These are tumultuous times. Thomas Paine wrote of the era of the American Revolution, “These are the times that try men’s souls.” He went on to say that “the harder the conflict, the more glorious the triumph. What we obtain too cheap, we esteem too lightly: it is dearness only that gives every thing its value.” Perhaps it’s odd to compare the fight of pet owners and breeders against the animal rights activists with the American Revolution, but I think Paine might champion the battle.
In July we had a stressful occurrence in our offices, and rather than try to draw attention away from it by not mentioning it, I want to discuss it in this column, in part because I see no other way to be sure our readers know exactly what occurred.
In mid-July, People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals sent out a press release broadcasting the fact that it had duped Dog Fancy magazine when one of its “representatives” placed a classified ad therein under an assumed name. The ad read, “Just bought a brand-new purebred puppy? Welcome him or her into your home with a free gift bag! Call us today at 1-866-XXX-XXXX to claim your bag and hear about our products.” As we learned only after receiving a copy of that press release from an independent source, when the number was called the message said that by acquiring a purebred dog the caller was then responsible for the death of a dog in a shelter, and the “gift bag” offered was a body bag.
That ad was placed by a woman claiming to represent “ABC Pet Products,” and the DF sales representative was given a name and address in Northridge, Calif., and a credit card that was legitimately associated with that name and address. Of course there was no mention of PETA when the ad was placed.
For the record, BowTie sent that money back, because no one here wanted anything to do with money from anyone or anything associated with PETA.
It is understandable that patrons of any of the BowTie magazines would be disturbed to learn about this ad. Almost all of us who work at BowTie day in and day out have pets, and we are animal lovers. I don’t think anyone found the message attached to that phone number more offensive than we did. Some people said that they were canceling their subscriptions to our magazines, even to Dogs in Review, because of that ad. What is disturbing about this is that when that kind of divide occurs, PETA wins; there is no doubt that one of its goals is to divide and conquer in its quest to end all breeding of animals. PETA is acknowledged to be a huge organization with a mighty bank account, but fighting cat lovers, pet dog owners, conformation show people, horse owners, obedience trainers, rodeo folks — all people who live with and love animals — at once would be insurmountable. The only way PETA can “win” is to divide us all up so that it can win its war, small battle by small battle. And it is through sneaky, reprehensible tactics like this one that it tries to divide us.
When things like this are brought to your attention, get the facts before you react. Don’t let our adversaries divide us.
Kerrin Winter-Churchill’s tribute to Davin McAteer (August DR) after his tragically early death has resulted in some comments. While we realize that Davin’s actions during his life hurt many dog people, under the circumstances we chose to focus on the positive aspects of his life. Davin had, after all, been a successful and high-profile participant in our sport for many years. As she said, he was often “impossible” to deal with, but nobody paid a higher price for this than he did himself. We respectfully acknowledge those who have a different view.
Christi McDonald, Editor
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