Friday, May 11, 2012

Dogs - Pets, or Livestock?

We often hear from animal extremist groups that pets are not products or commodities, they are family members. They are not livestock and should not be treated or viewed as livestock. After all, dogs and cats are not usually intended as meat for the dinner plate (unless, of course, you attend a party thrown by the Obama family).

Yet, that's exactly how the US government regards dogs, cats and other pets. Our government considers pets as livestock, subject to US Dept of Agriculture rules and regulations.

Here's a description I found online regarding the purpose of the USDA:

The primary purpose of the USDA is to make sure that all American food that is manufactured and consumed is safe, nutritious and sustainable. The USDA thus establishes and enforces regulations about food handling, preparation and manufacturing. It seeks to find ways to make crops healthier, such as growing certain hybrids or reducing pesticide use. It also works with farmers to develop techniques that enable the farmers to produce crops without injury in an efficient and renewable way.

The USDA employs 100,000 people in their effort to regulate farming. So, how did this behemoth agency stray so far from its original purpose? When did they make the leap from protecting our food supply to assuming the moral authority for dictating every minute detail of animal care and pet breeding?

And, despite the USDA encroaching upon the territory of pet breeding, the public perception of breeders remains very poor. USDA regulation seems to be the mark of a disreputable breeder in the mind of the public, and not the reverse.

We “hobby” breeders have fed into that negative stereotype. After all, WE breed for health and fitness and proper conformation, THEY do not. WE lose our shirts. THEY make money! We mindlessly accept the idea that the Other Guy needs regulations. Not us!

But of course, a breeder is a breeder is a breeder. And now, with our willingness to regulate the Other Guy, we may end up sliding down our own slippery slope.

The USDA is concerned that “commercial breeders” are escaping its regulation by selling via the internet. The idea seems to be that selling via the internet is unscrupulous. Gosh, wonder who put that bug in their ear? Why, HSUS, PETA, and other extremist groups, naturally. So now, the USDA is announcing proposed changes to the provisions that delineate who must be commercially licensed and who may be excused. The USDA is entertaining the idea that smaller, hobby breeders should have the doors to their homes open to the public, much like the retail pet stores who are exempt from USDA regulation. If hobby breeders own more than four breeding dogs, or do not have buyers visit their home, they would have to apply for a USDA commercial license and comply with the reams of APHIS regulations.

There are several major problems with such an idea that leap out immediately. Firstly, few hobby breeders sell locally, so a rule requiring every animal to be seen in its home is unreasonable from a practical standpoint. Secondly, our right to privacy in our homes should be sacrosanct. No one should be strong-armed into turning their residence into a public display area. Of course, there are safety concerns involved with allowing strangers to traipse through your home. Assault, rape, robbery and even murder are not uncommon these days. More than one breeder has been unfairly charged with animal abuse based upon casual visitors who entered their home. Meetings between buyers and sellers are more safely conducted in a public location such as a park, a dog show, or a veterinarian’s office. And last but not least, APHIS regulations prohibit raising dogs in your home. They would effectively eliminate the smaller-scale breeders.

The attempt to eliminate internet sales ignores the fact that that this is the internet age. All pet breeders, commercial or otherwise, use the internet as a communication and sales tool.

I must confess, I have bought dogs via the internet myself, using email communication, online pictures and pedigrees. I experienced no problem with my transactions, but if there had been any glitches, I would have considered that the risk that I chose to take in my situation. I much prefer freedom and choices and accepting responsibility for my own actions to having the government micromanage my activities. We have all seen how well Federal oversight works in so many areas – NOT! Just consider the TSA, the Patriot Act, the failed war on drugs, the lack of control of our border. The list goes on and on. But, I digress….

Did we mention that HSUS lacky and animal rights attorney Sarah Conant has been hired as the head of the APHIS enforcement department? I'm sure she is just waiting to pounce on as many breeders as she can possibly find.

This is scarey stuff, folks.
Pet breeding should be regulated at the local level, with minimal rules and inspections related to basic health, sanitation and rabies control That’s it!

US presidential candidate Ron Paul advocates for the elimination of several Federal agencies. The USDA is not on that list. After all, we do need some public oversight of our food supply. But perhaps it is time to put the seriously overweight USDA on a diet. There’s quite a bit of fat to be trimmed in that department.

Here's the link to the proposed changes. Somebody sure has a lot of free time on their hands.


  1. I don't get the Obama reference. Are you saying they eat cats and dogs?

    1. Much ado has been made in the liberal media about Romney strapping his dog's crate on top of the car on a family vacation in 1983. Oddly enough, they aren't reporting this passage from Obama's book "Dreams of my Father" in which Obama speaks about some of his adventurous eats when he lived with his stepfather, Lolo Soetero, in Indonesia:

      "With Lolo, I learned how to eat small green chili peppers raw with dinner (plenty of rice), and, away from the dinner table, I was introduced to dog meat (tough), snake meat (tougher), and roasted grasshopper (crunchy)," Obama recounts.

      Odd that some readers are fixated on a casual remark about the eating of dog meat by the president, rather than the actual main theme of the post.

  2. what everyone seems to have forgotten, or maybe never knew is that the USDA was the originator/founder of the commercial dog breeding efforts. At the end of WWII, when the 'family farm' began it's decline and BIG AG and other industrial endeaveors were established, many 'family farmERS' did not have the inclination, or education to move to the growing metropolitan areas and join the facory workers. They had to have income, already owned barns and outbuildings, and people living in 'cities' were becoming enamored with the glitz of owning a 'PureBred' Dog. Enter the 'Puppy Farmer'.

  3. Can we expext anything other than what we are seeing now. For decades we have been trying to negoitate with EVIL. This is what you get. You dance with the Devil and the Devil don't change the Devil changes you.

  4. "...dogs and cats are not usually intended as meat for the dinner plate (unless, of course, you attend a party thrown by the Obama family)."

    On exactly what facts is this statement based?

  5. It is based on Obama's written account of eating dog meat in Indonesia. It's in his book "Dreams of my Father." See reply to 1st comment by "anonymous" on May 13th, above.
    Apparently, this dog-eating episode is something the media has chosen to ignore, since so few have heard of it. But, I bet you have all heard about how Romney strapping his dog's crate to the top of the car on a family vacation. Guess he'd have been better advised to eat Seamus instead of take him on a vacation.
    Sadly, some people can't seem to get beyond a criticism of the President to focus on the actual important issue here, which involves the USDA expanding their regulatory tentacles to encompass even more dog breeders.

  6. I agree that pet breeding should be monitored on a local level, this proposal is ridiculous and unreasonable. We should be able to breed our animals as we see fit as long as we're not breaking any laws. Who wants their privacy violated having to open our homes up just b/c the USDA wants to play big brother.

  7. When you threw in that unnecessary and degrading remark about the President, you distracted from your article, and any good that may have come from it was lost. So when he was a small child in a country where eating things that don't come in cellophane wrapped styrofoam is normal, he ate dog meat. Whoopdie doo. It was culturally acceptable there, and how is meat from a dog different from meat from a cow, chicken or pig? An animal is slaughtered so as a human can sustain their own life by eating its flesh. As long as humane killing practices are used, who really has a right to say who eats what animal? How is it morally superior to not eat meat from a dog or cat when you eat meat from a pig or chicken? Tying a dog to a roof where it is subject to debris hitting it, weather, and fear is NOT as humane as killing it quickly and humanely, then eating it's meat. YOU detracted from your article by throwing in useless blather. YOU should stop whinging about how it ruined your intent.