Friday, June 27, 2008

Myths from the Animal Rights organizations

MYTH One cat and its offspring can produce 420,000 cats in seven years (source: PETA and multiple humane society websites)
FACT After a six-year study and daily observation of a feral cat colony, it has been documented that stray female cats start cycling when they are 4 - 6.9 months old, (2) or as soon as the days are long enough. January and February are the start of the kitten season, with the litters born in March and April. These cats have an average of 2.1 litters per year of 4.25 kittens.(3) Forty-two percent of the kittens will die by the age of two months of natural causes.(4) Many more will end up at the shelter. Those who escape early death and the shelter go on to be prolific bearers of kittens over their short life span of approximately three years.(5)

Taking the mortality into account, along with birth and death rates, the average stray female will have 5.25 litters in her lifetime, encompassing 22.3 kittens. At age two months there should be 12.9 survivors, roughly six females and seven males (at maturity, roughly 2/3 of the stray cat population is male,(6) due to the high mortality of females during first pregnancy and birth), which will decrease to four females over time. These six females will go on to have their 22 surviving kittens each.

Realistically, over 12 years one unspayed female with all her unspayed female offspring can reasonably be expected to be responsible for over 3200 kittens if there is no human intervention.
MYTH One female dog and her offspring can produce 67,000 dogs in six years. (source: PETA and multiple humane organization websites)
FACT This projection for production of dog offspring is just as absurd as the projection for a cat and its offspring listed above. The 67,000 projection is dependent on the presumption that every animal concerned becomes pregnant and reproduces each cycle through its life, that each of its progeny lives, and also reproduces each and every cycle through its life, and that all progeny are female.
MYTH Altered animals are less likely to contract deadly, contagious diseases spread through bodily fluids, such as feline AIDS and leukemia. (source: PETA website)
FACT Altering does not create an immunity to a retrovirus.

Feline leukemia virus (FeLV), a retrovirus, is a common infection of cats. It is the cause of more cat deaths, directly or indirectly, than any other organism and is widespread in the cat population.

How is FeLV transmitted? Large amounts of feline leukemia virus are excreted in the saliva. Therefore, the most common mode of transmission is through nose-to-nose contact, mutual grooming, and shared food and water bowls. Bites are a very efficient way to transmit FeLV. FeLV can also be found in lesser amounts in tears, urine, and feces. To a lesser degree transmission can also take place through the shared use of litter boxes and feeding dishes.

For more information visit these websites:
Cornell University FeLV Brochure
Veterinary Partner, FeLV

FIV stands for feline immunodeficiency virus, just as HIV stands for human immunodeficiency virus. FIV is a cats-only infection. FIV is shed in the saliva of infected cats, so the disease is primarily spread through bite wounds. Casual, non-aggressive contact does not appear to be an efficient route of spreading FIV; as a result, cats in households with stable social structures where housemates do not fight are at little risk for acquiring FIV infections. The only sure way to protect cats is to prevent their exposure to the virus. Cat bites are the major way infection is transmitted, so keeping cats indoors-and away from potentially infected cats that might bite them-markedly reduces their likelihood of contracting FIV infection.

For more information visit these websites:
Cornell University FIV Fact Sheet
Veterinary Partner, Feline Immunodeficiency Virus (FIV)
MYTH The Crisis of Pet Overpopulation. Three to four million dogs and cats in shelters are euthanized because there are not enough homes for them. Too many companion animals competing for too few good homes is the most obvious consequence of uncontrolled breeding. (Source: HSUS website)
FACT In State of the Animals 2001 HSUS stated: There was, however, general consensus among most animal related organizations that the term pet overpopulation was not only difficult to define, but that it was also probably no longer an accurate catchphrase to describe the reasons for animals leaving their original homes, especially for dogs."

Uncontrolled breeding is no longer the primary reason dogs and cats end up in shelters and has been replaced with a pet retention problem. A 1991 study from Tufts found that 87.8% of female dogs were spayed and 91.5% of female cats were spayed.

The most recent surveys by the National Council on Pet Population Study & Policy (NCPPSP) identified the top reasons for relinquishment common to both dogs and cats are: moving, landlord issues, cost of pet maintenance, inadequate facilities, no time, and personal problems. According to NCPPSP it is quite clear that many pet owners lack the knowledge to solve problems with their pets. Animals, who otherwise might remain happily in their home are relinquished to shelters across the country. Exploring the Surplus Cat and Dog Problem. Highlights of Five Research Publications Regarding Relinquishment of Pets
MYTH Pit Bulls have locking jaws
FACT The "pit bull" does not have a "locking jaw". On this topic Dr. I. Lehr Brisbin of the University of Georgia wrote: "The few studies which have been conducted of the structure of the skulls, mandibles and teeth of pit bulls show that, in proportion to their size, their jaw structure and thus its inferred functional morphology, is no different than that of any breed of dog. There is absolutely no evidence for the existence of any kind of "locking mechanism" unique to the structure of the jaw and/or teeth of the American Pit Bull Terrier." Dog Watch
MYTH Pit Bulls have more bite pressure per square inch (PSI) than any other breed.
FACT Dr. I. Lehr Brisbin of the University of Georgia states, "To the best of our knowledge, there are no published scientific studies that would allow any meaningful comparison to be made of the biting power of various breeds of dogs. There are, moreover, compelling technical reasons why such data describing biting power in terms of `pounds per square inch' can never be collected in a meaningful way. All figures describing biting power in such terms can be traced to either unfounded rumor or, in some cases, to newspaper articles with no foundation in factual data." (From the ADBA booklet, Discover the American Pit Bull Terrier.)
MYTH The public health epidemic of dog bites is due in part to uncontrolled breeding of pets. (Source: HSUS website)
FACT ---The incidence and frequency of dog attacks has remained relatively consistent over the last century, regardless of the popularity or involvement of certain breeds of dogs. National Canine Research Council

---Dogs bite kids. Why? Most often it is because children unknowingly demonstrate inappropriate behavior toward dogs that frightens or upsets them, and the dogs instinctively react to protect themselves. Many children have never been taught that there is a polite and safe way to approach and pet a dog. Many parents have never considered that children must be taught that correct behavior around pets matters. NCRAOA

---The supposed epidemic numbers of dog bites splashed across the media are absurdly inflated by dubious research and by counting bites that don't actually hurt anyone. Even when dogs do injure people, the vast majority of injuries are at the Band-Aid level. Dogs Bite: But Balloons and Slippers Are More Dangerous by Janis Bradley
MYTH Mixed-breed dogs are healthier. They aren't as likely to have inherited problems.
FACT Dog breeds were created, selected and bred to perform specific functions. Selecting desirable traits and eliminating others, breeders created their ideal appearance and behavior. Isn’t it therefore logical that mixed-breeds resulting from purebred crosses carry the same faults and virtues, and to some degree the same inherited disorders?

All animals carry genetic defects, and all genetic departures from health are not equal. All are not life threatening; some genetic faults can be corrected with minor surgery or controlled by good management and medication.

George Padgett, DVM, a leading canine geneticist, lists genetic diseases in his book, Control of Canine Genetic Diseases published by Howell Book House, 1998, ISBN: 0-87605-004-6. Appendix 1 of the book "Genetic Disease Predisposition by Breed, (page 189)" provides some interesting information regarding mixed breeds vs. purebreds.

1. There are 532 genetic diseases listed in the book, which are spread out among fifteen diagnostic categories
2. There is however some difficulty in differentiating diseases with more than one mode of inheritance.
3. The number of diseases per breed varies strikingly

Quoting from the text regarding instances of genetic diseases:

"The largest number of dogs in the United States consists of those of mixed breeding (mutts, curs, crossbreeds and so on), and as would be expected since they contain mixtures of most, if not all, breeds, they have far and away the most diseases. These dogs are reported to have 220 diseases."

"The breed with the most diseases reported is the Poodle (all three sizes), with 145, and as you will see, there are many breeds with over 100." (Breeds and their diseases are listed in the appendix.)
MYTH Every puppy or kitten born costs a shelter animal its life. (Multiple Sources including Best Friends Forum and Pet Finders Forums)
FACT This statement has many variations, such as “breeders kill shelter animals” and “don’t breed don’t buy while shelter animals die”.

The purpose of the statement is to vilify breeders and to instill guilt in anyone who prefers to buy from a breeder rather than adopt from a shelter. While purchasing a surrendered dog or cat from a shelter is worthy, it might not be the best route for everyone. Plenty of shelter animals are happy and trainable, but there are also some that come with ‘baggage’ and need either an experienced or a determined owner. Purebred dogs and cats have specific and predictable traits. Knowing these and selecting the right match can be a better fit.

According to Gary Patronek VMD, PhD - Center for Animals and Public Policy at Tufts University School of Veterinary Medicine - the reluctance to shift from an emphasis on alleged overpopulation to a multi-faceted strategy to prevent shelter euthanasia is based on several factors, including:

* Regional imbalances in puppy numbers — although some areas of the country import puppies to meet the demand, others do have a surplus;

* An inability to abandon the idea that the breeding of a puppy that was wanted is somehow linked with the death of that dog in a shelter when it became unwanted;

* A lack of recognition that dog and cat problems are different, and a tendency to equate the huge number of unwanted kittens with a dwindling number of unwanted puppies;

* Deeply held beliefs that breeding is wrong.

(this post came from the website.)

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