June 3, 2007

AB 1634: more spin from the "No-Birth" crew

Check out the "Talking Points" on the AB 1634 official site [which is not a government web page, despite the state seal].

(Continuing a pattern of slip-ups, "Talking Point" #1 was changed overnight --- the original claims regarding which puppy-sellers are required to have a seller's permit, keep tax records and so forth were deleted.)

New Claim #1: AB 1634 will not result in a shortage of pets.

The truth: The bill's authors and supporters want more than a no-kill nation --- they want a "no-birth" nation. Our state's shelters aren't filled with homeless Borzois, Spanish mastiffs, Gordon setters, Welsh terriers, salukis, Belgian tervuren, foxhounds, kelpies and working border collies, but never mind: as the bill's campaign director states in a video on the bill's home page, "If you have an intact animal, you're part of the problem."

The bill does give puppy mills and pet shops a free pass, though, so there'll be no shortage of badly-bred misery puppies.

Claim #3: AB 1634 has no relationship to animal extremists.

The truth: Not as visible a relationship, let's say, now that the link to PETA Board Member Billl Maher's video has been removed from the bill's official home page. And PETA's name has been removed from the official site's list of supporters.

Also from Claim #3: "AB 1634 was originated by local animal control directors across the state, who realize that the ethical and fiscal burden caused by the overpopulation crisis needs a state-wide solution."

The truth: which part of the official site are we supposed to believe? AB 1634's home page provides a link to an OC Register story, The Woman Behind the Bill:

As the [Katrina] rescue effort wound down, Los Angeles Animal Services General Manager Ed Boks held a press conference [...] [AB 1634 campaign director Judie] Mancuso knew Boks had a "no-kill" philosophy [...] Here was her chance. She showed up at the press conference, introduced herself to Boks and asked if he would do a spay-and-neuter bill with her. Over the next year, the two birthed the California Healthy Pets Act.

Claim #4: This is not a "local government" issue.

"The bill was actually originated by local government entities who realize that a state-wide solution is the only way to combat this problem."

The truth: see the OC Register excerpt above. AB 1634 will create a patchwork nightmare of differing laws, with each element contingent upon the approval of the "local jurisdiction or its authorized local animal control agency." "State-wide solution"? Please.

Claim #5: Pets are routinely safely and successfully altered at 4 months of age. Vets can delay the procedure if they feel it is in the animal’s best interest.

The truth: AB 1634 makes waivers contingent on illness or age. "Safely altered"? Sure, it might be "safely" done, but how does it affect your pet? Try this: go to PubMed and type neutered + cancer in the search box. The first result you should see is this: A population study of neutering status as a risk factor for canine prostate cancer. I'm not a vet --- but the authors of this May 2007 study are. For a summary of other articles relating to spay/neuter, read this. When --- or whether --- to spay or neuter a pet is a decision best left to responsible owners and their veterinarians, not politicians.

I'll give the last word to Christie Keith:

The answer [to the problem of homeless cats and dogs] is not some bitterly divisive, hard to enforce, punitive legislation that doesn’t solve the problem in the first place and tramples on people’s dreams, goals, and relationship with their animals. The day I let a politician or animal control officer force me to perform a medical procedure on my dog or cat against my will be a cold day in hell. All my current pets are altered so it’s all hypothetical, but I would never, ever comply with this legislation. I find it profoundly offensive, and if you can find someone who loves animals more than I do, I have no idea who it is. [Boldface added.]

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