The following is an email that I wrote explaining simple things that *we* can do to combat the Animal "Rights" movement and their bunny-hugger foot-soldiers. There are tons more ideas...this is just a primer!
If every one of us that own and/or breed animals, would make a commitment to educating the public -at- large on the dangers of the AR movement, we could drastically turn the tide!
We must take back our rights that are being stripped away one by one. It will take talking to people and explaining the AR agenda. But if every animal owner would commit to a personal pledge to talk to at least 50 people (neighbors, co-workers, family, fellow dog fanciers, auto mechanics, doctors, you get the picture), just 5 minutes out of our day, when the opportunity presents itself, think of what a dent we could make in changing the war on public opinion. Take the "Got 50?" challenge! It will work!
How do we take back our rights? It won't be easy. What we all must do (no matter what breed, no matter if one breeds or not) is work to change the arena of public opinion. There are far more animal owners in this country that take care of their animals than those that abuse/neglect them. We have to change the tide and become the "experts" in the areas of animal welfare/husbandry practices, NOT national special interest lobbying groups. Who knows better how to care for a litter of puppies? Breeders who have their hands-on their animals on a daily basis, or the H$US...
1. Take back "our language": The ARs have successfully over the past few decades determined which words will be used to "describe" this breeder from that breeder, this owner from that one over there. Part of winning the battle will be to take back our language. It's a powerful thing. We have to STOP letting them define who we are. STOP putting the power in their hands.
a. Words like 'puppymill' and 'backyard breeder' are derogatory and are used as part of their divide and conquer strategy to turn breeder against breeder. And it's worked. Keep in mind there is NO LEGAL definition of these terms. They are both subjective and highly devisive as both terms mean different things to everyone. We must stop using these two words. If someone doesn't agree with the way "Suzy Q' breeds or "raises" her dogs, fine. Labels like these are subject to change at any time by the ARs...REMEMBER: there are no "good" breeders in their eyes, so no matter what one does with their breeding program or how they raise their dogs, it will never be good enough.
b. Stop using words like furbaby, pet parent, etc...: While these words conjure up fuzzy-wuzzy feel good feelings, they take away from the fact that animals are indeed, animals. Not human. Animals are our personal property. Period. The ARs have convinced JQP that thinking of animals as property means one doesn't care or love their animals. It also insinuates that someone who uses these terms (vs someone who does not) TRULY cares MORE about their animals...Again, devisive terms.
c. "Guardian": Has a definition in the law already. If we, as owners, are changed to "guardians" under the law, this opens up a whole new can of worms. Namely, our animals won't be our property anymore, since the word "guardian" in legal terms refers to humans and has limits as to what one can and can't do. We seriously DON'T want to go there. We are OWNERS, plain and simple. Using this word won't make someone take better care of their animals as proponets claim. It does, however, put animals one step closer to human status...which is part of their game plan.
d. "Adopt": Again, animals are property. Whenver money exchanges hands for an animal, whether it's from a shelter/rescue or a breeder, it's a sale. This in no way means that I am against rescues or shelters or that I don't realize what great things these folks do, but we have to call a spade a spade. Again, it's a term designed to solicit emotion and cause divisiveness. It doesn't make someone a better owner because of where they obtained their dog. I've known many, many people who have "adopted" that can be just as abusive as people who have "bought" from a breeder. Humans are adopted, dogs are bought/sold.
2. STOP Donating to the H$US and PeTA: Tell your friends, etc, what they are REALLY about. Stop donating to the very groups that will use your hard earned money against all of US! Instead, donate locally to a shelter or rescue, where the money will actually be used FOR the animals: instead of going to fund major lobbying groups. (Friends Don't Let Friends Donate to H$U$ or PeTA)
3. Get To Know Your Local Media: Newspapers, tv, radio....someone with a blog. Make relationships with them and issue press releases when your club or group is doing something good. The media jumps at the chance to cover anything the mighty H$US says...we have to become more public in our activities. They may not be receptive at first, and not everything will get picked up. BUT, persistent, well written press releases about what your group is doing will get attention. Write press releases for every dog show, responsible dog ownership days (my club got GREAT coverage on ours) etc. Write columns for your local paper: training, ownership, housebreaking, LEGIALATIVE ISSUES...my local paper has asked me from time to time to write about Rottweilers, it's great P.R. and it's free! Start your own blog, these get picked up by search engines and are a FREE way to get our message across! (I just started mine this week)
4. Write Letters To the Editor (LTE): With the Holiday Season here, our enemies will be out to solicit funds from our wallets. Write a LTE explaining how these groups DO NOT use their money for your local shelter or to help animals. Explain that the H$US relies on the very confusion that their name invokes to get donations from well-meaning animal lovers across the country. EXPOSE them for what they are, but be FACTUAL. ( There are many sources to get this from, if anyone needs help, I'm always available via private email.) More FREE exposure to our cause!
5. Make Your Club/Group More Public: Many, many average pet owners feel those of us in the fancy are "snobby" and "unapproachable."...Also, the public at large has no clue what purebred dog clubs are about. Take advantage of community-type fairs and set up an information booth explaining the benefits of purebred dogs and their ownership. Become the voice of true "animal welfare", explaining that national special interest groups have no day-to-day interaction with animals, WE DO. Support a charity or cause that the public an easily identify with: raise money for a local search and rescue team, set up a "walk with the dogs" for "x" cause...Name a "dog hero" of the year and publicize it (our club did this as well). There are many more ideas, but you get the picture. As a result, your club/group may get fresh, new members. AND you've created a feeling of "good will" in the community.
There is no "magic pill" to any of this. And there are lots more suggestions.
Remember: The ARs have had decades to brainwash us and we aren't going to change public opinion overnight. But by all of us working together for a common cause (protecting our rights to own and breed), we CAN turn the tide.
The most important thing to remember is this: This is a war of "US" vs "THEM". The "THEM" in this war isn't breeders/owners we don't agree with or don't like, the "THEM" is the Animal Rightists and their foot-soldiers. THEY are the enemy. STOP the fighting amongst ourselves...NOW. Before it's too late for any of us.