a perspective to the conference that would be missing otherwise - ie some input from the grass roots that academics and vets are rarely privy to - and my belief that purebred dogs are worth fighting for (a surprise message, I suspect, to those who prefer to picture me with horns and a forked tail).

Fourth, the debate needs more airtime in the US if things are to improve for purebred dogs. And they really do need to improve.

Finally, the conference marks the launch of the Humane Society's new Institue for Science + Policy whose work is intended to contribute more evidence-based reasoning to HSUS policy. Indeed, the HSUS report into pedigree dogs published last year really was exemplary - fair and balanced (read it here). If the new Institute is effective, it will drive a skewer through the heart of some the Humane Society's more questionable dog policy - its lack of support for No Kill shelters for one, and its seemingly hellbent mission to rip the reproductive capacity out of any dog as soon as it is weaned.

After all, it will find it hard to tut-tut about pedigree dogs being inbred monstrosities while promoting policy that penalises or makes it impossible for people to keep dogs intact.  It will soon find out too that the science is by no means clear-cut regarding the benefits of spay-neutering. (Read the report here)

The AKC has snubbed the conference (let's keep our head down - la-la-la-la), but I hope at least some breeders will feel they can come as I believe there is much on the agenda that they will find sensible and useful. It's important their views are heard because, at the end of the day, pedigree dog health won't ever be put right by veterinarians or theorists.  Or, indeed, campaigners.

For my report on the conference, please see here.

Edit 23/4/11: clarification re HSUS/humane societies inc picture change

Edit 24/4/11: correction re the amount of regulation facing US dog breeders

47 comments:

  1. Please be precise here. The organization is "The Humane Society of the United States," aka "HSUS."

    There are hundreds of local animal shelters in this country that have the words "humane society" in their names -- "The West Groinpull Humane Society" or "The Humane Society of Backwater County." They have nothing to do with the HSUS, and are constantly trying to justify themselves because either "I already gave money to you humane society people, you sent me a tote bag and stickers in the mail" (from animal lovers) or "I heard you are trying to make us all vegans." (from hunters, farmers, fishermen -- who also are more often than not, animal lovers).

    It's bad enough that I know of a number of such animal shelters that have changed their names -- names they have had for many decades -- because of the guilt by association.

    I agree with your friends that you have nothing to gain and a great deal of reputation to lose by lying down with these particular dogs.

    I'm sorry that the lineup of people you name has lent credibility to an HSUS media event. I have zero confidence that HSUS will host a fair, rigorous, or in any way scientific look at the issues surrounding the breeding of pure or purpose-bred dogs. Individual presenters may feel that they are maintaining their integrity, but their participation will be co-opted to demonstrate some entirely different point.

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  2. When I attempted to click on the registration page, I was assaulted with an aggressive pop-up begging me to give HSUS money so they could save baby seals. With the requisite cute baby seal photo.

    That is not the behavior of an entity conducting scientific inquiry.

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  3. Sleeping with the enemy, my dear.

    The science is there on spay/neuter, and it's been freely available and neatly summarized since the epic battle of AB 1634 in California. Likewise, the science is there on closed registries and population genetics, blah blah blah. None of this stuff is magical esoteric information that one can only access by sacrificing a goat on a moonlit night. HSUS can certainly afford to buy full versions of all the studies, while I have to content myself with abstracts. There is no excuse for their ignorance of teh scienzes at all.

    Thing is, if this conference was NOT sponsored by HSUS, I'd love to go. I think it would be really interesting.

    If the HSUS backed breeder legislation being pushed in my state passes (legislation, I might add, that defines ME as a 'large scale commercial breeder', yeah, right, big market for those Azawakh pups I keep pumping out) my cross-breeding program will be dead. Pushing up the creosote bushes. An ex-cross-breeding program.

    In fact, HSUS and their little laws have turned into such a big source of stress for me the last three years that I'm thinking I ought to get out now. Quitting breeding entirely is looking better and better to me.

    HSUS knows what they can do with their policy institute.

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  4. Heather's first statement is exactly right, Jemima. Over here, the name must be "the Humane Society of the United States" (I refer to it as H$U$) because, generically, there are numerous legitimate humane societies, which actually care for unwanted dogs and cats. H$U$ exists primarily to raise money on false pretenses, to use to destroy purebred dog breeding in the United States.

    The AKC should not be condemned for refusing to participate in this conference. To do otherwise would be like Winston Churchill sharing a bed with Adolph Hitler. --- Rod Russell, Orlando, Florida USA

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  5. You forgot Pacelle endorsing Michael Vick, that is reason enough to reconsider.

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  6. I am the friend; I said lie down and not lay down.

    I have warned Jemima, as, in my opinion she has a lot to lose...namely, her credibility. This would impact the good work she has already done and will continue to do. She has already been tarred with the ARist brush by many in the States.
    Sir Patrick Bates is probably safe from harm. He has impeccable credentials as a scientist, an untarnished reputation and renowned ancestors.
    Why James Serpell does not recognise the true character of the H$US beats me---ivory tower?

    All three will be misquoted, manipulated and instrumentalised and they won't know what hit them.

    H$US controls the publicity and the truth will be bent only to further their aim of curtailing or eliminating the breeding of pedigreed dogs.

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  7. That, of course, should read "Sir Patrick Bateson"

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  8. And that, of course, should read "Dorothea" Penizek.

    ;-)

    Jemima

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  9. Good luck Jemima. I am sure you have thought long and hard about your reasons for attending this event. I hope you are not 'tarred' by people's feelings about HSUS itself but that people listen to what you have to say and judge you on that. I have been to events many times which are sponsored by this food or that drug company; the best speakers are not swayed by this sponsorship and recommend drugs, diets and therapies based on their experience; not on £'s up for offer.

    As for lying down with dogs and geting up with fleas....I recommend Advantage or Frontline!!!!

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  10. When one thinks about a vegan animal rights movement based on the the moral dribble of philosphers and using no science, that is a concern. I do not think you have yet realize it is NO MORE ANIMALS in human hands - period, not better care. If you are looking for anyone at HSUS who cares about the purebred dog, you may be "barking up the wrong tree"! The vegan animal rights movement is a social movement and has nothing to do with the care and wellbeing of dogs. You should go, but mingle and listen to what and how it is said. You may well be better served talking to people who care about the purebred dog and want the purebred dog to survive. Maybe you could sit in in the World Animal Forum this year, Maybe they will let you film a documentary.
    “For years I've been trying to understand why people who keep these animals are prepared to invest so much money, time and emotional resources. Superficially, there's no apparent gain from it.”
    James Serpell quote
    I think you will find there more of the breeders of the purebred dog feel the same, health, temperment and then the rest. To put all breeders in the same bucket as HSUS does, "puppy mills" which makes people who are trying to do the right thing just simply a "puppy mill". I think you will find many loss of breeds in the coming years not by health concerns but by the vegan animal rights movement. In fact a documentary on HSUS and the philosophy behind would be very interesting. I think you will get exactly the feel after your speech of what the animal rights movement is about, listen carefully.

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  11. I will indeed be listening - and watching - carefully.

    BTW, in the quote above James Serpell is expressing his academic interest in the bond between pet and owner, not dissing it.

    Jemima

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  12. There is nothing to be gained by having a debate with a TRUE BELIEVER. REASON has never been known to deter a person with the mindset of the TRUE BELIEVER; one may as well pit an atheist with the Pope. Neither will be swayed by the other, but in this case the HSUS will be further validated by more publicity.

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  13. "Lie down with dogs and rise with fleas" is the way I learned it..

    It's about running with the wrong crowd, and the damage such associations can cause to your own reputation, even if you only day-trip in their company and don't ride with them when they're out causing trouble in the dark end of town. Guilt by association."

    That is a pretty good interpretation of" Lie down with dogs..."

    another might be.. "late to the party".. have you only noticed NOW what the HSUS is about? No research? No studying the group who is paying you?
    Check out www.naiaonline.org for even a simple view of the HSUS and Wayne Pacelle

    I believe your three points about why the HSUS is "hated" are extremely simplified. A better term would be 'found to be despicable and a group that constantly prevaricates to the detriment of all dogs"
    Personally there is not enough Advantage in the world to kill the fleas.. nor enough perfume in Arabia to wash the hands of those involved with the killing of many many dogs ( and cats).
    You are a blogger. check out bluedogstate to see what the HSUS is up to.
    I truly think you will not find many REAL shelters or shelter workers who support the HSUS.
    The AKC is not "keeping its head down".. They are just particular about who they sit down with and rightfully so. How much money do you think the HSUS has donated to science for the pure bred dog compared to the AKC. How many studies has the HSUS funded about the purebred dog that has indeed led to better health for ALL dogs?
    As we are all using quotes here.. I guess you can say "you are known by the company you keep" Enjoy the conference.
    PS you can bet there will be breeders there.. taking notes and photos.. making recordings and giving feed back. You probably won't know who they are.

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  14. This type debate will not be over until the mindless citizen is educated and all choose to shun the members and goals espoused by H$U$. That should leave them all broke (except Wayne and the lawyers whose retirement pensions have been so well funded by the American public with essentially tax-free contributions).
    By this point, the purebred fancy will be so aged and destitute that the fragmented few who are young enough to continue will opt for video games and cockails as a less dangerous means of entertainment.

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  15. I have to agree that being a key note speaker at an HSUS backed conference will forever tar you as an Animal Rights Activist, which is how you are thought of in the States.

    There is no conclusive study ANYWHERE, that compares the statistics of purebreds to crossbreds. So at best, people can only make assumptions. HSUS uses the very data and resources reputable people use to improve dog breeding, to tarnish them. Supporting that will eventually prove the end of purebred dogs.

    Make no mistake, HSUS is not an animal welfare group. If they were, they would be THRILLED with the re-wording of MS Proposition B as it actually strengthens welfare requirements, provides for more oversight and funds the ability to enforce the law. However, their concern is over the removal of the cap of dogs, ie a means to the end of breeding. As well as their continual push to make violations Felony offenses. (Wishes laws were so careful to protect children, but their are more laws protecting dogs now than kids. Simple fact.)

    If you truly feel you have a message and that you are a welfarist not a rightest, time to make that distinction now. And rather than continue to "expose" the ills of what you assume people are doing, work towards creative ways to support dog breeders, breeding and dogs in general. Not using the very tools breeders have at the disposal to improve their breeds against them.

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  16. I think your first two points as to why people revile the HSUS are accurate if slightly simplified. However, your third misses the core issue. It is not some alleged quotation from one man years ago, it is an underlying philosophy that pervades their behavior: the belief that animals and humans do not belong together. That the natural and wild world is a wonderful place in which animals do not suffer, starve, freeze, and die, and in which animals should be left alone, and that any human-animal interaction is innately exploitative and therefore wrong. This attitude is clearly articulated by HSUS when it comes to “exotic” animals, but it is just as present albeit slightly more hidden when it comes to domestic pets, agriculture, and every other animal.

    Not only is this attitude clearly false to anyone who has hands-on experience with animals, but also their relentless push towards this belief, and their profound dishonesty in how they attempt to get there, has essentially created a climate in which NOBODY can do any good for animals or animal welfare because we are all trying to fight off the lunatics who know nothing about animals and yet are intent on “helping” them get out of the comfortable life we have evolved together and back into an imaginary wild where they can suffer and die.

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  17. from Wayne Pacelle's blog " The HSISP conference, co-sponsored with the Royal Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals" can anyone now DEFEND the RSPCA for spending funds on such a conference, when they pleasd for funds here a make out with the begging bowl?

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  18. I am not persuaded that participating in this conference can actually lower your standing among knowledgeable dog owners. I think the general view is that PDE was already so unthoughtful, unbalanced, irrational, and harmful that it would be hard for your standing to go much lower, at least with the people who generally dislike HSUS. I do not intend that as a cruel statement, and ultimately I do not know your real views on dog breeding, but the general impression among the many serious dog owners that I know is already so negative that participating in an HSUS conference would have no impact on their impression. If you authentically value dogs and dog people and want to work with this community, I think you would need to take some heroic actions in the other direction...

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  19. Knowledgeable dog owners question the expose you did as it was not based in science. So your standing among the dog community is marginable. The community who has actively supported you is the animal rights people who do not believe at all in dog breeding and whom use your expose to push their anti breeding agenda. Attending this event would solidify that. And yes, doing so, means that the only people who would ever consider what you had to say as being credible would be the animal rights community.

    The animal welfare community bases law and care on science. Defendable and complete fact based studies. Something the HSUS does NOT participate it. They do not argue welfare on opinion and emotion and limited, incomplete studies and assumptions.

    Your friend was right... you lay with the wrong dogs and you will certainly come away with fleas and possibly with Rabies or Parvo.

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  20. "Lie down with dogs and rise with fleas" is the way I learned it..

    I did not know that expression existed in English---I translated it from the German. Thanks!

    And now to Anonymous:
    anyone who hides behind that is not credible to my mind.

    Secondly:
    "If you authentically value dogs and dog people and want to work with this community, I think you would need to take some heroic actions in the other direction... "
    What exactly would you suggest?

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  21. Anon wrote: "Knowledgeable dog owners question the expose you did as it was not based in science."

    The film was entirely based in science and its core charges - that inbreeding and selection for looks over and above health and function have resulted in health and welfare issues for many breeds of dog - have been fully endorsed by three independent enquiries, including the one commissioned by the Kennel Club that was chaired by renowed scientist Professor Sir Patrick Bateoson.

    One can argue about the presentation, but the film was entirely driven by science.

    It simply suits some dog breeders to demonise me as an animal rights activist because it allows them to ignore the message. But the scantiest of research would confirm that I am not.

    Jemima

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  22. Margaret Sierakowski24 April 2011 at 07:58

    I think you are a brave woman with high principles if you accept this invitation. But pragmatically I dont see any point in going unless you really think that being there will achieve something. Can you realistically change the thinking of people with closed minds?
    But who would ever have thought our dinosaur KC would have done such a U turn in the last two years, and taken on board some of the lessons of PDE? Maybe you can perform another miracle with HSUS and convince them that responsible ownership and breeding of domestic dogs, even purebreds, can be a moral enterprise

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  23. To me, it's horrific that you have to justify a decision to attend a conference as a speaker.

    You are alongside other speakers with good pedigrees, the level of professionals who care about their reputations and are unlikely to jeopardise it for commercial gain.

    It's a great opportunity to publicise your issues. In the UK, the focus is on qualifications for speakers, rather than what they can teach us. In the US they seem to be more flexible. Your audience reach may be greater.

    You should go, for your own benefit, it's an opportunity to exchange views and get fresh perspectives.

    You've made it clear that your decision to go is not about supporting the HSUS. If you're worried about your reputation, put a video up or slide show on YouTube to show the content did not support the HSUS.

    Why would anyone refuse a request from the gorgeous and respected James Serpell?!!!!

    Go. Enjoy. Educate. I watched PDE this morning, yet again the writhing CKCS screaming in agony brought tears to my eyes - you have a strong message, in the best interests of our dogs ... be brave and take it over The Pond.

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  24. "It simply suits some dog breeders to demonise me as an animal rights activist because it allows them to ignore the message. But the scantiest of research would confirm that I am not.

    Jemima"

    As a dog breeder, speaking just for myself, my problem with PDE was not what was presented, but what wasn't presented to balance it. While I fully agree that many health issues have been created by some for the sake of winning, when you show only the bad side without the good, you make it appear that ALL breeders favor those changes and we absolutely do NOT.

    I have just a small kennel and I work hard to breed my dogs to create healthy pups "as they were originally supposed to be to make them healthy" and not in a fad fashion that would make them look better in a show ring. Mine are a long spined breed and I am not popular with those who think they would look better with straight backs, longer ears, less chess density. Mine are sometimes described as having "the old hound look". Helloooooo. They ARE hounds. Short-legged, tenacious, playful, loving, wonderful little hounds. They are little mini Dachshunds who I encourage to hunt and catch little rodents and vermin around our farm. I want them to have the rounded croup that helps protect their spines from shock, to be able to lay flat out on the ground and go after their 'prey', to be able to run and jump and climb without rupturing their spines. I breed for those chests that are deep in front and underneath to give them the lung space for the stamina to BE Doxies.

    Unfortunately PDE did NOT show in any way that there are still many breeders like me who do still work hard to preserve what makes our breeds our breeds, and to insure as much as humanly possible they will be healthy and have the ability to do what they were bred for. PDE gives the appearance we ALL breed for looks, endlessly inbreed, and are causing the ruination of purebred dogs. I don't inbreed, do very minute line breeding....and there IS a difference....and mostly cross breed to get and keep the traits I want in my dogs.

    While you may not consider yourself to be an animal rights person, you have handed those people a huge amount of ammunition in PDE to be bought and owned by them. When journalism fails to present a fair and balanced view of BOTH sides of an issue, it is not journalism. It's more along the lines of Crucifixion. If you want credibility from people like me, you will do a follow-up to PDE showing there are breeders who love their breeds enough to preserve them for who and what they are. Until then, you will remain in the same class we put groups like HSUS into; Animal rights activists with the goal of ending human-animal bonds.

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  25. Anonymous wrote:
    "I don't inbreed, do very minute line breeding....and there IS a difference....

    No, there is no difference. Line breeding is a form of inbreeding and even without it the COI of a breed rises inexorably per generation because of closed studbooks and no new genes being introduced.

    That is science.

    BTW, I would be curious to know how a Dachshund can "lay" flat out on the ground and go after its prey.

    Anyone who is not willing to put a name to what they write is not credible in my book.

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  26. Jemima, I believe I understand what your goals are for this conference. But your post here reveals the degree to which you do not understand the situation in the U.S, do not understand the HSUS, and do not understand the grave harm that this conference could cause.

    You list "three main reasons why the HSUS is hated". You appear to dismiss legitimate fact-based conclusions about HSUS as some kind of emotional reaction. Setting that aside...

    Your first reason is correct but understates the issue. With misleading advertising about how donations will be used for, HSUS sucks over 100 million dollars a year away from legitimate organizations that do the actual hands on work to help shelters pets. And shelter pets suffer and die in part due to lack of funding.

    HSUS would shrivel into a tiny relic of what it now is if Americans knew the truth. HSUS uses the money that donors think is going to help shelter animals to hire lobbyists and lawyers and to pay fat salaries to their executives. But it goes farther than that.

    HSUS utilizes lies and deception on so many levels -- in its fundraising, its lobbying, and its "education" efforts -- that it is breathtaking.

    As far as your second reason -- good grief where did you get the idea that dog breeders in the U.S. have "freedom to do as they please"? From Wayne Pacelle?

    Whether it's the owner who wishes to thoughtfully breed his dog just once, to large scale commercial breeding facilities, to everyone in between, dog breeding is already heavily regulated in the U.S. There is a massive amount of existing regulation on dog breeding at the federal, state, and local levels.

    The HSUS has zero expertise about dog breeding and wields its considerable influence to impose laws that would cause massive collateral damage to responsible dog breeding programs and to other animal interests. Yet their efforts don't even address the issues they directly target in constructive ways.

    Let's look at just one example

    The HSUS sponsored Assembly Bill 241 in California to target "puppy mills". Yet this bill would have severely restricted the ability of all responsible dog breeders to sell puppies on co-ownership contracts in California, a practice that promotes genetic diversity and enhances responsible selective breeding. AB 241 would have outlawed many of the businesses that California law enforcement agencies depend on to import well-bred working dogs from Europe for police work. And last but not least AB 241 would have turned Guide Dogs for the Blind and Canine Companions for Independence into criminal operations. It was opposition from those interests and not just the commercial "puppy mills" it purported to target that caused AB 241 to be vetoed by the governor. In their typical arrogance, HSUS would not listen to anyone in the opposition when they voiced concerns. They just pushed their flawed bill through the state legislature, and even after it was vetoed HSUS continued to deny it would cause any harm. AB 241 is typical of the "puppy mill" legislation that HSUS has sponsored in dozens of states.

    As to your third stated reason "why HSUS is hated", slick Wayne Pacelle can certainly try to dismiss revealing quotes he and other HSUS leaders made before they realized that they'd better keep their radical views to themselves. There's quite a bit more to this than just the one quote you picked.

    Beyond your "three reasons", there is a lot more that explains why thoughtful Americans see HSUS as a legitimate threat. HSUS makes it clear that they will work to outlaw all hunting. The attacks that HSUS makes on animal agriculture aren't about animal welfare but are instead about gradually imposing their vegan agenda.

    HSUS is by far the most powerful animal rights organization in the U.S. You apparently view PETA as the bigger threat, but it isn't even close. When it comes to actually causing harm, HSUS is far worse.

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  27. If this conference goes forward it will do great harm to the very goals its participants espouse.

    Efforts to try educate dog breeding communities in the U.S. about the science around genetic diversity and the unintended harm caused by some modern breeding practices would suffer a massive set back. It will all be dismissed as yet more HSUS animal rights propaganda.

    If this conference goes forward, HSUS will have another hook to use in their fundraising mailers, and it will lend false scientific legitimacy to HSUS that they will exploit in their lobbying efforts.

    If this conference goes forward, it will harm the reputations of the participants among dog owners in the U.S. You are quite wrong if you believe otherwise.

    If you truly have the best interests of the domestic dog at heart, and I believe you do, then call up Bateson, Serpell, and all the rest who are scheduled to speak at the HSUS conference and convince them to cancel, and reschedule under the auspices of a LEGITIMATE science-based organization.

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  28. Dorothea, many people in the U.S. will not put their name to their public criticisms of the animal rights movement because they would rather avoid the retaliation that the ARs have been known to commit. This does not refer to the nasty words, but to things like the sudden visit to one's home by "humane officers" -- members of private humane societies and SPCAs who have been granted law enforcement powers even though they lack the necessary screening and training that real cops go through. Or the visit may be by animal control officers. Either way, they may face a fabricated story of animal abuse and cruelty that gets blasted all over the news media, by journalists that rarely question such claims.

    Or they may find their animals get confiscated on bogus charges.

    Or they may be threatened with trumped up felony animal cruelty charges if they do not sign over legal ownership of their pets to an organization that will either quickly turn them around for sale (e.g. "adoption fees"), or may hold them in deplorable conditions, or may kill them.

    This kind of retaliation is quite uncommon. But it has happened, and it has had a chilling effect.

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    1. This is happening now in the UK and her fight is being ignored

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  29. Laura, thank you for your input. I so respect your knowledge and the work that you do that it is impossible to dismiss it - or indeed the views of others I admire in the dog breeding community, some of whom have been very supportive of PDE.

    But I have also had input from others I respect who offer an alternative view of the situation - and, notwithstanding clearly flawed bills like AB 241 - HSUS itself claims differently (I was interested to this interview by Christie Keith for instance - http://www.petconnection.com/blog/stephanie-shain-of-hsus/)

    We see much of the same animosity here in the UK towards the RSPCA. Some of it is justified; some definitely not.

    I have my suspicions but don't know who's right so I'm going - with an open mind - to see for myself; to watch and learn.

    And I will say this: I do not have the reputation for allowing the wool to be pulled over my eyes by plausible-sounding institutions/establishments who claim to be doing right by the dog but are not.

    Jemima

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  30. well since it is an HSUS sponsored event I doubt if you will see much "wool" or meat..or dairy.. or eggs..or fish..
    I highly suggest that others here follow the bloggers lead and go to www.humanewatch.org shown in the photo at the top of the page and read carefully.
    as for "freedom to do as they please".. this to me is just another blind supposition with absolutely no knowledge of what is true but makes for a 'hot topic' Perhaps you can tell us what your idea of "to do as they please' means.. if it means pet limits, mandatory castration laws, breeder permits and more.. then yes we have all been running around here is the USA "doing as we please".
    There is a reason we separated from England so very long ago..

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  31. “I don’t have a hands-on fondness for animals…To this day I don’t feel bonded to any non-human animal. I like them and I pet them and I’m kind to them, but there’s no special bond between me and other animals.” Wayne Pacelle quoted in Bloodties: Nature, Culture and the Hunt by Ted Kerasote, 1993, p. 251.

    When asked if he envisioned a future without pets, “If I had my personal view, perhaps that might take hold. In fact, I don’t want to see another dog or cat born.” Wayne Pacelle quoted in Bloodties: Nature, Culture and the Hunt by Ted Kerasote, 1993, p. 266.

    this one should be of interest to all living in your country ..so much for your "gundogs"

    The entire animal rights movement in the United States reacted with unfettered glee at the Ban in England ...We view this act of parliament as one of the most important actions in the history of the animal rights movement. This will energise our efforts to stop hunting with hounds.” Wayne Pacelle, CEO, Humane Society of the US (HSUS), London Times, December 26, 2004

    "If we could shut down all sport hunting in a moment, we would." Wayne Pacelle, Senior VP Humane Society of the US (HSUS), formerly of Friends of Animals and Fund for Animals, Associated Press, Dec 30, 1991

    "Our goal is to get sport hunting in the same category as cock fighting and dog fighting." Wayne Pacelle, Senior VP Humane Society of the US (HSUS), formerly of Friends of Animals and Fund for Animals, (Bozeman (MT) Daily Chronicle, October 8, 1991

    "We are going to use the ballot box and the democratic process to stop all hunting in the United States ... We will take it species by species until all hunting is stopped in California. Then we will take it state by state. Wayne Pacelle, Senior VP Humane Society of the US (HSUS), formerly of Friends of Animals and Fund for Animals, Full Cry Magazine, October 1, 1990.

    “The definition of obscenity on the newsstands should be extended to many hunting magazines.” Wayne Pacelle, quoted in Bloodties: Nature, Culture and the Hunt by Ted Kerasote, 1993, p. 265.


    "Human population growth is ultimately one of the most significant that we as a movement have to grapple with. It's a simple equation that more consumers translates into more animals raised for food….For the sake of the animals, there's nothing more powerful than changing your diet." Wayne Pacelle, Vegan.com , October 1998.
    and finally although not from Wayne .. this policy was instituted when he took over at the HSUS:

    “The good news, and what is really going to help immensely, is the Humane Society of the United States (HSUS) just passed their vegan policy. They are seen as the mothering organization for the SPCAs, shelters and animal control agencies. And the fact that they have adopted a vegan policy may just be the major breakthrough to bring others along. All HSUS expos, trainings, conferences will be vegan. “ Kim Sturla, in SATYA Magazine, Nov-Dec 2004 (http://www.satyamag.com/nov04/sturla.html)

    The important part of this is.. "seen as the mothering organization for SPCA'a and shelters and animal control agencies.." This the image they try so hard to portray.. when nothing could be further from the truth..

    Leopards do not change their spots.

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  32. Was there really any question about your attendance at this animal rights conference? Was there any one thing anyone could have said that would have caused to cancel your engagement because if the answers here could not convince you to withdraw I am not sure what would. I think this was a foregone conclusion meant to stir up controversy, Thankfully, the posters here have given you and others a glimpse into the real agenda of the HSUS concerning animal ownership and for that I am grateful.

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  33. That "heroic act"? How about a documentary telling the truth about HSUS? No one so far has had the guts to do it.

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  34. Thanks for your reply Jemima.

    Yup, like all organizations made up of human beings, HSUS does not have a hive mind.

    I'm aware that there are some within HSUS who actually understand that there is such a thing as a responsible dog breeder. The HSUS website includes advice about finding a good dog breeder. None of this changes the fact that HSUS routinely sponsors and supports legislation that would harm responsible breeding.

    I'm also aware that a few within HSUS sincerely want dialogue with those who disagree with their employer's agenda. Unfortunately they are a small minority within HSUS, an organization that routinely ignores or attacks those who oppose their agenda.

    You referenced the PetConnection blog.
    Here's a bit more there from my perspective.
    http://www.petconnection.com/blog/2010/04/26/which-do-you-hate-more-hsus-or-puppy-mills/#comment-486144
    http://www.petconnection.com/blog/2010/04/26/which-do-you-hate-more-hsus-or-puppy-mills/#comment-486453
    http://www.petconnection.com/blog/2009/10/29/akc-plays-good-breeders-for-fools/#comment-477642
    http://www.petconnection.com/blog/2009/07/18/hate-fear-and-the-politics-of-puppy-mills/#comment-470181

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  35. Dorothea,

    You keep rejecting any idea presented by someone who does not provide their name. Why? Are you really so focused on “credibility” that you cannot evaluate the ideas on their own merit? Given the very real threat that anyone publicly arguing against animal rights will suddenly find their animals seized and sold or killed, we should ALL understand and support those who prefer to offer their opinions without risking their animals’ safety.

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  36. Who cares what HSUS's hidden(or not so hidden) agenda is. If people want to know what the conference will be about, they can see the program notes. http://tinyurl.com/6zvttz7

    I can understand not wanting to enrich the coffers of HSUS by paying for attending the event. But being afraid of guilt by association smears directed at the speakers? HSUS is not that out there of an organization. The type of people who are going to tar the speakers with the AR brush have already done so, not attending this conference will not make a difference.

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  37. I am sorry, but this thread has gotten funny.... Dorothea says she objects to anonymity when she has sock-puppeted herself several times and been caught doing it

    And people who say they fear HSUS and PeTA?

    Gimme a break! I bang animals on the head when I hunt, work around the corner from HSUS headquarters, and I live in the same state as PeTA. My name and address are in the phone book and I have never been bothered my anyone and never will be.

    Puppy mills? This is what we are defending? Great -- count me out.

    I loathe PeTA and I have a pretty low opinion of HSUS as they (and others) know, but NO ONE who knows their ass from their elbow fears these groups as they have no real power. They are direct mail mills, and if their direct mail was printed on softer paper we could at least use it as toilet paper. But fear them? Pull out of the conference? Why?

    Is HSUS a waste of money? Sure, but if you are looking for vast amounts of money wasted on dogs for no positive purpose (and a great deal of harm), look at dog shows. Anyone want to count how many billions of dollars go down the toilet there? More than is spent on HSUS direct mail, I will voucher!

    As for Wayne Pacelle, I am hoping Jemima will extend an invitaion to Mr Pacelle to go hunting on Sunday. But tell him he can't come in a suit, and he will look pretty stupid if he doesn't own real boots. And yes, there might be blood ;-) But I will be nice and not ask him to supply his direct mail accounting sheets. He gets a "Sunday pass" on that question.

    P

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  38. "NO ONE who knows their ass from their elbow fears these groups as they have no real power."

    OK, you had me up until here. PETA as a group is (rightfully) viewed as a bunch of kooks, and their only real power is to titillate and annoy people with their "vegan education" campaigns. But HSUS, is constantly stirring the legislative pot, and is behind countless pieces of bad legislation. They absolutely have real power; not just the power of persuasion, but the power of legislation. Thankfully they fail most of the time, or they'd be an even larger threat. How they still have charitable status is beyond me.

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  39. Patrick, it's obvious from your post that you do not closely track dog legislation in the US if you believe that HSUS has no real power. HSUS is influential on legislative fronts all over the nation.

    No one here has defended "puppy mills" -- unless you believe Guide Dogs for the Blind, Canine Companions for Independence, hobby breeders who place pups on co-ownership contracts, and brokers who import dogs from Europe for law enforcement are "puppy mills".

    If Pacelle attends your hunt, just make sure neither he nor anyone with him brings a video camera. You probably don't want your hunting hobby to be the next one that Pacelle tries to outlaw with his lies and distortions.

    The HSUS conference will undermine efforts that are making slow progress to educate breeders about canine genetic diversity and problems linked to some modern breeding practices. It will provide major ammunition to those within the Dog Fancy who have been dismissing these efforts as AR driven.

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  40. My tuppence worth is that the people who support PETA and HSUS mostly are genuine animal-lovers (I think they're wrong about many things, but that's a different question).

    It's just as arguable that Jemima has a chance to convince at least some people that it's not the case that the only way to help animals is to strive for a kind of apartheid system where humans and animals live completely separate lives as that she's potentially providing ammunition to encourage that viewpoint.

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  41. Go and enjoy! As a centurist you will never please either camp. The dog breeders hate you more than HSUS and PETA ever will. The breeders are horrified by the prospect of even slight changes while the animal rights folks shoot for the moon, but are secretly thrilled if they get across the street. That's the way social change works. HSUS and PETA may want the elimination of all pets, but that will never happen. They don't make those decisions, the general public does. Societal ethics can be swayed by knowledge of mistreatment, poor breeding, etc. but it is rare that any activity completely disappears. People still smoke, for heaven's sake, and advocates more powerful than PETA & HSUS have fought to end it completely. The reality is that your film had more impact because HSUS and PETA exist. If you were the only one that had ever expressed any concern whatsoever about purebred dogs, your film would not have had the resonance it did. Enjoy the fact that now that dog health is getting some attention you have a chance to participate where the real change will happen, somewhere in the middle between these different extremes.

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  42. I am sorry, but this thread has gotten funny.... Dorothea says she objects to anonymity when she has sock-puppeted herself several times and been caught doing it.

    I never write "Anonymous". I simply cannot manage to sign in to comment on your daily meanderings so I have given up. Very enjoyable sometimes, sometimes less.

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  43. Patrick's straw man notwithstanding, nobody here has defended "puppy mills". This is, unless Patrick believes Guide Dogs for the Blind, Canine Companions for Independence, the brokers who import adult dogs from Europe for law enforcement, or the hobby breeders who sell pups on co-ownership contracts are "puppy mills".

    If anybody believes HSUS does not wield an enormous amount of influence on animal legislation in the U.S. then they have not been closely following animal legislation in the U.S.

    Dog breeders in the U.S. are not a monolith of stubborn defiance against any positive change. A subset of them attempts to deflect ALL calls for positive change as an AR plot. But many other breeders are on the fence, and could be reached with a fact-based message. So far, those of us who have advocated for positive change have had some success deflecting charges that it's all an AR plot. But this HSUS conference will give the deniers a massive arsenal of ammunition, one that will reinforce their obstinance for decades to come. It will shift many off the fence and into the deniers camp. We will lose many who could have been reached.

    Jemima does not need to convince HSUS or PETA or any other AR group about anything. If she wants positive change, then it's breeders that need to be convinced. One does accomplish that by giving the deniers ammunition.

    The issue isn't whether Jemima may have the wool pulled over her eyes by HSUS. The issue is whether attempts to effect positive change will suffer an unintended set back by having HSUS associated with this conference.

    This issue isn't whether Jemima, Serpell, Bateson, et.al. are centrists or not. The message of positive change will become tainted by associating it in such an overt way with HSUS. "Guilt by association?" -- yes, absolutely. Welcome to the real world.

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  44. Why should Jemima not go to speak at a conference? She is responsible for what she says there, not for what everybody else may say.
    Agree with Gwen - a certain kind of breeders will screech about Jemima being of a kind with PETA, but then they never saw the difference between the devil and justified criticism. Anybody doing anything but applauding them is a menace and a dog-hater and an ignorant brute. Never mind that the general public was (and still is) the resonance for the PDE film and for the phrasing in the FCI newsletter and so on.
    There are many of us who don´t like to see what is being done to dogs. So please go to that conference, Jemima, and give us a good report of it!

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  45. I say go.

    What event was more memorable, successful, and inspirational, the United States athletes competing in the Berlin Olympics or Jimmy Carter's boycott of the Moscow Olympics?

    Google 'Hitler Olympics' and the second entry is Jesse Owens. There's nothing to Google, no inspirational stories, no narrative of success on the enemy's turf from the Moscow Olympics.

    We'll never know which great moments never happened, which great athletes never rose to the occasion from the Olympics we didn't attend.

    The Summer Olympics of 1980 was an embarrassment for the US. The Winter Olympics if 1980 was one of the greatest athletic achievements in our history.

    So Go. You've already proven that you can attend any number of dog shows and still come away being objective. Why do we think you'll sell your objectivity for a plane ticket to DC?

    It'd be wonderful if you took on the HSUS in your next Documentary, but until then, I don't think your message will be any less powerful because the HSUS paid for the coffee and doughnuts. Jesse Owens' performance wasn't tarnished because Nazis paid for the sod.

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  46. When you have time, it would be nice to hear how you got on.

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