Friday, July 20, 2007

For the Love of Dog

(Photo Credit: Humane Society of the United States)

Hearts are heavy here in Roxie's World this morning, as the moms and I try to take in the horrifying news about dogfighting that has come out in the past few days following the indictment of Atlanta Falcons quarterback Michael Vick on charges of operating a dogfighting ring in southeastern Virginia. (Wa Po story on the indictment is here.)

We grieve for my noble terrier cousin, the pit bull, who in many cases has been bred for aggressiveness, trained to fight to death, and kept in miserable conditions that drive him to the brink of insanity. (A Newsweek story detailing some of those conditions is here, but it is not for the faint of heart.)

We grieve for the human perpetrators of this multibillion-dollar "entertainment" industry whose souls must be sick indeed to take pleasure in such brutalities. The Vick indictment calls attention to the glamorization of dogfighting in the worlds of hip-hop, rap, and professional sports. Videos of dogfighting that have aired recently show audiences comprised mostly of young African-American men. Would it be wrong to connect the verbal violence of rap to the actual violence of dogfighting and to ask why such violences are so alluring to young black men, even, apparently, wealthy sports stars like Michael Vick?

We give thanks to cranky old white guy, Senator Robert Byrd of West Virginia, for the impassioned speech he gave yesterday condemning dogfighting. And, yes, kids, we remember Byrd's nasty segregationist past, and we squirmed a little, too, at the racial undertones of his saying in his speech, "One is left wondering who are the real animals, the creatures inside the ring or the creatures outside the ring?" Nonetheless, we appreciate his calling attention to the issue, and we're impressed that the old geezer was able to stand through his own 20-minute speech. Here are the last ten minutes of his remarks:

It's not often that we ask you to stand up for animals here in Roxie's World. Most of the time, I'm asking you to stand up for yourselves, to get up off your keisters and try to stop the war or rein in an out-of-control executive branch. Today, though, your favorite dog blogger is asking you to do a little pointing and clicking for the companion species. The Humane Society of the United States has launched a campaign to end animal fighting that is urging the NFL to suspend Michael Vick. (We know, we know -- innocent until proven guilty -- but even Scooter Libby lost his job once he was indicted.) You can access the action campaign here. HSUS also has a report on the overbreeding of pit bulls because of the dogfighting industry. Many of those dogs end up dead or dumped into shelters if they don't make it as fighters. The report is here.

Once you've done your homework, go hug a pit bull. I promise he won't hurt you -- unless he's been trained to do so.

1 comment:

  1. Breed specific legislation my dog butt - what they need is to actually prosecute these awful you-mans! If I wore shoes I would let Nike know I would NEVER walk in a pair of theirs til they fire this guy. I mean, if he IS innocent (have you read the indictment?) they can always resign him with a bonus.

    Bussie Kissies


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