This past week I made a grievous mistake in believing that animal rights extremists could come to a rational conclusion based on factual discussion from knowledgeable and experienced sources. That was a week I will never get back and probably one of the most foolish mistakes I have made in quite some time. It took me a while to realize that no amount of factual or statistical data was going to alter their conclusion that weight pull was abusive, exploitive and it overworked the dog involved. (I felt like I was bashing my head into a virtual brick wall. Ouch!)
The topic? A weight pull competition being held by the Working Pit Bull Terrier Club of America (WPBTCA) in conjunction with their National Championship event(*) being held in Buffalo, New York from September 28th-30th.
New York Animal Rights Alliance’s (discussion located on their public Facebook group) issue with this event is a statute in New York state that includes “overworking” an animal as cruelty.
Here is the the statute – Agricultural and Market Law 353-a (Source):
“This law states that an individual may not show exceptional cruelty to animals. This translates into not allowing a person to inflict extreme pain on any animal for any reason, especially for enjoyment. Extreme pain consists of any action that causes the animal pain and possible death. Actions such as keeping an animal from food or water, using objects to beat or injure the animal, or overworking an animal so as to cause to cause injury.”
I can honestly see where they are coming from as a point from someone who has never attended a sanctioned weight pull. (Yes, the thread creator and founder openly admitted she had never attended one and never wished to either.) The ignorance of the time and work that goes into preparing a dog, the specialized equipment designed to protect the dog from potential injury or the enthusiasm of the dog involved. It really is easy to miss from the outside looking in.
From my perspective, the general consensus among the animal rights activists is that weight pull is, for all intents and purposes, “forcing” the dog to pull hundreds and thousands of pounds for the purpose of human greed and ego. They feel the dogs are suffering through exploitation by being used for “human entertainment and monetary gain.”
I was almost toppling over in shock at some of the comments made (like likening the dog’s desire to pull the cart to the child sex slave trade and worse). Thankfully the majority of the pro-weight pull and pro-dog sport community that was (finally) allowed to post freely, after the moderator/owner relinquished a bit of control, was sane, factual and void of emotion.
The reality of the entire week (or so) of idiocy is that there is no real basis for the accusations that are being slung around by that group. Having witnessed the utter disregard that many of the commenters had for their fellow man and the anthropomorphism pooled in the majority of the responses made me realize that no amount of civility or fact was going to dissuade them from their illusionary cause. It became plainly obvious was far safer to agree to disagree and take my leave of the megalomaniacal scheming to “end the abuse and exploitation” of these dogs than continue to banter back and forth.
Oh, and the most hilarious part of this entire charade of lunacy? I was banned and blocked after my ending statement. Oh well! If you can’t beat ’em, ban ’em. Ha!
(*) The event was given the okay to proceed by the New York SPCA.