Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Animal Rights and the Showing Fancier


by Tam Cordingley

The Animal Rights/ Animal Control/ Humane Society people have lined
up against the dog people to create what they view as a solution to
the dog/cat overpopulation problem. In fact the group I represent
don't wish to be lumped in with the backyard breeders and commercial
market breeders. We are a group of dedicated, responsible
hobbyists, much akin to the hunting dog people. We wish to be a
part of the solution, not a part of the problem.

The solution to the Animal Control and overpopulation problem lies
not in legislating responsible hobbyists out of their hobby, but in
making a distinction between the careless indiscriminate puppy
producer, and the responsible Show or Field exhibitor. Most
legislation specifically excludes the hunting dog people. This
exclusion is because the dogs are used recreationally, kept fenced
when not under the owner's direct control, vaccinated, and too
valuable to end up a ward of Animal Control. All of these same
conditions apply to the showing fancier who typically spends money
and time on and with their dogs. They contribute significantly to
the revenue of their respective states.

Look at a typical dog show exhibitor. They either have a motor home
or stay numerous weekends a year in local motels, they eat at
restaurants, buy gasoline, enter events and buy products at dog
shows in their state. Most are property owners, all vaccinate their
pets, most keep older retired dogs until they die, they breed seldom
and place puppies carefully. They all keep their dogs fenced for
security. These are not the people creating the animal control
nightmare, they are the law abiding citizens who will be harmed by
restrictive and all inclusive legislation.

I see this not as dog people against Animal Control but rather as a
triangular issue. One side being Animal rights and Animal Control,
a second being the hunting or exhibiting breed fancier, and the
third being the backyard breeder and the mass producers. In many
communities the Animal Control people and the fanciers are strongly
aligned and are of significant help to each other. For example,
every breed has a rescue committee that will take dogs of their
breeds from shelters, spay or neuter, and place them in homes. In
well over 40 years as a dog show and obedience trial exhibitor I
have never met a fellow dog show exhibitor that didn't fence their
dogs, or otherwise confine them. I have also never met one who
didn't vaccinate for rabies.

As dog people it is our responsibility to educate the legislators
about Issues WE know. The AR people work mightily to push thru
legislation in many states and it sounds fine if you don't truly
understand the situation. To this end, and hopefully to improve the
situation of the showing fancier, I would ask you to cut and paste
the 3 paragraphs above to any and all discussion groups to which you
belong and to as many dog people as you know.

Showing Fanciers of America is a group dedicated to helping in a
positive way to educate the legislators without being viewed as
breeders. The simple word Breeder, to us as hobbyists a proud
title, is viewed by AR and AC people as the bad guy. The only way
to differentiate ourselves and be seen as different from the
backyard breeder or puppy miller is to label ourselves differently.

Tam Cordingley, Foxridge Fox Terriers www.trainthedog.com

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