FacebookTwitterRedditEmail

How Pro-Pitbull Crusades Harm Workers — and Dogs

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.

bernie-the-sandernistas-cover-344x550

Weekend Edition
April 19, 2019
Friday - Sunday
Andrew Levine
What Will It Take For Trump to Get His Due?
Roy Eidelson
Is the American Psychological Association Addicted to Militarism and War?
Jeffrey St. Clair
Roaming Charges: Time is Blind, Man is Stupid
Joshua Frank
Top 20 Mueller Report “Findings”
Rob Urie
Why Russiagate Will Never Go Away
Paul Street
Stephen Moore Gets Something Right: It’s Capitalism vs. Democracy
Russell Mokhiber
Why Boeing and Its Executives Should be Prosecuted for Manslaughter
T.J. Coles
The Battle for Latin America: How the U.S. Helped Destroy the “Pink Tide”
Ron Jacobs
Ho Chi Minh City: Nguyen Thai Binh Street
Dean Baker
Fun Fictions in Economics
David Rosen
Trump’s One-Dimensional Gender Identity
Kenn Orphan
Notre Dame: We Have Always Belonged to Her
Robert Hunziker
The Blue Ocean Event and Collapsing Ecosystems
Theodore C. Van Alst, Jr.
Paddy Wagon
Brett Wilkins
Jimmy Carter: US ‘Most Warlike Nation in History of the World’
John W. Whitehead
From Jesus Christ to Julian Assange: When Dissidents Become Enemies of the State
Nick Pemberton
To Never Forget or Never Remember
Stephen Cooper
My Unforgettable College Stabbings
Louis Proyect
A Leftist Rejoinder to the “Capitalist Miracle”
Louisa Willcox
Aldo Leopold’s Land Ethic and the Need for a New Approach to Managing Wildlife
Brian Cloughley
Britain Shakes a Futile Fist and Germany Behaves Sensibly
Jessicah Pierre
A Revolutionary Idea to Close the Racial Wealth Divide
George Burchett
Revolutionary Journalism
Dan Bacher
U.S. Senate Confirms Oil Lobbyist David Bernhardt as Interior Secretary
Nicky Reid
The Strange Success of Russiagate
Chris Gilbert
Defending Venezuela: Two Approaches
Todd Larsen
The Planetary Cost of Amazon’s Convenience
Kelly Martin
How the White House is Spinning Earth Day
Nino Pagliccia
Cuba and Venezuela: Killing Two Birds With a Stone
Matthew Stevenson
Pacific Odyssey: Guadalcanal and Bloody Ridge, Solomon Islands
David Kattenburg
Trudeau’s Long Winter
Gary Olson
A Few Comments on the recent PBS Series: Reconstruction: America After the Civil War
Ellen Lindeen
What Does it Mean to Teach Peace?
Adewale Maye and Eileen Appelbaum
Paid Family and Medical Leave: a Bargain Even Low-Wage Workers Can Afford
Ramzy Baroud
War Versus Peace: Israel Has Decided and So Should We
Ann Garrison
Vets for Peace to Barbara Lee: Support Manning and Assange
Thomas Knapp
The Mueller Report Changed my Mind on Term Limits
Jill Richardson
Why is Going Green So Hard? Because the System Isn’t
Mallika Khanna
The Greenwashing of Earth Day
Arshad Khan
Do the Harmless Pangolins Have to Become Extinct?
Paul Armentano
Pushing Marijuana Legalization Across the Finish Line
B. R. Gowani
Surreal Realities: Pelosi, Maneka Gandhi, Pompeo, Trump
Paul Buhle
Using the Law to Build a Socialist Society
David Yearsley
Call Saul
Elliot Sperber
Ecology Over Economy 
FacebookTwitterRedditEmail