I'm active in animal welfare legislative issues, serving as the Vice President and legislative liaison for the Rio Grande Kennel Club and as a member for the Bernalillo County Animal Care Ordinance Review Committee. I'm also actively engaged in animal welfare activities with New Mexico legislators and have served as legislative liaison for the Houston All-Terrier Club.
PETA and HSUS
Many people ask me if I support organizations like PETA and Humane Society of the United States (HSUS) and my answer to that is an emphatic "NO!" While both organizations have done some good things for animals, their true agenda is animal liberation (i.e., elimination of pets, animal agriculture and working animals). Why else would both organizations encourage everyone to become vegans? PETA and HSUS leadership have an extensive history of statements and actions indicating the true goal of their organizations along with a network of other organizations to which they give substantial support. Despite continuous appeals in the name of animal welfare, most funding they receive does not go toward animal welfare. It goes toward "moving the middle" (i.e., funding legislative and advertising campaigns that advance their agenda of gradually moving public opinion and policy towards animal liberation). They spend relatively few dollars directly or indirectly on animal welfare and those dollars are often misused. The only animal shelter PETA operates consistently has one of the highest euthansia rates in the country. In 2007, 90% of animals were euthanized and the average euthanasia rate from 1998 through 2007 was 84%.
Who Do I Support?
I support local animal shelters and humane societies (they are not affiliated with HSUS) as they are the groups in the trenches in support of animals. At a national level, I support organizations like American Sporting Dog Alliance (ASDA), National Animal Interest Alliance (NAIA), Responsible Dog Owners of the Western States (RDOWS) and Sportsmen's and Animal Owner's Voting Alliance (SAOVA). Animal welfare is at the forefront of their missions. If you ever need assistance identifying a deserving animal charity for your donations, don't hesitate to contact me.
A Few Words About Tail Docking, Dew Claw Removal and Ear Cropping
I am often asked why I dock tails and remove dew claws on my Aussies. Often, that question comes from those that have been misinformed by fervent animal liberation and animal rights organizations like PETA and HSUS that the procedures are painful, no longer valid and purely cosmetic. The AKC breed standard for the Aussie prefers tail docking and dew claw removal. More importantly, the procedures have preventive purposes that are still valid. Dewclaws are set high on the inside of the legs and serve no purpose for the Aussie because they generally don't make contact with the ground. Aussies are athletic diggers and have been known to climb low fences among other hazards. Dew claw tears are a real risk, whether an Aussie is a working ratter or family pet. Dewclaw injuries can be painful and lead to infection. Dewclaw removal due to injury at an older age often takes much longer to heal. Aussie tails aren't thick and when groomed they do not have a lot of protective hair. The tail can be damaged by getting caught in a door, hitting an object while wagging or while working quarry among other hazards. Again, tail damage can be painful and lead to infection. Tail injuries and docking due to injuries at an older age often take a long time to heal. I dock tails and remove dew claws at three days of age. At that point, puppies are even less neurologically developed than human babies, including not being able to see or hear. At three days old, puppies likely don't experience any discomfort from the procedures. While our vet prefers to use a local anesthetic just in case, many vets do not and puppies often sleep through the procedures. While ear cropping is usually done at an older age, there are also valid reasons for continuing the procedure for the working breeds upon which it is performed. Incidentally, this is a subject that PETA and HSUS regularly misquote relative to the American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA). The AVMA position on tail docking and ear cropping is: "The AVMA opposes ear cropping and tail docking of dogs when done solely for cosmetic purposes." PETA and HSUS regularly drop "when done solely for cosmetic purposes" when quoting the AVMA position.