The article below, Pet Project, is from the Dubbo Week-ender that appeared on July 14th 2012.
Please download it here: petProjectDubboWeekender_July12
Whilst we certainly agree with the sentiment of allowing residents of aged care facilities to keep their pets, there are some alarming messages embedded in the article that those involved in companion animal advocacy and rescue will need to pay attention to.
Firstly, printed articles like this get out to a very wide readership; 5000 copies are distributed, and then there is the e-version which will go to many readers. Rescue groups and animal welfare advocates are just not competing with this.
Kirsty Seksel (ACAC) has managed to get herself into this article and is using it as a vehicle to send some messages that we should not under-estimate.
These are the important points from this article.
“as president of the Australian Companion Animal Council (ACAC) the nation’s peak body for the pet care industry” . Message: ..listen to us….
“…… among a range of factors ACAC is investigating in an attempt to arrest the declining level of pet ownership in Australia. According to the non-profit organisation, between 1994 and 2009 Australia experienced a 22 percent increase in human population, whilst at the same time there was a 10 per cent decrease in the number of pet dogs and 20 percent decrease in number of pet cats”
Message: They are very concerned about declining owned –animal numbers. We know this; this is a drum Seksel and others have been banging for a very long time. The Vet Associations are very concerned about declining owned pet numbers. Obviously it will affect their businesses. The massive numbers of un-owned animals in pounds and shelters are not of concern to them – there is no money in pound animals. That is the whole point of the messages that Seksel is sending in this article.
Seksel (The ACAC representative on the NSW Taskforce) says that “the responsibility for many of the deaths (in pounds) can be laid at the door of people who breed dogs and cats without thinking of the consequences”.
Fine, we can agree with that, but then she goes on to say “We need to breed animals that are suitable as pets and that’s a big issue”.
Now we agree with that statement, but what she is not saying is that she is laying a path to the Breeders (……. who are members of ACAC). She is NOT saying – if you want a pet, get it from your pound or RSPCA or AWL. ( My personal view, I have no problem with responsible breeders, but let’s empty the pounds first…)
In fact she goes on to talk about the “persistence of genetically inherited anxiety disorders in pets” (that she attributes to this irresponsible breeding)
What she is saying is that “it’s true that euthanasia rates are high, BUT we also have to recognise that 20 percent of animals have some sort of anxiety disorder. Anxiety is the underlying reason for aggression and who wants an aggressive dog”.
Message: if you get your dog from a pound, you will likely get an aggressive dog….. don’t take the risk…
Next: “Many pet advocates are misguided in their wish to save all animals. Many people want to save every animal and you just can’t. Who is going to want the dog that attacks you as soon as you walk in the cage?” (There it is again…)
Message: That is an underhand attack on the No Kill movement. The No Kill movement is a big threat to the pet industry. If every member of the public got their pet from the pound or AWL, then what would breeders and pet shop sales do? (…… funnily enough pet shops would still do well as all those pets (from pounds) need feeding and supplies etc of course)
Now this is hilarous, if it wasn’t sad: “someone has to be an advocate for the animals and that’s what I see as my role” .…… oh, really? What exactly have you done Ms Seksel for animals in pounds? Huh?
And “if we really care about pets, then sometimes euthanasia is the kindest thing I can do for a pet”.
Message : It’s sometimes OK to kill your pet……………ie don’t feel bad about it.
And last of all, where does she say , if you want to save a life, get your pet from a shelter or pound??
By the way, note the socialising of the idea of registration fees being used…NSW residents, start get used to the idea of increased registration fees….!
Actions you can take:
We should not allow people like Seksel to get away with this garbage.
Firstly write to ACAC at firstname.lastname@example.org and ask for the research that shows that “20 % of dogs suffer from anxiety”’;
Then write to the Editor of the Dubbo Week-ender at email@example.com and let them know what you think.
And now, tell us what you think about this type of propaganda?