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Friday, August 31, 2007

Dogs and 'Sport': When is it OK?

Trained in extreme conditions.

Forced to perform in a 'sporting' endeavor against good judgment and without fair and considerate treatment.

Blood and injuries common.

A death rate that is astounding when extrapolated in comparison to other sports.

After this Michael Vick fiasco, one would assume that anyone engaging dogs in 'sports' that lead to death, abusive conditions and down right unnatural cruelty would be under the close scrutiny of the Federal Government.

But are they?

After fighting dogs, one would be hard pressed to find a more viciously malevolent canine centric 'sport' than sled racing. Particularly, the famed Alaskan sled marathon, the Iditarod.

The death rate of about 2.9 per 1000 is staggering when thought about. Imagine if the NY or Boston marathons exhibited similar death rates with their tens of thousands of runners! Body bags would litter the course.

But for dogs on the frozen tundra, running for the glory of their heroic 'musher' is part of the 'culture'.

Predominantly white trainers routinely force their dogs past the point of comfort. Using various drugs to chase the pain from the weakened canine bodies, and forcing the animals to face temperatures which are threatening to the heartiest of beasts.

How can this be?

How can participants in one cruel and vicious 'dog sport' be sent off to jail and demonized, while others do fantastic and unimaginable damage to their dogs and are glorified and given endorsement money? How are the organizer able to raise millions of dollars in sponsor money while the sledders beat and damage the dogs through grueling and inhumane conditions?

A half dozen or so men recently were indicted by the Federal Government for dog fighting and dog abuse charges in rural Virginia. Men of backwoods, Negro decent.

While this group of men was forced to play judicial games of prosecutorial uncertainty in an effort to ensure that they would all fear for their futures and say anything the government wanted, another group annually gets together to compete for prize money and sponsorships. This group is predominantly white.

We certainly would never profess the presence of any racial bias in the perception and handling of these events.

Clearly, when white folks want to play with their dogs in the snow, it's wholesome good fun.

And, according to this lady, it's a boon for veterinary research:

"This is the pinnacle of (canine) science," Mallie King says. "In 1996, he won the 'Golden Stethoscope' award for being the best trail vet. These dogs love to do this. Doesn't your dog go in the back yard and chase squirrels? This is how God provided for people who lived in the Arctic. These dogs are not dying from abuse. God didn't mean for dogs to outlive us."

Can you imagine the outcry's if Michael Vick had said during his apology, "Hey, dogs like to play fight, they have a natural instinct to fight and defend. I was just feeding that fire and letting them live the way God originally intended. I found Jesus. And he don't want dogs outliving me."

But, when 'respected' white folks say things like that while they are standing out in the snow while a maniac with what is essentially a whip is forcing dogs tethered to a 400 lb sled to run as fast as they can in sub zero temperatures on frozen snow; we call it a traditional sport.

Law enforcement and the media suggest that one of the reasons they have made such a huge story and case out of Michael Vick is to help get the word out on animal cruelty and some of the underground inhumane events that are being perpetrated out there. They want people to be aware that if they are using and treating animals in ghastly and despicable ways, that they risk incarceration.

We can get behind that.

Now, we suggest that law enforcement - instead of burning tax payer dollars on the resources it takes to conduct these underground investigations - look right in the open.

If you want to make an impact on the treatment of animals, arrest the next musher that causes the death of a dog he is 'racing'.

Shutting down the Iditarod would say more for the government's seriousness on animal rights than incarcerating Michael Vick ever could.

But then again, all that snow on the ground makes Alaska a pretty white state.

30 comments:

ben said...

Dog sledding should be shut down when the dogs are pushed to that extent. You might as well kick the crap out of the dogs repeatedly, only ocassionally stopping before the dog actually dies so it can live another day...


"These dogs love to do this. Doesn't your dog go in the back yard and chase squirrels? This is how God provided for people who lived in the Arctic. These dogs are not dying from abuse. God didn't mean for dogs to outlive us.""


Now that's effing sick. I'd cuss the crap out of my vet if I heard her say that. Just sick.

TacoBellManager said...

I think the difference in the sports is that the point of sled racing is not to maim the do, but to finish a race.

The point of dogfighting is, unquestionably, to maim or kill another dog. You're not going to have a match without one dog dead or damn near it. You can have an Iditarod with entire 20-dog teams finishing alive. Happens more often than their death (2.9 in 1,000).

Malcom Hex said...

"I think the difference in the sports is that the point of sled racing is not to maim the do, but to finish a race."

so beating them and pushing them to the point of near death makes it ok???

i thought one of the big contentions about dog fighting is that the dogs don't have a choice, they are forced to fight to the death...

i guess being tied to a sled and whipped and forced to run 1000 miles til you almost die is the choice the DOGS make?

madd hatter said...

"I think the difference in the sports is that the point of sled racing is not to maim the do, but to finish a race."

and?

so what, the point is not to maim them. but often times that results.

drag racing on the street is illegal. why?

the point isn't to maim anyone, but it often happens...so it's outlawed...

nice try to justify it. but it don't work.

uncommon sense said...

it comes down to this, plain and simple:

mistreating dogs in the name of what is perceived as a white cultural activity is ok.

when a bunch of black guys do it, they go to jail.

nice message, federal govt!!!

TacoBellManager said...

I didn't justify either. I explained the differences.

I think a more productive target here is not the Iditarod but a rodeo. The Iditarod is a completely remote event that few people in the country care about or understand. Rodeos happen everywhere, are packed with cornfed yokels, and beat and mistreat a lot more animals than does the Iditarod.

Ask one of them why it's OK to cinch up a bull's nuts so he'll give the instinctive reaction of bucking and throwing whatever is on its back, but it's not OK to train a dog to act on instinct to hurt or kill another dog. They'll be the ones spouting the cultural traditional sporting bullshit that proves the point made here.

Gabby's World said...

Was Ramy Brooks charged with any animal abuse crime at all? Hmmm....maybe beating your dog with a ski pole, kicking it, stomping it, etc...in front of kids and other witnesses isn't a criminal offense in Alaska.

ZEKE said...

"Rodeos happen everywhere, are packed with cornfed yokels"


the difference is....dogs are domestic animals.

stock animals are dinner.


jeeez

lgf said...

"Now that's effing sick. I'd cuss the crap out of my vet if I heard her say that. Just sick."

How is it sick? You simply lack maturity.

Sebastian said...

First, dogfighting isn't a sport. It's against the law in all 50 states. To try to water down the point of dogfighting by comparing it to legal sports is somewhat interesting conversation, but that's about it.

Dogsledding trainers don't kill timid puppies.

Dogsledding trainers don't tie females to apparatuses to force them to breed.

At the end of a dogsledding race, both the winning and losing dogs are alive.

Dogsledding races aren't done under cover of darkness and with an intent to avoid the law and prosectuion.

Dogsledding trainers don't steal other people's dogs, injure them, and use them to help the other dogs learn how to kill. Dogfighters do.

I believe I understand the exercise you're putting us through. But the act of dogfighting is illegal and vastly more immoral than dogsledding.

lgf said...

"First, dogfighting isn't a sport. It's against the law in all 50 states.

Ultimate fighting was once banned under the very same feeble arguments. It legality has no effect on its legitimacy as a sport. Face it. The law is nothing more than a tool for those with the expertise to know how to use it.

"Dogsledding trainers don't tie females to apparatuses to force them to breed."

Sir, it Professional breeding standard equipment. You have fallen for a tired media tactic. sensationalism.

"Dogsledding races aren't done under cover of darkness and with an intent to avoid the law and prosectuion."

Right. And if dog fighting would just be legal they could operate in the open as the already should be allowed.

"Dogsledding trainers don't steal other people's dogs, injure them, and use them to help the other dogs learn how to kill. Dogfighters do."

Says who?

"But the act of dogfighting is illegal and vastly more immoral than dogsledding."

You have no morals. And your self-righteousness is comical. To be selectively moral is to have no morals at all.

Sebastian said...

LG Phone

It's kind of cool to have no morals. Since I have no morals, how can I be self-righteous?

But on to other things.

Ultimate fighters are human beings with the ability to choose to fight. The loser isn't killed after the match is over, right? If the fighter is part of a team, then the coach doesn't kill the one with the worst win-loss record in order to cull out the weak ones?

If dogfighting is not as evil as the media says it is, then justify why it should be legal. And can you come up with an reason that's not ultimately linked to "everybody does it," or "we might as well make it legal, because they won't stop?"

Lil John's Pimp Cup said...

> The loser isn't killed after the match is over, right?<

Sebastian, all of your problems with dogfighting do not seem to be actual "dogfighting" issues. They are related to owner treatment of the animals before and after the fights. And, it is hard to debate, there is a lot of cruelty.

But yours is not an argument against the "sport." Your concerns can be addressed without banning the "sport."

Uptake of lgf's and sebastian's comments:

Dog fighting should be legalized and owners should be regulated to prevent stuff like "killing timid puppies."

Glad we found a solution.

lgf said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
lgf said...

Clearly underground dog fighting is not a good thing. However with proper regulation, this is no different than hunting. There are laws regarding animal treatment in relation to abuse whilst hunting. Clearly the shooting and killing of the animal does not qualify as abuse. Proper, aggressive training of animals similarly does not constitute abuse. Clearly the only issues of contention are not that it is a dog, for if they where chickens you would be just as incensed-- correct?

Timid? Sir, deer are just as "timid" as your very cute puppies. In addition, no animal wishes to be used-- dogs, pigs, cows, whatever.

Why should it be legal? Why not. all the other sports awash with "cruelty" are.

"that's not ultimately linked to "everybody does it," or "we might as well make it legal, because they won't stop?"

childish sir. childish.

ruffian96 said...

I agree that while dog sled racing may not be illegal the ultimate result is the same as dog fighting. The participants are pushed to their limit and then beyond with little regard for their long term health. Gotta give it up to NOIS for drawing a corollary that many people would not connect. Oh and until all this business with Vick dogfighting was a remote event that few people in the country cared about or understood (as witnessed by the non-hype that other atheletes received when they caught dog fighting cases)

Al_Sharpton's_Banana_Hammock said...

"At the end of a dogsledding race, both the winning and losing dogs are alive."

yea..except the ones that died...

Malcom Hex said...

seems some of you are confusing 'legal' with 'moral'...they aren't mutually inclusive....i'm looking at you sebastian.

ultrasound tech said...

"Ultimate fighters are human beings with the ability to choose to fight."

you just shit all over your own argument, smart guy.

and just proliferated the counter argument that nois said most people make against dog fighting, but for some reason over look in dog sledding.

do the dogs CHOOSE to be tied to a heavy sled and whipped and forced to run full speed for 1000 miles in freezing weather and snow????? exposed to danger and near death?

yea, didn't think so...

lgf said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
lgf said...

"you just shit all over your own argument"

hey, c'mon, he has a condition.

J-Red said...

I hesitate to follow ultrasoundtech's cunning stunt of tying the whole thing together.

Instead, I will reference this comment:

Ultimate fighting was once banned under the very same feeble arguments. It legality has no effect on its legitimacy as a sport. Face it. The law is nothing more than a tool for those with the expertise to know how to use it.

As a lawyer, I now possess a throbbing erection.

Animals are all relative. When Barbaro breaks his leg, it's a national tragedy. When horses are euthanized daily for the exact same injury, it's an unfortunate side effect of gambling...err sport.

Roy Jones, Jr. is an avid cockfighter. Seriously, look it up. It's legal in Louisiana, and I believe one other state.

Who gives a fuck about chickens? Who hasn't eaten the equivalent of 50 chickens this year? Chickens don't lick my face at 5am because they need to piss, and that cute behavior is apparently enough to elevate the canine to a stratosphere of federal protection. Let's forget that it only licks my face because it knows it gets the belt otherwise.

Dave the Wave said...

"Let's forget that it only licks my face because it knows it gets the belt otherwise. "

hey doglicker...leave your BDSM shit at home...we don't need it here.

Sebastian said...

Lil John,

Dogfighting isn't a sport, it's an illegal activity. For sake of conversation, we're comparing something illegal with something legal.

Malcolm,

Yes, legal and moral aren't mutually inclusive. But you'd have to agree that the two go hand in hand more often than not.

LGF,

If you're going to use animals for sports or legal activities, you have to treat them humanely, because they don't have the ability to choose.

It is a shame that an animal dies during a sled race. After a quick Google search, I found the quoted statistics. Additionally, it looks as if there is a fair amount of rules and veterinary monitoring in place to ensure the rules are followed. Vets examine dogs at each checkpoint, and do autopises on animals that perish.

However, the Humane Society says "The HSUS opposes the Iditarod in its current form—or any other mushing event in which heavy emphasis is placed on competition and entertainment and in which dog deaths and injuries are regular consequences. The HSUS is not opposed to non-competitive mushing or competitive mushing events in which the welfare of dogs is not sacrificed for the sake of entertainment." For me, that's worth gold.

They also had some interesting information on how the dogs are raised. I'd have to agree that the sport needs cleaning up. The Iditarod should change and find a better balance between competition and animal safety. It looks as if there are a number of groups made up of mushers that have ideas on how to do just that. There were at least two articles from winning mushers who find ways to win by letting their dogs run because they want to instead of because they have to in order to avoid beatings or punishment.

But, even in it's current form, sled racing isn't designed for the same level of cruelty and violence that dogfighting is.

Gabby's World said...

The HSUS could careless about the Idiatord races or the results the race has on its participants. That statement means nothing but a "oh we gotta say it" to me. If they cared AT all, they probably would have had more to say about one of the mushers beating a dog to death for non-performance this very past race. Investigations showed this wasn't the first time either....so much for caring about the dogs....but obviously who cares...its all about the donations and tricking a stupid public into giving by using the big black boogeyman. The HSUS is just another fradulent organization.

Lil John's Pimp Cup said...

> Dogfighting isn't a sport, it's an illegal activity. For sake of conversation, we're comparing something illegal with something legal. <

Sports can be illegal. It's still a "sport" - although an illegal one in the US. There are countries where it IS legal.

So, really now need to do anything for the "sake of comparison"... it is a valid discussion.

Malcom Hex said...

"Yes, legal and moral aren't mutually inclusive. But you'd have to agree that the two go hand in hand more often than not."

more often yes. very often? no way.

our federal codes, once they get away from things like killing people, robbing, assault and things of that nature...aren't about morality. they are about preserving power for the elite. or they are carefully formed by industry to give themselves advantages over the citizenry.

regardless. this example is a great one of when it is obvious that the LAW is not a matter of what is the moral or right way to treat dogs. In both 'sports' they are treated inhumanely. To suggest that because for some political or racial or whatever reason, dog racing isn't demonized by the media and therefor outlawed - as dog fighting is- that that means there is some sort of MORAL argument for the rightness of racing...well, that is just ridiculous.

Tripod said...

"To suggest that because for some political or racial or whatever reason, dog racing isn't demonized by the media and therefor outlawed - as dog fighting is- that that means there is some sort of MORAL argument for the rightness of racing...well, that is just ridiculous. "

there was a time when it was LEGAL to own BLACKS...according to sebastian's logic....it MUST have been MORAL, since it was LEGAl, right Bassy???

cause lawd knows, the govment wouldnt never make something legal if it wasnt moral. and lawdy also know that the govment wont never make something illegal if it wasnt immoral...right Bassy?

come on down from the big house sometime...see what the world all about, man.

Sebastian said...

Tri,

Slavery, DUH. I suppose my assumption, wrong, was that we were talking about contemporary laws and times. I made that jump, or rather baby step, because we were talking about a situation today. I should have seen that others would take the intellectually easy way out and used slavery as a refutation. and adjusted my post to keep them in the present. Thanks for reminding me to write a little tighter. After all, you're smart enough to see that, right?

Malcolm,

Sorry if politics is getting in your way. I can't really speak to the angst you feel about race and class. I have my own feelings, but am sure you're not interested in them.

Also, it looks as if there's more dogfighting arrest and prosecution activity out there. I'm not sure if the people they arrested in Scotland were black, but they arrested them anyway. Probably as a ploy to show some sense of twisted balance.

And, did you see the news about the Colorado congressman who threatened a couple because they wrote him a letter criticizing him for voting against stricter dogfighting laws? They were all white, but whatever....

lgf said...

"If you're going to use animals for sports or legal activities, you have to treat them humanely, because they don't have the ability to choose."

What animal chooses to be inside of your BLT? what animal chooses to be shot in the wild?

You loose any and all credibility by approving of the Iditarod race in any form or fashion.

Michael Vick's sport happens to fall somewhere on the "animal abuse" continuum some of the general public is not familiar with, and because Vick's form of animal abuse does not mirror the accepted animal abuses of America, suddenly he is public animal rights enemy number one.

Animals are "abused" in every way every day. you abuse animals every day. you think those chickens you ate were treated "humanely?" they were not and you ate them any. you did not want to be inconvenienced for such a ridiculous thing as "chicken abuse." that happens to fall within your accepted forms of animal abuses and thus you reason it is moral-- moral to you. however it does not fall inside of everyones level of accepted animal abuses. so must you now relinquish KFC due to the fact that someone has a higher sensitivity to chicken abuse? it is all relative. at what point on the scale does one transition from moral to immoral? who says? the law? based on what? your feelings for the animal? for you it is point a, for me point b, and for mike vick point c.

just because mike vick happens to be at level c and you at level a does not mean he is immoral.

as long as there is a sliding scale, you cannot form a fair law.