Thursday, July 26, 2007

Canine Health Foundation Statement on Dog Fighting

From: "Wayne E Ferguson"
Date: July 20, 2007 9:15:32 AM EDT
To: "Jefferson D Sossamon"
Subject: CHF Statement on Dog Fighting
As President of the AKC Canine Health Foundation, I would be remiss if I didn’t address an issue affecting the health of dogs and the shameful allegations brought against Atlanta Falcons’ quarterback, Michael Vick. As you have heard, Vick will be in a Federal courtroom inVirginia on July 26 being arraigned on charges that he sponsored a despicable and appalling dog fighting operation on his property.

My concern and sympathy of course goes to the dogs who were allegedly affected and so brutally murdered through the course of this “sport.” But, as a responsible breeder and a fancier, I am also concerned with the general public’s perception of the various breeds involved. According to “The Complete Dog Book,” a publication of the American Kennel Club, there are several breeds originally involved in the “sport” of dog fighting including the Bulldog. Originally bred to bait bulls, the purpose of the breed was sorely corrupted and soon degraded into the extremely cruel “sport” which was banned in England in 1835. Responsible nineteenth century breeders resurrected the breed and set themselves to the task of breeding for temperament and to eliminate the undesirable qualities and characteristics. The result of these dedicated breeders and those of today is the lovable, obedient, and docile dog which regularly garners large rounds of applause from audiences who attend dog shows around the country.

Although dog fighting is banned and a felony in the United States, I can assure you that this disgusting practice is still taking place. >From the back alleys of major cities to the posh and stylish mansions of multi-millionaires, this repugnant “sport” is just outrageous and offensive, and it’s our duty as responsible breeders who are concerned about the health of our dogs to speak up and end this criminal activity. I urge you as responsible breeders and dog lovers to expose these atrocities, to work diligently to eliminate these heinous deeds and to join the millions who are appalled and bewildered by these cruel acts.

It is our responsibility to let the general public know that for these precious canine companions it is all about nature vs. nurture – that these various breeds involved in the “sport” are not bred this way, but are baited and beaten into submission and forced to live this life. It’s our duty and obligation to take a stand – for the sake of all our dogs.


Wayne E. Ferguson
President, AKC Canine Health Foundation

The AKC Canine Health Foundation, founded in 1995 by the American Kennel Club, is the largest nonprofit worldwide to fund health research exclusively for canines. Our goal is to help dogs live longer, healthier lives. The AKC Canine Health Foundation is the leader in non-invasive genetic health research, stem cell research, and biotherapeutics benefiting both canines and humans. Through the generous financial support of the American Kennel Club and the NestlĂ© Purina PetCare Co., we’re proud to announce we have allocated more than $18 million in canine health research through 74 schools and research institutions worldwide.

1 comment:

Animal Chaplain said...

Of course the breed is not to blame!

If there is anything good about the Michael Vick story, it is that there is an emerging increased awareness about animal cruelty and animal fighting. There is so much anger about this issue. If we channel it into a positive direction, hopefully, something good can come of it. However...

I watched Vick's public apology with my little son who USED TO wear Michael Vick jerseys to school. It is disturbing to think a certain percentage of the population is honestly going to be swayed by Michael Vick's "enlightenment" carefully crafted by his overpaid attorneys. Call me a cynic, but I don't believe a man who has been allegedly torturing animals since childhood coincidentally has a religious epiphany as a result of getting caught and losing his job. I hope I am wrong.

I think it is a sad commentary that we, as a culture, are using the Vick story to compare "What's worse?" "What's worse", we ask, "carelessly fathering illegitimate children, or dogfighting?". "Dogfighting or gambling?" "Dogfighting or rape?" "Dogfighting or racism?" "Dogfighting or hateful nationalism?" "Dogfighting or (fill in the blank)....?" The comparisons to dogfighting have been endless.

Dogfighting is one more piece of evidence our country is in need of a spiritual transformation (please note I said spiritual and not necessarily religious). Animals are sentient beings - they feel pain, and they suffer, just like we do. They are not more important, or less important than human beings, but like human beings, they are important, too.

Dogfighting pits one dog against another until one of them dies. The survivor gets his flesh torn off, ears ripped off, eyes pulled out, etc., and the reward for being "a winner" is to writhe in pain until the next fight. Enough said. The pictures make my flesh crawl. The losers are tortured, beaten, starved, electrocuted or drowned. For what? Because these poor creatures were unlucky enough to be born a dog!

Every major faith teaches its followers to be responsible stewards of animals and the Earth. Please help us get the word out that caring for animals, just like caring for people, is an important part of just being a decent person and citizen. If we make this a priority, there will be no more dogfighting horror stories, and no more pointless comparisons of evils. Let us all rise, together, to be better people than we are today, shall we?

Chaplain Nancy Cronk