Friday, July 27, 2007

Vick and the Brutal Truth

Article published Sunday, July 22, 2007Vick and the brutal truth
IT IS said that a society is judged by how it treats its most defenseless members, the young, the old, the disabled, the disenfranchised of any sort, and - we would add - the animals with which humans share this earth. Hunting and fishing, raising all manner of animals for consumption, and keeping animals for companionship or work are all appropriate activities. But raising, keeping, and training animals for blood sports is senseless, barbaric, and not befitting members of a civilized society. Do you hear, Michael Vick?
The NFL star, a standout quarterback for the Atlanta Falcons, is facing federal charges that he raised and trained pit bulls for dogfighting, contests in which the animals bite and tear at each other until one is so badly battered and bloodied it cannot continue.
The indictment against Mr. Vick and three others claims they have been involved in dogfighting since 2001, the former Virginia Tech star's rookie season, and that eight dogs at Mr. Vick's home in Surry County, Virginia, were brutally executed as recently as April because they were deemed to be not ready to fight.
The manner of their deaths was gruesome, the indictment saying they "were killed by hanging, drowning and/or slamming at least one dog's body to the ground." Mr. Vick is not accused of taking part in that incident, but the indictment says that when a dog from his kennel, Bad Newz Kennels, was wounded in a losing battle, he was consulted before it was doused with water and electrocuted. Mr. Vick has said that he knew nothing of the criminal enterprise and was taken advantage of by relatives.
But the point is not that such a well-known figure may be involved in a degrading "sport." The only salient point is that dogfighting - along with cockfighting, bullfighting, bear-baiting, and other "sports" in which animals are abused or killed for the betting and entertainment of humans - is depraved, cruel, and sadistic.
Dogfighting is illegal in all 50 states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, and the U.S. Virgin Islands, and it's a felony in most states. Mr. Vick and his associates, if convicted on all counts, could face up to six years in prison and $350,000 in fines and restitution. Often, however, those attending dog fights face only misdemeanors. That does little to discourage their attendance, or to encourage police to pursue charges. Obviously, the penalties for owners and spectators must be tougher.
Sadly, when the illegal activities are broken up and the dogs rescued, the animals, trained for generations for their aggressiveness, invariably have to be euthanized. Little can be done for them, but steps should be taken to end the practice. Federal legislation should ban the use of animals in blood sports and make jail time and fines, for spectators and owners, so severe that breaking the law will be "bad newz."

Forwarded from another list...The Humane Society of the United States has mounted a huge campaign toraise money to care for the dogs rescued from Michael Vick's dog fighting ring. The plea comes complete with a heartbreaking picture of one of the injured dogs. (Not surprisingly, studies have shown that people donate more when shown a picture of or told a story about asingle animal needing help. HSUS is very clever at fundraising.) Butbefore you contribute, please note:
1) There is a disclaimer in fine print at the bottom of the form whichsays your donation may be used for other HSUS programs and may not beused to help the dog fight victims.
2) There has been no accounting for the nearly $20 million HSUS raised for the Katrina dogs and cats. The organization is under investigationby the Louisiana Attorney General for their handling of that situation.
3) HSUS has NO shelter. It is a corporate office building inWashington, DC. It is supposedly "overseeing" the care of the dogsthat were seized from Vick's house, but we don't know where theanimals are, Will the shelter actually providing their care receiveall the donations this campaign generates?
4) There is no reason to believe that your contributions will go tohelp the dogs seized from Michael Vick or any other dogs or cats. HSUSspends most of its money on legislative efforts to make dog breeding impossible and pet ownership more difficult, more expensive, and more dangerous.
5) HSUS claims its servers crashed from the response to their first appeal for money for these dogs, yet they are still out there beating the drum for more money, still claiming more is needed for the Vick dogs.And if you are still considering writing that check, read the following quotes from Wayne Pacelle, president of HSUS"I don't have a hands-on fondness for animals. To this day I don'tfeel bonded to any non-human animal. I like them and I pet them andI'm kind to them, but there's no special bond between me and other animals." quoted in Bloodties: Nature, Culture and the Hunt by TedKerasote, 1993, p. 251."We have no problem with the extinction of domestic animals. They are creations of human selective breeding." quoted in Animal People, May,1993.When asked if he envisioned a future without pets: "If I had mypersonal view, perhaps that might take hold. In fact, I don't want tosee another dog or cat born." Wayne Pacelle quoted in Bloodties:Nature, Culture and the Hunt by Ted Kerasote, 1993, p. 266.

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