Tag: animal rights
What if, in the interest of fair play, ads for movies were required to present an equal number of negative snippets to go along with all the positive ones they highlight?
It would go something like this:
“Stilted … clunky … manipulative” … The Hollywood Reporter
“Heavy handed… spottier than a kennel full of caged Dalmatians” …The Los Angeles Times
“Wow, why was this made and for whom and what the hell?” … RogerEbert.com
All of those disparaging comments — and very few superlatives — have been directed at the new movie “The Dog Lover.”
It’s a tricky little movie that starts out appearing as if it is going to be an expose of the unsavory practices of dog breeders.
What it actually is is a defense of breeders, financed by Forrest Lucas, oil tycoon and founder of Protect the Harvest — a pro-hunter organization and a staunch opponent of animal protection groups.
In other words, it is pretty close to propaganda — or maybe out and out propaganda — and, judging from the reviews, it’s not particularly artistic or creative propaganda.
Lucas is president and CEO of Lucas Oil Products. He campaigned against Missouri’s Proposition B, which was aimed at preventing cruelty to dogs in puppy mills.
And he makes no bones about what he thinks of some animal protection groups.
Lucas says he produced the movie to discourage people from supporting and donating to large animal rights organizations.
“They’re collecting money in the name of dog welfare, but there’s no welfare about them at all. They’re out there to make money,” Lucas said.
That, remember, comes from the CEO of a big oil company. (And if you can’t trust big oil companies, who can you trust?)
Of the movie, Lucas said, “I guarantee you everyone will have a tear. But they’ll walk out of here feeling good, saying ‘I get it now.'”
In the movie, idealistic college student Sara Gold (played by Allison Paige), becomes an undercover operative of the United Animal Protection Society, a fictional PETA-like organization.
Her assignment is to work undercover at a rural dog breeding operation run by the Holloway family, consisting of the handsome but gruff father Daniel (James Remar); true blue wife Liz (Lea Thompson); and hunky son Will (Jayson Blair), who, of course, becomes Sara’s romantic interest.
Sara starts off suspicious of the operation. What, for instance, is going on in that locked shed she’s not allowed to enter?
With her cell phone camera, she begins documenting what’s transpiring at the breeding operation — including the killing of a vicious dog that wandered onto the property and threatened Holloway’s daughter.
When Sara’s video footage of that event is passed on to the animal welfare agency, they manipulate it, and broadcast it, and all hell breaks loose.
The operation is shut down, charges are filed, and a trial is held — but as it all unfolds Sara realizes the family is doing nothing wrong; that they are gentle, and loving and treat their animals well.
The ruthless ones, it turns out, are those with the animal welfare agency, who will go to any means to achieve their goal.
Sara, as a result, finds herself turning against the overzealous animal protection group she works for and trying to prove the family’s innocence.
At the movie’s premier in downtown Springfield, Missouri — a state long considered a haven for puppy mills — there were some protesters, according to KSPR.
Of particular concern was the fact that, as part of the movie’s publicity campaign, an Australian shepherd puppy was being auctioned.
“The fact that we’re auctioning off this puppy, there’s nothing bad about that at all,” Lucas said. “So if that’s the best they can find, then we’re in pretty good shape.”
Clearly, he hasn’t read the reviews.
Posted by John Woestendiek July 11th, 2016 under Muttsblog, videos.
Tags: animal rights, animal welfare, animals, breeders, dog, dogs, forrest lucas, hunting, lucas oil, media, missouri, movies, pets, propaganda, protect the harvest, the dog lover
Amid a police investigation and a public outcry, animal rights activists have returned the puppy they seized from a homeless man in Paris last month, according to news reports.
Activists from Cause Animale Nord, an animal rights group based in Lille in northern France, snatched the puppy in September from a homeless man on a street in central Paris. Members later said the homeless man had drugged the dog and was using it to assist him in begging.
The incident was caught on camera and, since being posted on Facebook and elsewhere, it has been viewed more than 1.7 million times.
A petition on the website Change.org calling for an investigation into Cause Animale Nord’s actions has been signed by nearly 250,000 people.
A police inquiry was launched a on September 25, according to The Telegraph.
The president of Cause Animale Nord — seen taking the dog on the video — was brought in for questioning, but released after promising to return the dog to its owner.
The group had placed the dog in foster care, and was offering it for adoption for a fee of €175.
Posted by John Woestendiek October 6th, 2015 under Muttsblog, videos.
Tags: animal rights, cause animale nord, dog, france, homeless man, investigation, lille, organization, paris, petition, police, puppy, return, returned, returns, seized, taken, video, viral
A French animal rights group is being criticized after a video surfaced of its president and at least two cohorts taking a puppy away from a homeless man in Paris.
He and another activist from the Lille-based group can be seen wrestling the man and taking his dog away.
More than 225,000 people have signed a petition to launch an investigation into the group’s action and have the dog returned to its owner.
Blanchard wrote in a post on Cause Animale Nord’s Facebook page that the dog was not being properly cared for and that it had been drugged by the man to stay calm.
He said there were signs the dog was being mistreated, including dilated pupils and abnormal crying, though in the video the only crying the dog does is after it is seized by Blanchard.
Blanchard says the snippet of video unfairly paints the group in a negative light.
We’d say he managed to do that all by himself.
(Photo of the seized dog from Cause Animale Nord’s Facebook page)
Posted by John Woestendiek September 29th, 2015 under Muttsblog, videos.
Tags: animal rights, animals, anthony blanchard, cause animale nord, dog, dogs, france, french, group, homeless, homeless man, organization, paris, pets, president, puppy, seized, seizes, steals, stolen, video
I’m old enough to remember being a little blue when Johnny Carson retired. I was enough of a part-time fan to be sad when David Letterman went off the air.
But tonight, when I turn on the television and Jon Stewart isn’t there, the result is going to be something a lot closer to actual mourning.
His departure from The Daily Show — after 16 years of calling some much needed “bullshit” on all the world’s bullshitters — will leave me with a void in my life, grieving for the loss of a being I saw more often than any friend or family member, except for my dog.
The only thing cushioning the blow is thinking about what new directions Stewart might head in, what his brilliantly acerbic mind might bring us next.
Not so surprisingly, it seems one of those directions might be a greater involvement in animal welfare causes.
Philly.com reports that Stewart and his wife, Tracey, recently purchased a New Jersey farm with hopes of turning it into an animal sanctuary.
In some ways, it already is. In addition to their two children, the Stewarts live with four dogs, two pigs, two hamsters, three rabbits, two guinea pigs, one parrot, and two fish, according to USA Today.
The Stewarts are also supporters of the organization Farm Sanctuary, which Stewart managed to plug — along with his wife’s new book — on the final show:
Tracey Stewart, a former vet tech and long-time animal advocate, is the author of the soon to be released “Do Unto Animals,” all profits from which will go to the Farm Sanctuary.
Jon Stewart has some similar leanings, as could be seen in some Daily Show segments, such as an eight-minute long piece about Chris Christie’s refusal to sign a bill that would end the lifelong confinement of pigs in crates so small they can’t even turn around.
And clearly Stewart has a soft spot for dogs.
The Daily Show was a notoriously dog friendly workplace, as reported by The Bark a while back.
Many a staffer brought their dog to work, and I’m guessing some of them were featured in this segment from the final show, in which Stewart paid tribute to his staff. Check out who’s occupying the executive suite, at about the 4:20 mark of this video:
Posted by John Woestendiek August 10th, 2015 under Muttsblog, videos.
Tags: animal rights, animal sanctuary, animal welfare, animals, book, do unto animals, dogs, farm, farm animals, farm sanctuary, future, jon stewart, new jersey, next, pets, the daily show, tracey stewart, wife
Tibetan mastiffs, which once fetched hundreds of thousands of dollars each in the Chinese marketplace, are going out of style.
The New York Times reports that the lion-like dogs — all the rage among the wealthy in China just two years ago — are quickly becoming yesterday’s trend.
The reasons? A slowing economy for one, coupled with “an official austerity campaign that has made ostentatious consumption a red flag for anti-corruption investigators.” On top of that, the fad is doing what fads do — fade away, often, when it comes to dogs, with disturbing consequences.
About half of the country’s mastiff breeders have left the business, and those that are left are dealing with a surplus so severe that members of the breed can now be spotted on trucks laden with dogs headed to slaughterhouses.
About 20 mastiffs were on one such truck, with 150 other dogs, when it was stopped by Beijing animal rights activists who purchased the entire load from the driver and sent the surviving dogs to rescue organizations.
The Times says that, amid decreasing demand, the average asking price for mastiffs, which have reportedly sold for as much as $1.6 million, has dropped to around $2,000.
“If I had other opportunities, I’d quit this business,” said Gombo, a veteran breeder in China’s northwestern province of Qinghai. “The pressure we’re under is huge.”
Since 2013, about half the 95 breeders in Tibet have gone under, according to the Tibetan Mastiff Association.
“In some ways, the cooling passion for Tibetan mastiffs reflects the fickleness of a consuming class that adopts and discards new products with abandon,” the Times reported.
“Fads are a huge driving force in China’s luxury market,” Liz Flora, editor in chief of Jing Daily, a marketing research company in Beijing, told the Times. “Han Chinese consumers have been willing to pay a premium for anything associated with the romanticism of Tibet.”
Other factors in the trend’s demise include unscrupulous breeders who mated purebred Tibetan mastiffs with other breeds, and the breed’s reputation of being aggressive.
Tibetan mastiffs are fiercely loyal, increasing the likelihood of attacks on strangers, experts say, and in the past couple of years some Chinese cities have banned the breed.
(Photo: Nibble, a Tibetan mastiff, was checked by veterinarians after being saved from the slaughterhouse by a group of animal rights activists; by Gilles Sabrie for The New York Times)
Posted by John Woestendiek April 21st, 2015 under Muttsblog.
Tags: animal rights, animals, breeders, breeds, china, dogs, fads, mastiffs, pets, slaughterhouse, status symbol, style, tibet, tibetan mastiffs, truck, wealthy
I have a simple and modest proposal — one that would involve only a name change, a slightly new way of thinking, and maybe some new stationery.
It has long been in the back of my head, but was brought to the forefront by recent cellphone videos gone viral — one (it used to be above but was removed from YouTube) of a dog being dragged through the halls of an animal control department in California; one (below) of a police officer slapping and otherwise berating a homeless man in Florida.
Both are examples of what can go wrong — and often does — when you give one group power over others. Both are about control.
Seeking, seizing and holding “control,” necessary as it sometimes seem in a so-called civilized society, almost always leads to bad things, including most of the dog abuse that occurs in our country. We get a little too caught up in the whole idea of having control — over our fellow man, over other species, over other nations, over nature itself.
Those put in control, as today’s videos show, tend to lose control when they see their control being threatened.
Hence, I propose that we do away with the term “animal control” and rename all those county animal control offices “animal protection” departments — protection being what they are mostly about, or should be mostly about, in the first place.
I’m not suggesting doing away with regulating and enforcing in the dog world — only that those doing it go under a different moniker, which, just maybe, would allow them to be seen by the public, and see themselves, less as heavy-handed dictators, more as noble do-gooders.
And animal control offices do do good. They operate shelters, find dogs new homes, rescue strays from the streets and abusive situations. The new name would put an emphasis on that, and take it away from “control.”
The term “animal control” is archaic — not much better than the even more outdated “dog warden” — yet most counties continue to use it. Employees see it on the sign when they pull into the parking lot, when they walk through the front door, on their memos and their paychecks. It’s a constant reminder, even though most of their duties are aimed at helping dogs, that they are, above all, strict enforcers and inflexible bureaucrats.
A simple name change could help fix that.
I, for instance, would love working as an animal protection officer; I’m not sure I’d want to be an animal control officer — even though most of what they do is about protecting animals. The name change could attract job applicants who see the mission as helping dogs, and possibly help weed out those who see all dogs as nuisances, and control as paramount.
In addition to improving employee self-esteem, it could help change the negative public perceptions that come with being the agency that tickets dog owners for leash-less or unlicensed dogs, euthanizes dogs when their facilities get too crowded, and sends the “dog catcher” out on his daily rounds.
There’s no reason — assuming a stray dog is being captured humanely, and treated humanely in a shelter, and put up for adoption — that the “dog catcher,” traditionally portrayed as a villain, can’t become a dog savior in the public view.
Having “Animal Protection Department” written on the side of the truck, instead of “Animal Control Department,” would go a long way toward that.
A simple shift in emphasis, and in how some agencies present themselves to the public, is all I’m talking about. It wouldn’t be only a matter of spin, though. Being an animal protection department would require actually protecting animals — and seeing that as a primary mission.
It wouldn’t make the world a kinder place overnight, and it wouldn’t keep cranky police officers from slapping homeless people — like I said it’s a modest proposal — but it could be a start, at least in the dog world, to a new way of thinking both about and among the government employees we entrust those duties to (and pay the salaries of).
They would be more about helping and educating, less about controlling.
A handful of agencies have at least worked “animal protection,” or “animal care” into their names, but most can’t quite bring themselves to let go of the term “control.”
Thus you have, for instance, the Los Angeles Department of Animal Care and Control.
Maybe they think losing “control” would be a sign they are losing control.
The term “control” might be appropriate when it comes to those agencies dealing with things like disease and traffic.
But not for those dealing with our family members.
Posted by John Woestendiek February 26th, 2015 under Muttsblog, videos.
Tags: agency, animal control, animal rights, animal welfare, animals, change, control, controlling, county, department, dog catcher, dog dragged, dog warden, dogs, duties, enforcement, government, hesperia, homeless, local, los angeles, mission, name, name change, office, pets, police, proposal, purpose, regulation, rescues, shelters, slapped, videos
A Russian animal rights activist has been detained in central Moscow after he and two others protested the country’s policy of killing stray dogs in Sochi, according to an Associated Press report
Three activists unfurled a banner near Red Square on Saturday that read “Bloody Olympics.”
The banner depicted a puppy covered in blood.
According to the report, a policeman approached and pulled the banner out of the activists’ hands.
One man was detained while the other two fled.
A year before the Sochi Olympics, municipal authorities announced a contract to “catch and dispose” of strays.
Public pressure led authorities to announce they’d dropped the plan — but they didn’t. Companies have been hired to continue killing the dogs throughout the games, which started Friday and end Feb. 23.
(Photo: A stray dog walks past the Olympic rings during the official flag raising ceremony; by Nathan Denette, The Canadian Press / AP photo)
Posted by John Woestendiek February 8th, 2014 under Muttsblog.
Tags: activist, animal rights, animals, arrest, arrested, banner, bloody olympics, company, contract, cull, detained, dogs, killing, killing dogs, killing stray dogs, moscow, olympics, pets, police, protest, protester, russia, Sochi, stray, strays