I went and saw the premier of Dog by Dog last night in Chicago. It was good. Truthfully, it was my book, Bark Until Heard, in documentary form. It spoke of the puppy-mill rescues, the legislation, the AKC, and the pet store protests. All of the things that I talk about in my book. However, one area that it goes into a lot of detail about, an area that I did not, was the dirty politics that prevent bills from becoming laws to protect the dogs.
Legislative bills that are introduced to protect dogs are almost always put into agriculture type committees. The USDA is the government body responsible for the inspection of puppy-mills. The same inspectors who grade your meat. In theory, it makes sense that puppy-mill bills are presented in this way, however, the reality is dogs are not an agricultural by-product. They are man’s best friend.
In the world of agriculture there are some major players: Monsanto, Tyson, Cargill and Smithfield. These specific ones spent millions of dollars fighting the Missouri puppy-mill bill. Literally, paying off politicians out of fear that giving dogs humane treatment would eventually lead to stricter regulations on all of their factory farms, cutting into their profits.
The monies these businesses threw at the puppy-mill bill in Missouri, the convoluted behaviors they showed and the lack of integrity they displayed by lying to the citizens of the state is grossly beyond measure. And, saddest of all, is after their sickening behavior, the dogs in Missouri were left to continue to suffer. The dogs were left to sit in wire cages full of feces. The dogs were left to rot, never to see the light of day or the gentle touch of a human being.
Interestingly, a friend sent me an email early this morning about the tactics of HSUS, The Humane Society of the United States. They wanted me to read about how HSUS is not rescuing dogs with the donations they get. They wanted to me to see that they are a political organization.
Wayne Pacelle, President and CEO of HSUS, was in the movie a lot. He spoke of the legislative fight and the tactics of the agri-lobbying groups. There were two other HSUS employees in the movie who each talked about they dirty, greedy lies the agri-businesses told. They all shared the hard, cold facts about the agri-business’ very aggressive attack against the bills which would have protected the dogs.
As someone who eats and breathes animal welfare, I guess I already knew that HSUS wasn’t really “rescuing” dogs anymore. They have become a political lobbying group. And, yes, sometimes they play what some might deem dirty games. I. Don’t. Care.
Everyone envisions animal welfare as some warm and fuzzy operation. The sad stories. The helpless animals. The beautiful stories of transformation. Yeah, that stuff happens, but it is absolutely necessary to see the BIG picture. It is important to fix the core of the problems and not just each individual broken dog.
There is a lot of bad shit is this country. Puppy-mills are part of the bad shit. Sure rescues can continue to take in the neglected dogs, fix them up and find them homes, but the goal is to get rid of the problem: puppy-mills.
If organizations like HSUS have to solicit money to lobby in the political arena, so be it! If they have to go undercover to prove the hellacious conditions of a mass breeding facility, do it! If they have to spend money to outplay the bullshit of agribusiness, I am all for it.
Why doesn’t anyone question the companies of the products they buy. Why do consumers have to pay more for their meat, so that Tyson can spend millions to defeat a bill designed to protect man’s best friend?
Yes, HSUS is using your money to lobby, to fight the dirty tactics of agribusiness and perhaps, not to literally, take care of Fido in a shelter. Animal welfare needs an organization who can effectively compete in the political jungle.
Yes, we are warm and fuzzy animal welfare people. We are compassionate beyond understanding, but we are sick and tired of the political games. We have every right to play just as dirty and mean as they do. We are trying to do what is right for the animals, the voiceless, gentle souls on Earth. No matter how dirty we play, I know in my heart, our intentions are the right ones. We aren’t doing it to get rich, we are doing it because animals shouldn’t have to suffer in the hands of rotten people.