By: Norma Bennett Woolf  Date: 01/16/2012 Category: | Animal Rights Extremism |

Britain's Council of Docked Breeds opposes European pet treaty

Cocker Spaniels, Basset Hounds, Bulldogs, and Persian cats would disappear in Britain if the government signs the Council of Europe's Convention for the Protection of Pet Animals, according to the Council of Docked Breeds.

The convention lists characteristics that will blacklist particular breeds by length of ear, shape of legs, type of skin, position of eyes, and length and shape of legs. Cocker ears are too long, Basset legs too short, Bulldog skin too wrinkly, and Persian cats have abnormal teeth alignment.

First approved by 11 of the 39 members of the Council of Europe in 1987, the convention was amended in 1995. The original version prohibited ear cropping, tail docking, declawing, de-fanging, cutting vocal cords, and other "non-curative" surgeries. The amendment added the provisions to promote awareness among judges, breeders, and veterinarians that such surgeries are mutilations; encourage breeding associations to revise breed standards to minimize characteristics that are considered extreme by the convention, and consider the phasing out of breeds with so-called harmful defects.

The published guidelines for revision of breed standards includes:

  • setting maximum and minimum values for height or weight of vary large or vary small dogs to avoid skeletal and joint disorders;
  • setting maximum values for the proportion between length and height of short-legged dogs;
  • setting limits to shortness of the skull to avoid breathing difficulties;
  • preventing abnormal positions of the teeth and abnormal size and forms of eyes or eyelids;
  • preventing long ears;
  • preventing markedly folded skin;
  • discontinuing breeding of animals carrying semi-lethal factors and recessive defect genes
  • discontinuing breeding of merle factor dogs.


The Council of Docked Breeds opposes the convention as an extreme.

"We believe it would be extremely damaging for Britain's working dogs and pets," said a CDB spokesman, adding that it is "ridiculous to suggest that some breeds of dogs should not exist because their tails are too short."

Britain's Royal Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals said that each breed would have to be examined to see if it is suffering before imposing the regulations. RSPCA backs the cropping and docking ban and the breeding of dogs with shortened muzzles or physical appearances that place strain on their joints.

In the US, the Association of Veterinarians for Animal Rights also opposes cropping of ears and docking of tails and criticizes purebred dogs as genetic nightmares. For more information about the convention for the protection of pet animals, visit the CDB website at


HSUS urges Congress to end CAMPFIRE aid

The Humane Society of the US is attempting to get Congress to eliminate funding for the Communal Areas Management Agency for Indigenous Resources, Zimbabwe's CAMPFIRE sustainable development program that allows natives to benefit from the hunting of wildlife.

Congress funds the program through the US Agency for International Development.

CAMPFIRE works on the premise that natives will save wildlife if they can make money by doing so. Thus it allows natives to earn money by allowing trophy hunting under strict regulations, to kill animals for food, and to hunt animals that kill livestock or damage crops and villages.

HSUS calls CAMPFIRE "little more than a subsidized safari hunt for American trophy hunters" tied to Zimbabwe's attempt to resume trade in ivory. HSUS has a vested interest in maintaining the ivory ban; it's campaign to "save the elephants" brings dollars into the coffers.

ALF, other activists commit violence in England

The Animal Liberation Front claimed credit for violent acts in Britain in late January, including fire bombs that damaged trucks at a poultry company and theft of eight beagles from a kennel.

Ten days later, in early February, activists wearing balaclavas attacked a man with clubs and a whip and terrorized two hunters who were shooting pigeons as part of a round of protests against hunting and farming. The protesters communicated by CB radio and coordinated attacks on people and properties in Cheshire, including a kennel and a turkey farm. About 60 were arrested; all but four were released, some of them pending further investigation.

"Peaceful protest is accepted and tolerated by the residents of Cheshire," said the deputy chief constable, "but violence will not be tolerated. The police will continue to take firm action to prevent these people attempting to intimidate the rural community."

Ark Trust chastises Bill Cosby for turtle episode

Ark Trust listed the Bill Cosby Show among the "10 most egregious anti-animal messages in the media" for an episode in which Cosby inadvertently burned a pet turtle in a pile of leaves.

Cosby objected to the listing; the episode's message was "if you're going to look after a pet, you should look after a pet correctly," he said. The turtle survived in the comedy show, and the message was clear.

Ark Trust also slammed episodes of Spin City, Boston Common, and Townies for various episodes, the CBS programs The World's Most Dangerous Animals, and the Fox production of When Animals Attack. The network presentations were excoriated for depicting animals as fearsome.

McDonald's was included on the list for using characters from the movie Babe to sell hamburgers to kids and Denny's made the list for using Babe to advertise bacon and egg breakfasts. Vogue magazine made the list for an October photo layout that glamorized pony fur.


Spay Day USA trades on myth of pet overpopulation

Lamenting that "10-12 million domestic animals are euthanized annually "simply for the crime of being born in a country that does not have enough good homes for them," Doris Day Animal League held its third Spay Day USA on February 25.

"Millions more stray and abandoned companions animals die on our streets and in rural communities after suffering abuse and neglect," said a DDAL press release. "Together, these numbers represent up to one quarter of all domestic animals in the United States each year."

DDAL offers no statistics to support their claims and ignores the studies that refute these numbers, but promotes low-cost spay and neuter for pets as the answer. Through this program, the organization encourages animal control agencies and shelters to offer premiums to those "humane Americans" who bring an animal for sterilization surgery.

"Legislators have signed on to sponsor Spay Day USA proclamations, and we hope some of that awareness will also result in more communities enacting mandatory spay and neuter legislation," said Holly Hazard, DDAL executive director.

PETA fires model Naomi Campbell

Naomi Campbell wore fur in a fashion show and People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals fired her as a spokesman for its anti-fur campaign.

Campbell has appeared on television on behalf of PETA.

The model received a letter from PETA that said she has not been looking well and may not be thinking clearly, according to the Associated Press. "I don't know what you're taking, but it's not an ethics course," AP quotes the letter as saying.

Campbell's pictures are in the trash, but Cindy Crawford, Tyra Banks, and Christy Turlington are still on board.


New Hampshire faces anti-hunting legislation

Fund for Animals is seeking support for three New Hampshire bills that would outlaw certain bear-hunting practices and ban the use of leghold traps.

SB 52, introduced by two state senators, would ban bear hunting with hounds, and SB 57 would ban bear hunting over bait piles. The committee hearing on the bills was January 30.

A state representative has introduced HB 200 to ban the use of steel-jawed leghold traps and conibear traps.

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