FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail

How Pro-Pitbull Crusades Harm Workers — and Dogs

by

Those who champion social equality, yet defend the continued existence of pit bull terriers, need to step back and consider the way these dogs are used as property guards. The way they menace working people who can’t opt to avoid urban, suburban and rural properties where tough-looking dogs are now common home-protection devices.

I back animal rights; I also support a generous reading of human rights. And the existence of guard dogs has never done much for either platform. Not that any dog should be condemned to death for the sins of the breeders and buyers. But it’s time for activists to stop repeating Ban the deed not the breed, and start demanding that the breeding ends.

Some might object that an animal-rights proponent who decries the purpose-breeding of dogs ought to challenge the breeding of all dogs at once. I do.

But I also know that dog breeds have been introduced into the stream of commerce one by one. Each year, Madison Square Garden hosts the Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show — a showroom floor for breeds, including new models. (This year, the two “newly recognized” breeds are the Coton de Tulears and the Wirehaired Vizslas.) And if dog breeds have come into existence one by one, then breed-specific legislation to phase them out isn’t an outrageous concept. If we would stop the breeding, wouldn’t the starting point involve animals subject to physical extremes or unremitting abuse, including pit bulls, Dobermans, Rottweilers, Presa Canarios, wolf hybrids and other dogs often selected because of their rough reputations?

What is outrageous? Likening breed-specific policies to racial profiling, or to a “violation of our rights as stated in the 14th amendment of the United States Constitution.”

Deadly Position

Several million people are bitten by dogs each year, most of them older people, kids in the home, and workers whose jobs bring them in contact with the guarded properties. The Postal Service regularly reports more than five thousand mail carriers a year sustaining dog bites, with some of the animals breaking through screen or glass doors to get at the workers.

Remember Charla Nash, who underwent facial reconstruction after being mauled by a Connecticut homeowner’s chimpanzee? That was followed by a sensible outcry to prohibit private ownership of apes. Nonhuman primates are dangerous to humans, chiefly because of the unnatural, frustrating reality of captivity. The animal-rights position calls us to end such frustration. When a Connecticut mail carrier is mauled by pit bulls, we should say the same thing. Stop the breeding of these dogs, the using them as guards or fighters; at the same time, stop the danger they present to people. Why are Connecticut enterprises like MGXL Pits still in business? Perhaps because even the White House defends the breeding.

Industry groups such as the American Pit Bull Foundation are out to vaunt the public image of these dogs, and “promote responsible breed ownership through providing owner and public education.” Why should animal advocates buttress their exploitive, deadly position?

And make no mistake; it is deadly. Including to the dogs themselves. Members of the “bully breeds” make up the clear majority of dogs killed at pounds.

Of course, a dog’s tendency to bite depends not only on selective breeding but also factors such as the dogs’ training and environment. Yet it’s sound policy to start reducing the influx of dogs with the least control over the damage they can do, and the worst history of being condemned to detention and death for doing it. A policy that would also reduce the risks and stress factors in the lives of postal workers.

Lee Hall is an author of  On Their Own Terms: Bringing Animal-Rights Philosophy Down to Earth and several other books and articles on animal rights, a contingent professor of environmental, immigration, and animal law, and a contingent employee of the U.S. Postal Service. Follow Lee on Twitter: @Animal_Law 

More articles by:

Lee Hall, J.D., LL.M., is an independent author, an adjunct professor of law and legal studies, a retail worker, and the creator of a studio for the Art of Animal Liberation on Patreon, for which support is always welcome and deeply appreciated.

CounterPunch Magazine


bernie-the-sandernistas-cover-344x550

zen economics

September 20, 2017
Ajamu Baraka
The Empire’s Hustle: Why Anti-Trumpism Doesn’t Include Anti-War
Jonathan Cook
How Netanyahu’s Son Became the Poster Boy for White Supremacists
Michael Uhl
Hué Back When: Vietnam’s Pivotal Battle Reconsidered
Russell Mokhiber
Single Payer, the Democratic Party and the Nonprofit Industrial Complex
John W. Whitehead
We Are All Prisoners of the Police State’s Panopticon Village
Tim DeChristopher – Suren Moodliar
After Harvey & Irma: Mitigation, Adaptation & Suffering
Yoav Litvin
To Punch or Not to Punch – The American Left’s Existential Crisis
Patrick Cockburn
Why International Powers Fear Kurdish Independence Vote Could Derail Fight Against ISIS
Thomas S. Harrington
Forced Takeover of Catalan Government Institutions by Spanish Police
Steve Early
Report From Winsted: Nader’s Museum
John Davis
On the New Party Pledge
Gary Leupp
Manafort News: a Blockbuster or Nothingburger?
Ted Rall
No Man is Above the Law, Except on College Campuses
Kenneth Good
The Annulment of Kenya’s August 2017 Elections
Ha-Joon Chang
South Koreans Worked a Democratic Miracle. Can They Do It Again?
Binoy Kampmark
Donald Trump at the UN
Ezra Kronfeld
China’s Persecution of the Uyghur People
Kim C. Domenico
The White Liberal’s Dilemma: How To Be Shamelessly Different
September 19, 2017
Gregory Elich
Trump’s War on the North Korean People
Michael Yates
What We Sow is What We Eat
James M. Williamson
Getting the Gulf of Tonkin Wrong: Are Ken Burns and Lynn Novick “Telling Stories” About the Central Events Used to Legitimize the US Attack Against Vietnam?
Benjamin Dangl
How Top Food Companies Fail to Protect Environmental Activists in Supply Chains
Robert Fisk
Nikki Haley, Israel and Lebanon: When Ignorance is Not Bliss
Jack Rasmus
Greek Debt Crisis: Why Syriza Continues to Lose
Rev. William Alberts
The Greatest Threat Facing America
Julian Vigo
iPhone Ergo Sum
Andre Vltchek
In Bangkok – “No Speak Your Language, Speak Thai or Die!”
Mel Gurtov
Dealing with North Korean Missiles
Mike Whitney
Rohrabacher vs. The Machine 
Fred Gardner
Intertwined Issues: VietnaMarijuana
Manuel E. Yepe
Cuba Recovered and Open for Business
Binoy Kampmark
The Genuine Article in Australian Politics
September 18, 2017
Jason Hirthler
Condemned to Repeat It: History as Rerun
Rannie Amiri
The Saudi Project Has Failed
Mike Whitney
Starve Them to Death: Wall Street Journal’s Solution to North Korea
Gary Leupp
Why Would 58% Favor U.S. Bombing of North Korea?
Patrick Cockburn
ISIS is Stepping Up Its Atrocities to Compensate For Its Defeat
Manuel E. Yepe
Hurricanes and the Blockade Against Cuba
Janet Contursi
No, Antifa, This is Not the 1930s and We Don’t Need to Punch a Nazi
Binoy Kampmark
The CIA Wins: Harvard, Chelsea Manning and Visiting Fellowships
Chad Hanson – Mike Garrity
Logging Won’t Stop Wildfires
Patrick Howlett-Martin
Nazis Art Plunders: All That Belongs to the Past ?
Radha Surya
Too Late, Mr. Modi
George Wuerthner
Lies, Damn Lies and Agricultural Statistics
Nyla Ali Khan
Transnational Writers and the Politics of the English Language
FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail