July 20, 2007


If (man) is not to stifle his human feelings, he must practice kindness towards animals, for he who is cruel to animals becomes hard also in his dealings with men. We can judge the heart of a man by his treatment of animals.

Immanuel Kant
And that really says it all, that last bit. I'm an animal welfare person - used to like to make fun of PETA and will likely find the occasion to do so again. The dogfighting case against Michael Vick is very, very sick. Of course, dogfighting's been a problem long before the media pounced on this case of it. And now it's suddenly a big deal because a famous person's embroiled in the headlines, as I commented on a blog earlier today - forget which one. So, what does it all mean? Throw out the legal issue, and what does dogfighting mean?

My Internet is slow loading tonight, but eventually I found my way back to Outside the Beltway, where Steve Verdon posted this morning about the issue in a piece called Libertarianism and Child Pornography. Don't click through if you don't want to see a mangled dog. Whose name he gives - it's Gypsy.

Steve's piece attacks the view that dogs are just property, so what's the big deal. It's a debate I've had before, too, with a libertarian; this picture would have been my best argument. Brian and I have cats, and they're family. If someone broke into my house and smashed something, it better well not be a cat. Anything that has a personality is more than a simple piece of property. I visited PETA today to see what it had to say about the incident, and it goes a little something like this.

NFL star Michael Vick, of the Atlanta Falcons, has been indicted by a federal grand jury on felony dogfighting charges. Vick is charged with violating federal laws against competitive dogfighting, procuring and training pit bulls for fighting, and conducting the enterprise across state lines.

In a raid conducted on April 25 and 26, local and state law enforcement officials found 70 dogs—including at least 60 pit bulls and many dogs who reportedly were neglected, scarred, and malnourished—on quarterback Vick's rural Surry County, Virginia, property. Some of the animals evidently bear scars and injuries, and paraphernalia commonly associated with dogfighting—including a "rape stand"—are also said to have been found on the property.
Wow - reads just like the news. Criminy, I agree with PETA. Someone bring me an NRA magazine to balance the scale.

Point is - well, I opened the post with the point. We (humans) know better. Deep down we do.


Posted by hln at July 20, 2007 08:54 PM | Animals | TrackBack

Yes, her name is gypsy. She was used as a bait dog. A bait dog is a dog that is deemed unsuitable for fighting and becomes the "practice dog" those dogs that are suitable for fighting use to practice. Gypsy suffered tremendously, she lost a leg, both ears were chewed off, her lips became infected and putrified and had to be removed. However, people came to Gypsy's aid and she is doing quite well now. You can still see the scars from her ordeal, but with some canine reconstructive surgery she leads a pretty normal life. She is used in seminars about the cruelty of dog fighting and she is actually a very nice dog, from what I've read.

However, for each dog like gypsy hundreds, maybe thousands more die each year. The losing dogs and those dogs deemed not fight worthy are disposed of in horrific ways. Dowsing with gasoline and setting them on fire is not unheard of. Letting dogs roam the streets to ultimately starve to death is another common technique.

Dog fighting is an activity of the truly barbaric, IMO, and if anybody thinks that is some sort of cultural elitism/superiority...well they can go f&$k themselves.

Posted by: Steve Verdon at July 23, 2007 12:02 AM