PETA has written members of the Ontario, Canada, legislature to tell them NOT to consider relaxing what they called “commonsense restrictions on pit bull in Ontario,” saying “These breeds should be regulated in the same way in which other dangerous species, like leopards, are regulated.”
What are these restrictions and regulations?
Ontario has banned dogs identified as “pit bulls” and exterminated thousands of dogs and puppies for how they look. And sometimes, these former family companions are sold to laboratories for animal experimentation before they are killed. After 72 hours in some Ontario municipal pounds, dogs can be sold to any researcher from a registered research facility.
Though tragic and evil, PETA’s position should not surprising to anyone who has been paying attention. Several years ago, PETA founder Ingrid Newkirk wrote an OpEd piece in newspapers across the country calling on all shelters in all cities to kill all dogs who looked like “pit bulls.”
“Most people have no idea that at many animal shelters across the country, any pit bull that comes through the front door doesn’t go out the back door alive,” she wrote. “From San Jose to Schenectady, many shelters have enacted policies requiring the automatic destruction of the huge and ever-growing number of ‘pits’ they encounter. This news shocks and outrages the compassionate dog-lover. Here’s another shocker: People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals, the very organization that is trying to get you to denounce the killing of chickens for the table, foxes for fur or frogs for dissection, supports the shelters’ pit-bull policy… People who genuinely care about dogs won’t be affected by a ban on pits.”
More recently, PETA wrote a Mayor in Tennessee telling him not to work with rescuers and to kill all pit bulls — “PETA recommends a ban on the adoption/release of dangerous dogs and fighting breeds (commonly known as ‘pit bulls’).”
It also joined forces with a group that has a singular mission: “to have pit bulls banned across the United States — a move which seems to lead, inexorably, to the dogs being killed.” “We’re not talking about dogs who have done anything wrong,” according to an article in the Huffington Post. “This concerns all pit bulls. The therapy dogs, the police dogs, the war heroes, those who’ve saved lives, … and those who are still in shelters, waiting to be given a chance.”
PETA also practices what it preaches, killing more dogs than most other facilities in Virginia, where it is located. It’s known death rate of dogs and cats recently surpassed 40,000. And according to a PETA employee, “I did witness [PETA] bring back a pit bull to the Norfolk location. This pit bull was wagging its tail, jumping (an obvious friendly dog; not feral) while receiving praise, treats and getting pet by the [two PETA] employees. It was the end of my shift, so I was cleaning and restocking, which required me to go into their shed for supplies. I saw the [two PETA] employees take the pitbull into the shed’s euthanasia room, which is inside this shed. It is a small room where they have a table and a huge walk-in freezer with [four] large trash cans. The trash cans contained deceased animals and were usually full. As I continued to do my job, I heard the [PETA] employees talking to the dog and trying to calm it down as it whined. Later … they opened the door and I saw the pit bull deceased on the table.”
Banning dogs based on how they look is immoral. It is also ineffective. Not only do 50% of dogs labeled as pit bulls lacked DNA signatures of breeds commonly classified as pit bulls; but dogs targeted for breed discriminatory laws are not more likely to bite, do not bite harder, and such bans do not result in fewer dog bites or bite-related hospitalization rates. Indeed, “Toronto’s reported dog bites have been rising” and “reached their highest levels this century” even as pit bulls are being exterminated.
But that isn’t going stop some people, especially those whose identity is wrapped up in PETA, from defending them by arguing “they do so much good.” Not only is that probably not true, as a recent study indicated, but it makes no sense. By this same logic, were a slaughterhouse owner to donate a percentage of his profits to a vegan advocacy organization, or a dog fighter to donate some of his winnings to a companion animal rescue group, the killing and cruelty they inflict upon animals would therefore be rendered acceptable, the harm being cancelled out by the good. Though an obvious absurdity, time and again self-professed animal lovers and animal rights activists postulate this exact scenario, but in the reverse in order to defend or excuse the killing of animals by PETA.
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