Christina Ridge carries her search and rescue dog Doc after he cut his front paw on glass during search and rescue efforts in downtown Galveston, Texas. Photo by L. M. Otero for the L.A. Times.
Yes, that's a search and rescue pit bull. No, he wasn't bred to fight or "bred to kill" — he was bred to be blue, the color du jour. He was bred to be a companion.
A handful of articles on [human] genes and [human] race were published as Ontario prepared for its latest debate on breed specific legislation. Dogs aren't people — but prejudice is cruel and stupid whether it is directed at a human or a non-human animal, and as I read the articles on race and genetics my thoughts kept drifting to the anti-science that is BSL. How can anyone, in 2008 for crissakes, rationalize killing a dog by citing vagaries of appearance? "Breed specific" is a misnomer, after all: BSL condemns not only certain pedigreed dogs but also cross-breds and mixed breed dogs — friendly dogs that have never harmed or threatened to harm anyone — because of their coat color or the shape of their head. This is bigotry, not science.
"No fact in human history is more pervasive than our tendency to prejudge, fear, despise, persecute, and fight each other based on even the shallowest observable differences. It's simply reckless to feed that fire."
The reality of BSL, the cruelty and stupidity and utter uselessness of it, has become apparent to those who've seen its failures in their own neighborhoods. Caveat quoted this editorial:
An Ontario Court of Appeal is hearing arguments this week that literally are a matter of life and death. However, because these aren't human lives, many people might not even know it's going on.Proponents of BSL claim that extensive line-breeding has fixed specific behaviors in breeds of dogs — yet these same proponents contradict themselves by targeting mixed breed dogs in their killing sprees. BSL is irrational. It is a waste of time and money. It feeds the fires of prejudice, subjects law abiding citizens to needless anguish, and makes no one safer.
That, however, doesn't lessen its importance.
The case in question is an effort to have the Ontario government's 2005 legislation that forbids the owning, breeding or selling of pit bulls overturned.
Maybe the Liberal government doesn't care about legislation that is immoral and ineffective because it's not as if a lot of voters care.
But we think people should care and we hope Clayton Ruby can force the government to take back its cruel and inhuman legislation and replace it with something that makes sense. He certainly has our support.
Testing Genes, Solving Little
A Dissenting Voice as the Genome Is Sifted to Fight Disease
Race, genes, and the future of medicine [also pullquote source]